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The World’s Most Livable City Is All About Parks, Music, and Seriously Good Cake

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

Photo by Brian Kinney/Shutterstock.com

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

Vienna claimed the title of world’s most livable city in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual index.

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Vienna topped the Economist Intelligence Unit's annual ranking of the world’s most livable cities for the second year in a row. And it's not the only ranking to recognize the Austrian capital—earlier this year, Vienna also took the number one spot in the annual Quality of Living survey conducted by Mercer, a human resources consulting firm, earlier this year.

The rest of the Economist Intelligence Unit's top 10 is dominated by cities in Australia (Melbourne and Sydney ranked second and third, respectively, and Adelaide ranked 10th), Japan (Osaka and Tokyo both ranked), and Canada (Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto all made the list). Copenhagen also made the top 10. The most improved city over the last five years was Moscow, followed by Belgrade in Serbia, and Hanoi, Vietnam. The biggest decline over the last five years was seen by Detroit, Michigan.

Economist Intelligence Global Livability Index 2019:

  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Melbourne, Australia
  3. Sydney, Australia
  4. Osaka, Japan
  5. Calgary, Canada
  6. Vancouver, Canada
  7. Toronto, Canada
  8. Tokyo, Japan
  9. Denmark, Copenhagen
  10. Adelaide, Australia

What makes Vienna the most livable of all the great cities in the world? The Economist Intelligence Unit bases its analysis of 140 cities on five categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.

If you’re considering moving abroad, these categories are all something to be considered when picking a city to begin expat life. But even if you only have a week to spare, Vienna’s cultural scene, walkable city center, and iconic cafés all make it a strong contender for your next city getaway.

Inside the Vienna State Opera
It’s worth setting aside an entire afternoon to explore the collections at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, but also make time for the city’s world-class music scene. 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; you also can find it at more casual spots, including Café Landtmann or Kaffee Alt Wien.

Vienna’s Augarten is beautiful place to watch leaves change in the fall or flowers bloom in the spring.
Even better, Viennese are happy to welcome travelers to their city. According to a 2016 survey of more than 2,000 residents of Vienna by the Vienna Tourist Board, 90 percent of them said that the city, its residents, and its economy benefit from tourism and 82 percent believe that their everyday life is not disrupted by tourists. 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.

This article originally appeared online on August 21, 2018; it was updated on September 4, 2019, to include current information.

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