Vienna, by tram around the Ringstrasse boulevard, passengers

You are here:

Why Vienna is the most liveable city in the world

Rated most liveable

Vienna is more than just a historical gem: it is a living example of what a good quality of life can mean in the modern world. The reasons for this are the unique mix of eco-friendly transportation, crystal-clear drinking water, numerous green spaces and a range of art and culinary attractions that is unparalleled anywhere in the world. Here we have listed the ten most important reasons why Vienna will always be number one, and not just for residents:

1. Green travel across Vienna

In Vienna, public transport is an environmentally friendly and reliable means of getting to even the most remote corners of the city. And at very reasonable prices. An annual pass costs just €1 per day. Local Wiener Linien train services run throughout the day, and once the day’s business is done, night buses run every weekday night to ensure that everyone gets home safely. On Friday and Saturday nights and on the nights before public holidays, Vienna’s five subway lines carry night owls almost straight to their beds.

2. Pure refreshment

The best drink in Vienna (apart from Viennese wine) comes directly from the taps: fresh mountain spring water. Two pipelines from the Lower Austrian-Styrian Alps supply the city with 400,000 m³ of fresh spring water every day – enough to fill 2.5 million bathtubs. The water can be tasted at any time at one of the 1.500 drinking fountains spread across the capital. Vienna is in fact the first city in the world to have its water supply protected by the constitution.

3. Urban green spaces

Almost half of the city of Vienna is made up of green spaces. The many parks on the Ringstrasse, as well as the Prater park, provide opportunities to enjoy green space right in the heart of the city. A sizeable chunk of the Donau-Auen National Park falls within the city limits – the Lobau, which is one of Europe’s last unspoiled wetlands. And with part of the Vienna woods also on its outskirts, the capital has its own biosphere reserve, which is home to various endangered species.

4. Exercise boosts happiness

There are also a wide variety of sports activities on offer in Vienna. The Vienna Woods, through which some of the fourteen well-signposted city hiking trails also lead, is a veritable paradise for hikers and mountain bikers. In the fresh air high up on the Kahlenberg there’s an aerial adventure park, and the adjacent 3D archery park is a real highlight – a must for sharp shooters! Vienna’s outdoor pools as well as the Danube and attached waters offer hours of fun splashing about. And anyone who can’t keep their feet still will be in their element running or inline skating along the Prater Hauptallee or on the Danube Island. Alternatively, they can head to Alte Donau (Old Danube) to show off their stand-up paddling skills.

5. Cucumber capital

For a city with close to two million inhabitants, Vienna has a flourishing agriculture sector: around a third of green space and 15% of the total area of the capital is given over to farming. Gardens, vineyards, fields, vegetable patches and orchards supply the city with a cornucopia of vegetables, fruit, cereals, and wine. Vienna grows more cucumbers than any other region of Austria – an impressive 29,000 tons every year – making it the cucumber capital.

© Landwirtschaftskammer Wien/Theresa Wey

6. Michelin-starred dining

Vienna is not the place to come to for a detox diet. Viennese Cuisine is in fact the only cuisine in the world to be named after a city. And it is easy to find Michelin-starred cuisine even at a reasonable price – Heinz Reitbauer’s Steirereck in the Stadtpark, Juan Amador’s restaurant Amador, and Konstantin Filippou’s restaurant all sport stars awarded by the world-renowned guide. For those looking for something a bit more down-to-earth, countless restaurants, pubs, traditional Viennese Beisl and other eateries await hungry guests, with a huge range of food available.

7. Sparkling clean

An essential requirement for good quality of life is a clean city. The Municipal Department for Waste Management, Street Cleaning and Vehicle Fleet – MA 48 for short – enjoys cult status in Vienna. Nowhere else will you find cool workers making sure that trash ends up where it belongs: out of the city. The orange-clad “Mistkübler” (waste collectors) are quick to make the city spick and span again after major events such as the Danube Island Festival, the New Year’s Eve Trail or the Vienna City Marathon.

8. University city

Vienna has nine universities, eight universities of applied sciences and six private universities. This makes Vienna the second largest university city in the German-speaking world after Berlin. The renowned Central European University (CEU) relocated here in fall 2019. Michael Ignatieff, the President and Rector of CEU, is very taken with Vienna: “Vienna is an international location for universities, companies and international organizations. The establishment of the Vienna campus opens up fantastic new possibilities for the CEU’s faculty and students.”

9. International metropolis

Vienna is a popular location for international organizations (including the United Nations) and global businesses, not least thanks to its central location in the heart of Europe, good transport links and virtually unbeatable quality of life. This international character also makes Vienna a popular destination for congresses, conferences and corporate events. As well as three outstanding conference centers (the Austria Center Vienna, Hofburg Vienna, and Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Center), Vienna scores highly for its many other historic and modern event venues.

10. Unlimited art

Numerous museums and galleries exhibiting contemporary art, more than 15,000 concerts a year, festivals, three opera houses, over 100 stages (for music & theater performances), as well as historic palaces and residences throughout the city: you won’t find more art and culture anywhere else. Truly. The world’s largest collections of Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Bruegel are particularly exceptional: their artworks are a must-see during a trip to Vienna.

Vienna comes out on top in many international rankings:

  • 2023: 1st place among the most liveable cities in the Marcer “Quality of Living City Ranking 2023” survey
  • 2023: 1st place as the most liveable city in the Global Liveability Index published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)
  • 2023: 1st place as the most liveable city in Monocle’s Quality of Life Survey 2023
  • 2022: 1st place in the ranking of global international congress events by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA)

Text: Angelika Lechner

Rate this article