Ljubljana Europe Green City 2016 (and Other Awards Received)

Ljubljana’s green initiatives have received multiple awards over the years. The Old Town was lucky to get the designation as a Europe Green City in 2016. The positive sustainability programs only gave the old capital more awards in recognition of its people’s efforts.

Ljubljana has received a variety of awards that recognize the efforts of the city towards many different things. Apart from the European Green Leaf Award, they received prestigious awards like the WTM Responsible Tourism Award, Sustainable Destinations Top 100 list, and the digitalization award in the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020.

Ljubljana has received more awards over the past years. Here are all the awards the Old Town got and why you should visit this beautiful city.

Why is Ljubljana Getting Awards?

Why is Ljubljana getting all these awards? What do these awards mean to Ljubljana as a city? While some of these awards may not mean a lot to some people, they mean a ton to the city and its citizens.

For more than a decade, Ljubljana has endeavored to change the way they live. They did their best to create a better, more sustainable city that is friendly to its inhabitants and visitors. A sustainable city offers many different benefits.

Embracing sustainability in the city allowed for a smaller carbon footprint for the city. Fewer emissions means we also cut down on the number of toxins released into the atmosphere. 

Future citizens of Ljubljana will ultimately benefit from the better air quality in Old Town. The water quality is also getting better while using fewer landfills and more renewable sources.

Sustainability efforts also show strong collaborative efforts between the government and its people. When citizens of a city work together, they implement and identify initiatives that work for the city. It fosters a culture of teamwork and neighborly spirit in the locale.

For a place like Ljubljana, this is important. The denizens of Ljubljana are working harder because they know the green initiatives benefit them. These people get a sense of pride and accomplishment in seeing how their city benefits from positive changes.

Sustainability can also inspire innovative solutions for common problems. The city tries its best to challenge its people, especially the youth, to learn and improve green efforts for the future.

What Did Ljubljana Do To Get These Awards?

What has Ljubljana done to deserve all its awards? What initiatives have made it a crucial green destination?

The city of Ljubljana developed sustainable tourism, creating an overarching focus on green efforts. Its green image and sustainable development strategy are known across Europe. Ljubljana offers superb opportunities for a variety of grassroots tourism. 

With that said, tourism in Ljubljana looks into developing the Old Town as an attractive, green, and eco-friendly destination in Europe. It is there to give visitors a high-quality experience and give the citizens a better future.

Traffic Free Ljubljana Mobility

The center of Ljubljana has been traffic-free for more than 12 years now. Since 2008, the local government closed to traffic more than 12 hectares of public city land. Ljubljana is the largest car-free zone in the EU, which is a vital cog in its entire sustainability plan.

When visitors want to get around, they can take a tour of the city center with electric vehicles. From electric bikes, electric scooters, to electric taxis, you have a variety of greener options.

The City of Ljubljana is also working tirelessly to improve on more sustainable forms of mobility within the city. Public transport is at the heart of Ljubljana’s development, together with better parking and improving its urban services. 

Car-sharing is fast becoming a solid alternative that uses electric vehicles within the city. Public buses are more eco-friendly, many of them running on methane for lower carbon emissions.

Ljubljana is also among the bike-friendliest cities in Europe. It occupies the 14th place in the 2019 Copenhagenize Index, listing the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. The entire process underscores the dedication of the city to going green.

European Green City

Ljubljana is a city with nature and growth as its primary heritage. The environmental awareness of its citizens allowed the Old Town to manage and preserve its green character. 

Since its early days as an outpost, this green soul has stayed with Ljubljana, even up to the present day. Ljubljana proudly holds the title of “European Green Capital” in 2016, receiving it through several eco-friendly movements.

The city of Ljubljana boasts among the best household waste separation rates across the European Union. It went as high as 68% in 2018 and is growing more over the years. Many of the waste containers in the city are underground, which means fewer infestations.

More than three-quarters of Ljubljana’s city grounds are classified as green locales. These areas include several nature spots, including adjacent aquatic, forest, and agricultural areas.

The Path of Memories and Comradeship

Ljubljana has also planted more than 2000 trees and built five new parks. City dwellers can find several revitalization efforts that made several places more beautiful. 

For example, efforts to revitalize the River Sava embankments have rolled out over the years. Among the largest of these parks and embankments is the Pot Ob Zici or the Path of Memories and Comradeship

The Path of Memories and Comradeship is the longest tree-lined avenue of Ljubljana. It has as many as 7,000 trees and a number of memorials, rest stops, benches, and other features. 

The Slovenian City also declared more than 1,400 hectares of its territory as a forest of special purpose in 2010, being a valuable carbon dioxide sink that cuts down emissions.

Sustainable Top 100 Ljubljana

Among the most prized awards that Ljubljana is its appearance in the Sustainable Top 100 list. Produced by the non-profit organization Green Destinations, it puts the city as a part of the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index). The GDS-Index is an international program, that awards green initiatives for a country.

The city received more awards over the years that underscore the efforts of its people. Ljubljana’s many accolades throughout its 15 years of initiatives made it popular. Its rise as a tourist destination has been on a steady rise.

Ljubljana won the WTM Responsible Tourism Award at WTM London 2017. The city received the award from the Responsible Tourism Awards. It focuses on the many sustainable contributions of tourism organizations and recognizes those who make a difference for the environment. 

Those who are changing the world to make more sustainable destinations receive the award for their efforts. By driving down the negative impacts of tourism, they, in turn, increase the positive impacts of a more globalized society to the world.

Ljubljana Pink Dragon Awards

Ljubljana does promote not only eco-tourism but also fairness and equality to all. At the Dragon’s Ball that concluded Pink Week 2018, Ljubljana received the Pink Dragon Award.

The Pink Dragon Award is the highest recognition for unique experiences for all genders. It recognizes the inclusive projects and tourism experiences for the LGBTQIA+ community. The respect they give towards diversity is unique across many destinations worldwide.

Sustainable Tourism Award 2018

In 2018, Ljubljana won the Sustainable Tourism Award in the first-ever European Capital of Smart Tourism competition. The judging panel came from a combination of independent experts on sustainability and European Commission representatives, together with the European Parliament.

The entire panel decided the winner in Brussels, presenting the Slovenian capital city’s many measures that worked towards improving many aspects of tourism in the capital. Among these include sustainable development, accessibility, digitalization, cultural heritage, and creativity.

Ljubljana won over many other cities across Europe. These include 38 other cities from 19 member states. Ljubljana’s several sustainability projects received recognition, which includes projects such as Green Supply Chains and Taste Ljubljana.

With it, Ljubljana became an inspiration as a premier destination to other cities within Europe. At the same time, the award gives Slovenia a brand new challenger to further improve itself, ensuring the quality of life for all citizens and visitors alike.


With all the many other accolades that Ljubljana received over the years, why do they matter? Do awards matter that much? The answer to this is both yes and no.

Yes, the accolades matter, not because it gives Ljubljana a chance to boast. Far from it, the awards themselves don’t matter, as they are what they are: awards. Even then, what’s more important than the actual award is the initiative they inspire.

Ljubljana is pushing towards a better, greener, and more sustainable society for both its citizens and its visitors. The awards help spread the word around the world. It helps make the Old Town more visible. More visibility means more jobs, and more jobs means more things to do in Ljubljana.

The green initiatives for the city are there to show that we as a society can push forward. We can all move forward and create destinations that don’t exploit our surroundings. Sustainability gives us a better tomorrow, and it gives future generations a world they can be proud of.

Now more than ever, people are more conscious of the environment. Making stronger improvements that move towards a green Ljubljana is not only a matter of reputation. It tells everyone around the world that yes, we can make a greener world for us.

Ready to see more of Ljubljana’s green soul? There are many things to do around the city that you will surely enjoy.

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