Eco-friendly travel guide to Marbella advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Marbella, Spain.
- Air quality: 4 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 4 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 3 / 5
- Public transportation: 3.5/ 5
- Parks: 3.5 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 4.5 / 5
- Locals' English level: 3 / 5
- Safety: 3.5 / 5
- Accommodation: US$10 - $300
- Budget per day: US$50 - $600
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Marbella is a city and resort area on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, part of the Andalusia region. It is part of the Costa del Sol and is the headquarters of the Association of Municipalities of the region; it is also the head of the judicial district that bears its name. Marbella is on the Mediterranean Sea and has the Sierra Blanca Mountains as a backdrop. The city has several glorious beaches, night clubs and luxury venues that are famous the world over. There are several ways to ensure responsible travel in Marbella, with some being:
- Use public transport
- Choose an eco-friendly hotel
- Don't eat at tourist restaurants
Air Quality and Pollution
The air quality in Marbella is good. There is a small number of pollutants in it. The pollutants are mainly from traffic emissions and energy production. The city's pollution levels are low as the city is the third less polluted city in Spain. The city's waste collection process has improved a lot in the past ten years, leading to fewer rubbish piles in some parts of the city. These not only make the city less beautiful but at times they pose health hazards to city residents.
Water pollution in the city is relatively low. There are proper treatment and disposal of liquid waste, which has led to reduced pollution levels. However, some pollution is still caused by garbage, which leads to diseases in humans and destroys aquatic life.
Respect the Culture
Marbella has a rich Spanish heritage and culture. When greeting Spaniards for the first time, you should shake their hand, and unless a friendly Spaniard touches you first, you should avoid touching them. Once a relationship is established, you can move on to hugging a man or kissing a woman on each cheek, starting with the left one. Appearance is very important to the Spanish people, and they like to be well dressed, even for casual occasions. Spanish people consider eating and drinking together as principal ways of spending time together, either at everyday leisure moments, weekly on Sundays, or special occasions. Many of these involve guests, and in small villages, there may be at least token food offerings to everyone present. The city has basic civility and etiquette norms, such as definitions of accepted levels of dress or undress, which are similar to those of the rest of Europe and the West in general.
Top 10 Places to Visit
Marbella is a beautiful city that is known for its lovely beaches and amazing luxury resorts. Besides the luxurious side, the city also has a few places that symbolize is history and cultural heritage. The city is brimming with a variety of activities for every type of tourist. Below is a list of the top ten places to visit:
- The Plaza de Los Naranjos: It is a plaza in the old town of Marbella. The area was created to be the urban hub of the city. The Plaza is framed by white Andalusian houses and three historic buildings: the Casa Consistorial, the Casa del Corregidor, and the Ermita de Santiago. There is a Renaissance fountain in the center of the Plaza that is surrounded by orange trees, planted in 1941, and this is where the square takes its name. The Plaza is idyllic and romantic, and it also has a vibrant atmosphere that includes street performers on some evenings. There are comfortable and relaxing benches where people can sit and admire the place's architecture and history. The Plaza is charming and has many shops, cafes, and restaurants. It is a great place to visit in the morning and watch as the city comes alive.
- Sohail Castle: It is a castle that was built to strengthen the coastal defenses. The castle ruins were renovated in 2000, turning it into a tourist attraction and functioning space used for concerts and other festivals. There are excavated stone ruins on public display at the western base of the hill on which the castle sits, and these are dated back to at least 300 BC. The castle is beautiful and has stunning views, especially at night. The walk up to the castle is steep, but the views make it worth it. There is an information office and toilets on site. Entry is free.
- Puerto José Banús: A luxury marina and shopping complex that has become one of the largest entertainment centers in the Costa del Sol, with 5 million annual visitors, which include international celebrities. The marina was developed around a coastal village in the Mediterranean architectural style, and it has expensive shopping malls, restaurants and. There are also many exotic cars that are owned by international celebrities and wealthy owners that also own large yachts, especially in the summer months. The marina is an incredible place, and if you want to feel expensive for a day, it’s the place to be.
- The Iglesia de la Encarnación: It is a church in Marbella built in the 16th and 17th centuries. The church is located in the historic center and is a hidden gem. The church has a rustic feeling, and it feels a million miles away from Modern Marbella with its traditional feel. The church has narrow streets and white buildings that are beautiful and extremely richly decorated. The church is usually opened late, and it is a great place to pause and collect your thoughts.
- Paseo Maritimo De Marbella: An endless, completely car-free boulevard that runs all along the coast of Marbella and Puerto Banús. The boulevard is perfect for long strolls enjoying the beach and sea sights, the lovely double row of palm trees, numerous restaurants, beach clubs and shops, and above all, the people watching. This offers priceless free entertainment and exercise. The alley is a pleasant alley with great vibes and energy, and it gets a bit crowded at night.
- Cross Juanar: A vista that allows you to see from Mijas on the left to Gibraltar on the far right, plus the Altas Mountains in Africa just in the distance. There is an excellent trek, with a bit of a tough climb in the end, which is not easy for small kids. Avoid taking the hike in July or August as there is no shade and the heat will be unbearable, the rest of the year you should take bottles of water as this is open countryside and there's nowhere to get refreshments. The area offers an unusual, unexpected, and glorious day out.
- The river Guadalmina: A short coastal river that is only 28 kilometers in length that flows into the municipality of Marbella near San Pedro de Alcántara. The Guadalmina was formerly of defensive strategic importance for Marbella's people, and its waters also served to power watermills. The area around the river has incredible weather and relaxing wooded walks with abundant wildflowers and animal life. The river is easily accessible, beautiful with cool waters that are amazing to swim in. The natural environment around is also beautiful, and it is a good place to walk. There are also a couple of places where there are tables to rest and eat.
- Mirador de Juanar: It is a really pleasant walk close to the coast; a narrow road can access it. There are several different routes, and the Mirador gives fantastic views down the valley, and if you are lucky, you might come across some wildlife. There is a hotel on the way back that is a good place to stop for a drink or some lunch. The walk is surrounded by olive trees and various spices, such as thyme, rosemary, garlic, and fennel. Also, the views over Marbella and out to sea are excellent.
- Avenida del Mar: It is a vibrant walkway with Salvador Dali sculptures, palm trees, and scenic sea views. The walkway stretches between Alameda Park and the beach. It is lined with shops, bars, and restaurants with terraces shaded by wooden pergolas; Avenida del Mar is also an open-air museum. It is home to ten Salvador Dali sculptures, which give a vivid, interesting image for visitors. There are little remote-controlled cars that can be rented for kids so they can drive around while the parents look at the magnificent statues, most of them by the world-famous artist Salvador Dali.
- Villa Romana de Río Verde: It is a Roman villa on the coast of Marbella that offers a superb presentation of mosaics in a well-presented form. The villa houses several interesting Roman remains of a villa set under a purpose-built protective cover. The signage inside is good, and there is a walkway enabling you to get very close to the works. There is a local guide on hand to answer questions, and sometimes local archaeologists are present to explain the site in Spanish. This Roman villa is a jewel of Marbella's heritage and has a mosaic considered "unicum" due to its theme. There are a couple of other worthwhile visits within walking distance. Entry is free.
Marbella is a gorgeous resort and luxury town with several sandy Mediterranean beaches, villas, hotels, and golf courses. The city also has a Golden Mile of prestigious nightclubs, and coastal estates lead to Puerto Banús marina, filled with luxury yachts, and surrounded by upmarket boutiques and bars. The city boasts 325 days of sunshine a year, ensuring that the bustling tourist life is enjoyable. This city is great to enjoy a relaxing vacation, as will be seen as you continue to read this article.
- Parque Nagüeles: A park and garden that offers a fantastic play area for children. The park is very clean and quiet, with gorgeous footpaths and public toilets. The park is also an excellent place for a picnic, and there is a barbeque area that you can get permission to use from the information desk. The park has enough room for hundreds of people, and there are tables and chairs.
- Vigil de Quiñones Park ; It a is very well maintained park with manmade footpaths to walk along with a natural environment. It is a lovely restful place to stroll or spend a pleasant day with family. There are barbecues available to families, although they need to be requested several days before. The park does not allow dogs.
- Eco Reserva Ojen: It is a nature park and reserve home to several wild animals in their natural environment. It is a protected space where animals live freely and are cared for by a spectacular team. The animals include mouflons, chameleons, stags, and wild boar. The workers take care of and treat the animals with great respect, and they respond by being very docile and are not afraid of people. The guides are knowledgeable and explain the history of the mountains, the animals, and many curiosities. They also have many beautiful projects, including volunteering.
- 'Eco Book Ojén: It is a stunning nature reserve surrounded by mouflons, mountain goats, and young, hand-tame wild boars. The scenery is calm and peaceful, and it is clear that animals are one with nature. There are amazing game drives on the rough tracks through the national park to see flora and fauna. It offers an amazing experience for families and friends, and the smaller ones surely learn a lot about animals and their natural habitat.
- La Concha: The beautiful and proud landmark of Marbella is this beautiful mountain park known as La Concha. The view from the mountain is nothing short of breathtaking. It is a must visit when you're in Marbella.
- Playa de Cabopino: It is a large beach that occupies everything that the dunes occupy. The beach has a nudist scene and is usually packed with people. There is parking nearby that makes it convenient to reach. The beach has white sand and crystal clear waters, which are good for a glorious swim. There are places to put an umbrella in the dunes. The beach is relatively peaceful.
- Playa de la Bajadilla: A popular urban beach near the center of Marbella and has black sand and some stones. It is one of the best city beaches to watch the sunset, especially during spring and autumn. There are many fish restaurants along the beach with great food choices and reasonable prices. There is a playground for the children, and all other amenities are also available. Fishermen’s port is right next to it, so you can enjoy watching boats and all sorts of birds.
- Cabopino Beach: It is a tranquil spot for beachside activities, and it is one of the greatest beaches on the coast. The silky sand and shallow water make it perfect for the kids to play all day long. There is also a nice little port and restaurants in the area where you can grab a drink or some good quality-price food. The beach is also great for a walk at night.
Torre Ladrones is a tower on the Puerto de Cabopino beach in Marbella that is part of the coastal fortification line. The architecture and the materials used indicate that Torre Ladrones was built during Arab domination in the Spanish peninsula. It is 15 meters high and the tallest watchtower on the Malaga coast. The interior is divided into three rooms and a housetop. It was originally built to warn of potential enemies and organize a coordinated defense if the enemy attacked. The tower is well preserved, and the area surrounding it is pretty nice for a walk or run between the green dunes.
- Museo Ralli (Marbella): Home to an amazing collection of figurative art and paintings, including many works by Salvador Dali and from Latin America. The museum is well kept, and entry is free. The museum is a gem, it does not have many famous paintings of very famous painters, but the place is gorgeous, quiet, and relaxing. The collection is mainly about contemporary art, and some of the pieces are stunning. The museum can easily be reached by bus from Marbella city center.
- Museo del Grabado Español Contemporáneo: It is a museum with contemporary Spanish art. The main focus of the museum is the engravings and graphic pieces. The museum is tidy, easy to navigate, and beautiful collections made up of mostly Spanish modern artists. The museum is sometimes used to host conferences and workshops.
There are several traditional foods in the city that enhance the experience of being a tourist. Several restaurants and street vendors sell different dishes that you could try, whether it is out of curiosity or so that you can have a story to tell later
Traditional Local Restaurants
One of the best things about traveling worldwide is trying the various local cuisines available in that area. In most cases, traditional restaurants are the best place to experience local foods' taste, and maybe even a bit of the culture behind said dishes. Numerous conventional restaurants around the city serve excellent varieties of Spanish dishes. Below is a list of the most popular traditional restaurants in the city.
- Ebe La Polaca: It is a traditional eatery that serves genuine local delicacies in charming old-world surroundings as it is set in an impressive 17th-century building. The restaurant spans several themed floors and includes a couple of outdoor terraces. There is a tempting selection of daily specials, including gazpachuelo malagueño and tuna lasagne or a hearty beef casserole. Their food is delicious, and the servings are plentiful. A bar area is frequented by regulars who gather to socialize over delicious homemade tapas and chilled drinks. The service is also impeccable.
- Paco Jiménez: It is an intimate and welcoming restaurant that offers high-quality cuisine. The restaurant has a warm interior, a gallery in its own right, where guests dine on a constantly changing seasonal menu. The menu comprises a creative variety of Mediterranean dishes, including dishes such as seafood salad, rack of lamb with marmalade sauce, etc. They also have many enticing and delicious desserts.
- Garnacha: It is an intimate and welcoming restaurant that offers high-quality cuisine. The restaurant is small, but it offers excellent and innovative food with artistic presentation. The interior is well decorated, and it is warm and cozy. The dishes are made up of full, half, or tapas portions, and they offer exotic combinations such as foie gras with apple crumble and grated almonds. The food is reasonably priced.
Vegetarian and Vegan
- Gioia: It is a vegan restaurant that serves mainly organic and gluten-free dishes, both raw and cooked. Their specialties also include sweets, fresh juices, smoothies, and wine. Sample choices like bean burger, brown rice pasta, nori rolls, zucchini avocado tartar, raw lasagne, tiramisu, and raw chocolate-mint cake.
- Super Be Juicery: It is a vegan juice bar serving super-food smoothies and bowls, ready-to-sip cold-pressed juices, salads, sandwiches, Sunday brunch plant-based platters, vegan cakes, and Italian blend coffee with oat milk.
- Beity: It is a vegetarian cafeteria with fresh juices, smoothies, smoothies’ bowls, a large range of vegan pastries, and kinds of milk for their coffee specialties.
- Aglio Picante: It is a restaurant that serves meat but has several vegan options available. Their cuisine is mainly an Italian restaurant, and their dishes include egg-free pasta and vegan pasta such as arrabiata, Tartufo and garlic, and Profumo (vegetables and tomato sauce). They also have starters; pizza bread and garlic bread are vegan. They can also prepare pizzas without cheese.
Street food is widespread in Marbella. Some vendors and stalls, known as Banús, specialize in selling a delicious variety of local favorites. In some cases, their food is tastier and more affordable than that in restaurants. For those with weak stomachs, it might be wise to avoid street food. Below is a list of some of the top street food stalls to try:
- Pescaito Frito: It is a mix of different types of fish that is fried after being tarnished in flour. Once the fish is ready, salt and fresh lemon are added.
- Jamón Ibérico: It is a typical high-quality and tasteful ham.
- Carne con Tomate: Perfectly cooked meat (pork) in delicious traditional tomato sauce.
Marbella weather is generally hot, and as such, there is a high need to stay hydrated, especially when going around the day. The high temperatures dictate the beverage of choice as people prefer to drink something that would cool them down. There are numerous cold non-alcoholic drinks to choose from in the city, excluding water. Beverages of choice on a hot day include but are not limited to soft drinks, lemonade, milkshake, vegan shakes, and even iced tea or coffee. Tea is relatively popular, regardless of the temperatures outside; however, tea consumption increases significantly when it's cold. Other choice beverages on cold days include coffee and warm milk.
Alcohol consumption is relatively high in Marbella. The city has many bars and nightclubs where people meet up after a long day at work or on weekends for a relaxed evening of drinks with friends. Other people enjoy the occasional drink at home, mostly whiskey or wine. There are both local and international brews available for purchase in both bars and supermarkets. The various types of alcoholic beverages include wine, gin, vodka, and cocktails, to name a few. Examples of local beer include El Grifo Craft B and Marbella Craft Beer.
The tap water in Marbella is generally safe for drinking.
Organic foods are foods that are grown without artificial nutrients, pesticides, or other chemicals. Eating organic has become a widespread trend where people are very selective about what they put in their bodies. Several organic cafes attract patrons of all ages who are careful about nutrition. There are many cafes in the city that cater specifically to this group of people. Below is a list of some of the organic cafes that one could try in the city
- Miss Matcha Cafe
- Mia Cafe
- Rachel's Eco Love Organic Food
- THE FARMACY
Beer is a significant part of the Marbella society, and local brands hold a strong sense of national pride among the population. The local beer brewing industry is strong, as they make various types of local beer to meet the demand, which is relatively high as the locals are very proud and fond of their local beer. There are several breweries around the city, such as:
- Cats kitchen / La Catarina Craft Beer
- BREWERY "SAVIS" - Fabrica de Cerveza "SAVIS"
Numerous activities can be done as you explore Marbella. The city has a large number of tourists, especially during the summer. There are various activities that suit different groups of people. There are multiple group tours that allow people to get more in-depth knowledge and understanding of the city's rich history. Tourists can enjoy several other things, such as hikes, bike riding, and boat riding, to name a few. There are also nude beaches for those who are interested. Most of the activities are in the city center while others are just on the outskirts.
Yoga and Retreats
Yoga is traditionally a Hindu discipline that focuses on physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines. It has become quite famous globally, including Marbella, and some of the most visited yoga studios include:
- Radiant Yoga Marbella
- Yogashala Institute
- Marbella Yoga
There are many different accommodation types across Marbella. As an individual, you get to decide which one you prefer based on your needs, tastes, and budget. This section will look into some of the accommodation options that are available for tourists to select from
There are several eco-friendly hotels in the city which aim for the sustainability of the environment. These hotels tend to offer safe, non-toxic, and energy-efficient accommodation. Other characteristics include using renewable energy, organic soaps, energy-efficient light fixtures, and recycling programs. A few of the most popular ones are:
- Puente Romano Marbella
- Marriott's Marbella Beach Resort
- NH Marbella
Hostels and Guest Houses
- Pensipn Aduar: It is situated in Marbella's heart, only 100 meters away from Plaza de Los Naranjos and just a short walk from the beach, restaurants, and the shopping area. The hostel is open all year round. It has a pleasant atmosphere, helpful staff, and a clean environment. Breakfast is not included in the booking fee.
- The Monkey Room: It is a simple hostel with comfortable rooms. There are three different types of rooms and a chill-out bar on the terrace. Every room has a private bathroom, and amenities are included. The surrounding area is full of bars and restaurants serving traditional cuisine as well as international dishes. There are also many shops nearby. The booking fee does not include breakfast, and pets are not allowed.
- Hostal Berlin: It is the most modern, comfortable, familiar hostel in Marbella. The hostel has simple, double, and triple rooms, all of them with private bathroom. They have paid parking, and Internet access is free in the lobby and all the rooms. The owners are ready to help you with anything you need during your holidays.
Those who intend to stay in Marbella for a long time will be very expensive as they charge per day. Some several flats and apartments are available for rent for at least a month. These are more affordable as they charge a flat rate and buy your food, which lowers costs. Those traveling as a group will find these most convenient as it is possible to share the flat rate cost instead of paying per head or room in hotels and motels.
Some families rent out a part of their home to tourists, known as couch surfing. This trend is not common in Marbella. It offers the host family an opportunity to make extra money and the tourist a chance to experience Spanish culture through family life. Several websites connect tourists with people who are willing to open up their homes.
There are numerous campsites for those tourists who want to rough it, which offers a sense of adventure by giving people the full outdoor experience, including the fresh night air and the magnificent night skies. Below are some of the more popular campsites:
- Camping Cabopino
- Camping Marbella Playa
How to Get There
Several modes of transport can be used to travel to Marbella, with the most convenient for you being dictated by where you are coming from, be it a local or international area. People from surrounding cities usually travel to the city by bus or train. While those coming from further away commonly use airplanes.
The Pablo Ruiz Picasso International Airport is the best way to travel to Marbella by air, from any Spanish or foreign city. The airport is 7 kilometers to the South-west of Malaga. To get to Marbella city center, there are car rentals available at the airport, taxis, and some hotels also offer a shuttle service.
Buses are frequent to Marbella from neighboring towns, cities, and provinces in Andalucia. There are also regular services to Malaga Airport and buses from La Linea - close to Gibraltar Airport. The most popular bus service is the Portillo bus company, which offers the Direct Express service. This VIP bus service has a lot of space between seats. The bus has regularly scheduled trips.
Marbella does not have a railway line.
Hitchhiking across Spain is easy, in terms of weather as well. Although it can get quite hot in summer, it's generally quite pleasant. Spanish people are friendly, and they understand the idea of hitchhiking, and in most cases, they do not ask for money. If you speak a bit of Spanish, it can get you a long way, as many people outside the cities might not speak English.
It is possible to arrive by boat in Marbella as you can dock in one of its marinas. Puerto Banús, Cabopino, La Bajadilla Marina, and the Marbella Marina welcome yachts and boats provided they are private, as they do not accept traffic. The nearest port to Marbella where cruises or ferries can dock is Malaga, which is about 60 km away. There are also many cars hires that can be used to hire cars and drive yourself to Marbella.
Marbella is a relatively large town, even though it does have many things to do and places to explore. Moving around the city is quite easy and comfortable as the city's public transport system is efficient. In most cases, walking or hiring a taxi is the best way to move around. Below are several other ways you can move around the city.
Walking is possibly the best way to see Marbella's sites, as it is free, and it allows you to take whichever route you want with as many stops as you please. This makes it possible for you to properly enjoy and take in the sites you want to see, without being rushed. Some parts of the town, especially the Old Town, have narrow and sloping streets that are difficult for cars to pass through.
There are several bicycles hire companies in the city. Bicycles are a common mode of transport as most of the city can be accessed using them.
There are several electronic vehicles in the city. These are available for hire at relatively high prices. There are about five charging stations in the city, so there is minimum congestion at said charging stations.
There are several public buses. The local buses provide an easy and cost-effective travel mode with quick and efficient links along the city. One-way bus tickets cost about a euro and rechargeable travel cards, which can be purchased at the Marbella Bus Station.
Tram, Train and Subway
There is no railway line in Marbella.
There are many shopping centers in the city whereby tourists and locals alike can go shopping. It is more sustainable to shop in local shops and ensure that you stick to one shop and spread the wealth by visiting different shops.
There are several markets across the city that are dedicated to selling fresh food. They sell both local and international food, processed or unprocessed. Some of these markets include
- Market Marbella
- Organic Market and Food Marbella
- Markthalle Marbella
Several flea markets across the city offer both an exciting shopping experience and a chance to mingle with the locals. Most of them sell various things, mostly souvenirs at reasonable prices. However, they tend to double the price when selling to tourists.
- Mercadillo Marbella
- Zoco del Sol Market
- Mercadillo Benahavis
Second Hand Stores
The trend of second-hand stores has caught the world by storm; numerous stores have opened where people can buy things they wouldn't usually afford for less than half the price. There are several second-hand stores in the city; including:
- Gina Vintage
- Vintage Déjà vu
There are several eco-friendly fashion labels in Marbella. These labels deal mostly with producing clothes using 'green' materials, while a few offer care and recycling services to old clothes. The most prominent sustainable brand in the city is KOZII.
The recycling sector of Marbella is quite effective. The city has color-coded bins for specific recyclable material. The delegation of resources in recycling all waste because all of the clusters possess the necessary bins to separate organic produce, glass, cardboard, and lightweight packaging. They are also labeled to ensure that people to do mix them up.
The waste management in Marbella is effective. The Waste Collecting Service also has a side-loading system to increase the volume collected and collection frequencies. Organic waste has a separate collection method to ensure that it is not mixed up with the rest.
Work and Study Abroad
The economy in Marbella is relatively good, and there are several job opportunities for foreigners. Locals are considered first for most jobs, but foreigners can get employed, especially if you have good qualifications. Some of the most popular jobs amongst foreigners are found in the hospitality sector. There are many primary and secondary schools in the city, and the main language of instruction is Spanish. There are two universities in the city, and they encourage and accept applications from international students.
The Les Roches semester abroad program is available in Marbella. This program makes it possible for students studying hospitality management or a business-related topic at their current university to approach their bachelor studies from a fresh perspective, experience different cultures and lifestyles, brush up on your foreign language skills and make new friends for life.
An au pair is a young foreign person who helps with housework or childcare in exchange for food, a room, and pocket money. The concept of Au pairs is popular in Marbella, sometimes on a short-term basis as some parents look for people to look after their kids as they vacation. To be hired as an au pair, there are several requirements you need to meet, with the most important being age.
Several voluntary organizations across Marbella are always open to volunteers. Some are open for short term and others for long term volunteers. You can look up volunteer opportunities in the city. The most popular volunteer organizations are those that deal with environmental issues.