25 Cleanest Cities In The World

Posted by , Updated on May 22, 2024

Naturally, we all aspire to live in tidy, healthy environments. Sadly, our planet is gradually becoming a massive landfill. If you’ve read our report about 25 Shocking Facts About Pollution or viewed these 25 Shocking Pictures Of The Pollution In China, you’re likely aware of the gravity and scale of the environmental challenges we face. Despite this grim reality, there is hope as some places around the world remain remarkably clean and pollution-free. Achieving such cleanliness often requires more than just government regulations and public announcements; it demands active participation from citizens and their commitment to eco-friendly practices. We have compiled a list of cities that have successfully maintained cleaner environments, resulting in happier and healthier residents. Our research spans pristine and green cities in Northern Europe like Stockholm and Reykjavik, as well as unexpectedly clean locations in Africa and Asia. Therefore, we present to you the 25 Cleanest Cities In The World.


Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich, SwitzerlandSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/76/Z%C3%BCrich.jpg

Let us kick off the list with a city that is largely considered one of the cleanest and greenest cities in the world. Home to about 400,000 people, Zurich is known for its continued optimization and creation of eco-friendly public transportation, enlargement of the bicycle-only network, research and projects for renewable energy, and enclosure of speed-ways, etc.


Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington, New ZealandSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8d/Wellington_NZ-cablecar-topview.jpg

The capital and one of the largest cities of New Zealand, Wellington has a reputation of being a clean and tidy city with a number of natural attractions that are well preserved and taken care of. More than a third of local people use public transport instead of cars, which greatly reduces air pollution in the area.


Ifrane, Morocco

Ifrane, MoroccoSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4d/Al_Akhawayn_Campus.jpg

Out of just a few African cities that can boast clean environment, Ifrane is probably the most famous one. Perched high in the Middle Atlas Mountains at an elevation of 1,665 m (5,463 ft), Ifrane has no industrial action, which is why local residents and tourists can enjoy unpolluted air and water. The city is also a popular ski resort as it gets covered with snow in winter.


Oslo, Norway

Oslo, NorwaySource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b4/Oslo_view.jpg

The capital of Norway is known as one of the most expensive cities in the world, but those who can afford to live here will enjoy fresh air and a perfectly clean environment. Oslo is easy to move around by public transportation or rentable bikes. In 2007, Reader’s Digest even ranked Oslo as number two on a list of the world’s greenest and most livable cities.


El Hierro, Spain

El Hierro, SpainSource: thelocal.es, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/21/Iglesia_de_la_Concepci%C3%B3n,_Villa_de_Valverde,_El_Hierro,_Canarias,_Espa%C3%B1a.JPG

Technically, El Hierro is not a city as it is one of the Canary Islands (that belong to Spain), but it attracted the whole world’s attention earlier this year as it managed to produce enough electricity for its 7,000 inhabitants for more than 24 hours by its hydro-wind plants only. Known for its lush ancient forests and volcanic cliffs, the island is a UNESCO biosphere reserve.


Freiburg, Germany

Freiburg, GermanySource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/34/Freiburg_017.650.n.jpg

Home to some 220,000 people, Freiburg is known as Germany’s sunniest and warmest city; however, it is also appreciated for its beautiful parks, clean streets, fresh air, and eco-friendly environment. Situated in the heart of the major Baden wine-growing region, it serves as the primary tourist entry point to the scenic beauty of the Black Forest, a large mountain range.


Toronto, Canada

Toronto, CanadaSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c6/Toronto_-_ON_-_Toronto_Skyline2.jpg

Toronto is a living proof that even a large metropolis with more than 2.6 million inhabitants can be clean and tidy. Renowned for its environmental innovations, Toronto has been particularly successful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The city also has a very efficient and complex public transport system that contributes to the clean environment.


Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, NetherlandsSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://pixabay.com/p-1089647/?no_redirect

With over 600,000 rentable bikes all over the city, Amsterdam is referred to as a cyclist’s heaven, and it is this unusual practice what helps to keep the city remarkably clean. In 2012, Amsterdam was even ranked the second best city to live in by the Economist Intelligence Unit and 12th on quality of living for environment and infrastructure by Mercer.


Brisbane, Australia

Brisbane, AustraliaSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/02/Brisbane_May_2013.jpg

Most Australian cities have a clean environment with relatively low levels of all types of pollution. What makes Brisbane stand out, though, is the fact that it is clean and tidy despite its enormous size (it has a population of more than 2.3 million). The city has a number of great parks, botanic gardens, and other green recreation areas.


Portland, Oregon, USA

Portland, Oregon, USASource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/09/Portlandbridges.jpg

Nicknamed the “City of Roses,” Portland is frequently recognized as one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the world because of its high walkability, large community of bicyclists, farm-to-table dining, expansive network of public transportation options, and over 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares) of public parks.


Want to know what other US Cities made our list? Keep reading to find out!


Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, SwedenSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://pixabay.com/p-446579/?no_redirect

Considered one of the cleanest capitals in the world, Stockholm was granted the 2010 European Green Capital Award by the EU Commission, becoming Europe’s first “green capital.” Applicant cities were evaluated in several ways including climate change, local transport, public green areas, air quality, noise, waste, sustainable utilization of land, biodiversity, etc.


Nottingham, UK

Nottingham, UKSource: treehugger.com, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/90/Council-House-Nottingham.jpg

The United Kingdom also has several cities that boast unpolluted environments and tidy streets. One of them is Nottingham, a city located in Central England. Nottingham has launched numerous projects to combat litter and graffiti problems, and it even won the “Britain’s Cleanest City” award in 2014.


Kobe, Japan

Kobe, JapanSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/79/Kobe_kitano_thomas_house07_2816.jpg

Known as the cleanest city in Japan, Kobe has implemented one of the most efficient waste disposal systems in the world. As local people are very environmentally-conscious, the streets are always clean. Although the city is a huge metropolis brimming with more than 1.5 million inhabitants, there are many nice green areas to relax.


Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Luxembourg City, LuxembourgSource: toptenscentral.com, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3a/Luxembourg_City_pano_Wikimedia_Commons.jpg

Nicknamed the “Green Heart of Europe,” Luxembourg City is the capital of Luxembourg (officially known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg). Renowned for a number of well-preserved ancient castles and green forests, the city was even declared the third cleanest city in the world last year.


Calgary, Canada

Calgary, CanadaSource: toptenscentral.com, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/02/Calgary1-Szmurlo.jpg

Calgary has been regularly ranked among the world’s cleanest cities in the past few years, and there is a good reason for that. Local people are taught 5 basic principles to follow in order to keep the environment clean and healthy. Those 5 points are Sewage System Quality, Water Drinkability and Availability, Waste Removal and Recycling, Traffic Congestion, and Air Pollution.



SingaporeSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/86/Singapore_CBD_skyline_from_Esplanade_at_dusk.jpg

The world’s only island city-state, Singapore is famous for a number of strict regulations concerning environmental issues and tidiness of the city including the ban on chewing gum. Nearly 10% of Singapore’s land has been set aside for parks and nature reserves, and the city has also launched several tree-planting campaigns to improve the quality of life.


Curitiba, Brazil

Curitiba, BrazilSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e7/Curitiba_Centro.jpg

While Brazil is hardly ever referred to as a clean country, there is one exception – the city of Curitiba. Local government encourages its residents to keep the city clean by letting them to exchange bags of sorted waste for food or bus tokens. Consequently, up to 70% of the city’s trash is recycled. The city’s paper recycling, for example, saves the equivalent of 1,200 trees a day.


Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva, SwitzerlandSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/26/Geneva-aerial-view.JPG

Geneva is famous for being one of the most affluent, expensive, livable, and safest cities in the world, but the city stands out at yet another field – environmentalist efforts and tidiness. One of the cleanest cities in the world, Geneva is home to The Geneva Environment Network, a network of global organizations working on environment protection and sustainable development.


Vienna, Austria

Vienna, AustriaSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/24/Vereinte_Nationen_in_Wien.jpg

The capital and largest city of Austria, Vienna has a population of about 1.8 million, but the city regularly ranks among the cleanest cities in the world. Vienna has invested huge amounts of money into its waste disposal systems over the past decades, and it has been paying off. Moreover, local people are very environmentally-conscious and they help the authorities to keep their city spotlessly clean and tidy.


Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, IcelandSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a3/View_from_Hallgr%C3%ADmskirkja,_Reykjavik_(8235193581).jpg

Located right next to the Arctic Circle, Iceland is one the cleanest countries in the world, so it is not surprising to see its capital Reykjavik among the cleanest cities in the world. There was no urban development in the city until the 19th century. Even now, Reykjavik remains one of the cleanest and greenest cities in the world with practically no pollution.


Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, FinlandSource: yaast.com, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/17/Paasitorni_by_the_sea.jpg

Another Nordic city on the list, Helsinki is the capital and largest city of Finland. Helsinki’s residents are committed to protecting the environment and keeping the streets clean and tidy. To cut the energy of the city to a minimum consumption, a complex system has even been designed to generate heat by electricity.


Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Honolulu, Hawaii, USASource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fa/Blick_auf_Honolulu.jpg

With a population of almost 340,000 people, Honolulu is the most remote major city in the world as the closest location on the mainland to it is the Point Arena Lighthouse in California at 3,800 km (2,360 mi). It might be due this extreme isolation that Honolulu (as well as the whole state of Hawaii) is one of the cleanest and greenest places in the world.


Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, DenmarkSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/04/Nyhavn_copenhagen.jpg

The capital of Denmark, Copenhagen is recognized as one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world. As a result of its commitment to high environmental standards, Copenhagen has been praised for its green economy, ranked as the top green city for the second time in the 2014 Global Green Economy Index. Substantial investments in sewage treatment have improved water quality in the harbor to an extent that it can be used for swimming.


Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago, Illinois, USASource: en.wikipedia.org, image: https://pixabay.com/p-890347/?no_redirect

With over 2.7 million residents, Chicago is the third largest city in the USA but has a reputation of being a very clean and eco-friendly city. Chicago has planted over 186,000 sq m (2 million sq ft) of rooftop gardens throughout the city to improve the air quality, and it also encourages its residents to use public transport to reduce emissions.


Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg, GermanySource: cnbc.com, image: https://pixabay.com/p-852855/?no_redirect

The second biggest city in Germany, Hamburg has been praised for its environmental efforts for years. It has set itself a target of cutting CO2 emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Hamburg’s authorities also released details of plans to develop a “Green Network,” which would mean that people will no longer need to take to their cars to get around the city.