Swiss cities ranked as some of the most eco-friendly destinations in Europe

Swiss cities ranked as some of the most eco-friendly destinations in Europe

The Swiss city of Lausanne has been named as having the smallest carbon footprint of any city in Europe, according to a ranking of 28 top European destinations. Zurich also scored highly, being ranked as the third most sustainable city and the best city in Europe for light pollution.

Europe’s Most Sustainable Destinations in 2022

The Europe’s Most Sustainable Destinations list by luggage storage company Bounce ranks the most environmentally friendly and sustainable cities to visit in Europe. To calculate the ranking, the company considers the following factors:

  • Number of “Travel Sustainable Properties” in the city (as defined by
  • The percentage of people that walk, cycle or use public transport to get to work or school
  • Air quality
  • Use of green energy
  • Light pollution
  • Carbon footprint per person
  • Number of Michelin green star restaurants - restaurants with the most sustainable practices

A score for every category is then calculated and each city is given an average total score out of 10. 

Berlin, Stockholm and Zurich the top eco-friendly destinations

In this year’s list, Berlin was ranked as the most eco-friendly city destination in Europe with a score of 6,98 out of 10. The German capital was praised for the number of green restaurants and eco-friendly hotels within city limits. It also had the highest proportion of people who walk, cycle or use public transport for work, with the study finding 84,3 percent of residents commute using German public transport, without having to drive.

Just behind Stockholm (6,93) in third place was the Swiss city of Zurich. Switzerland’s metropolis scored well when it came to air quality and was ranked as emitting the least amount of light pollution of any city on the list.

Despite being known as one of the most expensive places in the world to live, the ranking praised Zurich for its high number of green commuters, coming second in the category behind Berlin. The city was also applauded for its net-zero car parking scheme - which stipulates that, if one parking space is built, another must be taken away.

Lausanne has the smallest carbon footprint in Europe

The capital of Canton Vaud, Lausanne, was also ranked highly on its carbon footprint. Despite only coming in 12th overall behind Helsinki, the study found that the Swiss city only expels 2,2 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per inhabitant, the lowest on the list.

Bounce cited data from the WWF, which showed that Lausanne has been able to offset its carbon emissions through extensive tree-planting initiatives. As the city plans to be CO2 neutral by 2030 - 20 years earlier than the government’s goal - it is unlikely that the city will lose its position on the ranking any time soon.

Rotterdam ranked as the least eco-friendly destination in Europe

Despite being known as an eco-minded continent, not all areas of Europe are as eco-friendly as others. According to the study, the Dutch city of Rotterdam is the least eco-friendly destination in Europe, followed by Athens in Greece and Belgrade in Serbia.

Rotterdam’s low score is perhaps unsurprising, as the Dutch city is home to Europe’s largest and most polluting port. The Port of Rotterdam alone produces 13,7 million tons of CO2 every year, severely impacting Rotterdam’s air quality and pollution scores.

Top 10 eco-friendly city destinations in Europe for tourists

In all, here are the top 10 eco-friendly city destinations in Europe:

  1. Berlin, Germany (6,98)
  2. Stockholm, Sweden (6,93)
  3. Zurich, Switzerland (6,56)
  4. Munich, Germany (6,51)
  5. Paris, France (6,40)
  6. Rome, Italy (6,25)
  7. Vienna, Austria (5,77)
  8. Copenhagen, Denmark (5,71)
  9. Valencia, Spain (5,40)
  10. Frankfurt, Germany (5,29)

For more information about how the ranking was calculated, and to see how other cities in Europe faired, check out the Bounce website.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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