The world is such a beautiful place, and when you get opportunities to enjoy, explore, learn, and immerse yourself into a foreign country, you receive memories and experiences that will forever be with you. We're fortunate enough that we've got a well travelled team and founders that we want to kick off our "City Guide" series with Barcelona, not just because it is our headquarters but because it is the first city in the world to obtain Biosphere certification in 2011. What that means is that Barcelona is committed to being a sustainable tourist destination.
Barcelona is the perfect city for walking, with all the Gaudí architecture, museums, and architecture sprinkled all over the city, getting lost with your own two feet is a great way to discover Barcelona. But we know that not everyone is up for walking all over the city, so here are eco-friendly ways to get around Barcelona.
Biking - Barcelona is a great city to rent a bike, the roads are built to accommodate cyclists with paths along the road. You get to your destination, see a few sights along the way, and squeeze in a little workout. Bike rentals are sprinkled all over the city, most of the rentals will be closer to Barceloneta and Raval neighborhoods. Here are two rentals to check out, Bike Service is located by Sagrada Familia, which I've personally used. It is a family owned business by a German and Spanish couple who are incredibly kind. The second is Green Bikes Barcelona. You'll see green colored bikes all over the center of Barcelona from Green Bikes.
Hybrid Car Transport - Just as some people are not looking to walk on their vacation, the thought of biking through the city may also not seem like a such pleasant way of getting around. Fear not, hybrid transport is also available. Taxi Ecològic is a company that utilizes hybrid cars, you can simply call one through their app or by phone. Each hybrid car has free wi-fi and a mobile charger (among many things), what more do you need?
Barcelona has a plethora of hotels, hostels, and bed & breakfasts. No matter what you choose, you will be welcomed with a warm smile, but for the sake of time, we will focus on the posher side of hotels in Barcelona, we will revisit the others in the future.
Tripadvisor is a great site to find the best activities, sights, restaurants, and of course hotels to stay at for almost every city and destination in the world. A great way to search for any eco or sustainable hotel is to simply type "green" on the search bar or use Tripadvisor's GreenLeader Program. This program showcases a variety of eco-friendly hotels at every price point who are committed to sustainable practices and are awarded Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze levels, depending on which criteria they meet. The program was developed with the guidance of the United Nations Environment Programme, Energy Star, and U.S. Green Building.
Tripadvisor filtered the top green hotels in Barcelona, so you can check them out. I've stayed in the Hesperia Tower Hotel, which is a 5-star and Gold Level hotel. It is conveniently close to El Prat Airport and provides complimentary shuttle service to the airport and as well as to the center of Barcelona. If you want to venture out with your two feet, the metro station is a few meters away from the hotel. The accommodations are very posh, with a friendly staff, and of course a great breakfast service.
The second hotel, which is also the top rated hotel in the green category, is the Yurbban Trafalgar Hotel. This boutique hotel is modern and beautifully designed, think the Ace Hotel interpreted in a cool Spanish way. Admittedly I've only been to the rooftop and dined at the hotel, but the views of Barcelona are incredible if you ever want to admire Barcelona views. At the rooftop (though a little small in comparison to the rooftops of the hotels you may find in the Passeig de Gràcia) they have a pool, bar, lounge chairs and during summer nights they have music playing.
We've covered sustainable transport and accommodations, we of course have to end with gastronomy. But you will have to stay tuned till the next post.