The Cleanest Cities in the World

Spotless streets as far as the eye can see

Call us crazy, but we truly believe that cleanliness is next to godliness. (Muttered whilst scrubbing bathtub for the fourth time this week.)

But even if you’re not a neat freak, it’s worth noting these seven fabulous cities, which are among the cleanest in the entire world. Hey, you never know when you’ll have to make a snap decision about eating off the ground.


Kobe, Japan

Japan is pristine, people. Not a gum wrapper or soda can in sight. Tokyo wins for lowest CO2 emissions in Asia, but Kobe takes the cake for cleanest city in the country, thanks to separate storm drainage and sewage systems that keep rainfall from affecting wastewater treatment.


Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm’s goal is to be completely fossil fuel-free by 2050, and today the city generates 60 percent of its energy from hydroelectric power. Those Swedes…always innovating.


Santa Fe, New Mexico

The land of red rocks and bolo ties also tops the American Lung Association’s list of cleanest U.S. cities, in terms of ozone, short-term and year-round particle pollution. (We’re breathing easier just thinking about it.)


Singapore, Singapore

Here you can be fined $100 for failing to flush the toilet in a public lavatory. Think there’s no way anybody’s checking up on your toilet flushing habits? Think again. Police officers do regular raids of public bathrooms. (Worst job.)


Curitiba, Brazil

How does this city motivate its citizens to keep urban areas clean? Full bags of garbage can be exchanged for food, bus tokens and toys for kids.


Adelaide, Australia

Here in the Outback, 85 percent of trash is successfully recycled, all part of a plan to reduce landfill waste.


Calgary, Canada

All hail, Canada! Calgary takes the No. 1 spot as the cleanest city in the world. A hundred million liters of water are purified every day, and 75 percent of the city is powered by renewable energy. Plus, people risk $1,000 fines for flicking cigarette butts on the sidewalk.

jillian quint
Jillian Quint

Editor-in-Chief, Avid Reader, Wallpaper Enthusiast

Jillian Quint is the Editor-in-Chief of PureWow, where she oversees the editorial staff and all the fabulous content you read every day. Jillian began her career as a book editor...
read full bio