If you have a heavy conscience when it comes to your environmental footprint then Barcelona is the city for you.
Branded by the Responsible Tourism Institute as a ‘Biosphere World Class Destination’, it is the only city in the world right now to have achieved such a title. In other words, Barcelona has an outstanding record when it comes to responsible, sustainable, socially inclusive and accessible tourism.
It’s not hard to become part of the green movement in Barcelona. From shops and markets to green tours of the city, there are so many ways to be eco-friendly. There’s also a huge assortment of organic, veggie and vegan eateries in the city, too. Check out our guide on how to go green in Barcelona.
THINGS TO DO
Parks and Hiking
Barcelona is surrounded by stunning mountains and an abundance of parks. Wander up to Gaudí’s Park Güell or visit the Turó de Putxet with great panoramic views of not only the city, but Tibidabo in the background, too.
For those with a more adventurous spirit, tackle the Parc Natural de la Serra de Collserola or Montserrat. Although a little way out of the city, the unparalleled views from Sant Jeroni are worth waiting for as on a clear day you can apparently see across to Mallorca.
Of course there is no greener way to see a city than on foot! Plus, a stroll around Barcelona offers a great way of exploring the labyrinth of streets of the Gothic Quarter or the hidden gems of El Born. There are many walking tours of the city which are free, for example, Runner Bean Tours, who take you through the winding alleys of Barcelona’s Old Town.
If it’s Gaudí that you came to see then they also offer a tour of some of his most famous designs in the Catalan capital. These environmentally-friendly tours of Barcelona leave every day at 11am.
If you feel like forking out a little though, some of the paid tours really do go that extra mile. For example, Discover Walks provides tours though the Gothic Quarter, Las Ramblas and some of Gaudí’s key works.
Want something with a little more pace? Then maybe a bike tour is the perfect environmentally friendly option to get you around the city.
There are hundreds of bike tours to choose from in the city but we have selected the following green guided tours as they cover the main sights.
Green Bikes offers the choice of two guided tours or solo bike rentals. The first tour covers a trail which explores modernisme and Gaudí, displaying some of the beautiful architecture and artwork that Barcelona is renowned for. Meanwhile, the city tour takes you to the likes of the spectacular Sagrada Familia and Arc de Triomf over the course of three hours.
Alternatively, Fat Tire Tours offer journeys around the touristic sights or a more scenic route to the top of Montjuïc hill, where you can catch some spectacular 360º views of the city and the chance to escape into nature. For those concerned about scaling such a large incline, the company uses electric e-Bikes making the assent more manageable. You can discover all this for just 34€!
Focused on bringing the consumer clothes from small designers, Green Lifestyle is heavily focused on its ‘sustainable and environmentally friendly’ approach to business. Their designers stress the importance of ethical production methods, fair trade and social responsibility. However, going green at this place can take its toll on your wallet as some of the items are a touch on the pricey side.
Carrer del Torrent de l'Olla, 95
This cute boutique is now open in two locations in Barcelona. With a variety of artisan, eco, bio and cultural products, clothing, cosmetics and underwear are to be found in store and also online. The shop in Gràcia is home to a garden area at the back where you can take some time out to enjoy the tranquility of its greenery.
Carrer Astúries, 38
WHERE TO EAT
Fancy a sangria? Bar Celoneta is the place to head. It contains an assortment of organic wines which are coupled with fresh fruit for the perfect beachside beverage. Not only does it offer a great variety of alcoholic drinks, it’s famed for its burgers, vegan tapas, and desserts. There are also plenty of gluten-free options on offer, too.
Carrer de Sevilla, 70
Specialists in all things vegetarian Rasoterra is renowned for its presentation and colourful dishes. The menu is mainly locally-sourced, with organic, vegan and gluten-free being staples. Rasoterra boasts using its own back garden for producing many of the vegetables you eat there.
Carrer del Palau, 5
This funky restaurant boasts ‘slow fast food’, offering well-priced, healthy and tasty food. Of course, as the name would suggest, everything on offer is organic. Expect the Spanish classics such as bocadillos, as well as burgers, desserts and so called ‘eco entrees’. With its devotion to all things organic, this place is perfect for those looking to go green in Barcelona
Plaça Urquinaona, 14
Photos courtesy of Green Bikes Barcelona, Fat Tire Bike Tours, Organic's, Green Lifestyle. Flickr: Elessar, RichardJo