If your Instagram feed has become sickeningly saturated with other people’s sun, sand and sea posts; why not consider a weekend away in one of Europe’s greenest cities this summer?
RubyMoon puts together a list of five of the most sustainable cities in Europe, according to rankings and general experiences!
Ranked number one in the 2016 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index-Zurich is the place to be for any eco-warriors this summer. Not only is it the greenest city, but it also ranks highly in terms of quality of living. *Cough cough*; not saying there’s a correlation….The city is teeming with green spaces and nature experiences, such as the lakeside park Zurichhorn and Platpitz; coincidentally also favourites of James Joyce, if you want to stalk the haunts of your favourite writer. You can hop from beautiful park to park easily via Zurich’s sustainable public transport system. In Zurich, ‘eco-tourism’ is now the buzzword of the day; Zurich tourist officials even encourage people to take the train from London to Paris, instead of flying- to reduce the overall carbon footprint.
Stockholm was ranked as the 3rd most sustainable city in the world, and is renowned for its innovative recycling of industrial heat to keep its neighbourhoods warm during winter. It is also home to nearby eco-districts– such as The Hammarbu Sjostad eco-town. Similarly, nearby Malmo and its surrounding region, is cited as Europe’s first carbon-neutral neighbourhood. Check them out for a view into the future! There are also independent organic cafes in abundance in Stockholm itself, for example the Rosendals garden café– where all ingredients are sourced from their own garden, or the Paradiset Organic Market.
In Vienna, the hills are alive with the sound of…. sustainability. Ranked 4th in the Sustainability Index, Vienna is certainly now attracting visitors for more than the Sound of Music tour. Similarly to Zurich, Vienna has one of the highest standards of living, and the happiest citizens. Vienna’s powerplants not only provide clean energy but are artistic too, designed by eco-artists, they dot the skyline. If you think of yourself as a bit of a green fingers, then check out one of the urban city gardens and farms- The City Farm Schonbrunn and the Karlsgarten. Wind your way through the city via bike taxis, or hire a city bike to take in the views and the Viennese architecture. Do the Sound of Music tour, visit one of the many urban gardens, and eat organically, EVERYWHERE. A perfect weekend.
Now, one for the vegans. Berlin is a haven for vegan food lovers, having been named the vegan capital of the world. There are over 30 solely vegan restaurants in the city, too many falafel places to count, and even kebab shops that do fake vegan meat. This urban zeitgeist for sustainability extends to fashion, Berlin is home to a number of ethical fashion brands, and hosts an annual ethical fashion show (5th and 6th July).
Amsterdam, The Netherlands:
A clean and green city where there are more bikes than people, and it’s safer to be on a bike than in a car. The cycling culture in the Netherlands is something that cannot be rivalled anywhere else in the world, and its capital is aiming to be an emission free city in Europe by 2025. If people aren’t on bikes, they’re in electric run cars: both of which are for hire for tourists at cheap prices. In the Negenstraats or ‘nine streets’ you can find gorgeous sustainable boutiques, there are food markets where you can pick up waste fruit and veg for free, and you can also have dinner at one of their many zero waste restaurants. Although there are a number of cute canal-side vegan cafes, be aware the Dutch are very big on cheese and milk; so vegan options are quite often not available and it can sometimes be a struggle to get a soya latte.