European Best Green Capitals
Air and water quality, public transport with zero CO2 emissions, green spaces per inhabitant, percentage of people who walk, cycle or catch public transport to work, quality of life, km of cycle paths but also destinations rewarded by the European Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Virginijus Sinkevičius with the title of European Green Capital… we have retained nearly 10 criteria to establish this list of the European Best Green Capitals, the greenest cities in Europe.
These green capitals are perfect for travellers wishing to combine city break & nature holiday. Here is always a park, a botanical garden, a river, lakes, hiking trails or bike paths near your acommodation.
Paddling, bird watching, sailing, kayaking is also possible in these green capitals. As soon as you leave your eco-friendly hotel you are in contact with nature seeing, deers, squirrels, frogs and swans. In these European Green Destinations, man and nature have reconnected to live in perfect harmony.
You are atracted by nature and sustainable tourism? Also discover the best sustainable tourism destinations (Eden) awarded by the European Commission.
Globally recognized for its commitment to sustainable tourism Slovenia is the leading country and pioneer in green tourism in Europe. Most awarded destination by the European Commission for its sustainable tourism offer with destinations such as Bohinj, Soca Valley, Lasko, Idrija, Slovenia also has the European Best Green Capital as its capital: Ljubljana.
Imagine that the inhabitants of Ljubljana have more than 542m2 of green spaces to recharge their batteries! This is 20 times more than in Brussels, which is already considered one of the greenest capitals in Europe.
With the slogan "Nature in the city" Ljubljana is a perfect choice for an active holiday in Europe. Lush green and wooded areas can be found in the very heart of this European Green Capital. Explore its car-free centre and go beyond on bike paths and circuits.
Green and active Ljubljana is the best green capital in Europe. You can paddle through the heart of the city or go canoeing and discover alone, with friends or family the unsuspected life of the riverbanks of the Slovenian capital.
Bike friendly city, Ljubljana has more than 200KM of cycle path. Ljubljana also boasts the highest rate of household waste separation in the EU Union (70%). Last but not least, better than any other destination, Ljubljana is working hard to deseasonalize tourism by creating amazing events out of the high season such as a delicious food & wine festival in November. Incredibly beautiful, touching and endearing, Ljubljana is the Best Green Capital in Europe and certainly one of the most beautiful capitals in Europe.
How to get there: Book your flights or trian ticket to Ljubljana
Where to stay: "Hotel Cubo" ranked among the best eco-friendly hotels by Tripadvisor.
Even if the capital of Finland is not yet awarded by the European Commission the title of European Green Capital its ecological commitment is recognizee worldwide.
Helsinki is the capital with the purest air and water in Europe. It also ranks second among European cities with the best quality of life in Europe.
In Helsinki, nature is everywhere and is accessible to people with reduced mobility or families with strollers. During your stay do not miss to visit Lahti, recently awarded by the European Commission with the title of European Green Capital.
Discover Helsinki's best nature jogging trails, its best cycling paths for active holidays. Want to practice a new sport? Go paddle or canoe to discover the seven islands of the Helsinki's archipelago.
How to get there: Book your flights to Helsinki.
Where to stay: "Scandic Grand Central Helsinki" certified as environmentally friendly.
Lahti is a Gateway to the Finnish Lakeland – the largest in Europe. Finland has over 188,000 lakes and the water is the cleanest in the world. Lahti is located only an hour north from the capital Helsinki, international airport and harbours - and 2,5 Hrs away from St Petersburg by train.
As European Green Capital 2021 Lahti is a frontrunner in climate work and a pioneer in sustainable and smart solutions. In the Lahti region, you can experience pure and diverse nature sustainably. From Lahti the waterway opens up from local lake Vesijärvi to the pure Lake Päijänne which is the second biggest lake in Finland - providing drinking water to the whole Helsinki region. 74% of the city area is covered by forest, while 11% consists of bodies of water. The best tap water in the world, filtered and purified naturally by the Salpausselkä ridges, is an everyday luxury for the people of Lahti.
Lakeland Finland holiday is all about relaxing in connection with nature. The stark contrasts between the four seasons - endless summer days or darkness and calmness of winter make the visit every time different. Finnish traditional sauna, swim in open pure lakes, slow walks in the forest and nights in a private lakeside villa are essentials for every visit. Lahti region is one of the busiest cottage holiday destinations in Finland.
How to get there: Book your flights to Helsinki (50 min by public transport/ 1h by car).
Where to stay: "Greenstar Hotel Lahti" located 60 m from Lahti train station.
Bern stands out from all the green capitals in Europe for the quality of life of its inhabitants, the best in Europe ahead of Copenhagen and Vienna. The quality of water and air is also among the best in Europe and it offers its inhabitants and travellers a large number of green spaces, parks and gardens to relax and reconnect with nature.
Want more reasons to visit Bern this year? Bern was ranked among the best Christmas Markets in Europe and obviously among the best Christmas markets in Switzerland. It is also one of your safest destinations in Europe. There are a lot of good reasons to visit Bern this year.
How to get there: Book your flights to Basel Airport (1h15 by car or public transport).
Where to stay: "Hotel Schweizerhof Bern & THE SPA", there is even an in-house environmental team committed to sustainable projects.
For hiking, climbing, skiing, biking, a gourmet getaway or wellness, Grenoble is one of the leading destinations in nature and sustainable tourism in France. It is also the official European Green Capital 2022, awarded by the European Commission.
Surrounded by mountains and their restless torrents but also beautiful forests, secret valleys and natural prairies, Grenoble is a paradise for nature lovers. Grenoble city center is also rich in green spaces for strolling, relaxing, recharging your batteries at the ‘Pompidou’ or ‘Champs Elysées’ parks, the ‘Parc des Dauphins’ pleasure gardens and of course the Botanical Garden.
A green city favoring slow travel, public transport, cycling, but also local production of seasonal fruits and vegetables in schools as well as organic production. Grenoble is undoubtedly the greenest destination in Europe and in the world alongside pioneering sustainable tourism of cities like Bern, Ljubljana, Helsinki and Tallinn.
Discover Grenoble with a local resident. There is a large Greeters community in Grenoble; they love their city and will take you for a stroll to make you feel quite at home during your green stay in Grenoble.
How to get there: Book your flights to Lyon Airport (1h by public transport or car).
Where to stay: "Okko Hotels Grenoble Jardin Hoche" in the first European Eco-District.
Classified by private organizations as the second greenest capital in Europe, Stockholm has also been awarded the title of European Green Capital by the European Commission. With one of the best qualities of water and air in Europe and more than 80% of its population who commute to work by public transport, by bike or on foot, Stockholm stands out as a destination combining city break and nature Holiday.
Rightly regarded as one of the best destinations to visit in Sweden, Stockholm offers plenty of parks and gardens for nature lovers. "Djurgarden park" will be your tranquil oasis in the heart of Stockholm.
Do you like nature and arts? Visit the "Marabouparken" and its collection of sculptures as well as its exhibitions of contemporary art. Do not miss to visit the Royal National City park, the real green lung of Stockholm and The Kungstradgarden Park. Established in 1400 in the heart of Stockholm, it is a meeting place for residents and tourists who have the chance to visit this beautiful city. The park is open all year round but we recommend a visit from March to early May when cherry trees are in bloom.
Book your flights as well as your accommodation, tours and activities in Stockholm and discover one of the best green capitals in Europe. Are you travelling in winter? Be sure to visit Stockholm Christmas Market.
How to get there: Book your flights to Stockholm.
Where to stay: "Mornington Hotel Stockholm" one of the best green hotels in Stockholm.
Capital of Denmark, Copenhagen is considered as one of the greenest cities in Europe by independent private organizations and by the European Commission, which awarded it the European Green Capital prize. However, it is well behind Ljubljana in the green spaces available to the population (up to 3 times larger/inhabitant) in Ljubljana than in Copenhagen.
During your stay in Copenhagen you will be spoiled for choice among the many parks, botanical garden but also planted and flowered cemeteries of the Danish capital.
Do not miss a short trip to "The Deer Park" located in Dyrehaven, far away from city lights and traffic noise.
How to get there: Book your flights to Copenhagen.
Where to stay: "Copenhagen Admiral Hotel" ranked among the best green hotels in Copenhagen.
Recently awarded by the prestigious media "The Times" among the best sustainable tourism destinations in the world, Nijmegen works actively on the 2 axes of sustainability: local development & ecology.
The inhabitants of Nijmegen are carrying out numerous projects for their destination, for the maintenance and development of local employment and the development of green and blue infrastructure and biodiversity projects.
Focused on renewable energies, soft mobility and environmental protection, Nijmegen is truly one of the best green capitals in Europe. A young and trendy destination, it is now considered the best destination to visit in the Netherlands, the city where to settle, set up a start-up or a professional or personal life project. With one of the best qualities of life in Europe, Nijmegen is establishing itself as a must-see destination in Europe.
How to get there: Book your flights or ticket train to Amsterdam (1h by car / 1h15 by public transport).
Where to stay: "Van der Valk Hotel Nijmegen-Lent" for its charter of respect for the environment and its commitment to recycling and reasonable consumption of energy.
The capital of Estonia recently won the prestigious title of European Green Capital. An award accompanied by a check for more than half a million euros to invest in ecological projects. It received its prize in Lahti, another “European Green Capital” that you also ranked among your best nature destinations in Europe and best sustainable destinations for outdoor sports.
How to get there: Book your flights to Tallinn.
Where to stay: "Nordic Hotel Forum" is ranked among the best sustainable and eco-hotels in Tallinn.
Awarded the title of "European Green Capital" by the European Commission, the capital of Norway is surrounded by the Marka Forest and the famous Olso Fjord.
Nature is everywhere and is particularly well preserved in Oslo. Nothing better than a Kayak or Canoe trip to discover the nature that surrounds this green city. Like Braga in Portugal, Olso is committed to being one of the cities with zero CO2 emissions. The city has halved its emissions between 1990 and 2020.
More than three quarters of residents go to work on foot, by bicycle or in zero-emission public transport. Visit Oslo and bring back good practices that you can apply in your city to join the best green capitals in Europe too.
Where to stay: "Clarion Collection Hotel Gabelshus". Very eco-friendly charming and personal hotel.
Berlin is a city suitable for slow journeys such as cycling since it is relatively flat and the cycle paths are safe. Across the German Capital there are parks, some of them awarded among the best city parks, but also lakes and rivers. The best way to discover Berlin is certainly by kayak or paddle board. Do you want to relax in the middle of nature? Many parks await you as well as river beaches.
Want to swim? Dive into the waters of Wannsee, Schlachtensee or Müggelsee. Oases of greenery and nature await you in the German capital as the "Island of Youth" a small island close to Kreuzberg.
How to get there: Book your flights to Berlin
Where to stay: "The Circus Hotel" where you will be seen as part of the community.
With many parks, its incredible River, the Danube, and almost 75% of its population who travel to work on foot, by bike or public transport, Budapest is one of the best green capitals in Europe.
It is therefore not surprising that National Geographic has selected Budapest as one of the five most forward-thinking green cities.
Be sure to visit Margaret Island, the capital's biggest park. The perfect place for active recreation or just to be close to nature. Let yourself be enchanted by the scents of its rose garden. In summer Margaret Island hosts one of the best Summer Festival, the Margaret Island Open-Air Stage.
Fancy a wellness break? Treat yourself to a stay in Héviz. Located 3 hours from Budapest by train, it is one of the best wellness destinations in Europe. Want to discover several capitals at the same time? Visit Budapest, Vienna and Bratislava located less than two hours away by train.
How to get there: Book your flights to Budapest.
Where to stay: “Corinthia Budapest“ is ranked by Tripadvisor as one of the best green hotels in Budapest.
Ranked among the safest cities in Europe, Vienna is also one of the European Best Green Capitals. While it has not yet been awarded the title of "European Green Capitals" by the European Commission, many independent and private organizations rank it in their top 10 greenest European cities.
Taking a closer look Vienna is even in first position for the quality of its water and appears in the top 3 European cities for ecological travel with more than 80% of its population who commute to work by public transport, on foot or by bike. It is ranked just behind Ljubljana, in a good position with Stockholm, Helsinki and Oslo.
One of the best ways to reduce your ecological footprint is to visit Vienna, but also Bratislava and Budapest during your stay. These three capitals are only 2 hours by train. It is more eco-friendly to visit them during the same stay than to make 3 different trips.
How to get there: Book your flights to Vienna.
Where to stay: "The Harmonie Vienna" focus on sustainable luxury.
With more than 80% of its population commuting to work by public transport, bicycle or on foot, Madrid is one of your best green capitals in Europe. Madrid is also home to one of the most beautiful city parks in Europe, probably one of the most romantic too: Retiro Park.
Green lung of the capital, Retiro Park is the meeting place for lovers and families who enjoy a boat trip on the lake of this peaceful park. Do you want nature? During your stay do not miss to visit Atocha station, considered one of the most beautiful stations in Europe, it looks more like a botanical garden than a train station. Madrid is also ranked among the Best Erasmus destinations in Europe and Best sunny Christmas destinations in Europe.
Want to get away from the crowds? Discover the best hidden gems in Spain and the Most Beautiful Beaches in Spain as well as sustainable tourism destinations such as the Ebro Delta awarded by the European Commission for its commitment to sustainable tourism.
Where to stay: “Hotel Regina” is often awarded among the best green hotels in Madrid.
Not yet awarded the title of European Green Capital by the European Commission, Prague nevertheless appears in many rankings among the greenest cities in Europe. Imagine that the air is three times cleaner there than in Brussels or Madrid. Perhaps this is because more than 75% of its population commutes to work by bicycle, on foot or by public transport.
Prague is also often ranked high among European cities with the best quality of life. During your stay in Prague do not miss to visit the most beautiful parks and gardens in Prague such as “Riegrovy Sady park” and “Stromovka Park”. Fancy a trip to the tropics? Visit the Botanicka Zahrada and discover its many tropical plants. Fancy a little magic? Visit Prague at Christmas, its Christmas market is ranked among the most beautiful in Europe.
This year treat yourself to a trip combining city break and nature holiday by booking your flights to Prague as well as your accommodation and your tours and activities in Prague such as "Prague: 2-Hour Lunch Cruise on the Vltava River".
How to get there: Book your flights to Prague.
Where to stay: "Botanique Hotel Prague" inspired by nature.
You have heard about the Atomium, Manneken Pis, the Grand-Place, chocolate, waffles and fries but did you know that Brussels is one of the greenest European capitals and that the parks, gardens, occupy more than 40% of the territory? Reduced to its population, Brussels offers each of its inhabitants 28m2 of pure nature. More than 40 parks and gardens await you in the capital of Belgium :the Royal Park, the Parc du Cinquantenaire, the Leopold Park, the Etangs d'Ixelles, the Sonian forest, the Astrid park and the Meise botanical garden.
Reduce your ecological footprint by extending your stay and discover the best destinations to visit in Belgium such as Namur, Ghent, Bruges, Dinant as well as the best hidden gems of Belgium. This year discover Brussels from a new angle, 100% nature and stay in one of the best green capitals in Europe.
How to get there: Book your flights to Brussels or reach it by public transport.
Where to stay: "Hotel Agora Brussels Grand-Place" is an environmentally friendly hotel.
For nearly two decades, Paris has been committed to the social and ecology fields with the bet that the two can go very well together and that the creation of less energy-consuming housing is beneficial for the most disadvantaged populations. Added to this is the creation of many new green spaces in Paris not to mention the famous "Coulée Verte" which runs through part of the 12th arrondissement and allows you to walk away from cars, traffic and noise in the created green spaces on an old disused railway line.
Legendary gardens that have seen queens and kings walk, courtiers and courtesans, rebellious students, lovers and broken hearts, await you in the capital of France. Do not miss to visit the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, the Jardin des Tuileries, the Jardin du Luxembourg, Parc Monceau and the "Coulée Verte René-Dumont".
Where to stay: "Le Citizen Hotel" has recycling, water conservation and energy saving policies..
With more ecological means of transport such as cycling, public transport as well as many parks to recharge your batteries in the heart of the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam, has established itself in recent years as one of the best Green capitals in Europe.
The best way to have a lower ecological impact and support local employment is probably to book a few days in Amsterdam and explore other destinations to visit in the Netherlands such as Nijmegen, the oldest city of the Netherlands and its numerous events and festivals. Want to escape the beaten track? Discover the best hidden gems in the Netherlands such as Uitdam and the Veluwezoom National Park. A few minutes by bike or by public transport from Amsterdam you will find many natural activities near one of the best green capitals in Europe.
How to get there: Book your flights to Amsterdam / or your train ticket.
Where to stay: "Conscious Hotel the Tire Station" one of the best sustainable hotel in Amsterdam.
Number 1 shopping destination in the world, London is for some a pure city break destination, a destination for business trips, exhibitions and fairs. London is also one of the greenest capitals in the world.
The English, along with the French and the Japanese, invented their own styles of gardens. The English gardens developed in the 18th-century originating as a revolt against the architectural
garden, which relied on rectilinear patterns, sculpture, and the unnatural shaping of trees (French gardens) favours a countryside-like nature, like an extension of the landscapes.
During your stay, be sure to visit Richmond Park. Created in the 17th century, this park was created to accommodate wild deers (they are still numerous in Richmond Park). It is the largest of London's Royal Parks: it plays a vital role in the protection and conservation of wildlife in one of the world's largest capitals. Need more inspiration? Discover the best nature wonders in England as well as the Best places to visit in England and Best hidden gems in England.
Where to stay: "Danubius Hotel Regents Park" is often ranked as one of the best green hotels in London.
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