These are the greenest capital cities in Europe

Posted by
Hannah-Rose Yee
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites

But did London make the cut? 

There are a few things a city must possess in order to be considered green.

How high is the air pollution? What about the water quality? What is the city’s public transport, road congestion and attitude to cycling like? Does it have green spaces? What are its carbon dioxide emissions like? And are its inhabitants happy with a high quality of life?

A new study by Compare the Market has ranked 25 of Europe’s capital cities to see which among them is the greenest place to live, and the answers are fascinating. 

Spoiler: London doesn’t rank in the top 10 at all, despite having a high rating for public transport and cycle lanes it failed in the categories of water quality and congestion and ended up in the number 13 spot. 

On your bike

Here are the top 10 greenest capital cities in Europe:

  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Bern, Switzerland
  3. Helsinki, Finland
  4. Stockholm, Sweden
  5. Copenhagen, Denmark
  6. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  7. Oslo, Norway
  8. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
  9. Berlin, Germany
  10. Ljubljana, Slovenia

Each of them ranked highly in a different category. Vienna, for example, was an across the board over-achiever (the Capricorn of European capital cities, then) taking the top spot for water quality, CO2 emissions and cycle lanes.

Berlin was ranked number one for public transport, while Ljubljana in Slovenia had the most green spaces and the least congestion. 


But the city with the best quality of life overall was Bern in Switzerland, which was named the second-best European capital when it comes to green living. According to this research, Bern is one of the happiest and healthiest places in Europe to live, only receiving censures for the number of CO2 emissions per person, which were more than double the average in Vienna. In fact, Bern’s CO2 emissions eclipsed almost everyone else on the rankings, including London.

The least green capital in Europe is Moscow, with high air pollution, insanely high CO2 emissions, plenty of congestion on the roads and hours spent in traffic. Joining Moscow at the bottom of the rankings were Athens, Lisbon, Sofia and Paris, which came in at number 21. Paris scored highly on cycle lanes but badly needs to improve its CO2 emissions and air pollution levels.

So there you have it. Excuse us while we plan to move to Bern, Vienna and Helsinki. 

Images: Unsplash


Share this article


Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

Recommended by Hannah-Rose Yee


15 simple ways to live a more eco-friendly life

You don’t have to turn your life upside down to make a difference

Posted by
Harriet Hall

The best eco-friendly luxury and designer fashion brands

From Stella McCartney to Mother of Pearl, these designer labels prove high-end fashion can be sustainable.

Posted by
Hannah Keegan

Everything you need to know about alkaline hydrolysis

It's an eco-friendly alternative to burials

Posted by
Sarah Biddlecombe

Compostable trainers are the next big thing in eco-friendly fashion

These new Adidas kicks are made from synthetic spider silk.

Posted by
Moya Crockett

The best sustainable basics to build a capsule wardrobe

The ultimate T-shirts, hoodies and sweaters with an eco-friendly approach.

Posted by
Lara Faye