Europe’s Most Sustainable Destinations

We all love to travel, but we also want to do our bit for the environment, right? Well, with plenty of sustainable destinations in Europe offering eco-hotels, green spaces, bike lanes and the best vegan restaurants, we can. Sustainability is a top consideration for many people in all areas of life now, so if we can still fulfil our desire to see the world while also being green, it’s win-win.

And happily, even the busiest cities in Europe are making a solid effort to tackle the environmental issue, and some are winning awards for their commitment to greener tourism.

Who knew you could go on holiday while being considerate to the planet? With a trip to these sustainable destinations in Europe, you can take some important steps in being a responsible traveller.

Lahti, Finland

It’s no surprise that one of the greenest destinations in Europe is in the progressive country of Finland. Lahti was awarded European Green Capital in 2021 by the European Commission thanks to its continued efforts in sustainability – for example, it no longer uses coal, and is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2025. Lahti draws mostly outdoor sports fans, especially skiers and cyclists, but it is also a tranquil place of stunning lakes, which provide drinking water to the entire city and beyond. 74% of the wider city area is forest, and it’s a haven for wildlife and nature.

Lake Isola, Italy

Not far from Lake Garda is the lesser-known Lake Isola. In the centre of this lake is Monte Isola, a small green island. The island is traffic free, with no cars allowed. Instead visitors to the island are encouraged to rent bikes, or you can explore the island easily on foot – certainly one way of keeping your carbon footprint down.

Grenoble, France

Recently named one of the European Green Capitals for 2022, Grenoble is the French city of slow travel and a green experience. Grenoble itself has many green spaces and encourages visitors to use public transport, or walk or cycle. A group of volunteers called ‘greeters’ help direct you and assist you with using public transport. The city is also surrounded by nature in the form of mountains and lush valleys, so you don’t have to wander far from the city centre before you’re in stunning natural countryside.

Durbuy, Belgium

Durbuy is an area of Belgium that remains unspoilt and feels untouched. The area is made up of 41 villages and settlements that sprawl across the land, amid forest and rolling countryside. Three quarters of the area is greenery, with the villages nestled into the land peacefully. In the centre, the medieval town is sleepy with parks and gardens around the cobbled streets. It’s a beautiful place for walking and hiking and slow travel is a necessity. The area is going big on local food – at the moment, its restaurants and producers use 10% local food but they’re aiming to up that to 50% in time.

Lasko, Slovenia

In 2013 Lasko was crowned European Destination of Excellence by the European Commission, and since then the town certainly hasn’t rested on its laurels. In 2019 it was awarded the Slovenia Green Gold Label by the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism thanks to the green commitment. For example, last year 87% of its area was protected land, and it had 40 bicycles for rent plus three e-vehicle charging stations. While forward-thinking in its green credentials, this is an old spa town known for its healing waters, which the Romans first discovered in 39BC. Today you can gain the benefits of the natural spa waters at one of the town’s many thermae spas.

The Azores, Portugal

For a country that relies so heavily on tourism, it’s comforting to see Portugal’s effort in being sustainable. On the remote Atlantic islands of the Azores, you can enjoy the incredible wildlife and sea life – the Azores won the ‘best of nature’ category in the 2020 Sustainable Destination Awards, by proving they take good care of the natural wonders they’ve been blessed with. Take a boat ride or go scuba diving and you can see whales, manta rays and squid, all while practising sustainable tourism.

Stockholm, Sweden

It’s testament to how seriously a city takes sustainability when 80% of its population travels to work by public transport or by bike. Much of this is down to the infrastructure – and in Stockholm, they make sure this is not only a viable but a better option. Coupled with a move away from fossil fuels, the air quality here is amongst the best in Europe, and the capital city promotes its parks and gardens as tranquil places to enjoy nature.


Wherever you’re planning on heading to this year, make sure to pack travel insurance from Switched On for total peace of mind. Find out more here.