Everyone loves a good vacation, but in this day and age, it’s important to seriously think about how and where you travel. Just stepping on an airplane results in a certain contribution to the massive carbon imprint of the airline industry. Counteracting that by packing eco-friendly supplies and staying at an environmentally conscious hotel can go a long way. You can also go green on your next vacation by traveling to a destination that values sustainability. One lesser-known spot that takes environmental responsibility seriously is Istanbul.
While the food and culture are more than reason enough to visit Istanbul, it’s really the city’s infrastructure that gives it a leg up on the sustainability front.
First off, Istanbul has an incredible public transportation system. People can get around the city with ease and a clear conscience thanks to the network of electric subways, streetcars, ferries, and buses. You can ride all of these modes of transportation using the same pass, which can easily be reloaded on the go.
Another benefit of having such a good public transportation system is that there aren’t nearly as many personal vehicles as you’d expect, so the streets are incredibly welcoming for pedestrians. Whether you’re into shopping, listening to music, or eating, you’ll find plenty of opportunities when hitting the streets on foot.
And speaking of those streets, they’re unbelievably clean. The city does a tremendous job of keeping trash and litter out of the roads and off the sidewalks. That’s due in large part to the fact that the culture doesn’t include a lot of fast food. People don’t really eat and drink on the go, instead choosing to sit at a table for a snack, and drink beverages from real glasses instead of plastic or Styrofoam containers.
As for shopping, you won’t find a lot of extravagant supermarkets in Istanbul like you would in other parts of Europe and North America. Instead, you’ll find the streets adorned with farmer’s markets. Most of the food in these markets, from meats and fish to produce, clothes, and even furniture items, are all sourced locally.