Global Destination Sustainability Movement ranks the top eco-friendly cities in the world each year. GDSM will use a series of criteria including evaluating policies on public transportation, carbon emissions, renewable energy resources, etc., to determine which cities secure the top spots. Here are some of the destinations that were ranked among the highest in 2023 for sustainable and regenerative travel.
1) Gothenburg, Sweden
The top ranking goes to Gothenburg, Sweden, which has secured the title for the seventh time. The city is known for its environmental policies, including a project called the Gothenburg Green City Zone. This project tests new and sustainable transportation and infrastructure with the ultimate goal of being emission-free by 2030.
Additionally, the city’s airport has the highest Airport Carbon Accreditation certificate and includes a shuttle that runs on rapeseed oil. The southern islands are also completely car-free and only accessible through public transportation.
2) Oslo, Norway
With fjords and forests that are protected with green policies, Norway’s capital has risen from tenth place last year to second place in the rankings this year. Not only are the city’s public buses increasingly powered by electricity and bio-fuels, but there are also more than 5,000 electric vehicle charging stations around the city. The accommodations are also eco-friendly as 94% of the city’s hotels are eco-certified.
3) Copenhagen, Denmark
Aiming to be the first carbon-neutral capital city in just two years, 74% of Copenhagen’s electricity is sourced sustainably and only 4% of solid waste ends up in the city’s landfills. The waters in the harbors remain so clean that the locals will swim in them every summer.
4) Helsinki, Finland
Jumping from twelfth place to fourth place this year, Helsinki has set a goal to lower its emissions by 60% compared to 1990 levels by 2030 and to be carbon neutral by 2035.
5) Bergen, Norway
Bergen has one of the largest per capita rates of electric vehicles in the world, including tour buses, rental cars, and taxis. There are electric ferries and fjord tour ships that are docked at the city’s port, which also contains the largest percentage of electric vessels in the world. The Bergen railway is another sustainable option for tourists, perfect for sightseeing the region’s fjords.
6) Aarhus, Denmark
This city has a compact center, which allows travelers to easily walk from their hotel accommodations to many of the city’s attractions including shops, museums, and restaurants. Also containing convenient public transportation options, Aarhus runs on 77% renewable energy with a goal of being completely carbon neutral by 2030.
7) Aalborg, Denmark
Also named the happiest city in the EU in 2016, Aalborg received a high ranking on sustainability due to its environmental strategy. Among other initiatives, this includes an annual sustainability festival where locals showcase their own eco-friendly projects.
8) Glasgow, Scotland
Glasgow has set the goal of becoming the UK’s first carbon-neutral city by 2030. To achieve this goal, the city has installed measures such as smart LED streetlights and continuously adding electric vehicle charging stations.