Why Stockholm Is the Perfect City For Eco-Travelers

Stockholm has a number of stunning green spaces like Hagaparken |© Balazs Szanto / Flickr
Stockholm has a number of stunning green spaces like Hagaparken |© Balazs Szanto / Flickr
Photo of Jozef Brodala
2 January 2018

It is always wonderful to visit a new city, to experience a different culture, and to tick off another country from your list. However, such trips are not always good for the environment. Air travel is brilliant for flexibility, ease of travel, and often, for our wallets—however, it does see our collective carbon footprint continue to grow and puts further pressure on the planet.

This is one of the reasons that eco-holidays have grown in popularity. The idea of traveling to places where you can offset, or at least minimize, the impact of travel is very attractive. Deciding to go to cities where they make a positive effort and consider their impact on the environment is a fantastic way to ensure that you are traveling in the most considerable, responsible, and reasonable manner. Stockholm is an excellent choice, as it is a city which has worked hard to foster a green outlook and to offer travelers experiences, places, and facilities which focus on sustainability and eco-consciousness.

Stockholm is committed to recycling | © Chas B / Flickr

Sweden is actually so good at recycling that it is beginning to run out of rubbish to recycle and is now taking in waste for other countries and processing it for them! Robecosam, a firm specializing in sustainable investment, has consistently ranked Sweden as the world’s most sustainable country. It is no surprise then that its capital city reflects this excellence in environmental thinking. Its eco-travel credentials are particularly notable in three different areas: outdoor spaces, transport, and dining, which ensures it offers something for everyone.

It has amazing outdoor spaces

One of the main aspects of Stockholm that keeps drawing in environmentally conscious travelers is the amazing number of outdoor places it has to explore. A key aspect of eco-travel is ensuring your activities have as low an impact on your surroundings as possible and outdoor activities do just that. Stockholm has excellent parks, gardens, and even nature reserves that you can discover all across the city. Just outside the center, in Angby, is Judarskogens Naturreservat, which was Stockholm’s first ever nature reserve. In the south of the city is Agesta Peninsula, which is surrounded by Magelungen, one of Stockholm’s many beautiful lakes.

Judarskogens Naturreservat is an oasis just outside the city center | © Marie Sahlén / Flickr

In the center of the city, parks like Vasaparken, Tantolunden, and Djurgarden are great places to relax. One minute you can be in the center of the biggest city in the Nordic countries, and the next swimming in a lake or wandering through the forest. Stockholm has everything for people who love the outdoors and nature, and even has a huge National Park right in the south of the city, called Tyresta. From hiking to swimming in a lake to just relaxing, there is so much to do outdoors.

There is superb public transport

Another feather in Stockholm’s environmental cap is its excellent public transport and cycling network. With a high congestion charge in Stockholm, as well as a significant number of pedestrianized areas, using a car is not only unnecessary but can be counterproductive. The t-bana metro system runs all across the city and is an excellent way to get around. There are a number of boats connecting all of Stockholm’s islands, run by SL, Stockholm’s public transport company, and the buses go as far down as Tyresta national park and as far north as Uppsala, Sweden’s fourth-largest city.

Stockholm’s metro system is extensive and its stations are beautiful | © Tony Webster / Flickr

Alongside this comprehensive and high-quality public transport network is Stockholm’s excellent number of cycle lanes, and the city’s pro-bike approach in which cyclists are welcomed, protected, and looked out for by drivers. It is very easy to rent a bike and cycle around the city, which not only helps the environment but also keeps you fit. If you want to continue to keep your carbon footprint down further, it is easy to get the train from Stockholm to destinations all over Sweden and Northern Europe—so if you plan on exploring more than just Sweden’s capital, you don’t need to fly. There are lots of night trains going up to the north of the country and you can get the train cheaply and easily to Copenhagen.

It features brilliant eco-restaurants and supermarkets

For the eco-considerate foodies out there, Stockholm also has you covered, with an excellent variety of restaurants and cafés. These focus on creating dishes and drinks that are made with sustainable ingredients from local suppliers to ensure that the food on your plate or the drink in your cup has as low a carbon footprint as possible. There are even places that are dedicated to eco-eating and make it very clear that their produce is as green as possible. Kalf and Hansen, based in Mariatorget on the ultra-cool island of Sodermalm, specialize in creating fast food that is made using only organic ingredients. They have a number of vegan and vegetarian options but also have meat and fish produced in sustainable conditions.

Stockholm is a great place to get organic fresh food | © Marco Verch / Flickr

Ecobaren Centralbadet is a restaurant and café located in Centralbadet, which is a beautiful spa, so you can grab some excellent organic “raw vegetarian” food and then enjoy a relaxing and pampering treatment. If you are looking to cook rather than eat out, then Stockholm has a number of great supermarkets with excellent green credentials, such as Paradiset Organic Market and Goodstore. It is always easy to pick out the best eco-products too, as Sweden’s organic foods have the KRAV label which verifies if a food is organic. If you want to ensure that everything on your plate has as low a carbon footprint as possible, then Stockholm is an excellent choice.

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