As much as tourism opens people up to the beautiful world around them, it does take its toll on the environment. That’s why it’s best to choose destinations conscious of the effects tourists can have on the surroundings and work to subvert and mitigate those effects.

While there are many of these sustainable destinations around the globe, each with its own eco-friendly efforts and charms, it’s hard to beat Spain: one of the most ecologically sound places in Europe. From its 70 million acres of protected land and its 30 Europe Charter for Sustainable Tourism certified spaces to its numerous sustainable tour offerings, Spain works towards a green nation you can visit guilt-free.

But that’s not the only reason you should visit the country! A holiday in Spain promises vibrant city life in major urban centres like Madrid, cultural attractions at historic sites like Seville and the Alhambra, and beaches for the enthusiastic sunbather in Majorca to the east and the Canary Islands to the west.

The fact that it’s the largest country in Southern Europe may be intimidating, though—so if you need to narrow the nation down to just one spectacular spot, you should visit Barcelona. Here’s why the city is a great sustainable destination for your next holiday.

Barcelona is a certified green city

Barcelona sustainable tourism destination

The fact that Barcelona is one of the best sustainable cities in the world isn’t hearsay—the destination has won numerous awards. In fact, it’s the first-ever awardee of the Biosphere certification, which recognises the city’s efforts in developing holistic management criteria encompassing many sustainability branches. These branches cover everything from the environmental and cultural to the socio-economic.

You can see these principles enacted by various organisations. The team running the breath taking heritage site Casa Batlló has several projects along this line, such as implementing recycling and waste reduction policies and continuous conservation work.

Meanwhile, city authorities headed by former Mayor Ada Colau recently worked with architectural firms to design innovative housing projects that speed up construction and lower the environmental impact. Even the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona is breaking ground in sustainable research. In fact, it’s now listed first in the QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2023.

It protects its natural heritage

Barcelona sustainable tourism destinationMetropolitan sophistication isn’t all that Barcelona can offer. If you want to wander among fascinating natural surroundings during your holiday, you’re free to traverse the seven protected areas of the city. Each of them is a fascinating site. In the Parc Natural de la Zona Volcànica de la Garrotxa, for example, you get to scout one of the finest volcanic landscapes on the Iberian Peninsula.

You can also head to the Parc Natural del Cap de Creus, a terrestrial park where you can horse trek, go underwater fishing, or visit a Benedictine monastery. All are welcome in these zones—just be sure to adhere to a responsible observation of the scenery.

It has excellent public transportation options

Barcelona sustainable transport

In many cities, cars and motor vehicles are simply an unpleasant reality you must adapt to, regardless of their automotive production footprint, petroleum product usage, or toxic emissions. Travelling in Barcelona, however, gives you other convenient and sustainable options. You can take the bus, metro, and train system wherever you go, and there are many user-friendly maps and timetables at every station to guide you. This readily available transport stems both traffic and pollution.

Barcelona features sustainable gourmet menus

One of the best parts of every holiday is the food—and in Barcelona, you’ll be pleased to know that the sumptuous delicacies you’ll be eating are part and parcel of the city’s sustainability initiatives. Eco-friendly restaurants abide by the values of environmental protection: chefs must know the origins of the ingredients and prioritise local produce, valuing the producer and regional culture. When you drink gazpacho or eat spoonful after spoonful of paella, you can rest assured that what you’re eating has been harvested thoughtfully and sustainably.

Barcelona ecological food

Barcelona’s comprehensive ecological initiatives are a significant aspect of its attraction. They enrich the city’s cultural and environmental heritage and grant ethical travellers like you peace of mind when exploring its marvels, making the city an excellent choice for your sustainable holiday to Spain.