When deciding on places in the world to travel to, people should consider the quality of life. That includes thinking about how much pollution is prevalent in any given area.
Many cities in the world have a terrible quality of life simply due to the amount of smog and air pollution. You don't realize what inhaling so much pollution can do to you in the long term, and if you're able to, it would be best to live somewhere with clean air. Here are 10 cities in the world with the cleanest air.
Updated by Gabriel Kirellos, December 7th, 2021: Despite rising pollution levels worldwide, many cities have preserved their air quality and rank high on the scale of environmental cleanliness. This list was updated to include additional cities with the cleanest air quality worldwide, such as Spokane in Washington, US, and Almeria in Spain.
12 Reykjavík, Iceland
Not only is Reykjavík the largest city in Iceland, but it is also the country's capital and by far the cleanest city. Architectural Digest labeled Reykjavik as one of the cleanest cities in the world earlier this year. The town is devoted to finding alternative energy sources, which helps make the air so breathable and clean.
You can even drink the natural waters in some parts of Reykjavik because they are pure and untouched by pollution. The city is a beautiful one to visit if you're a fan of any kind of aquatic activities.
11 Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii and a major tourist destination. Many people take dream vacations to Hawaii due to the islands' natural beauty and the many beaches. There is plenty to do and see there, including local animals and flora to be found. Honolulu is likely very appealing if you're a fan of surfing and other water activities.
Well, there's an even better reason to plan your trip to Honolulu. It is one of the cities in the US with the cleanest air. It has the least air pollution, as reported by the Pacific Business Journal.
10 Wellington, New Zealand
It may be one of the windiest cities in the world, but the capital of New Zealand is a glorious place to visit if you want to take a deep breath of air and be assured you're not inhaling chemicals and pollutants. Wellington was declared one of the cities with the cleanest air in the world.
The city is already a picturesque spot with its sandy beaches and breezy lifestyle, but now you can plan your trip and inhale the cool, refreshing air for yourself! Perhaps that's why the Lord of the Rings movies are so good. Sir Peter Jackson was raised in one of the cleanest places around.
9 Calgary, Canada
Calgary is the largest city in Alberta and one of Canada's largest municipalities. It's recognized as one of the best places in the world to live due to its cleanliness and high quality of life. It was ranked by The Economist as one of the most liveable cities globally.
Calgary had a booming economy for many years due to oil prices. It is known for its rich culture and many festivals, such as the Calgary Stampede. The city is becoming an increasingly popular place for tourists to flock.
8 Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki is the capital of Finland. It is another city on this that is highly populous, which makes the fact it ranked so high on the livability scale all the more impressive. Helsinki is the epicenter of politics, culture, and research in Finland. It has close ties to Stockholm, Sweden, and Saint Petersburg.
Among the Nordic countries, Helsinki is one of the most notorious areas for tourism, and it is technically the only metropolis city you'll find in the Finland area. The city is part of the Clean Air Initiative and takes the monitoring of its ecosystems very seriously to maintain its sterling reputation.
7 Bangor, Maine
Bangor is a relatively small town located in Maine with some of the cleanest air in the entire United States. The city is also known for having meager crime rates. It has a vibrant heart, full of excellent shopping, a state-of-the-heart hospital, and if you're a creative mind, you'll find yourself overwhelmed by many art galleries, theater, and music in the area.
According to a recent report by the American Lung Association, the air quality in Maine's ozone has worsened, but Bangor is still one of the cities with the cleanest air in the country.
6 Adelaide, Australia
If you live in Australia or just want to visit, consider going to Adelaide. It is easily one of the best places to live across the entire continent. Adelaide has long been considered one of the best cities in Australia and the whole world to live in.
You might think that living in a city with a stellar reputation would be expensive, but that isn't the case. It actually has a pretty low cost of living. The weather is relatively mild, and the air is very clean. There is also lots to do in the area, and it is close to many of the popular tourist attractions.
5 Zurich, Switzerland
Switzerland is known for having a high quality of life and some of the cleanest air in the world.
You don't even realize how affected you are by air pollutants until you visit somewhere with virtually none. The worst thing about Zurich is that it is one of the most expensive places in the world to live. It has an impeccable reputation, but you won't be able to live here unless you have very deep pockets.
4 Halifax, Canada
Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, is one of the country's major economic centers and where many of the government and private sector services are provided. It's also home to several notable universities and fishing ports.
Halifax takes its air cleanliness very seriously and has implemented several measures to ensure its city stays ahead of the curve when it comes to pollution and alternative energy methods. Halifax is a beautiful place to live or visit with much to do and see.
3 Hamburg, Germany
Hamburg is a major port city and one of the largest parkland areas. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that a town in Germany would rank as one of the cities in the world with the cleanest air. Recently, Germany set aside more than 500 million euros specifically to sponsor the Clean Air Initiative.
Hamburg was one of the first cities to step up and ban old diesel fuel engines to reduce air pollution. Hamburg puts extreme importance on maintaining a good and healthy environment than many other countries in the world.
2 Spokane, Washington, USA
On the Environmental Performance Index, the USA ranks number 10. One city in Washington, Spokane, was transformed from a haze-covered valley in the 70s to clear blue skies with the cleanest air ever in 2005. Moreover, for the past 14 years, Spokane's air quality has stayed in compliance with all of the federal, health-based clean air standards, despite the doubling in the city's population over that period in time.
1 Almeria, Spain
Almeria is an Andalusian city located in the southeastern part of Spain. It is inhabited by 200,000 people and is among the towns and cities with the lowest levels of air pollution. People visiting Almeria can enjoy several attractions, including the Almeria Cathedral, Museum of Almeria, Playa de San Miguel, and more. Moreover, the city is less crowded than other Andalusian towns, and it serves delicious food.