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5 Reasons Eco-Tourists Should Plan a Barcelona Getaway

Shutterstock Licensed Photo - 679092253 | Leksi.photo

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Sustainable tourism has experienced significant growth in recent years as travelers increasingly prioritize environmentally and socially responsible practices. According to recent market data from Statista, the market for sustainable tourism was $172 billion in 2022. This trend is driven by a growing awareness of the impact traditional tourism can have on local ecosystems and communities.

Sustainable tourism emphasizes minimizing negative effects on the environment, conserving natural resources, and supporting local cultures and economies. Travelers are seeking destinations and accommodations that adhere to eco-friendly principles, such as promoting wildlife conservation, using renewable energy sources, and minimizing waste. This surge in sustainable tourism is not only driven by consumer preferences but also by a broader global commitment to addressing climate change and promoting responsible travel practices. As the industry continues to evolve, the growth of sustainable tourism presents a positive trend towards a more environmentally conscious and socially responsible approach to travel.

One of the best places to visit as a sustainable tourist is Barcelona. When you first think of Barcelona, you won’t likely think, “It’s great for nature lovers.” It’s a city after all.

While it’s not the rolling mountains of the Alps or the majestic fjords of Norway, this Catalan metropolis has much to offer those who want a city escape while being able to take a dip in the ocean or take in beautiful natural views. The city has also made huge inroads in promoting sustainability.

Barcelona could be your place if you’re a nature-lover looking to change your usual getaway destination and step into the urban world. Keep reading to learn more.

1. You Can Walk Almost Everywhere

It’s a running joke in Barcelona that everywhere is “within walking distance,” even if that means walking 45 minutes. While the city is accessible, it’s not a small city. However, it’s the perfect city to get lost in.

Whether in the Gracia district (fun and more bohemian), the city center, or in Poblenou (near the beach), every district has something different to offer. Forget about hiring a car or inhaling the underground pollution in the metro. Get on a city bike when your feet need a rest and stop off at all the Instagrammable sites, whether one of the infamous Gaudí buildings throughout the city or the showstopping Ciutadella Park.

Walking through the streets, the “mundane” will seem extraordinary, but building facades and balconies will beg you to take pictures. With your phone being a must-have when walking the streets to navigate and capture memories, it’s essential to protect it with a sustainable Casely case.

2. It’s a City With a Green Heart

If you’re a nature lover, you might be surprised to discover that Barcelona shares your enthusiasm for nature. With its Nature Plan being carried out from 2021-2030, Barcelona aims to:

  1. Create 160 hectares of greenery
  2. Add 18.6 hectares of greenery in the first two years
  3. Push for more diverse and abundant green space that favors biodiversity

While the plan spans nine years, you don’t have to wait until 2030 to feel the change; if you go in the next few years, the project may not be finished, but you’ll surely see trees everywhere you go. Not every European city can boast of this, so while visiting a city might not feel green, Barcelona will surely not disappoint.

There are also many cool outdoor areas to enjoy; famously, the Bunkers del Carmel is a beautiful spot to take in the sunset over the city. Or buy a (relatively) cheap ticket to enter Park Güell and stroll around the Gaudí-designed outdoor space, famous for its mosaics. If you’re lucky, a local might even serenade you. 

3. The Ocean Is On Your Doorstep

Unlike many big cities, Barcelona has a beach, perfect for those who love to wild swim (no matter the time of year), relax to the sound of waves, feel the sea breeze, or all of the above.

It’s an excellent spot for activity lovers who like to keep fit: plenty of people run, cycle, or walk along the beach. You might even spot some people rollerblading, so if you want to try a new hobby, visiting Barcelona is a great place to try something new. You’ll also find many men and women working out in the Calisthenics areas and some people catching waves.

Regardless of when or why, people will always be at the beach in Barcelona. It’s a city escape that ensures everyone stays connected to nature in more ways than one, with the seafront serving as the foundation that grounds nature lovers to feel at peace.

4. It’s A Culture of Outdoor Socialising

Maybe you just enjoy being outside no matter the weather. If you don’t like constantly being trapped indoors by bad weather or the dark days of winter, then Barcelona is the perfect city vacation for you. 

Spain has a culture of socializing, especially after work. Many people will know that “Spanish time” consists of eating later, and these later hours often allow people to get home from work, change, and then go out to meet friends or family for tapas, some wine, or a coffee. No matter the time of year, this socializing is critical to Spanish culture, and while it also takes place indoors, you’ll see seating outdoors almost everywhere.

A lack of socialization is unhealthy, but in Barcelona, there are plenty of opportunities to make the most of the Mediterranean social pace with friends and family outdoors.

5. Hosts Beautiful Parks

Barcelona has plenty of opportunities to be outdoors with its spacious parks. While these parks might be less green than what you’re used to (depending on where you live), Barcelona hosts a range of open, nature-loving spaces to enjoy.

You may want to go ahead and get your steps in and explore each one. Or perhaps you’d rather sit on a bench, listen to the birds, and enjoy a good book. Whatever a city break means to you, Barcelona has outdoor spaces that’ll make you feel you’re far from being in a city.

Final Thoughts

Being a nature-lover doesn’t mean every vacation needs to be up a mountain or near a fjord.

If you’re in the market to plan a city escape that offers a healthy balance of a bustling metropolis paired with serene opportunities for the outdoors, Barcelona should be on your list. With its seafront, host of stunning parks, walkability, and commitment to a green future thanks to its Nature Plan, any eco-conscious traveler would love this city. Combine this with its rich history, culture, architecture, and more… what more could you ask for?

Charles MacGregor is a health advocate specializing in mesothelioma. He works to spread awareness about asbestos-related diseases all while advocating for a total ban of the asbestos mineral in the United States.

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