Bicing, Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona – Europe’s Environmentally Friendly City

Barcelona has always been known for its culture, architecture and football team. Now, though, it is becoming known as one of the world’s most environmentally friendly cities. Here are just a few ways in which the capital of Catalunya is leading the fight to save the planet!

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Solar Energy

Barcelona’s location by the Mediterranean makes is the perfect place to install solar panels. Many office buildings are making the most of the Spanish sun by using solar technology to power them. And since 2000, all new or renovated buildings must, by law, install solar panels.


With an extremely efficient Metro and bus service, who needs a car? Very few Barcelonés will drive in the city given the brilliant public transport on offer. The many pedestrianised streets also make walking a popular way to get around and with stunning architecture on almost every corner, you can see why.

The public transport is very eco-friendly itself and Barcelona boasts Europe’s cleanest fleet of buses after adding 60 new buses to its fleet in April 2012 – 25 of which are hybrids and 35 of which are natural-gas powered.

The city even introduced electric trams in 2004 as another environmentally-friendly travel option. And to top it all off, there are 156km of bike lanes in the city, making it safe to take to Barcelona’s roads on two wheels.

Bicing, Barcelona, Spain
Bicing, Barcelona, Spain © erwin brevis


Though a method of transport, Barcelona’s Bicing system deserves a heading all to itself! The five-year-old community cycling system was brought in after successes in several French cities.

The scheme provides over 6000 bikes, distributed to around 400 stations across the centre. Locals apply for a yearly membership and receive a swipe card with which they can unlock a bike from a station. Free for usages under half an hour, the scheme is intended to cover the shorter routes travelled through the city in a more environmentally-friendly way.


Barcelona also boasts an innovative recycling system with large containers designed for easy-use located within 100 metres of all city centre homes. The containers are all colour-coded with each type of waste corresponding with a particular colour. The bins always line up from left to right in the same order, and have tactile markers, making it possible for the blind and visually impaired to recycle too!

Llum al carrer
Llum al Carrer, Barcelona, Spain © Rafel Miro

Street Lights

Even the street lights in Barcelona are part of the fight to save the planet. The city’s street lights run on timers and even contain smart technology that detects movements, illuminating accordingly. These LED lights are expected to cut the power bill for the city by as much as a third, while the environment will get a much needed rest now that less light is falling on empty streets.

If you want to visit one of the world’s greenest cities then take a trip to the Catalan capital and see for yourself just how Barcelona is helping to save the environment. With plenty to see and do, the city is a perfect holiday destination and Oh-Barcelona can provide comfortable and affordable accommodation.

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