Vienna – what makes it the most liveable city in the world?

Vienna, the city of music, is turning out to be the favourite city to live in for not just music composers but for everyone around the world. Today, let’s find out what puts it first in the Mercer’s Quality of Life survey.


Each year, the international consulting firm Mercer carries out a study in order to assess the quality of life in 231 cities around the world. The results of the study in 2018 also gave Vienna top marks and made the Austrian federal capital the most liveable city in the world for the ninth time in a row.

The survey is quite extensive and makes critical comparisons and observations. The political, social and economic climate, medical care, education, and infrastructural conditions such as public transportation, power and water supply all account for this survey. It also takes into consideration recreational spots in and around the city such as restaurants, theaters, cinemas, sports facilities, and shopping for all sorts of things from daily bread to luxury cars, as well as environmental conditions – from green spaces in the city to quality of air its people breathe.

The city of Vienna lets humans and nature co-exist hand in hand. In fact 50% of the city comprises of green areas. And we’re not talking only parklands and gardens here. There are, of course, plenty of parks and gardens all over Vienna, easily accessible with public transport, by bike, or even on foot. The inner city has many green areas, among them Burggarten or Volksgarten, which are perfect for a quick break from sightseeing and for holding spontaneous picnics. But, within Vienna’s city limits, you’ll also find many forested areas. Just a short trip on the tram can take you to places that will make you feel like you’re in the countryside.

Schlosspark Pötzleinsdorf in the district Währing, for example, is great for extensive walks and has an impressive playground for kids, as well as a modern animal enclosure with sheep and goats in it. At the Steinhofgründe in the Penzing area of Vienna you’ll always find a great spot for a picnic with your kids or friends amidst a forest playground. And only a train ride away, in Southern Vienna, is the Donau-Auen National Park. Most of the park belongs to Lower Austria, but a section is still in Vienna. The Donau-Auen National Park is one of the last wetland landscapes in Europe and it offers plenty of hiking and nature trails, guided tours, boat trips, and natural swimming locations. The cityscape is also shaped by vineyards, which can best be discovered on numerous hiking trails. Vienna’s vineyards are prized for their internationally acclaimed wine. No trip to the capital would be complete

without a trip to a wine tavern where you can sit and leave your cares behind you while enjoying a drop of fine wine or grape juice, if you’re a teetotaler.Viennese cafés have an extremely long and distinguished history that dates back centuries, and the caffeine addictions of some famous historical patrons of the oldest are something of a local legend. These coffee houses are unique to Vienna and many cities have unsuccessfully sought to copy them. Some people consider cafés as their extended living room where nobody will be bothered if they spend hours reading a newspaper while enjoying their coffee.

Viennese cafés claim to have invented the process of filtering coffee from booty captured after the second Turkish siege in 1683. Viennese cafés claim that when the invading Turks left Vienna, they abandoned hundreds of sacks of coffee beans. The Polish King John III Sobieski, the commander of the anti-Turkish coalition of Poles, Germans, and Austrians, gave Franz George Kolschitzky some of this coffee as a reward for providing information that allowed him to defeat the Turks. Kolschitzky then opened Vienna’s first coffee shop. Julius Meinl set up a modern roasting plant in the same premises where the coffee sacks were found, in 1891. This makes even a simple café you might cross on the street, historical.

Speaking of history, anywhere around the world you are given a list of must visit historical sites. But well in Vienna almost everything and every place has some historical significance. There’s a Roman excavation in the inner city itself, at Michaelerplatz. Vienna also has plenty of cultural sights to offer including the collections at the Hofburg, the Ring Road with its imposing buildings, St. Stephens Cathedral, countless museums, and much more.

Fondly called the world’s music capital, Vienna or Wein has had more famous composers living here than in any other city. In Vienna, music is woven into the very fabric of the city.

Waltzes and operettas have their home here, and so do musicals that have conquered international audiences. On opera nights, the show is projected on a video wall outside the theatre for everyone to enjoy.

Across Europe and also in the opinion of the people that have visited the city, Vienna is well known for its excellent urban infrastructure.

Getting from A to B is fast and easy thanks to a network of underground trains called “U-Bahn”, buses, and tramways. To get out of town for a bit, one simply hops on a bus or a train. Tickets for the Vienna public transport system remain affordable for everyone. And if you’re staying around longer, daily, weekend, or weekly transport cards are cheap and convenient. This allows you to really discover Vienna’s network of charming alleyways and small side streets.

By 2020, over EUR 1.3 billion will be invested in infrastructure projects to ensure key services like drinking water supply, waste water management and energy provision keep pace with the growth rate projected for the Austrian capital city.

Since 1873 Vienna’s potable water has been supplied by 30 mountain springs. The gradient is also used to generate electricity, making Viennese spring water a healthy and eco-friendly pleasure. There are also 700 drinking water fountains in Vienna where parched visitors can quench their thirst.

For many years now, Vienna has coordinated the rehabilitation of the city’s vast water supply network, which comprises 3,000 kilometers of water pipes. Based on an internationally recognised six-pillar model, approximately 30 km of pipes are renewed or repaired every year. And that means total investments in Vienna’s water supply system add up to almost EUR 50 million per year.

Vienna is a city that charms you and convinces you to stay longer the moment you step into the city. And with heavy investments in improving the sewage treatment, rainwater management and electricity supply, it is getting ready for the future well before time. Vienna is focusing its energies and resources on developing sustainable energy. The city also has a modern biogas plant that produces biological methane from 22,000 tons of kitchen waste per year.

Whether it is for a short holiday or to settle down or just to stay long enough to soak in the vibe of the city, there’s just so much to do. There’s a seemingly never-ending wealth of places to visit and things to do throughout the year. It is arguably the richest city in terms of its culture and music. And with a very pleasing mix of cool cafés, bars, art galleries and markets, it is no doubt that it is the most liveable and lovable city in the world.