Edinburgh named top sustainable holiday destination for 2024

Photo by DiscoverCars

DiscoverCars.com have created a top 20 ranking of the most sustainable cities in Europe, based on the following criteria: closest airport, kg of CO2 produced in a round-trip from London Heathrow, percentage of hotels with EV charging points, percentage of vegan restaurants, number of nature spots and the pollution level. They looked at the three biggest cities in each European country.

Aleksandrs Buraks, Head of Growth at DiscoverCars.com, comments:

“It’s a really interesting range of places around Europe that are reflected in our top 20 list. While many of the destinations on the list are capital cities – many of which have taken on impressive regeneration projects aimed at becoming greener – others are not the biggest city in their country. For instance, we have Hamburg, Ghent and Turin in our top 20, fantastic cities which should never be overlooked.

“We enjoyed learning about all the different sustainability initiatives countries are introducing, like Denmark’s ‘reverse vending machine’ recycling scheme, in which you can return empty cans and either receive a small payment or make a payment to charity in your name. It’s great to see all the bright ideas people are coming up with to protect the environment and keep their cities green!”

The top 5 sustainable cities were as follows:

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh came in first place, scoring 89 points out of a possible 100. This beautiful and historic city has plenty of green space for locals and visitors alike to enjoy. In Holyrood Park, you can climb up Arthur’s Seat, what’s left of an extinct volcano, to look down across the city.

Zurich, Switzerland

The Swiss city of Zurich was next, with 88 points. The Altstadt or Old Town is wonderful to explore on foot or by river cruise. Many tour operators have electric boats, meaning that you can support a local sustainable business.

Paris, France

Paris is very committed to being an eco-friendly and sustainable city. In 2021, 70,000 parking spaces were removed, replaced with trees, bike lock spaces, and EV charging stations.

Barcelona, Spain

Spain’s capital Barcelona ranked in fourth place. This gorgeous city scored 85 points. It’s home to a huge number of vegan restaurants for eco-friendly foodies – 1557.

Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Rounding off the top 5, we have Rotterdam which scored 84 points. This port city is wonderful to explore on the water – why not rent out an environmentally friendly electric boat?

The remaining cities in the top 10 were as follows: Hamburg, Germany; Ghent, Belgium; Copenhagen, Denmark; Turin, Italy; and Limerick, Ireland.

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