A few years ago, it wouldn’t have occurred to us to choose a hotel based on the projected CO2 emissions or find eco-friendly ways to travel and activities to do. But over the last few years, sustainability has made many heads turn. When planning an itinerary, travellers are now keen on making it as eco-friendly as possible.
With this growing attention, many destinations have embraced sustainable alternatives and experiences. But Germany has always been ahead of the game, setting standards for others to follow with flair.
Even though sustainable travel can have different meanings, they all find a place in Germany. It presents several options for every kind of traveller–a city slicker with a penchant for all things cosmopolitan or a nature-lover who prefers their surroundings coloured in deep green.
Usually, cities are notoriously known for being far from eco-friendly. They are steeped in pollution, soaked in noise, and crowded with buildings. However, German cities have made conscious efforts to stave off everything that gives tourists a reason to skip and head to the countryside.
Even with skyscrapers all around, greenery finds its space. Apart from allotment gardens that have been a part of Germany’s landscape for more than 100 years, city authorities and folks have found innovative ways to preserve its greenery.
Rooftop greenhouses, community gardens, raised beds, and vertical agriculture are sprinkled throughout Germany's metropolitan cities. For many locals, these gardens are perfect for catching a break or meeting up with friends.
Built For All
Getting around German cities has also been made greener by introducing sustainable public transport options supported by thoroughly planned infrastructure. The all-green Deutsche Bahn long-distance train, connecting 150 European cities, deserves a special mention. In addition, the dishes served on board are seasonal, organic and traditional. It’s the best way to get from one corner of the country to the other.
Photo Credit: Alexander Schlotter
Wheelchair-friendly infrastructure has been installed across most sights and monuments
However, the focus on sustainability is futile without addressing the importance of inclusivity. The cities’ infrastructure has been built keeping in mind the diverse needs of people. Most sights, events and experiences are curated to ensure they are accessible to people with impairments. There are sign language tours of the cities, audio induction loops across concert halls, venues and churches, and other additional aids to ensure universal access.
Photo Credits: Jens Wegener
Guided braille and sign-language tours are also held across sights
Green Eats And Stays
Even Germany’s hospitality industry has gone above and beyond to make stays and dining experiences as sustainable as possible. Whether boutique hotels or large hotel chains, sustainability principles and conscious-living are central pillars dictating operation, these initiatives include reducing the volume of waste generated and CO2 emissions through modern technology.
Smaller boutique hotels and hostels also present a unique yet eco-friendly experience. Many are housed in restored buildings (such as Ehrenbreitstein Fortress in Koblenz) and have been certified by regulatory bodies, such as The German Travel Management Association (VRD).
Photo Credits: Goebel Photo & Design
Even eating joints have transitioned towards incorporating vegan and organic options in their menus. Around 1,000 establishments are known to specialise in meat-free food, while more than 2,000 restaurants offer vegan food.
Photo Credit: DZT/Jens Wegener
Sustainable and organic food at Restaurant Bachstelze
Therefore, German cities offer an eclectic melange of glamour and green. It does not just open you up to a world of possibilities but a world that upholds conscience.
For more information on eco-friendly accommodations, visit: https://www.germany.travel/en/feel-good/accommodation.html
For more information on disability-friendly and accessible travel across Germany, visit: https://www.germany.travel/en/accessible-germany/accessible-travel.html
This article is in collaboration with the German National Tourist Office, India