Barcelona and sustainability: a true commitment 02/06/2022
For a number of years, we have been aware that sustainability is not an option but a necessity. We are changing the ways we consume, eat and even the way we travel, because the planet can't wait. And every small gesture and every step counts. Discover the sustainable side of Barcelona!
Barcelona: a pioneering city for sustainability
We want you to enjoy your experience of visiting Barcelona to the full. And, luckily, this isn't at odds with sustainability. Did you know that Turisme de Barcelona is a signatory of the Glasgow Declaration? This means that we have committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations. Barcelona was the first Biosphere city in the world because of its commitment to sustainability in the tourism sector. It has more than 300 businesses that are working towards a model of responsible tourism. Making a more sustainable choice will be easy!
Accessible and efficient mobility
Get around Barcelona, and the planet, on Barcelona's extensive public transport network, which guarantees maximum energy efficiency. It is accessible, ecological, fast and comfortable, with a fleet of fully adapted buses, which is one of the cleanest in Europe. 93% of the city's metro stations have lifts.
Barcelona is such a dynamic city that it is constantly evolving and looking for solutions to the sustainability challenges we are currently facing. And it puts people and the environment centre stage. The superilles (superblocks), for instance, are transforming the streets of Barcelona into more human friendly spaces, reclaiming the areas used by cars for pedestrians and bringing nature back to traffic zones.
The vertical gardens climbing up the walls of buildings are another environmental improvement that makes the city more sustainable. In mid-April 2023, Barcelona will have the first vertical forest with fifteen suspended trees at the entrance to the Caixaforum cultural centre.
Sloooowly: Barcelona at a slow pace
Barcelona is a perfect city to explore on foot. You can do it at your own pace or on one of the guided trails that will reveal the city's hidden corners and some of its most interesting anecdotes. Barcelona's urban layout invites you to walk around the city's ten districts. Each neighbourhood has its own distinctive charm and atmosphere. In all of them, you'll find undiscovered architectural heritage, markets selling fresh produce that are a treat for the senses, and parks designed for you to relax in the heart of nature. And, if you look at the sky, you may even see a peregrine falcon. Yes, you read that correctly! They have been reintroduced in the city, and, in 2005, the first pair nested in one of the towers of the Sagrada Família.
Bicycles are another prominent presence in the city. Thousands of people use them every day to reach their destinations along more than 240 kilometres of bike lanes. Come and discover Barcelona on one of our guided bicycle tours. And if you prefer, you can explore Barcelona's extensive natural spaces and their environs along the Ronda Verda, a circular route consisting of paths and bike lanes for recreational use. It is 72 km long and can be done in stages.
A commitment to slow food and healthy eating
The city's thirty-nine food markets receive tons of fresh produce every day, which is essential to the Mediterranean diet (UNESCO Intangible Heritage). And the style of Catalan cookery you'll find in Barcelona, the Mediterranean city par excellence, is a mouth-watering combination of culi-nary heritage, tradition, produce, terroir, creativity and innovation. You'll be able to taste the most typical dishes as well as cutting-edge creations at the city's varied choice of restaurants.
Incidentally, fish is one of the most highly valued foods you'll find at the markets. And you'll be pleased to know that some of it is caught off the city's coast, because Barcelona… has a fishing fleet! More specifically, there are currently more than twenty-three boats that employ more than two hundred people. They are in the Barceloneta neighbourhood, and you can discover its history by visiting the fishermen's guild, the Confraria de Pescadors de la Barceloneta, where a group of marine biologists will tell you about its origins and the fishing methods used by this community that is so firmly rooted in the history of the city's coast. You can also visit the wholesale fish market and see the most recent catch being auctioned.
Slowcooking is part of the trend known as realfooding (eating fresh food that isn't ultra-processed). It invites us to go back to a healthier lifestyle and enjoy food as it used to be. Embrace it here by cooking some of these seventeen traditional dishes that reflect the richness of the landscape around Barcelona: the sea, mountains, woods and allotments. If cooking isn't your thing, you could always sign up for one of these cookery courses and workshops: you'll learn and have fun at the same time… and make something truly mouthwatering!
The city's green spaces
The iconic Montjuïc hill is the city's incomparable green space and has so many surprises and things to do. Discover its wide variety of plants and trees, which includes some unusual botanical species (some of them from Australia) on the self-guided botanical trail. Among the giant trees, exotic plants and colourful flowers, you'll also find different cultural attractions on Montjuïc that are well worth a visit: the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, Caixaforum, the Museu Olímpic i de l'Esport and the Fundació Joan Miró. And as it is one of the highest points in the city, the best views of Barcelona and the sea are guaranteed: ride the Montjuïc cable car (which is fully wheelchair accessible) and discover the castle at the top of the hill.
The Collserola ridge is another of Barcelona's large green spaces. It is a true urban oasis with a great choice of walking and hiking options. "The Secret Forest" is a guided walk with spectacular views of the city. And to round it all off, you'll be able to enjoy a typical Catalan meal at a 16th-century farmhouse.
The city is flanked by two protected nature reserves. The Delta del Llobregat Nature Area, with its wealth of flora and fauna, is the perfect place to discover the natural environment. And the Besòs River Park has undergone major regeneration and land has been reclaimed for public use, walking and cycling.
The beaches, a treasure to be preserved
Barcelona has 5km of beaches, which are a treasure the locals truly appreciate and take care of day after day. The Bogatell, Mar Bella, Nova Mar Bella and Sant Sebastià beaches have been awarded Blue Flag status, in recognition of the quality of the water, the excellent facilities and the safety of bathers. And they all have the ISO certificate that guarantees the continued reduction and prevention of pollution. The beaches are also accessible for people with limited mobility and offer an
The Mediterranean provides many options to connect with yourself and the sea. How about relaxing as you do paddleboard yoga? Or gliding over the azure waters of the sea in a kayak or on a pad-dleboard at a leisurely pace with views of the port and city? Sounds good, doesn't it?
Shopping and enjoying yourself locally
In a globalised world, shopping locally is a responsibility. In Barcelona, you'll find an open-air showcase of iconic shops, some of them dating back more than a hundred years, selling local products, handmade items, designs with their own unique identity and sustainable fashion. And the city's authentic festivals and traditions are very much alive and an important part of the city's heritage. You can enjoy them all year round.
As you can see, you can visit Barcelona sustainably, while being kind to the planet and socially responsible too. Enjoy it in the knowledge that every choice counts.
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