The Green Capitals Route
Put together a route through some of Europe’s greenest cities and join in celebrating #International Earth Day next 22 April.
Lisbon is the European Green Capital 2020, an award that has been granted since 2010 to the cities most committed to sustainability and working to improve the environment. These cities are more liveable and enjoyable and the European Union wants them to serve as models to inspire other cities on the continent.
LISBON / Detox capital
The city holding the title of European Green Capital has created a calendar filled with events and activities celebrating urban life. From June, it will all be enjoyed with even fewer contaminants in its old town. The city council has planned new traffic restrictions beginning this month that will reduce the number of vehicles in neighbourhoods such as Alfama, Baixa and Chiada by nearly half.
Before all this and before Easter (25-27 March) one of the largest conventions and festival of Portuguese-language music, the Lisbon International Music Network, will take place.
LJUBLJANA / Fable of nature
The Slovenian pearl of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire was the Green Capital 2016. With less than 300,000 inhabitants and radiating outward from its mediaeval castle, the city boasts lovely parks such as Tivoli and is surrounded by nature, from the mountainous area of Velika Planina – with landscapes that look like something out of The Lord of the Rings – to its marshes, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Lighting Guerilla Festival will take place from 21 May to 20 June, and will feature city-wide outdoor light installations and works of art.
OSLO / Open to the fjord
The European Green Capital in 2019, over the past decade, the regeneration of its old harbour area along the fjord has opened the city centre up with places such as its new Opera House (in the image) and the new Munch Museum. This latter will open this summer next to a new park that will connect the coast to the forest in Oslomarka and Lake Maridal along the eight kilometres of riverwalk by the River Aker.
During Easter, the Norwegians have the particular tradition of watching mystery and horror films. In Oslo, you can follow the route of Jo Nesbø’s novels or enjoy the Inferno Metal Festival from 9 to 12 April.
HAMBURG / Regenerative neighbourhoods
The Green Capital in 2011, Hamburg is an example of how to regenerate a city into neighbourhoods, such as the historical Speicherstadt. This former warehouse area – with its imposing red-brick buildings looming over the canals leading from the river to the city centre – was declared a World Heritage Site in 2015 and is now another popular tourist attraction. Just as is the area of St. Pauli – of the popular football team – where the Beatles lived in their early days and where three of the clubs they performed in are still open.
From 8 to 10 May, Hamburg celebrates one of its biggest annual events: the anniversary of its port. This year, it turns 831 and will celebrate with the world’s biggest port festival, with parades, music and the traditional “schlepperballet”, a dance by tugboats on the River Elba.
STOCKHOLM / Scandinavian style
The first to become a European Green Capital (in 2010) it is also one of the cities that every year ranks high on the international lists of sustainability and ecotourism. The city is surrounded by lakes and islands and its inhabitants move about using public transport and bicycles, it boasts green areas such as the Judarskogens Nature Preserve, and its markets and restaurants prioritise local, eco-friendly products.
Until October, its imposing Nordic Museum (located on the island and park of Djurgården) will host the exhibition The Arctic – While the Ice is Melting, which simulates a giant iceberg, inside which life today at the North Pole is shown.