Calling all urban heroines looking for inspiration for their next trip: check out these 5 action-packed cities that are committed to combating pollution on a daily basis!
Become the heroine of our featured cities!
Immerse yourself in cosmopolitan life in Singapore, the garden city
Singapore – a global finance hot spot – is known as much for its glittering skyline, where the most breathtaking skyscrapers jostle for space, as for its relentless endeavours in pursuing sustainable development. Yet, a stopover in this city-state, home to five million inhabitants, has much more to offer than just exploring its vertiginous architecture…
- In the flashy colonial quarter, art galleries are sprouting up. Our favourite is the stunning National Gallery Singapore which is housed in the historic City Hall and Supreme Court building.
- In Chinatown and Little India, the atmosphere is much more colourful (albeit less orderly) where temples and pagodas rise high amidst the street food stalls, each as enticing as the next. Want to try the national dish? Go to Bang Leong wah hoe seafood, where the crab chilli will awaken your taste buds.
- For pre-dinner drinks, opt for a rooftop cocktail. Our favourite is the bar at the Fullerton Bay From there, apart from the incredible view of the bay, you can see why Singapore deserves its nickname “the garden city”.
Amongst the countless parks, the Gardens by the Bay stands out as a futuristic landscape that is promoting the symbiotic nature of biodiversity and technology. Singapore, in its quest to be ever greener, has been imposing environmental requirements on all developers since 2008. As a result, the Oasia Tower developed a facade that is composed of vibrant red aluminium mesh which is completely covered in plants. While easy on the eyes, the main aim of this vegetation is to absorb pollution and to create a truly “living tower”.
Copenhagen, a cyclist's utopia
It's hard to resist the call of the Little Mermaid! A permanent resident of Copenhagen. This compact city is situated on two islands and crisscrossed by canals and dotted with castles and palaces. Additionally, this beautiful Scandinavian city boasts a valuable and rich historical heritage. Visitors can come to these shores of the Baltic Sea to discover a city at the forefront of architecture and design. Here's our agenda for exploring Copenhagen:
- First, a stop off at the Design Museum. Denmark’s first public hospital was converted in the 1920s to house a host of famous Danish designers.
- Then visit the Radisson Collection Hotel, Royal Copenhagen to enjoy a drink, a dinner or a whole night. When the hotel was built and design by the Danish architect Arne Jacobsen, it was the first skyscraper in Copenhagen and today it is still fully fitted out in the sixties style.
- To savour seafood in a raw and rustic setting head for Flæsketorvet 100, a famous fish bar in the Kødbyens district.
And to get from one of these destinations to the next nothing beats a bike. In Copenhagen, the cyclist is King (or Queen!). After two decades of massive investments in cycling infrastructure, bikes now outnumber cars!
Vancouver: a green paradise on Canada's west coast
Set between mountain and ocean on Canada's west coast, Vancouver is a laboratory of urban ecology. Gregor Robert, the city's mayor, elected in 2008, has launched projects all over the city with the goal to become the greenest city in the world by 2020. A stopover in this cosmopolitan city of 600,000 inhabitants already guarantees you an out-of-the-ordinary setting. Judge for yourself:
- Within a single day in Vancouver, you can stroll on the beach and then go skiing! Two options for an unforgettable panoramic view of the city, either take a kayak trip along the bay at sunset or hop aboard the Grouse Mountain cable car. In just 8 minutes, you will reach 1250 meters. Just a stone's throw from the ski slopes!
- Like many North American cities, it has a business district dotted with glass towers but also a charming historic town centre (Gastown). Additionally, a must-see China Town teeming with restaurants to tickle your taste buds (do not miss the Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie, which skillfully reinvents Asian gastronomy, Western style).
- And why not visit all of Vancouver’s other wonders, including a suspension bridge, an immense aquarium, a botanical garden, by cycling and walking as a non-polluting transport alternative.
Zurich, Switzerland's arty city
Go visit the most sustainable city on the planet, Zurich. The largest city in Switzerland, located at the northwest point of Lake Zurich, is regularly cited as a model for sustainable cities. One of its latest initiatives is a project called “2000-watt society” which aims to halve Zurich's electricity consumption by 2050. It’s also easy to visit all our favourite sites using the Zurich Card because of the incredible public transport. Small in size, but large in terms of its cultural offering, Zurich is home to no less than 50 museums as well as some 100 galleries! We think the Kunsthaus and the Rietberg Museum with its prestigious collection of non-European art are unmissable.
- While all international brands can be found in the pretty historic town centre, it's Zurich West that wins the heart of shopping addicts. A former industrial zone, this district has become the Swiss Soho where designer boutiques, vintage stores, bars, and restaurants rub shoulders.
- For a breathtaking view of the city, with the snow-capped Alps as a backdrop, treat yourself to a drink or a meal at Clouds perched right at the top of Prime Tower. You will be spoiled for choice for where to go next since Zurich has the most active nightlife scene in Switzerland!
Reykjavik: clean air and a supersize spa for a green vacation
Reykjavik was recently voted “the greenest city in the world” by Travelbird website. It’s hardly surprising since the Icelandic capital is entirely powered by geothermal energy and hydroelectricity, and its public transport runs on hydrogen. A stay in this city of just 120,000 inhabitants guarantees you a breath of fresh air along with a good dose of culture!
- Cultivating a Nordic-style dolce vita, Reykjavik is full of museums, concept stores, galleries and cafes, each cosier than the next – why not try Stofan one of this capital's best-known coffee houses?
As for nature, it is never very far. For an unmissable experience, try the blue lagoon. Located half an hour from the city, this large lake with milky blue waters is ideal for swimming as its average temperature is 39°C (102°F). Regularly ranked among the best spas in the world, it is without a doubt the most spectacular.