As one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, and with a visible recovery of Covid-19 in the tourism sector, the rates of tourism in Barcelona are only increasing. But, as the hoards the travelers start arriving, it’s important to consider sustainable tourism in Barcelona.

Sustainable tourism allows society to explore new destinations without having a negative impact. 

Barcelona has a population of 1.62 million, yet an average of 27 million tourists who visit annually. This just proves the scale of mass tourism to this beautiful city, and the necessity for ensuring tourism is sustainable. 

If you want some advice on how to be a responsible and respectful tourist, keep reading. Learn how to explore Barcelona attractions in a sustainable way, respect the locals and their culture, and support greener accommodation, restaurants and other businesses. 

Related read: Sustainable Travel Tips on a Budget

Sustainable tourism in Barcelona
Sustainable travel in Barcelona

Why sustainable tourism in Barcelona is so important

Barcelona is one of the worst offenders exceeding the government’s guidelines and limits of air pollution. As one of the most significant contributors to the alarming figures of air pollution, the city actually became a host of jellyfish plague in 2005. With this information, we must acknowledge the importance of sustainable tourism in Barcelona, and how necessary it is. The government has taken specific measures hoping to solve the pollution issue, and every citizen’s assistance in the strive towards sustainability is significant. 

Pollution and air quality in Barcelona makes sustainable tourism even more important
Pollution and air quality in Barcelona makes sustainable tourism even more important

How to get around sustainably

This is one of the easiest ways of staying sustainable. If you’re new to the city, there is no better way of admiring your surroundings than walking. Everything within the city is not so far from one another, and a walk through Las Ramblas, around the Sagrada Familia, Parc de Ciutadella, Arc de Triomphe and so on, is so much more eco- friendly and interesting than getting another form of transport. 

Other than walking, there are a plethora of different ways of travelling around the city without being blatantly unsustainable. There’s the metro, public bus, e-bikes, and even electric scooters. 


Travel Dudes tip

When doing a tour in Barcelona, pick more sustainable bicycle tours or eBike tours.

Bicycle tours in Barcelona, Spain
Bicycle tours in Barcelona, Spain

How to eat sustainably

When eating out in Barcelona, try to avoid the recognisable fast food chains; McDonalds, Starbucks, Taco Bell etc. The local cuisine here will give you a better insight into the culture of Barcelona and its typical dishes. You will be able to find plenty of local family owned restaurants and bars which serve high quality dishes made with fresh seasonal ingredients which is typical of Spain

Eating less meat is also a way of working towards a more sustainable environment, as greenhouse gas emissions from livestock industries are rather enormous. 

Related reads: Cheap Tapas Bars in Barcelona and Where to Get the Best Ice Cream in Barcelona

Sustainable local food in Barcelona
Sustainable local food in Barcelona

Respect waste disposal

In Barcelona, there are certain rules of waste disposal, and it is important that you stick to these. All citizens of the city have recycling collection containers located less than 100 metres from their home. Blue is for paper, green is for glass, yellow is for packaging and brown is for organic waste. Make sure you do not litter on the streets, or you could be facing fines of up to 1500 euros. 

Related read: Eco Friendly Gifts Ideas for Eco-Conscious Travelers

Sustainable tourism in Barcelona
Sustainable tourism in Barcelona

Respect the culture

Barcelona is a city made up of cultural facilities, heritage centres, and is home to some of the most important self-governing institutions of Catalonia. The city has over 90 museums (check out these unusual museums in Barcelona) and countless local cultural facilities; libraries, social centres, theatres, concert halls. 

It also has many archaeological and heritage sites, like Roman settlements to religious monuments, as well as other monuments from different periods. These incredible places are extremely important to the city and should be respected and preserved as much as possible.

Related read: Barcelona Facts We Bet You Didn’t Know

Sustainable tourism in Barcelona
Barcelona attractions

Booking sustainable accommodation in Barcelona

When booking your accommodation in Barcelona, you want to ensure you’re fueling a company which is environmentally friendly. It’s not surprising that hotels and large resorts have a large carbon footprint, and while there are many eco-friendly hotels, it’s often better to choose vacation rentals or more locally owned, independent hotels, hostels and guest houses.

Our partner, AB Apartment Barcelona, stands at the forefront of sustainable tourism within the tourist apartment market. Whether you’re looking for a short term stay, or a long term stay, with over 500 apartments to choose from, they will have you covered.

Sustainable accommodation in Barcelona
Sustainable accommodation in Barcelona

Check out the below posts for more tips on sustainable things to do in Barcelona:


  • Apartment Barcelona

    We are an expert agency in the tourism sector based in Barcelona, Catalonia. For over 10 years, we have offered holiday apartments and long-term apartments in Barcelona, to anyone wanting to visit or spend some time in the Catalan Capital.