Europe is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
In this blog post, we will discuss 12 eco-friendly ways to travel in Europe. We hope that you find these tips helpful and that they help you have a more sustainable travel to Europe.
1. Use public transportation
Whenever possible, try to use public transportation instead of renting a car. Not only is it better for the environment, but it can also be more cost-effective.
In many European cities, there is an extensive network of trains, buses, and trams that can take you wherever you need to go. You can find maps of the public transportation system online or at your hotel.
2. Consider renting a hybrid car
If you are renting a car, consider renting a hybrid or electric vehicle. These cars have significantly lower emissions than traditional petrol or diesel cars and can help you do your part to reduce your carbon footprint.
They can be found in most major cities across Europe and can often be found for a similar price to traditional rental cars.
3. Pack light for your trip
Packing light not only makes your life easier by not having to lug around a heavy bag everywhere but also helps reduce your carbon emissions.
The heavier the plane, the more fuel it burns, so packing lighter bags will help to offset this impact. Plus, you’ll be able to move around more easily and won’t have to pay extra baggage fees.
4. Stay in eco-friendly accommodations
When booking your accommodation, look for hotels or hostels that are certified eco-friendly. You can find these types of accommodations by doing a quick search online.
Many hotels and hostels have implemented measures to minimize their environmental impact, such as using energy-efficient lighting and equipment and recycling or composting waste.
5. Eat local food as much as possible
One of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint while traveling is to eat local. There are plenty of great reviews and guides online to help you find the best local restaurants.
Eating locally grown and produced food cuts down on the emissions associated with transportation, as well as supports the local economy. Plus, it’s often fresher and tastier to try some of the local specialties!
6. Bring your own reusable water bottle and coffee mug to avoid using disposable cups
Whenever possible, try to bring your own reusable water bottle and coffee mug with you when traveling. You can find one that fits your style and personality easily and they’re great for the environment.
This will help to reduce the number of disposable cups that end up in landfills. Many coffee shops will even give you a discount if you bring your own mug.
7. Bring your own reusable shopping bags
When shopping, bring along some reusable bags instead of using disposable plastic bags. Many Europeans already practice this, so it’s easy to find places that sell reusable bags.
Plus, it’s better for the environment and can help you avoid having to pay plastic bag fees.
8. Avoid using single-use plastics
Try to avoid using single-use plastics as much as possible while traveling. This includes things like straws, plastic wrap, and disposable cutlery.
This will make a huge difference because plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose and is one of the biggest pollutants in our oceans.
Plus, many European countries are starting to ban or tax single-use plastics, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.
9. Book trips with tour operators that focus on sustainable tourism practices
When booking tours and activities, look for tour operators that focus on sustainable tourism practices.
This means they are using environmentally-friendly methods and supporting local communities. They also often have a lower impact on the places they visit.
10. Educate yourself about the issues facing the places you’re visiting
Before you travel, take some time to educate yourself about the environmental and social issues facing the places you’re visiting. You can do this by reading travel blogs, watching documentaries, and talking to people who live there.
This will help you be more aware of the impact you have on the places you visit and how you can help make a difference.
11. Shop at local markets instead of big supermarkets
Whenever possible, try to shop at local markets instead of big supermarkets. This helps to support local farmers and businesses, and it is generally more environmentally friendly.
Fresh food is abundant and delicious, especially since it’s prepared right there in the store. Plus, because it’s cooked right there in the store, it’s almost always more nutritious as well.
12. Walk or bike whenever possible
Walking or biking is a great way to explore a new place, and it’s also good for the environment.
See if you can rent bikes from your hotel or hostel, or walk to nearby attractions. Download Google maps to find the best walking paths and explore the city or town on foot.
This will help you save money on transportation and get some exercise in as well.
Bonus. Visit sustainable destinations
Let’s look at a city that has recently been awarded for its commitment to sustainability, Valencia (Spain).
Valencia has been elected European Green Capital 2024, a distinction with which the European Commission recognizes and rewards cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants that have implemented projects to reduce their environmental impact and improve their quality of life.
His candidacy was loaded with environmental values. The creation and protection of green spaces such as the Albufera Natural Park, the peri-urban garden, and the Turia Garden, were joined by initiatives for sustainable mobility, good management of urban waste, and the recovery of public spaces such as the Plaza del Ayuntamiento or the Plaza de la Reina, among others.
In addition, Valencia has other important sustainability credentials, such as the title of European Capital of Smart Tourism 2022 and Capital of Sustainable Food in 2017. This Mediterranean city has also been a pioneer in measuring and offsetting its carbon and water footprint. of tourism and is one of the hundred cities selected by the European Union for the Cities Mission project, with the aim of achieving climate neutrality by 2030.
Becoming the European Green Capital 2024 means that Valencia has passed an exhaustive sustainability test in the city through 12 indicators such as air, noise, waste, water, nature and biodiversity, land use, eco-innovation, climate change mitigation, adaptation to climate change, mobility, energy efficiency, and governance.
It is the first time that Valencia has opted for the European Green Capital, a distinction that until now was only granted to a Spanish city (Vitoria, 2012), which makes it a benchmark in urban sustainability and ecological transition policies.
Past, present, and future of a sustainable city
Valencia expects green spaces everywhere. Some of the jewels that Valencia has as a great lung are the Jardín del Turia, the old bed of the Turia river, which since it was inaugurated in 1986 has been changing and adapting to the city, but also to its citizens and their way of life. life. With more than 120 hectares of surface and 12 kilometers in length, it is the longest urban park in Europe.
Other places such as the Albufera Natural Park, the Turia Natural Park, the peri-urban orchard and the Mediterranean Sea, bring together the main set of green and natural spaces in the city of Valencia and its surroundings.
Pedestrian spaces and sustainable mobility
Valencia is undergoing several changes in the urban center in recent years. The pedestrianization of the center, as well as the most important enclaves of the city, have been transformed thanks to the projects developed within the 2030 Urban Strategy, which aims to make Valencia one of the first carbon-neutral European cities.
The recently inaugurated Plaza de la Reina, as well as the streets surrounding the Central Market, or soon the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, will free the center of Valencia from traffic to turn Valencia into a city for pedestrians. In addition, it should be noted that the streets of Valencia have a network of more than 160 kilometers of bike lanes that help reduce emissions.
Visiting destinations like Valencia helps you reduce the carbon footprint associated with your trips, turns them into success stories, and serves as an example for other destinations to improve their infrastructure and become more sustainable and ecological.
Every year, millions of people flock to its natural parks, cities, and villages, eager to explore its history and culture. While it is a beautiful place to visit, it’s also important to be mindful of our impact on the environment.
Eco-friendly travel doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult—it can simply be a matter of being mindful of your impact and making small changes to your travel habits.
By following these tips, you can help make a difference and ensure that your trip is sustainable. Do you have any eco-friendly travel tips to share? Let us know on social media!