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11 Tips for more sustainable travelling

How to start

Chamissoplatz
© Dagmar Schwelle

At first glance, sustainable travel seems like a big challenge. But even small adjustments can help to make your next trip to  Berlin more environmentally conscious. At the same time, you'll discover your destination from a whole new perspective. With our tips, the first steps are fun.

Tip 1: Spend the night with a clear conscience

Vienna House Andel’s Berlin
Vienna House Andel’s Berlin © Vienna House

Your sustainable stay in Berlin begins with the choice of hotel. You don't have to do without the feel-good factor. Many of the measures that contribute to the sustainability of these hotels are invisible to guests. These include the use of green electricity, consistent recycling and the processing of regional products. In addition, Berlin's sustainable hotels have creative ideas like beehives on the roof and homemade oat milk.

Sustainable Hotels

Tip 2: Have a zero waste kit ready

Young Couple Enjoy A Snack Together During A Bus Journey Rest Stop
Young Couple Enjoy A Snack © Getty Images, Foto: Hinterhaus Productions

Put together a zero-waste kit in preparation for your next trip and all the ones to come. It will reduce waste in situations where you have been using disposable products.

A reusable cloth bag for shopping and a water bottle are standard equipment. By the way, you can get drinking water free of charge in many places in Berlin. The showpiece of every zero-waste kit is the spork, a hybrid of a fork and a spoon. It is used when you enjoy delicious street food or snacks from the supermarket. For coffee fans, a sealable coffee cup is recommended.

In Berlin, the Better World Cup initiative promotes the use of reusable systems in the gastronomy industry.

Better World Cup

Tip 3: Minimise and compensate CO2

Berlin Hauptbahnhof
© iStock.com/Nikada

From Germany and many parts of Europe, you can travel to Berlin comfortably and environmentally friendly by train. The Bahnhit offers the complete package for a four-day city trip including overnight stay and breakfast.

Long-distance flights are sometimes unavoidable, but should be undertaken with consideration. Air travel produces a large amount of greenhouse gases. Avoid short-distance flights in particular, so as not to increase your personal carbon footprint.

Non-profit organisations such as atmosfair or Klimakollekte enable you to compensate CO2. They invest your donations in climate protection projects such as the expansion of renewable energies or forest protection.

Book package with hotel and train ride

Tip 4: Broaden your culinary horizons and enjoy sustainably

Bonvivant Cocktail Bistro: Table from above
Bonvivant Cocktail Bistro: Table from above © Foto: Caitlin Collins

A trip is the best opportunity to try something new. To make your culinary discovery tour a success, visitBerlin has reliable recommendations.

According to the German Federal Environment Agency, avoiding meat or animal products reduces your annual carbon footprint by about 25%. Berlin is a goldmine of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. Whether you're looking for vegetarian Currywurst or award-winning star cuisine, there's a wide range of meat-free alternatives. In Berlin, eight restaurants hold a green Michelin star.

However, sustainable does not mean exclusively meatless or vegan. Look for restaurants that use seasonal, regional and fresh products. This not only saves resources, it also strengthens the local production chain.

Discover sustainable restaurants

Tip 5: Less waste through new old souvenirs

NochMall
NochMall second hand department store © Wolfgangson

New travel souvenirs rarely come from local and sustainable production. Moreover, their sentimental value is questionable. They do not tell a personal story. Countless flea markets and second-hand shops in Berlin prove that many people love clutter. So you don't have to suppress your passion for knickknacks.

Places like the second-hand shop NochMall give books, decorations and curiosities a second chance. A second-hand souvenir is original and hunting for a distinctive memento adds an interesting activity to your holiday.

Vintage Shops in Berlin

Tip 6: Keep moving while protecting the environment 

Platz und S-Bahnhof Mexikoplatz
Cycling in Berlin © Wirtschaftsförderung Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Foto: Steven Ritzer

You can easily explore Berlin and the surrounding area by foot and by bike. The best way to get to different starting points for walks and hikes is by public transport

If your legs need a rest afterwards, hop-on hop-off bus tours are a good alternative. As part of the Sustainable Tourism Berlin programme, visitBerlin has certified Big Bus Tours and Top Tour Sightseeing as sustainable companies.

The criteria for certification include, among many other aspects, the active reduction of emissions, a fair remuneration policy and a long-term sustainability strategy in the companies. The programme complies with the international standard of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

Top Tour Sightseeing

Tip 7: Smart planning - digital guides are paperless and updated

Pressetermin zur neuen App ABOUT BERLIN im Tränenpalast
App ABOUT BERLIN © visitBerlin, Foto: Uwe Steinert

The ABOUT BERLIN app will help you find your way around. It provides you with thematic tours and interesting background information. Pre-planned routes about Berlin's history, street art, sights and much more make it easy to immerse yourself in Berlin's history on foot or by bike without emissions. With the help of the navigation function, you can find the quickest way to interesting places in your surroundings. Compact, paperless and flexible.

When you're in Berlin, one of Berlin's greatest sights is right on your doorstep: the Kiezkultur. The lifestyle of its residents shapes Berlin's districts, which are called Kieze. The app Going Local Berlin gives you an insight into the insider tips of the locals.

ABOUT BERLIN App

Tip 8: Swapping instead of buying saves the nature and your nerves

Berlin Clothing Swap
Berlin Clothing Swap © Jenna Stein

It's the same drama every time. On the trip there, the suitcase closed perfectly, but before the return trip, it had to be forced shut. A creative approach to solving this problem is offered by swap shops and swap parties. The latter are often organised as individual events by non-profit organisations like Berlin Clothing Swap (BCS), on whose website you can find current dates.

Many retailers in Berlin also specialise in sustainable fashion choices. They offer carefully selected brands and holistic concepts.

Discover Sustainable fashion

Tip 9: Leave the beaten track - avoid overtourism

visitBerlin, 15 Minuten Stadt
Weekly market in Köpenick © visitBerlin, Foto: Mo Wüstenhagen

Overtourism is one of the biggest factors in the destruction of tourist destinations worldwide. Crowded-out mass tourism displaces small shops, cafés and locals. Ultimately, this contributes to the loss of your destination's unique flair.

In Berlin's less touristy outskirts, there is plenty to explore without stepping on toes. With the 15-minute city, you'll discover, among other things, Köpenick's old town with its baroque palace and support the family-run Hotel Bett und Buch. In the neighbourhood you can walk or cycle sustainably. Small local businesses and cultural institutions look forward to your visit.

more about 15-minute-city

Tip 10: Post consciously and protect sights

Stylish Young Couple Take A Selfie In Front Of Local Architecture
Selfie in front of the Brandenburg Gate © Getty Images, Foto: Hinterhaus Productions

Photo or it didn't happen, this saying applies more than ever in the age of social media. The mass linking of geo-data of popular photo hotspots has led to trampled flowers, overcrowded dream beaches and queues in front of rock formations in recent years.

You can actively contribute to a change in social media thinking by posting consciously. Small cafés in the neighbourhood benefit from a recommendation. You can also find the perfect photo backdrop at places like the Illuseum Berlin, where selfie spots are part of the concept.

Tickets for the Illuseum Berlin

Tip 11: Immerse yourself more deeply in Berlin by taking a workation

Coworking Space im betahaus Berlin
© betahaus

On a workation, a mix of work and vacation, you can immerse yourself even deeper in your destination and feel like a local for a while. You can still separate work and holiday by doing one first and then the other.

Longer stays are more sustainable because they account for the CO2 emissions of the journey. As temporary locals, you behave differently, take advantage of other leisure activities and give something back to the local economy. In Berlin's coworking spaces you can find the right workplace for your workation and meet like-minded people.

Coworking Spaces

Maria Grade

Maria

studied art history in Berlin and is at home in the digital world. For her, things get interesting where technology and sustainability meet art and architecture. As a child, she wanted to become a writer or journalist. Today she writes about the Berlin of the future for you. All posts