If you’re looking for places to visit where you can breathe easy and enjoy the local drinking water, green space and biodiversity, the European Union has started highlighting exceptionally “green” cities by handing out an annual Green Capitals award. The 2010 and 2011 winners are Stockholm, Sweden and Hamburg, Germany, respectively. The judges have also selected six finalists for the 2012 and 2013 awards: 

  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Malmo, Sweden
  • Nantes, France
  • Nuremburg, Germany
  • Reykyavik, Iceland
  • Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

Winners will be announced in October.

Cities are judged against twelve criteria and on their ability to demonstrate innovation, efficiency and compelling plans for the future:

  • Local contribution to global climate change
  • Local transportation policies
  • Green urban areas
  • Sustainable land use
  • Nature and biodiversity
  • Quality of local ambient air
  • Noise pollution
  • Waste production and management
  • Water consumption
  • Waste water treatment
  • Municipal environmental management
  • Program to promote best practices to sister cities

Now you can vote with your feet (and airplane ticket) and try ecotourism with an urban flair. There are plenty of other cities applying to be recognized as Green Capitals. Have you visited any of the winners or aspirants?


About The Author

Michael Hartung, editor of Healthy Travel Blog, serves as head of Product Development at HTH Worldwide. Mike is responsible for all product strategy and development for the company. Mike has over twenty years of successful product innovation to his credit. He has played a senior management role in three start-up companies and has built complex organizations in rapid growth environments. Prior to joining HTH in 2000, he served as President of U.S. Healthcare’s Workers Comp Advantage subsidiary, which he co-founded with Angelo Masciantonio. Mike has also served in senior roles at Aon Consulting, Vantage Health Partners and Managed Health Care Services. Mike earned an M.B.A. from New York University, an M.A. from Duke University and a B.A. from Carleton College.

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