GWs definition and goals

Central European Greenways definition

Greenways are multifunctional trails, developed in both urban and rural areas, for non-motorized users typically leading along linear green corridors, historic trade routes, rivers and railways. They are managed by local people in order to encourage sustainable development and healthy lifestyle. Greenways provide a framework for community-based initiatives and projects related to nature conservation, cultural heritage preservation, sustainable tourism and mobility. Greenways seek to address needs of locals and visitors and to provide a positive contribution to the local economy.(Sopron Declaration, Environmental Partnership for Sustainable Development,1st July 2006).

European Greenways definition

Greenways are communication routes reserved exclusively for non-motorised journeys, developed in an integrated manner which enhances both the environment and quality of life of the surrounding area. These routes should meet satisfactory standards of width, gradient and surface condition to ensure that they are both user-friendly and low-risk for users of all abilities. (Lille Declaration, European Greenways Association, 12th September 2000).

All Central European Greenways are implemented according to the following principles

  1. Supporting and mobilizing local communities – encouraging local enterprise, creating jobs and additional revenue streams, restoring and protecting traditional vocations;
  2. Natural and cultural heritage conservation and landscape protection;
  3. Using local resources – accommodation and food, tourist services, guides and local products;
  4. Cooperation between countries, regions, towns, villages and their inhabitants;
  5. Helping local communities discover and strengthen their cultural and social identity, improving conditions and quality of life;
  6. Providing information and opportunities for tourists to help them better understand the region, its challenges and local initiatives, activities, organizations;
  7. Promoting non-motorized transport and environmentally-friendly tourism, recreation and sport;
  8. Creating opportunities in urban areas for use of more sustainable forms of transport to help people move about on foot, by bicycle or by public transport instead of using their own car;
  9. Encouraging people to be mobile, to improve their health and safety when travelling and to undertake active forms of recreation.

Functions of Greenways

In principle, Greenways - natural and cultural heritage trails have four basic functions:

1. Sustainable transport and safety

Greenways promote non-motorized forms of transport and mass transit, encourage mobility and tourism related to walking, cycling, horse-riding, boating etc. Greenways contribute to increasing road safety and sustainable transport in urban and rural areas for many different user groups, including disabled, elderly and children.

2. Promoting healthy lifestyles

Greenways contribute to promoting healthy life-styles and improving the quality of life of local residents and visitors by encouraging active tourism, recreation and sports in the open air and in natural environments.

3. Development of eco-tourism and natural and cultural heritage conservation

Greenways contribute to the development of different types of environmentally-friendly tourism, including creation and promotion of environmental tourist products. All tourist products promoted along Greenways share the common principle of using local potential and supporting local communities – they are created with local resources: tourist services, cultural opportunities, local products and point of sale, as well as other community initiatives. Greenways serve to support grassroots and regional initiatives aimed at cultural, natural and landscape heritage conservation.

4. Supporting economic and social development of communities, including enterprise development

Greenways contribute to the development of local economies and encourage enterprise among local populations. Establishment of Greenways serves to initiate development of accommodation, food and guiding services. Trails promote establishment of galleries and points of sale for local products, tourism information services, sport and tourism equipment hire services etc.


Greenways Networks


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Environmental Partnership for Sustainable Development Fundacja Fundusz Partnerstwa   Akademia Sztuk Pięknych im. Jana Matejki w Krakowie   Województwo Małopolskie  Miasto Kraków    European Greenways AssociationAmbasada Stanów Zjednoczonych Ameryki  Polskie Towarzystwo Turystyczno-Krajoznawcze         

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