February 17, 2022

Ranking Popular Travel Destinations by Sustainability

Traveling allows us to build connections and helps us to gain knowledge of each other's culture, food and music, along with a further understanding of the way others go about their daily lives in other parts of the world.

Traveling also improves our mental health, due to the ability it has to transport us into new surroundings, in turn opening up access to experiences that can help reset both our body and mind.

But if travel is not well managed, it can also have the opposite effect by negatively impacting local communities and the environment, which may eventually lead to the decline of tourism in the area in general.

From excessive air miles contributing to harmful CO2 emissions to the package holiday resorts built on open spaces and natural areas, international travel and tourism can sometimes be far from sustainable.

This is why here at DiscoverCars.com, we have explored a number of ranking factors that have an impact on the climate. They include the implications of a return flight to the destination, the total number of hotels offering EV charging points and the number of vegan restaurants the location offers.

We've updated our rankings for 2023 and created a ranking of European destinations in 2024.
We explored ten locations to ascertain which are the most sustainable. We found the most popular tourist destinations by looking at TripAdvisor's most trending destinations of 2022.

We collected data for a number of ranking factors for each location, we wished to highlight the following information in order to help you plan for your next vacation:

  • Closest Airport
  • Climate Impact (Round flight from London Heathrow to the destination) KG CO2
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points
  • Number of Vegan Restaurants
  • Number of Nature Spots
  • Pollution Level
One major factor when exploring how sustainable a destination is its climate impact. We recorded this information by looking at how many kilograms of CO2 a round-trip flight from Heathrow would be to the destination's nearest airport, which we retrieved from atmosfair.

Furthermore, we looked at the air quality of the various destinations which we found information about on The Weather Channel.

Finally, the information we explored for the number of nature spots, vegan restaurants and hotels were all retrieved from Tripadvisor.

We took all of these points into account and assigned each location a score out of 100. We then ranked the destinations by how many points they received, to help you make the most informed decision for your next trip.
The overall rankings
https://www.discovercars.com/spain-balearic-islandsWe ranked 20 of 2022's trending holiday destinations in total, the top 10 most sustainable destinations are:

  1. Rhodes (Greece)
  2. Ibiza (Spain)
  3. Majorca (Spain)
  4. Santorini (Greece)
  5. Dubrovnik (Croatia)
  6. La Fortuna de San Carlos (Costa Rica)
  7. Split (Croatia)
  8. Aruba (Aruba)
  9. Zanzibar Island (Tanzania)
  10. Charleston (United States)
Of the 20 locations we explored, the bottom five are:

  1. Goreme (Turkey)
  2. Tulum (Mexico)
  3. Sint Maarten (Caribbean)
  4. Paraty (Brazil)
  5. Arusha (Tanzania)
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Rhodes (Greece)
Rhodes, the historic capital of the Greek Islands, tops the list with 67 points out of 100. It is one of the Mediterranean's most popular resorts for holidaymakers to visit and is perfect for those who wish to relax but also, with its extensive watersport offering, for any thrillseekers looking for an action-packed vacation.

This stunning island offers its visitors views of bright green hills and valleys, uninterrupted golden beaches, numerous cultural and archeological sites and it even boasts a UNESCO World Heritage Medieval Center, namely the Medieval City of Rhodes.

  • Closest Airport: Rhodes International
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 1195
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 3
  • Number of vegan restaurants: 495
  • Number of nature spots: 73
  • Pollution level: Low
Ibiza (Spain)
Ibiza, which is one of the Balearic islands, is second on the list with 64 out of 100 points.

The island is an archipelago of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea and has become well known for its vast array of nightlife, clubs and electronic dance music, meaning it attracts large numbers of party-going tourists.

However, there is more to Ibiza than great nightlife. It boasts some of the best fashion and street markets in the world and is also home to tranquil villages, yoga retreats and beaches. Platja d'en Bossa might be jam-packed with hotels, bars and shops, but quieter sandy coves backed by pine-clad hills are located all around the coast.

  • Closest Airport: Ibiza Airport
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 656
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 2
  • Number of vegan restaurants: 415
  • Number of nature spots: 71
  • Pollution level: Low
Majorca (Spain)
The Mediterranean's Majorca is ranked third at 63 out of 100 points and is Spain's largest Balearic Island.

The island is well-known for its beach resorts, sheltered coves, limestone mountains and Roman and Moorish remains.

It has a plethora of activities for all tastes. The capital city of Palma not only has a vibrant nightlife, but stunning architectural buildings, including the Almudaina Royal Palace and the 13th-century Santa María Cathedral.

For those who favor peace and tranquility and a gentler pace of life, then look no further than Pollença, with its stone-built villages and contemporary art galleries.

  • Closest Airport: Palma de Mallorca
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 632
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 16
  • Number of Vegan Restaurants: 1283
  • Number of Nature Spots: 207
  • Pollution Level: Low
Santorini (Greece)
Santorini, which is one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, is fourth on the list and scored 63 out of 100 points.

The island suffered from a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC, which has shaped its rugged landscape and black sand beaches.

Santorini attracts thousands of visitors every year due to its stunning vistas, picture-perfect sunsets and iconic blue-domed skyline.

Some of the island's highlights include the Museum of Prehistoric Thira, the Folklore Museum in Fira, the Naval Museum in Oia, Perissa beach on the South Coast and the Boutari Winery in Pyrgos.

  • Closest Airport: Santorini Airport
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 1133
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 1
  • Number of Vegan Restaurants: 343
  • Number of Nature Spots: 32
  • Pollution Level: Low
Dubrovnik (Croatia)
Dubrovnik, a city located in southern Croatia which overlooks the Adriatic Sea, is fifth on the list, ranking at 60 out of 100 points.

The city is known for its remarkable Old Town, which is surrounded by large stone walls which were completed in the 16th century.

The Old Town is designated for pedestrians only and has many aristocratic Palazzi and stylish Baroque churches contained within its medieval barricades. The Old Town also has a range of wonderful wine bars, seafood restaurants and five-star hotels.

Dubrovnik has some of the best pebble beaches on the Lapad peninsula, where visitors can try out scuba diving and sea kayaking.

  • Closest Airport: Dubrovnik Airport
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 685
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 3
  • Number of Vegan Restaurants: 127
  • Number of Nature Spots: 32
  • Pollution Level: Low
La Fortuna de San Carlos (Costa Rica)
La Fortuna de San Carlos, a small town in Costa Rica that lies northwest of the capital, is sixth on the list at 53 out of 100 points.

La Fortuna de San Carlos is best known as an entrance to Arenal Volcano National Park, and until 2010, it was Costa Rica's most active volcano. However, Arenal is now in an indeterminate resting phase.

In addition to the volcano, people can visit the beautiful town of La Fortuna. There are many day spas here that are fed by the area's natural hot springs, which makes them the perfect place to rest after a full day of discovery. The hot springs dot the foot of Arenal on the thermal Tabacón River.

  • Closest Airport: Arenal Airport
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 3497
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 0
  • Number of Vegan Restaurants: 55
  • Number of Nature Spots: 32
  • Pollution Level: Low
Split (Croatia)
Split, which is seventh on the list at 53 out of 100 points, is the second largest city in Croatia and is also the largest city in Dalmatia. It is located on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea and covers the country's central peninsula.

The city boasts amazing Roman and modern sites with a range of excellent options for dining, drinking and nightlife. There is also a large array of beaches and day trips on offer.

Split also has excellent ferry connections and is in close proximity to other coastal towns in Croatia such as Vis, Brac and Hvar.

  • Closest Airport: Split Airport
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 626
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 3
  • Number of Vegan Restaurants: 107
  • Number of Nature Spots: 26
  • Pollution Level: Low
Aruba (Aruba)
Aruba, eighth in the rankings at 52 out of 100 points, is the capital of Oranjestad. In 1986, it became a separate self-governing constituent country of the Netherlands Antilles. It is located in the mid-south of the Caribbean Sea and is roughly 29 kilometers north of Venezuela's Paraguaná Peninsula.

Tourists visit Aruba due to its stunning white beaches in the south and west, its rugged coastline in the northeast and its inland desert environment.

  • Closest Airport: Queen Beatrix International Airport
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 3709
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 1
  • Number of Vegan Restaurants: 137
  • Number of Nature Spots: 50
  • Pollution Level: Low
Zanzibar Island (Tanzania)
Zanzibar Island, also known as Unguja, is ranked ninth at 51 out of a possible 100 points.

It is the main island located in the Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar. Former trade center Stone Town is the old part of Zanzibar City and is home to numerous mosques and winding lanes.

Also known as the Spice Island, Zanzibar is home to spices like nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, and black pepper. These spices and herbs were originally brought to the island by Portuguese traders who settled here in the 16th century. Those traveling to the island can visit the spice plantations to gain an understanding of the process and history of these crops and their medicinal and culinary uses.

  • Closest Airport: Abeid Amani Karume International Airport
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 3665
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 1
  • Number of Vegan Restaurants: 91
  • Number of Nature Spots: 38
  • Pollution Level: Low
Charleston (United States)
Charleston comes in 10th place and scores 47 out of 100 points. It was founded in 1670 and is located in the southeast of South Carolina.

The city is well-known for its cobblestoned streets, horse-drawn carriages and antebellum houses in the French Quarter and Battery districts. Charleston personifies the romantic notion of the Old South due to its aristocratic homes.

Charleston is a major port on the Atlantic coast and is the historic center of Southern culture. It includes urbanized areas such as Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Hanahan and Goose Creek.

There are various activities to consider when visiting the city, such as a trip to Middleton Place Plantation or the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. People can also learn about the skills and traditions of the basket weavers at the Old City Market.

  • Closest Airport: Charleston International Airport
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 3112
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 4
  • Number of Vegan Restaurants: 111
  • Number of Nature Spots: 37
  • Pollution Level: Low
After exploring the best trending sustainable holiday destinations of 2022, we're sure that we've got you in the mood for some travel and escapism, all while being kinder to the planet!

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Aleksandrs Buraks

Head of Growth at DiscoverCars.com
Aleksandrs has over 10 years of experience in marketing with a focus on creating stellar content that provides topical insights using data. Having taken five road trips across Europe and one in the U.S., he is passionate about traveling by car. His favorite countries to visit are Denmark and Thailand. You can find him on Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter.