Travel is a wonderful gift that people have enjoyed for hundreds of years, but with all the adventure and education it brings, there is also a responsibility to the people and places we visit, so sustainable travel is at the top of our list at the moment. The events over the past 18 months have given us a chance to take a breath and reassess. Sustainable travel has been moving to the forefront over the past few years, but now taking care of the planet matters more than ever.

The Travel Corporation, parent company to Luxury Gold, have sought to MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® since the company began. While other luxury travel companies may only be discovering sustainability, it has always been part of our ethos. Luxury Gold actively seeks to give back, which is why we helped found the TreadRight Foundation .

The TreadRight Foundation was created 12 years ago as a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands. It supports sustainable travel organizations and initiatives across the world so that we can MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® for our planet, people and wildlife. TreadRight also partners with projects in the places that TTC brands visit so our guests can engage on a deeper level with the destination, while knowing their travel money is being invested wisely.

Among the TTC brands, we have developed a five-step Climate Action Plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, or sooner.

We include MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences on our journeys, which are conscious travel experiences that have a positive environmental or social impact on the communities we visit. Through our five-year sustainability strategy, How We Tread Right, we are committed to integrating at least one Make Travel Matter® Experience on 50% of our trips by 2025. This helps guests seeking a more sustainable luxury guided tour to discover carefully chosen conscious experiences that enrich their vacation.

Cities Going Carbon Neutral

Fortunately, governments around the world have woken up to the idea of carbon neutral and some are pursuing inspiring climate action plans.

If you’re considering more sustainable travel, Luxury Gold can help. These top 5 sustainable cities feature on our itineraries, so choose your favorite or perhaps add them all to your travel bucket list?

Stockholm Sweden

Guests traveling on the luxury tour Timeless Scandinavia spend two nights in one of Europe’s most environmentally friendly cities, Stockholm. Not only does it have the harbour front, idyllic islands and a well-preserved old town, but it is a role model for other cities around the world in terms of its sustainable vision.

Stockholm’s history of sustainability stretches further back than many other global conurbations. In the 1960s it launched legislation around protecting the environment. Building on that, in the late 1990s, plans for new urban sustainable districts came to the fore. The most famous of is Hammarby Sjöstad; a delightful regeneration of a former industrial area, now blooming with life.

Eco-conscious guests can appreciate Stockholm as a green travel destination when they see the many attractive outdoor spaces in the city. Parks such as Djurgarden, where you can picnic and watch the boats go by, or Tantolunden, with its array of plants and trees, are perfect to take some time out.  Plenty of the lakes in Stockholm are clean enough to swim in, so guests can refresh with a dip.

The public transport in Stockholm is second to none, with boats connecting the islands and the t-bana metro system connecting the whole city. The city has a pro-cycling approach with a huge number of cycle lanes and measures to protect cyclists. It’s very easy to rent a bike to explore.

For those interested in sustainable dining, Stockholm has a surprising number of eco-eateries. Visitors can discover the freshest local produce and enjoy fine dining with the lowest carbon footprint.

Montreal, Canada

Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and glorious open spaces, it’s no wonder Montreal wants to protect the environment. Travelers on Luxury Gold’s Vibrant Quebec and New England tour can experience the extraordinary beauty of this first hand.

The city was one of the first in North America to ban the use of plastic bags, so if you plan on bringing home some of the incredible produce from the area, be sure to pack a tote bag. Green energy is also high on the agenda, with 97% of electricity supplied from renewable sources.

Greenery is evident here – even the convention center, Palais des congres de Montréal has a verdant rooftop garden. The New Montreal Park is the largest urban park in Canada and is part of the city’s climate action plan. At eight times the size of New York’s Central Park, it has plenty to keep visitors occupied for a whole day out and the protected wetlands are home to many animals and birds.

Restaurants across Montreal offer sustainably sourced options with most dishes created with food grown or caught in the surrounding region. Visitors can also try the highly palatable organic and biodynamic wines at fine dining restaurants.

Montreal is also a great place to tour by bike. It has an inexpensive bike rental program, plenty of cycling lanes and many convenient pick up and drop off points. Just be sure to bring a helmet.

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town was acknowledged for its sustainable development program as far back as 2004. It began purchasing from a wind farm in 2008, planning ahead to ensure that at least 10% of the city’s energy comes from renewable sources.  This stunning destination is seventh on the list of the world’s most sustainable cities, which is a remarkable feat for a city that is home to 6.5 million residents.

The city is a global leader in green building with a variety of projects that redefine the relationship between industry and resources. The vibrant V&A Waterfront district is a great example of this – a mixed use sustainable development that makes use of innovative design to minimize demand on water and energy. Many of the buildings have installed solar panels, to take advantage of the frequent hours of sunshine the city receives each year.

Cycling has become more widespread with the introduction of safe-cycle routes and the bus service allows passengers to bring a bike on for free. Much focus has been placed on embracing the outdoor lifestyle, and with the magnificent sights around the city, there’s few places in the world more beautiful to spend time outside.

Join the Spectacular South Africa tour with Luxury Gold and you’ll spend five days basking in the wonders of this modern city. Your accommodation in Cape Town is the 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa, which is also committed to sustainability, having reduced water waste by 42% and on track to remove all single use plastics by 2022.

Sydney, Australia

Long before other countries adopted climate action plans, Australia was making sustainable choices, opting to go plastic free first. In a country surrounded by water, with a vast desert at its center, it makes sense that many Australians wish to protect the abundant resources they’ve been given.

Sydney has made history by becoming the first city on the planet to be wholly powered by renewable energy. This vision was laid out in 2008, and achieved last year with the aid of the wind and solar farms that surround the city. Sydney aims to further bolster its sustainability by reducing CO2 emissions by 70% in 2030. It went carbon neutral in 2007.

It’s easy to go eco in Sydney. It’s a very walkable city with great temperatures practically all year round and a reasonably mild winter. The beaches are one of the main reasons people visit and with well over 100 to choose from, you can easily find your own little slice of paradise for the day.

If you’re feeling adventurous, south Sydney is great for mountain biking and bushwalking with Heathcote National Park being very accessible from the city. Berowra Valley National Park, just north of Sydney, is lovely for boating and has great vantage points for capturing wonderful holiday photos.

Eco-conscious guests can truly experience green luxury travel on the Inspiring Australia tour, which arrives in Sydney on Day Eight, with further time to explore on Days 11 and 12. There is also a day trip to the protected Blue Mountains, known for their dramatic beauty.

Copenhagen, Denmark

If you’re looking for one of the most eco-friendly cities in Europe, then Copenhagen is top of the list. The city has been described as a “transport pioneer” by the European Commission, which is partly thanks to its double cycle lanes and green transport initiatives. Its green credentials have made it one of the most cutting-edge places to visit.

Copenhagen is on a quest to go carbon neutral by 2025 and it has created some innovative initiatives to do so. One of these is Copenhill, a facility that turns waste into energy to power homes and businesses and is also one of the longest outdoor ski slopes in the world.

Although cycling is widespread, should you wish to hop on a bus, it’s easy to find an electric one, as they are all in the process of changing from diesel. If you’d prefer, you can get a solar-powered boat to explore the canals. Even recycling is essential here – you’ll find vending machines to return your can or cup dotted around the city.

Copenhagen is a haven for foodies. It is home to Geranium, the only totally organic restaurant in the world that has garnered three Michelin stars, but even on street corners, visitors will be shocked at the quality and variety of home-grown and sustainable produce. Wander around the Reffen street food market and you’ll see that all the packaging is compostable and food sourced from farms nearby.

If you’d like to spend some time in eco-friendly Copenhagen, join Luxury Gold on the Timeless Scandinavia tour. Your journey begins in the city where you will spend two nights, with leisure time to let you discover its picturesque waterways and eco-conscious vibe.

Take the Pledge to MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®

At Luxury Gold, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. That’s why every member of our team does their best to MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®. We invite our guests to join us in more sustainable travel and sign the Make Travel Matter pledge to protect the planet, people and wildlife.