Throwing off stiff competition, the Slovenian capital city of Ljubljana celebrates its title of European Green Capital in 2016 and is using the award to further its intention of being a zero-waste city by 2025 – it is the first European capital to announce such a plan. Pint-sized Ljubljana has spent the last decade implementing a range of urban green measures, introducing free electric cabs and the building up of an impressive public-transport network. It has morphed from a car-centric city to a pristine one with extensive pedestrian and cycling networks; the magical Old Town is now closed to traffic and is a joy for visitors who explore its old-world, pastel-hued charms on foot. Silver public bikes can be hired at 30 stations dotted around Ljubljana and there are extensive way-marked cycle paths throughout the city, including the circular Path of Remembrance and Comradeship, along which more than 7,000 trees were planted after the fall of Communism in 1989. Indeed the city has preserved many of its green spaces, from natural parks to manicured botanical gardens; even the forested slopes leading up to its landmark red-roofed Baroque castle are crossed with hiking trails and the landscaped banks of the River Ljubljanica are a tree-lined eco-haven to wander.

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