The world we live in right now is unpredictable and dynamic. COVID-19 has brought some cities at an impasse where all they can do to be safe is wait and stay at home. Some cities have moved forward and are open to tourism. Due to lockdowns across the world, there is a lack of credible data, and it is very tough to determine the best cities in the world during a pandemic. So the cities listed by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Report are from a pre-COVID world. The reports assess the living conditions of a city based on factors like stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. Under stability crime, terror and conflicts are examined. Healthcare deals with the availability and quality of public and private healthcare along with healthcare indicators and access to over-the-counter drugs. Under culture and environment, elements like social and religious restrictions, censorship, temperature rating, food and drink, and more are checked. Education checks the availability and quality of private education and public education. Infrastructure looks at roads, public transport, energy and water provisions, and so on. The report examines around 140 cities and has come up with the best cities in the world to live in. 

Also read: Best Party Cities And Cultures In The World

Best Cities In The World To Live

1. Two Times In A Row: Vienna

Vienna, aerial view at night, with danube and cityscape
Aerial view of Vienna

Vienna replaced Melbourne as the most liveable city in 2018 and has maintained the streak. The city beat developed economies like London and New York and scored a perfect 100 in stability, healthcare, education, and infrastructure and 96.3 in culture and environment. The best city in the world has affordable real estate and transport, safety, and a calmer work attitude. People in Vienna are surrounded by green landscapes of vineyards, hills, and parks that make for great trekking trails. Vienna has been a cultural centre from the 19th century and remains the capital of music with venues like Musikverein, Vienna State Opera House, and more. Baroque architecture, Danube cruises, and its culinary delights also pull in tourists. The capital city of Austria has buses and trains to major destinations in Europe like Prague and Budapest. 

2. Thriving Underground Art And Culture: Melbourne

Melbourne's skyline at dusk
Melbourne’s skyline at dusk.

Some of the key areas where cities like Melbourne and Vienna stand out is culture and environment. The second best city in the world is famous for its laneway culture that has street musicians and art combined with culture hubs like the National Gallery of Victoria and Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and a lively underground art scene. Other factors like diverse communities, affordable cost of living, quality education with 10 world-class universities in and around, clean air, clear water, and diverse wildlife make it one of the best cities in the world.

3. Clean Air With Diverse Communities: Sydney

Aerial view of Sydney's Bondi beach.
Aerial view of Sydney’s Bondi beach.

Sydney’s focus on tackling climate change with a measure like the Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan brought it from the fifth to the third position. Another Australian city on the list, Sydney is home to many international students who form networks to help each other and add to the thriving student culture. With a rich history, Sydney has monuments like the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The city is happening with constant festivals like the Sydney Festival, art exhibitions, dance events, bars, cafes, and markets. Sydney also has relaxing beaches and parks that are easily accessible by public transport. With thriving multicultural communities, Sydney has good job opportunities. 

4. Close To Cherry Blossoms: Osaka

Osaka castle, Osaka
Osaka castle, Osaka

Ranking fourth on the report, Osaka is the fourth-best city in the world. With the face of modernity, the city blends history with the present. With a rich culture of being the imperial capital and traditional delicacies like okonomiyaki (Japanese equivalent to pizza) and takoyaki (fried octopus), the city stands out. Osaka is known to have brilliant transportation facilities with connections to cities like Nara, Kyoto, and Himeji. Travellers from across the world visit the city for its food and shopping centres. The city’s nickname is Tenka no Daidokoro translating to ‘the nation’s kitchen’ in Japanese. Osaka has the longest covered shopping places in Japan and has been Japan’s commercial centre for centuries with places like DenDen Town and Amerikamura. Best of all, cherry blossoms are just a short train ride away. 

5. Clean And Green: Calgary

Calgary Stampede Midway, Calgary, Canada
Calgary Stampede Midway, Calgary

Canada is one of the countries that are safe and developed. Leaving popular cities like Toronto behind and claiming the spot on the world’s best cities is Calgary. The city ranked as the cleanest city in the list by Mercer Global Financial 2014 and has excellent sewage and drinking water systems. The public transport is decent, affordable, and is eco-friendly—the city’s railway is wind-powered. Among the best cities in the world, Calgary is located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and is the closest city to Banff National Park, Canada’s oldest national park. The city is vibrant with activities like the Calgary Stampede, restaurants, and green spaces. Three great sports teams from the city are Calgary Flames, the professional Ice Hockey Team, Calgary Stampeders, Canadian football team, and Calgary Roughnecks, box lacrosse team. 

6. Blue Whales, Aquariums, And Chinese Gardens: Vancouver 

City Parks, Friendliest Cities, Hogwarts
Stanley Park, Vancouver

Sitting in the lap of nature Vancouver has green spaces like Stanley Park spread over 1,000 acres with a six-mile perimeter seawall and aquarium, Chinese gardens, beaches, and mountains. One of the best cities in the world, Vancouver has diverse communities with people from different nationalities settling here. The city is also bike-friendly and has excellent skiing opportunities. The art scene is thriving and it has reasonably-priced restaurants and access to fresh ingredients. One of the closest cities to America’s Seattle, Vancouver has the best rail routes. The city also has wildlife like grey whales, orcas, sea otters, bald eagles, and grizzly bears. 

7. Of Clear Skies And Michelin Stars: Tokyo

Cherry trees in full bloom at Chidorigafuchi Park with recreational boats in Tokyo
Cherry trees in full bloom at Chidorigafuchi Park with recreational boats in Tokyo

The capital city of Japan has one of the best transport systems in the world which is convenient and fast. The city has a strong culture and history with temples and shrines and is the native city for Shinto religion. Extremely clean, the city also has a low crime rate. Tokyo also has a plethora of Michelin star restaurants.

8. City For Food And Art: Toronto 

Toronto skyline at twilight with the CN Tower standing tall - Toronto and Quebec, vegan-friendly cities
Toronto skyline at twilight with the CN Tower

Another Canadian city, Toronto, ties with Tokyo for the spot of the seventh-best city in the world. With a thriving culinary and live music scene, Toronto is a diverse city. Among the best cities in the world, Toronto’s cost of living is high with a lot of condos. A centre for art and culture, Toronto has around 80 film festivals and over 200 city-owned works of public art, and 200 professional performing arts organisations. Food is a major part of Toronto with affordable food trucks being a highlight. 

9. Quality Living: Copenhagen

City Copenhagen, Denmark
City Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen offers a good quality of life with high salaries, 24-hour running transport, and constant support to locals as well as foreigners. One of the best cities in the world, Copenhagen is also a biking city that has more bikes than cars. Also among the safest and most sustainable cities in the world, Copenhagen has music, art, and film festivals like Roskilde and Copenhell. With trendy fashion boutiques, high-end as well as affordable stores, great Scandinavian design, Copenhagen is a great place to live. The city also has Michelin-star restaurants like Noma and Kadeau. You can also explore Nordic and Danish cuisines here.

10. A Student’s City: Adelaide

mortlock wing state library adelaide australia
Mortlock wing state library Adelaide, Austral

Ranking high in education, Adelaide is very affordable especially for students, and has reputable institutions and universities. The city also has high employment and internship opportunities in sectors like health, tourism, food and wine, technology, and bioscience. With vineyards and countryside getaways close to nature like Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills, Kangaroo Island, and McLaren Vale. Art galleries and museums like the Adelaide Festival Centre, South Australian Museum and Art Gallery of South Australia keep the culture alive. Adelaide’s lanes are filled with bars and restaurants that make the nightlife interesting. 

Focus On Environmental Factors

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s report identified that many cities made technological and infrastructure advancements but ranked low because the development came at the cost of environmental threats. With increased population and crime rates, it is also difficult to maintain standards resulting in cities like Melbourne dropping ranks. Along with the best cities in the world, the report also lists least liveable cities with Caracas, Algiers, and Douala topping the list. 

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