January 25, 2023

Ranking 2023's Most Popular Travel Destinations by Sustainability

Traveling is one of the most valuable and enriching experiences we can have the pleasure of enjoying. A journey to a new destination allows us to embrace an entirely new culture, mix with new people and explore an uncovered corner of the world.

Getting out and exploring a new country has so many benefits, from reducing stress and allowing us to switch off, to expanding our cultural palate. Thankfully, there are fantastic options dotted around the globe, both in Europe and beyond.

Over the past few years in particular, there has been a broader focus on sustainability and how we can do our part to reduce our carbon footprint. This includes travel, with some locations proving to be more environmentally friendly than others.

To explore this in greater depth, we at DiscoverCars.com ranked the top 10 most popular travel destinations by sustainability. To that end, we looked at factors such as carbon emissions for a flight from Heathrow, the number of hotels with EV charging stations, and air quality.

We ranked these cities last year, but this year we are back with updated factors, more statistics, and a change in the ranking order. After the ranking, we compared the difference in the results and how they've changed over the past 12 months.

In 2024, we ranked the top European destinations by sustainability.


We explored 10 locations to establish which are the most sustainable. We then found the most popular tourist destinations by looking at TripAdvisor's most trending seed list.

We collected data for a number of ranking factors for each location, with the full factors analyzed being:

  • Closest Airport
  • Climate Impact (KG of CO2 of a Round-Trip Flight from London Heathrow)
  • Percentage of Hotels With EV Charging Points
  • Number of Vegan Restaurants
  • Number of Nature Spots
  • Pollution Level
We recorded the carbon impact 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 statistics 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.
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Majorca, Spain

Taking the top spot as the most sustainable of the most popular destinations for 2023, Majorca, one of Spain's Balearic Islands, scored 84 out of 100 points. The picturesque island is known for its clear blue waters, luscious beaches and various resorts, such as Cala d'Or and Santa Ponsa, making it both a picture-perfect and ultra-sustainable holiday destination.

The location had the second lowest climate impact for a round-trip flight from Heathrow and boasted the largest number of nature spots at an impressive 222. Additionally, there are 1,198 vegan restaurants to choose from, meaning there are plenty of meat-free and dairy-free options to be found.

  • Closest Airport: Palma de Mallorca
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 790
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 7
  • Number of Vegan Restaurants: 1,198
  • Number of Nature Spots: 222
  • Pollution Level: Low

Ibiza, Spain

In second place was another one of Spain's Balearic Islands, Ibiza. The island scored 80 out of 100 points. Similar to Majorca, the island is known for its many resorts and coves, including Santa Eulalia and Sant Josep de sa Talaia, is also a hotspot for parties and clubbing among young travelers.

The island may not have the same number of nature spots as Majorca, but with 75 available there are plenty of scenic routes to take advantage of. Furthermore, one-quarter (25%) of the island's restaurants are vegan.

  • Closest Airport: Ibiza Airport
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 819
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 1
  • Number of vegan restaurants: 381
  • Number of nature spots: 75
  • Pollution level: Low

Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Next, the city of Charleston in South Carolina ranked third, scoring 73 out of 100 points. The American port city is a great holiday destination due to its various beaches, museums, and harbor. The area is also known for its traditional cobblestone streets in its downtown.

Due to its distance from Heathrow, the climate impact of the flight is much more than Ibiza or Majorca. However, the city offers a generous number of vegan restaurants and has the highest percentage of hotels offering EV charging points in the ranking (3%).

  • Closest Airport: Charleston International Airport
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 3,889
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 4
  • Number of Vegan Restaurants: 105
  • Number of Nature Spots: 37
  • Pollution Level: Low

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Placing fourth in the ranking, the Croatian city of Dubrovnik scored 73 out of 100 points. Best known for its Old Town, which is surrounded by tall stone walls, the city is a must-see for any lovers of travel and traditional architecture.

The city, found in the south of Croatia, offers visitors 31 nature spots, including the beautiful Lokrum Island. A flight to the city has one of the lowest climate impacts in the ranking, with emissions of 856 KG of Co2 from Heathrow Airport.

  • Closest Airport: Dubrovnik Airport
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 856
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 3
  • Number of Vegan Restaurants: 139
  • Number of Nature Spots: 31
  • Pollution Level: Low

Rhodes, Greece

Next, the Greek island of Rhodes placed fifth in the ranking. The island scored 72 out of 100 points. Rhodes is the largest of Greece's Dodecanese Islands and is known for its unbelievable cuisine, hotels, spectacular beaches and sandy coves.

The island is home to a total of 1,360 restaurants, with 465 offering vegan options (34% of food establishments). Sadly, there are currently no hotels offering charging stations for electric vehicles out of the 1,365 available.

  • Closest Airport: Rhodes International
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 1,493
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 0
  • Number of vegan restaurants: 465
  • Number of nature spots: 77
  • Pollution level: Low


Ranking in sixth place, Aruba, which has been a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since 1815, scored 72 points out of 100. This constituent country is located in the Caribbean Sea and is a perfect sunny holiday destination which is known for its various resorts.

The island is also famous for its white beaches, including Palm Beach, as well as its 52 nature spots, such as the Butterfly Farm. Elsewhere, vegans can rest assured knowing there are 125 restaurants to choose from. The climate impact from Heathrow is not the best with emissions of 4,637 KG Co2 from Heathrow.

  • Closest Airport: Queen Beatrix International Airport
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 4,637
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 1
  • Number of Vegan Restaurants: 125
  • Number of Nature Spots: 52
  • Pollution Level: Low

Sint Maarten, Caribbean

In seventh place, the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten, which is also a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, scored 72 points out of 100. Not to be confused with Saint Martin on the same island, which is owned by the French, Sint Maarten is known for its high-end shopping and crystal clear waters.

Similar to Aruba, the island is a sun trap with plenty of nature spots available. There is also one hotel offering EV charging and the pollution level on the island is categorized as low.

  • Closest Airport: St Maarten Princess Juliana International Airport
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 3,915
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 1
  • Number of Vegan Restaurants: 101
  • Number of Nature Spots: 39
  • Pollution Level: Low

Goreme, Turkey

Next, the Turkish village of Goreme placed eighth in the ranking scoring 70 points out of 100. Found in the popular Cappadocia region of Turkey, the village is famous for its unique cave hotels and hot air balloons.

Goreme offers visitors low pollution levels in accordance with the Air Quality Index and has 42 vegan restaurants to indulge in. The climate impact for a round-trip from Heathrow to Kayseri Erkilet Airport has emissions of 1,640 KG Co2.

  • Closest Airport: Kayseri Erkilet Airport
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 1,640
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 1
  • Number of Vegan Restaurants: 42
  • Number of Nature Spots: 17
  • Pollution Level: Low

Split, Croatia

Placing ninth in the ranking, the Croatian city of Split scored 68 points out of 100. The second-largest city in the country is famous for its rich history, having previously been ruled under Roman, Venetian, French and Italian influences. The city is home to the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, which dates back to 7 AD.

Despite ranking ninth, the city offers the smallest climate impact for a round-trip flight out of all locations investigated, with emissions of 782 KG Co2. Just over one-fifth of restaurants (20%) are vegan, and additionally, visitors have 26 nature spots to take advantage of.

  • Closest Airport: Split Airport
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 782
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 3
  • Number of Vegan Restaurants: 101
  • Number of Nature Spots: 26
  • Pollution Level: Low

Santorini, Greece

Rounding out the top 10, the Greek island of Santorini scored 67 out of 100 points. The island, found in the Aegean Sea, is easily identifiable by its whitewashed buildings and characteristic blue domed roofs. The area is famous for its wine and is home to several vineyards. Santorini is a popular summer destination due to its scenic resorts, beaches and famous sunsets.

Santorini no longer offers any hotels with charging points for electric vehicles. Impressively, 46% of restaurants on the island are vegan or offer vegan options. Furthermore, 35 nature spots are available, including hiking trails and Amoudi Bay.

  • Closest Airport: Santorini Airport
  • Climate Impact (Round-trip flight) KG CO2: 1,416
  • Hotels With EV Charging Points: 0
  • Number of Vegan Restaurants: 327
  • Number of Nature Spots: 35
  • Pollution Level: Low

Of the 20 locations we examined, the bottom 10 were:

11. Tulum (Mexico)
12. La Fortuna de San Carlos (Costa Rica)
13. Playa Del Carmen (Mexico)
14. Zanzibar Island (Tanzania)
15. Paraty (Brazil)
16. Arusha (Tanzania)
17. North Male Atoll (Maldives)
18. Cairo (Egypt)
19. Natal (Brazil)
20. Luxor (Egypt)


Now that we've reviewed the most popular holiday destinations by sustainability for 2023, let's take a look at how the ranking has changed in the past 12 months.
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Compared to last year's results, it was interesting to see just how much the ranking had altered, with Rhodes topping the charts in 2022 but finishing in fifth place just 12 months later.

Elsewhere, La Fortuna de San Carlos dropped out of the top 10 completely this year, having placed as the sixth most sustainable destination in the previous ranking. The most improved location was Charleston, South Carolina, which has moved up seven places in the ranking over the past year.

Split remained the best destination in terms of the lowest climate impact, despite increases in emissions for every location in the ranking. In 2022, emissions for a round-trip flight between Split Airport and Heathrow were 626 KG Co2 compared to 782 KG Co2 in 2023.

Additionally, it was surprising to see that the number of locations offering hotels with charging stations for electric vehicles had decreased in the past year.

This was particularly noticeable in Majorca, where in 2022, 16 hotels offered EV chargers compared to just seven in 2023. Rhodes followed a similar trend, offering three in 2022 but providing zero for visitors just one year later. A potential reason for this could be the cost of upkeep for these charging stations.

Lastly, pollution levels improved in all areas except two; North Male Atoll, which dropped from moderate to high, and Luxor, which remained moderate. Everywhere else either remained low or improved to this healthy level of air pollution.

Overall, we hope this updated ranking of 2023's most popular travel destinations by sustainability proved insightful in visualizing the differences over the past year and has helped to narrow down your options and go on to select your ideal holiday destination.

If you're looking to rent a car for your next road trip, please consider choosing us, as we are a leader in online car rental reservations. We compare car rental deals from multiple companies, saving you precious time so that you can choose the best deal for your individual family's needs.

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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.