Best Places to Live Around the World in 2023

In order to obtain the inside scoop on what makes the top-five cities so great, we spoke with locals there.

After a worldwide dip, several major cities are now experiencing an improvement in their residents’ standard of living. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual Global Liveability Index, which ranks 173 cities on criteria like stability, healthcare, culture & environment, education, and infrastructure, the quality of life in those places is at its highest point in 15 years.

Even if stability scores have declined overall due to rising civil unrest amid rising cost-of-living issues worldwide and prolonged violence in areas like Kiev, the increase is mostly attributable to healthcare and education advances across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Resumption of previously canceled activities and attractions has boosted the cultural and environment categories once the global pandemic scare was lifted.

While an index can provide some context for what makes a location livable, only those who make it their home can truly attest to what it’s like to call that place home. We talked to people living in several of the top 10 cities to learn more about what draws them there.

Austria’s capital city of Vienna

The Austrian city has previously held the top rank on the liveability rating and was only dethroned in 2021 due to the effects of the pandemic on its museums and eateries. Residents agree that Vienna is greater than the sum of its parts, boasting flawless rankings in stability, healthcare, education, and infrastructure.

“You basically have a full life circle in one place,” said Manuela Filippou, manager of the two-Michelin-star restaurant Konstantin Filippou and the adjacent natural wine bar (which she manages with her husband, the namesake chef). She remarked that Vienna had all the makings of a perfect place to permanently reside thanks to its well-preserved history, efficient public transportation, low childcare costs, and plenty of cafes, theaters, and wineries.

Sometimes when we work too hard and don’t get to travel anyplace for a long time, we don’t even notice it because we can satisfy our appetite for all of the above within the confines of the city, Filippou continued.

Hotel Das Tigra’s sales and marketing manager Richard Voss thinks the city’s cultural heritage and variety of things to do add to its desirability as a place to live. For example, “Vienna has a variety of impressive historical buildings, including Schönbrunn Palace, the Hofburg, and Vienna City Hall,” he noted. As the article states, “The city is also well-known for its musical tradition, with famous composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss having lived and worked here.” He claims that the city’s many museums, theaters, and opera houses make it easy for locals to experience these similar cultural traditions.

He also suggests exploring Vienna’s culinary past, eating traditional meals like wiener schnitzel and sachertorte, and shopping for fresh produce and regional specialties at markets like the Naschmarkt.

Australia’s Melbourn

After falling out of the top 10 during the coronavirus pandemic that strained the Australian healthcare system and caused lengthy lockdowns, Melbourne and Sydney have returned to their previous positions (third and fourth respectively). In terms of culture and ecology, Melbourne ranks first in the country, and its citizens couldn’t be more pleased.

According to Jane Morrell, disability advocate and founder and CEO of Carer Solutions, “Melbourne has such an incredible food scene, cultural arts, events, and attractions, as well as playing host to all the major international sports and events,” including the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Australian Open. She also mentions the city’s convenient tram system, which she claims allows residents to easily travel between the central business district and the outskirts. Famous beaches and wineries are within easy driving distance.

Kimmie Conner, a blogger from California, found it difficult to adjust to the city after visiting others like it. “Cities like Sydney have undeniable aesthetic value due to their breathtaking scenery, beaches, and landmark architecture. “Melbourne isn’t a city of landmarks, it’s a city of culture,” said Adventures & Sunsets blogger Conner, who has since decided to make Melbourne his permanent home. A small coffee shop tucked away in a vibrant laneway is where you should go to feel the pulse of Melbourne and drink the best coffee you’ve ever had. You must indulge in the tasting menus at the city’s speciality eateries and seek out the city’s secret cocktail bars, which are sometimes concealed behind wardrobes or behind locked doors.

Conner initially experiences more friendliness from the locals here than in Sydney, and Morrel also highlights the upbeat nature of the locals as a reason why the area is so pleasant to live in. “Melburnians are just so approachable and friendly,” Morrell said. The needs of anybody or everything can be met in this magnificent metropolis.

Canadian city of Vancouver

Calgary and Toronto, two other Canadian cities, made the top 10 this year, but Vancouver, which locals immediately point to as the reason they love living there, placed highest at number five, thanks to its higher culture and environment rankings.

“Vancouver provides easy access to the forest, sea, and sky,” remarked Tony Ho, a local company owner. In a single day, you may take a bus, bike, train, or boat from lovely English Bay to the peak of the city at Grouse Mountain. Vancouver’s diversified population is reflected in the city’s cuisine, which ranges from Ethiopian injera to Tibentan momos, and this is something that he greatly appreciates. The diversity of cuisines and the people who prepare them is always expanding.

Also appealing to him as a parent is the abundance of parks and beaches, all of which can be reached in under twenty minutes from the heart of the city. Ho stated, “I want my kid to have access to this for the rest of his life because it’s important to me.”

Foreign business owners are also attracted to the area because of the welcoming immigration regulations. “As the CEO of a mobile platform, I was looking for a city that fostered business growth while also being vibrant and accepting,” said Joe Tolzmann, a Croatian immigrant and entrepreneur. What makes Vancouver a great place to start a business is the quality of its residents. At each and every stage of starting and growing a business, there is a person or set of resources you can contact for advice and assistance. Here, there is a really welcoming and inclusive business community.

The view is always a wonderful break from work. “When I needed a break, there was the ocean on one side and the mountains across the street,” Tolzmann explained.

Japan; Osaka

Osaka, Japan, is the only Asian country in the top 10, and it ranks 10th in the ranking thanks to flawless scores of 100 on the indicators of political stability, healthcare, and education. Osaka’s low cost of living is a major draw for expats and locals alike in a time when rising prices are straining the budgets of many families around the globe.

“Rent in Osaka isn’t expensive comparing to other metropolises in Japan and the world,” remarked resident Shirley Zhang, originally from Vancouver. My monthly rent is C$700 [£410], which includes utilities like water and internet as well as a small maintenance fee. The flat is tiny, but it’s brand new and spotless. A rental in Vancouver comparable to mine would cost at least C$1200 (£705) per month.

One of the best things about living here is being able to eat at restaurants and save money. James Hills, a British expat, said that while eating out can put a serious dent in his finances back home, he was pleasantly surprised to find that restaurants in Osaka offered high-quality fare at unexpectedly affordable costs. You can afford to go out at nice places multiple times a week.

The city also has a more secure vibe than other comparable megalopolises. Zhang stated, “Even if it’s the middle of the night, I feel perfectly safe walking home alone.” When asked if she ever worried about her bag or purse being stolen, she said no.

The dependable public transit system is quickly embraced by the locals. According to Jonathan Lucas, a marketing consultant for the Osaka Tourist Bureau, “the city and surrounding area has an extensive train network.” Visiting nearby attractions including Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe may be done in a day thanks to the city’s convenient position.

Aptos, Nueva Zelanda

Due in major part to its delayed reopening from the pandemic, when limitations and requirements weren’t entirely released until September 2022, Auckland jumped more than 25 ranks from last year, tying with Osaka at number 10. In addition to a flawless score in education, locals also reported that the city’s culture and environment were the best in the top 10 cities.

According to Auckland local and blogger of My Moments and Memories, Megan Lawrence, “a beautiful secluded beach is probably within a 20-minute car drive for most living in Auckland, if not closer.” Stunning aquatic recreation opportunities are right outside our door. Also, the city’s outskirts are surrounded by stunning natural vegetation, making it easy to forget you’re in the middle of a metropolitan area.

Living in New Zealand’s largest city has its perks, and one of those is hosting the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. “We get all the best concerts, shows, and sporting events right on our doorstep,” said Greg Marett, a local and guide for AAT Kings. “Next week, I will be visiting the Auckland Museum to view Egypt in the Pharaohs.”

He also highlights the city’s beautiful harbour, which is nicknamed “The City of Sails” due to the many moored yachts and sailboats, and suggests that first-time visitors check out the Auckland Maritime Museum to learn more about the city’s maritime history and New Zealand’s history of competing in the America’s Cup.

Restaurants and grocery stores in New Zealand provide a wide variety of cuisines because the country is open to and accepting of new ideas and cultures, says Lawrence. However, the warmth of the locals is what makes life there bearable. “Most Kiwis are kind, willing to help, and always have a cheery hello when you cross paths on a walk,” she remarked. People here are always so friendly and welcoming.

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