Faro has been named as the city with the second best air quality in Europe. According to the European Environment Agency, the cleanest cities in Europe, based on the EEA’s updated city air quality data viewer barometer for 2020 and 2021, were Umeå in Sweden (at number one), followed by Portuguese cities Faro (the Algarve’s airport gateway) and Funchal.
Over 340 cities are included in the European city air quality viewer. They are ranked from the cleanest to the most polluted based on average levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The data behind the ranking was collected from over 400 monitoring stations across EEA member countries over the past two calendar years.
Under the National Emission Reduction Commitments directive, EU member states, including Portugal, are required to meet national commitments to reduce emissions for five air pollutants in order to deliver clean air for human health and the environment. Under the directive, in 2020 there was a transition to a new, more ambitious set of national emission reduction commitments.
The viewer gave Faro the highest category of air quality (“good”), meaning the levels of fine particulate matter do not exceed the World Health Organisation’s annual guideline value of 5 μg/m3. With a population of just over 61,000 at the time of the testing, Faro’s PM level was 3.6, compared with 3.1 for Umeå and 3.9 for Funchal (capital of the Madeira archipelago).
According to the EEA, Europe benefits from “the most comprehensive air quality monitoring network in the world”.
The Algarve is also recognised as having the best beaches in Europe.