Discover 8 zero-carbon city trip ideas to do in Europe

Why not travel differently by taking a zero-carbon city trip in Europe? Here are some green ideas, good for you… and the planet.

Summary

  • 1. Amsterdam
  • 2. Ljubljana
  • 3. Bern
  • 4. Copenhagen
  • 5. Barcelona
  • 6. Lisbon
  • 7. Turin
  • 8. London

You probably know the proverb “who wants to travel far takes care of his mount”. We will add to it “who wants to travel for a long time takes care of his environment”. Tourism is responsible for approximately 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions emitted globally. Fortunately, solutions exist and tend to be developed in order to considerably reduce the environmental impact of travellers.

Soft mobility, carbon-free activities, responsible accommodation, committed destinations… All of this, including in cities. Generation Voyage also offers you some ideas for zero carbon city trips in Europe. Make your choice and enjoy an unforgettable green stay.

1. Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Crédit photo : Shutterstock – Yasonya

Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, has been a model of an eco-responsible city in Europe for many years now. It’s the perfect place to take a zero-carbon city trip in Europe. The “Venice of the North” is easily accessible by train or bus from Lille-Europe or Paris-Gare du Nord station. Once there, many shops offer bicycle rentals to get around easily. This picturesque metropolis has more bikes than people!

To admire it while browsing its 75 kilometers of canals, you can also opt for an electric boat without a license. Even more virtuous, the Plastic Whale company offers plastic fishing cruises. Armed with a landing net, the participants collect the floating debris which will be used as raw materials for the construction of office furniture or… boats, which will in turn be used to discover the canals.

Leidseplein

Crédit photo : Shutterstock – Harry Beugelink

Eco-friendly activities are legion in this green city. After a visit to the museums ( Van Gogh , Rijksmuseum, NEMO or Rembrandt), we recommend a bucolic walk in Vondelpark. It is the largest urban park in the city, whose 45 hectares are home to several lively scenic areas from May to September. Its hippie vibe makes it the go-to place to catch a free outdoor concert or show.

Further east, ten minutes by bike, is the Plantage district and its Hortus Botanicus. Created in 1638, it is one of the oldest botanical gardens in Europe. In terms of accommodation, Amsterdam’s hotel offer is full of eco-responsible establishments. The local chain Conscious Hotels, for example, is fully committed to an ecological approach, from the management of accommodation to the locavore food offered. Yum !

2. Ljubljana

The Ljublianica river flowing through Ljuljana

Crédit photo : Shutterstock- Georgios Tsichlis

“Lou-bia-na” is the pronunciation of the name of the Slovenian capital designated “Green Capital of Europe 2016”. And for good reason: this one, surrounded by parks and protected natural areas, is a model on the Old Continent. The largest green space in the city, Tivoli, leads to the forested hills of Rožnik and Šišenski, a paradise for hikers. Moreover, everything here is done on foot: the picturesque historic center of the city has been closed to car traffic since 2008.

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central station Zurich . Once there, it is easy to take advantage of the BicikelJ service to get around. Using these self-service urban bikes is, in our opinion, the best way to explore the city… and it costs next to nothing!

Céline Odyssey Slovenia - carbon city trip Europe

Crédit photo : Shutterstock – Matej Kastelic

During this zero-carbon city trip in Europe, be sure to visit the Central Market of the city between Vodnik and Pogačarjev squares. There are many gourmet stalls and local farm products. In the village district of Krakovo, the inhabitants themselves maintain splendid urban vegetable gardens which are worth a look. Visitors can then learn to stand-up paddle on the Ljubljanica, the river that crosses the capital.

Then, to gain height and enjoy the panorama, take the funicular to Ljubljana Castle. In both cases, these are excellent ways to discover the city in a different way! Finally, in terms of accommodation, we recommend the Celica, a former military prison converted into a hotel, or the B&B Hotel Ljubljana Park. Both establishments have obtained numerous international eco-labels for their efforts in sustainable accommodation.

3. Bern

historic-center-visit-canton-bern

Crédit photo : Shutterstock – Leonid Andronov

Bern is the capital of Switzerland, a country renowned for its cleanliness, which the mountainous character makes it particularly concerned by the harmful effects of global warming. Bern is proud of its old town with its medieval architecture, listed since 1983 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We naturally suggest that you spend your next zero-carbon city trip in Europe there. To do this, use the TGV Lyria Paris-Zurich line which connects Paris-Gare-de-Lyon to Bern in 4 short hours.

Once there, this sustainable capital on a human scale can easily be explored on foot. By taking the SDG-Walk (walking the sustainable development goals, in French) for example, this four-kilometre route, with audio guide, winds through the pretty picturesque alleys of the old center. It invites visitors to discover local initiatives committed to reducing CO2 emissions.

lake-thun-visit-canton-bern - - city tripcarbon Europe

Crédit photo : Shutterstock – Travelpixs

Bern is characterized by its relaxed lifestyle inspired for decades by the precepts of slow tourism. The relaxed atmosphere specific to the Swiss capital is particularly appreciated in the flea markets which are regularly organized there. You could unearth a small atypical souvenir in their alleys? Or take advantage of your presence in the greenest city in Europe in 2022 to spoil your loved ones with… chocolate. Produced locally by the Tschirren confectionery, open since 1919 on Kramgasse, of course: it is clearly the best. Yum !

As far as housing solutions are concerned, good news, it is easy to find an eco-responsible establishment on site. We recommend the Swissotel Kursaal or the prestigious Schweizerhof Bern & Spa, both of which emphasize green tourism.

4. Copenhagen

Travel differently

Crédit photo : Shutterstock – Sina Ettmer Photography

The Danish capital, which has set itself the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025, is particularly committed to sustainable development. It’s the perfect place to go on a zero-carbon city trip in Europe. Preferably by train: located between the city center and the old working-class district of Vesterbro, Copenhagen Central Station is served by a large number of European lines. Once there, of course, you will not fail to get on a bike.

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It’s that the little queen is a real institution in the city of the Little Mermaid! Even the Tour de France 2022 begins in Copenhagen, that is to say… Professional athletes are obviously not the only ones to benefit from it. For ordinary mortals, Copenhagen is equipped with 350 kilometers of secure, immaculately surfaced cycle paths. Ideal for exploring Amager Beach or Jægersborg Deer Park.

Travel differently

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Moobatto

Peckish ? Some of Denmark’s best sustainable restaurants are within reach. Particularly focused on veganism and the use of local resources, Danish cuisine is fresh and tasty. The Pladsen and its gourmet desserts or the One Bowl, a non-profit community establishment, will convince you! Also try going to Reffen Copenhagen Street Food, whose 400 stalls offer typical “street food” dishes.

To sleep, easy: more than 70% of the hotels of the city hold an ecological label. You can also try to find a pied-à-terre to rent on the side of Ørestad, the former fishing island. This futuristic eco-designed residential area is a real urban challenge, a must-see!

5. Barcelona

Bike in the city in Barcelona

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Kapustin Igor

Barcelona, ​​a Catalan metropolis by the sea, is certified “Biosphere”, a label rewarding responsible tourist destinations. To get there, nothing better than the TGV: departing from Marseille or Montpellier , just a few hours separate you from “Barna”. Moreover, the city encourages within it the use of clean mobility.

Self-service bicycles, electric vehicles, clean public transport… are entirely available to tourists. Take the opportunity to visit the local green lungs of Montjuïc Park or Collserola Park as soon as you arrive. These marvelous natural spaces are a delight for lovers of beautiful walks in the open air.

La Sagrada Familia - carbon city trip Europe

Crédit photo : Shutterstock – TTstudio

Eating local means tasting the inevitable – and succulent – tapas. The best can be found in the bustling alleys of La Boqueria, a quaint market near La Rambla. Open Monday to Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., it’s the perfect place to eat, bring back a gourmet specialty to loved ones or do some shopping for your stay. As for activities, take advantage of the sailboat to discover the Costa Barcelona.

Day cruises are organized by skippers from the Catalan capital’s marina. Finally, to stay responsibly throughout your stay, take advantage of hotels with the sustainable label. The Eco Boutique Hostal Grau and the Radisson Blu 1882 are, for once, part of the references.

6. Lisbon

Lisbon - carbon city trip Europe

Crédit photo : Shutterstock – Balate Dorin

Un city trip zéro carbone en Europe au soleil, en bord de mer et pour pas cher ? C’est possible à Lisbonne ! La capitale du Portugal jouit d’une situation géographique exceptionnelle, entre collines et rivages de l’océan Atlantique. Si vous ne souhaitez pas prendre l’avion, transport polluant, le réseau ferré dense et de qualité du pays vous permettra de vous y rendre en train de nuit par exemple.

Once there, everything can be done on foot or by electric bike. The city also offers a tourist, ecological and unusual tram service. For sustainable activities, we suggest you start with the Lisbon Oceanarium , the second largest aquarium in Europe. It is home to over 15,000 animals and plants from over 450 different species. A Portuguese temple of biodiversity!

Lisbon

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Samuel Borges Photography

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Speaking of which, be sure to visit dolphins in the open sea on a catamaran trip from Lisbon. The activity allows you to approach them as closely as possible and to enjoy a good dose of iodized air in the sun. We love it! As soon as you return to the “European Green Capital 2020”, discover its emblematic sectors where it is good to stroll: Alfama, Bairro Alto and the unmissable Parque das Nações .

Finally, for accommodation, only one address to remember: the Neya Lisboa Hotel. This modern four-star offers a virtuous hotel offer. And for not expensive moreover, in this city at the same time ecological and economic. So, when are you booking?

7. Turin

The historic center of Turin

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Marco Saracco

Turin, capital of Piedmont, is located southeast of the Alps. The metropolis also hosted the 20th Winter Olympics in 2006. Concerned by the melting of altitude glaciers, the city wants to be the spearhead of ecotourism in Italy. The municipality deploys numerous incentive measures aimed at reducing the environmental impact of its inhabitants and visitors.

Accessible by TGV from France, allow about 5 hours from Paris-Gare-de-Lyon or 4 hours from Lyon-Saint-Exupéry. If buses, trams and metros allow you to cross the metropolis in no time, opt instead for its 180 kilometers of cycle paths. The ToBike service will allow you to enjoy the joys of the little queen for your trips.

city trip europe

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Aliaksandr Antanovich

Hop! Direction the streets of the hypercentre to discover Castello Square and its historical monuments. The Cinema Museum, the Egyptian Museum and the Mole Antonelliana dome await you, as does the Palazzo Madama and its Renaissance art collections. Take advantage of your getaway to buy gianduiotti , these melt-in-the-mouth praline chocolates, or grissini , emblematic local specialties of Turin.

Your loved ones who stayed in France will be happy! Finally, be sure to take a stroll through the alleys of the Porta Palazzo market in piazza Palazzo di Città . It is, with its stalls of local products, surely the best place to do gourmet shopping.

8. London

Visit London - carbon city trip Europe

Photo credit: Shutterstock – lazyllama

Accessible in two hours from Paris thanks to the Eurostar, London is the ideal place for an unforgettable zero-carbon city trip in Europe. Despite its size (it is one of the largest cities in the world), the British capital is fully committed to an ecological approach. Anecdotally, London wants all buses, including its famous red double-deckers, to be electric by 2034.

A responsible gesture to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which affect the inhabitants as much as the local biodiversity… In this regard, the city is home to eight royal parks which form veritable green lungs which are very pleasant in all seasons. Hyde Park, Kensington Garden and the aptly named Green Park are must-sees and real urban biotopes. Picadilly Circus, a must-do in London - city carbon trip Europe

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Lukasz Pajor

To stay there while keeping a good conscience, choose a hotel with the “Green Key” label. It certifies standards of excellence in sustainable tourism. Le Méridien Piccadilly, in the dynamic district of Picadilly Circus, or the Sheraton Skyline at Heathrow are the best known of them. If you are lucky enough to travel as a couple, we recommend a romantic cruise on the Thames.

Romantic… and electric: although your thunderbolt cannot recharge them, Go Boat boats do not emit a single gram of CO2 thanks to their 100% clean engines. A great idea for a clean and virtuous getaway to share with your other half, what do you think?

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Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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