This Is the World’s Most Livable City

For the third consecutive year, this European capital has claimed the title of world’s most livable city in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual index.

Vienna street scene

Once again, Vienna took the top spot in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual ranking.


Vienna once again topped the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual ranking of the world’s most livable cities. The city took the top spot in 2023 and 2022, as well as in 2019 and 2018.

The rest of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s top 10 is dominated by other Western European cities (Copenhagen, Zurich, and Geneva all ranked) and Canada (Calgary and Vancouver came in fifth and seventh, respectively).

Asia-Pacific cities accounted for four of the top 10, including Melbourne and Sydney in Australia; Osaka, Japan; and Auckland, New Zealand.

Here are the top 10 cities in the Economist Intelligence Global Livability Index for 2024.

The world’s most livable cities in 2024

1. Vienna, Austria
2. Copenhagen, Denmark
3. Zurich, Switzerland
4. Melbourne, Australia
5/6. (tie) Calgary, Canada, and Geneva, Switzerland
7/8. (tie) Sydney, Australia, and Vancouver, Canada
9. Osaka, Japan
10. Auckland, New Zealand

What makes Vienna the most livable of all the great cities in the world? The Economist Intelligence Unit bases its analysis of 173 cities on five categories: stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.

If you’re considering moving abroad, these categories are critical to take into account as you pick a city in which to begin expat life. But even if you only have a week to spare, Vienna’s cultural scene, walkable city center, and iconic cafés make it a strong contender for your next city getaway.

The best things to see, do, and eat in Vienna

Stairway to statues in marble hall in the ornate Kunsthistorisches Museum

Inside the Kunsthistorisches Museum

Photo by / Shutterstock

It’s worth setting aside an entire afternoon to explore the collections at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, but also make time for newer museums, like the Whitney-like Albertina Modern and the Heidi Horten Collection, a contemporary space opened by the Austrian billionaire and art collector just days before her death in 2022.

The city’s world-class music scene is also an essential part of any visit. For just a few euro, you can snag tickets to the standing-room-only section at the Vienna State Opera.

It may not be a scientific fact that eating cake makes your life better, but it’s safe to say that Vienna’s famous Sachertorte—a chocolate cake filled with apricot jam—will bring a smile to your face. For the classics, go to Hotel Sacher or Demel. Or try the Vollpension project, “where seniors use their baking know-how to bolster their incomes in a pro-social café, which just launched a studio for in-person classes. Pick from an assortment of recipes doled out by a roster of sprightly locals, from apple strudel to Sacher-style chocolate gâteaux,” according to Afar contributor Mark Ellwood.

A slice of Original Sacher-Torte at Hotel Sacher in Vienna

A slice of Original Sacher-Torte at Hotel Sacher in Vienna.

Photo by Leqi (Luke) Wang on Unsplash

Even better, Viennese are happy to welcome travelers to their city. According to a 2022 survey of 3,600 residents of Vienna by the Vienna Tourist Board, 90 percent of them see tourism as a positive for the city.

To experience Vienna like a local, head to one of the city’s many green spaces. One example that’s slightly off the regular tourist’s map is the leafy tree-lined lanes of the Augarten, also home to a porcelain museum and the MuTh Concert Hall, where the Vienna Boys’ Choir regularly performs.

Where to stay in Vienna

You can’t go wrong with a historic grande dame hotel like the Hotel Imperial, which opened in 1873 and is now part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection. But several exciting new properties have opened recently in Vienna, including the 99-room Rosewood in a 19th-century building on Petersplatz, The Amauris (the former Ring Hotel fresh off a gut renovation), and the Almanac, which opened in a pair of converted 1870s palaces this spring. A Mandarin Oriental is also under development.

This article originally appeared online in 2018; it was updated most recently on July 8, 2024, to include current information.

Lyndsey Matthews is the former senior commerce editor at Afar, covering travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
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