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Photograph: Shutterstock Fiji

This island officially has the bluest sky in the world

Not all blues are created equal. Or so claims a new list of the most dazzlingly azure skies worldwide

Written by
Sarah Medina

Seeking blue skies this summer? Look no further than this vaguely scientific list of the absolute bluest in the world. 

Island paradise Fiji came out on top of the global list (no surprise there), with the Bahamas, Cambodia, Costa Rica, and France rounding out the top five. But the list of US cities with the bluest skies is a little more controversial.

Notoriously foggy San Francisco (whose nickname is literally Fog City) came out at number one, with Jacksonville, Florida, Boston, El Paso, Texas and Oklahoma City trailing behind. 

bluest skies
Photograph: Courtesy S Money

More surprises on the list include Paris taking home the prize for the bluest skies in Europe and Cape Town for its rich shade of cobalt in Africa. 

To compile the list, currency exchange service S Money worked with a data scientist to analyse images of the sky from a sunny day in every nation’s capital, along with the 25 most populous cities in the US. But it’s not clear what the scientists used to constitute a sunny day in any city (or in the case of some cities, whether that might have been the only sunny day that year). Ranking them according to the CIELAB colour scale, the S Money team then translated those colours into the hex colour code for each sky so the results could be accurately shown online. 

To its credit, San Francisco’s blue skies may be due to its low air pollution. With an average measure of only 7.1 micrograms of fine particulate matter per cubic metre (smashing the WHO’s target), the San Francisco sky is both bluer and clearer than neighbouring American cities. And not all cities on this list can say the same – the third-bluest-skied city, Phnom Penh in Cambodia, has an AQI of 133, making its air ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’.

Scientific or not, the global list of the bluest skies in the world does read as a pretty nice bucket list of travel destinations for anyone looking to get outdoors this summer. 

Wondering where your city ranks? Check out the fully study here, or use this interactive tool to compare hues in different parts of the world. 

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