German Cities Are Not Just Sustainable, But Also Inclusive

From accessible infrastructure and urban gardens to eco-friendly stays, the cities are designed to make mindful travel experiences possible
Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castlepxhere.com

Just a short while ago, the notion of selecting a hotel for its low CO2 emissions or seeking out eco-friendly travel options and activities barely crossed our minds. However, growing global concerns over climate change and the pursuit of sustainable practices has shifted perspectives dramatically. Nowadays, travellers are increasingly focused on prioritising environmental friendliness. This green shift in travel planning reflects a growing commitment to preserving our planet for future generations.

Numerous International destinations are increasingly adopting eco-friendly alternatives and sustainable experiences. Germany has consistently led the way, establishing benchmarks in sustainable innovation with distinctive excellence.

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.

Urban Gardens

Urban Gardens
Urban GardensAssenmacher/Wikimedia

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. Germany's urban landscapes are increasingly seeing a growth in green facades. These living walls, which integrate vegetation into the exterior of buildings, not only enhance aesthetic appeal but also contribute significantly to urban cooling, air purification, and biodiversity.

Built For All

Wheelchair-friendly infrastructure has been installed across most sights and monuments
Wheelchair-friendly infrastructure has been installed across most sights and monumentsWikimedia Commons

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 is the best way to get from one corner of the country to the other.

However, the focus on sustainability is futile without addressing the importance of inclusivity. The city's 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. 

Guided braille and sign-language tours are also held across sights
Guided braille and sign-language tours are also held across sights Jens Wegener

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. 

Ehrenbreitstein Fortress
Ehrenbreitstein Fortress Unsplash

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).

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. 

Sustainable and organic food at Restaurant Bachstelze
Sustainable and organic food at Restaurant BachstelzeJens Wegener

German cities offer an eclectic melange of glamour and green. By seamlessly integrating green practices with its rich cultural heritage, Germany offers a forward-thinking travel experience that doesn't compromise on luxury or responsibility.

Getting There

Even before arriving, you can minimise your carbon emissions by flying to Germany with Lufthansa, which gives passengers the option to offset the CO₂ emissions of their flight. Regular flights from all major airports across India make Germany an accessible destination. Indian Nationals require a visa to visit Germany so it is best to plan ahead.

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

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