Traveling in the World’s Greenest Cities

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver Canada

Thanks to the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver now has an extensive transportation system (aptly named the Olympic Line) to get tourists to and from popular destinations. But since it’s also been named the Best Walking City in Canada, you can forget about public transpo altogether.

While you’re there, take advantage of Vancouver’s natural beauty by taking a visit to the Pacific Ocean, checking out one of the city’s 200 parks, or hitting the slopes at the Whistler Blackcomb resort. It’s easy to go green in a city that’s known as an “urban forest”.

Reykjavik, Iceland

 Reykjavik, Iceland

They say Iceland is greener than Greenland, but from an environmental perspective, Iceland is greener than just about everyone. 100% of its energy comes from the island’s own natural resources such as waterfalls, volcanoes, geysers and hot springs, which also happen to make for excellent travel destinations.

Take a whale-watching cruise, hike up a volcano, or relax at the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. Treat yourself- it’s eco-friendly!

Curitiba, Brazil

 curitiba brazil

The greenest city in Latin America makes for a perfect tropical getaway thanks to its efficient infrastructure, commitment to sustainable urban planning, and to-die-for temperatures year round. The Tourism Line will take you to all of the most popular attractions on green buses where you can gawk at gorgeous European-influenced architecture and plenty of green space.

For those who want an authentic Carnival experience without the massive crowds, the beaches surrounding Curitiba host mini celebrations that coincide with Rio de Janeiro’s. Be sure to check out the expansive Botanical Gardens and greenhouse that looks like it belongs in a fantasy novel.

Singapore

 Singaore Botanic Garden

With 23% of Singapore’s land devoted to rainforest and nature reserves, it’s no wonder they call it the “Garden City”. And it certainly beats the one in your backyard.

SMRT, Singapore’s transportation organization, has initiated a zero-emissions policy, meaning all trains now run purely on electricity. The complicated system serves as a role model for other large Asian cities.

Singapore might be a haven for luxury shoppers, but for those who want a more unique experience, check out the botanic gardens, one of the many Buddhist or Hindu temples, or Chinatown and Little India.

Johannesburg, South Africa

 Johannesburg South Africa

Thanks to Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa’s green rating system, tourists can make educated decisions about where to stay, eat, and shop while visiting the country’s largest city.

Hungry? Try the Shades of Green restaurant and tea garden, which cultivates and sells exclusively organic produce on its adjacent farmlands. Travelers can buy a wide range of teas and spend the day wandering the countryside. Or, experience one of the city’s outdoor flea markets like the African Craft Market for a variety of authentic locally produced goods alongside the beat of traditional African music.

Best of all: Johannesburg is home to lion parks where tourists can feed and play with the animals. Hakuna matata!

Reykjavik

Where to Stay: Hotel Borg, Pósthússtræti 101, 551-1440, en.hotelborg.is

Where to Eat: Fjalakötturinn, Aðalstræti 16, 514-6000, http://www.fjalakotturinn.is/english/

www.visitreykjavik.is

 

Singapore

Where to Stay: The Forest by Wangz, 145A Moulmein Rd, +65-6500-3188, www.forestbywangz.com

Where to Eat: Graze, 4 Rochester Park, +65-6775-9000, www.graze.com.sg

www.yoursingapore.com

 

Vancouver

Where to Stay: Wedgewood Hotel & Spa, 85 Hornby St, 1-800-663-0666, www.wedgewoodhotel.com

Where to Eat: Chambar, 5623 Beatty St, Crosstown, 604-879-7119, www.chambar.com

www.visitvancouver.com

 

Johannesburg

Where to Stay: Mapungubwe Hotel, 50 Marshall St, +27-11-429-2600, www.mapungubwehotel.co.za

Where to Eat: La Rustica, 103 Houghton Drive, 011-728-2092, www.larustica.co.za

www.joburg.org.za

 

Curitiba

Where to Stay: Four Points, 4211 Ave. Sete de Setembro, +55-41-3340-4000, http://www.starwoodhotels.com/fourpoints

Where to Eat: Jardins Grill, 712 Rua Lamenha Lins, +55-41-3232-4717, www.jardinsgrill.com.br

www.curitiba.info

Rebecca Jennings
Rebecca Jennings
Rebecca Jennings is a recent NYU graduate embarking on a career in media and creative writing. Originally from Burlington, Vermont, she hopes to one day dogsled in Finnish Lapland, pet a yak in the Mongolian steppes, and cruise around the Arctic Circle. So far, she's visited fifteen countries including the Czech Republic. You can always find her on Twitter: @rebexxxxa.

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