There are numerous lists rating the world’s top cities available to help you decide where you should travel next. Some utilise reader surveys to determine where the best location to live is. While others use facts like livability or how easy it is to bike there to establish where the best place to live is.
1. Brisbane, Australia
Early in the pandemic, the nations of Oceania imposed severe travel restrictions, effectively banning most visitors from entering the region. As a result, inhabitants were able to resume normal living in late 2020, far ahead of the rest of the world. Australia, for example, has four cities in the top ten this year, making it the most populous country on the list. Brisbane, a sunny riverfront city with approximately 300 cloud-free days each year, is at the top of the list. Aside from the beautiful weather, Brisbane received a perfect score of 100 in both education and healthcare, making it an easy choice for one of the best locations to live in the world.
2. Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, although falling from second to eighth place this year, remains one of Australia’s and the world’s most livable cities. (The city held the top slot for seven consecutive years before falling a spot two years ago.) The city exudes all of Australia’s best characteristics—sophisticated, elegant, and free-spirited—and continues to draw visitors with its world-class art and renowned coffee and cuisine.
3. Geneva, Switzerland
Despite significant societal limitations, Switzerland grabs two slots on this year’s list, making it the only European country to make the cut. Despite being one of the world’s most costly cities, Geneva demonstrates its livability with a flawless healthcare score (it is, after all, the home of the Red Cross) and good scores for stability and infrastructure. There’s no disputing the city’s natural beauty, which includes panoramic vistas of the Alps and Jura Mountains, as well as Lake Geneva. We can see why people want to relocate here because of the beautiful daily commute.
4. Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich, Switzerland’s main city and economic center, is only ahead of Geneva. Zurich has a reputation for being hyper-efficient and stern, so it may appear one-dimensional at first glance. True, you’ll find immaculate streets and trains that usually arrive on schedule, but the city is full of surprises. Citizens can be found swimming in the Limmat River, playing volleyball in the parks, and riding their bikes to get a scoop of gelato in the summer. Zurich is also a magnet for young creatives, so you’ll find plenty of art galleries and wonderful restaurants on both sides of the river.
5. Perth, Australia
Perth is generally referred to as the world’s most isolated city, but don’t dismiss it just yet. While the Australian capital is still doing well in terms of culture and the environment, it more than makes up for its weaknesses in terms of healthcare, education, and infrastructure. (And if the Economist had included a section on beaches, we’re sure Perth would have gotten a perfect score—just look at Cottesloe Beach.) In addition, the city has a burgeoning cuisine and art scene, both of which contribute to making the isolated city a pleasant place to live.
Stay-at-home orders and border restrictions were implemented significantly sooner in Japan than in most other nations to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This, combined with a world-class healthcare system, explains why the country has two cities on the list this year. Tokyo suffered a cultural setback in 2020 (the postponed Summer Olympics being the most prominent example), but it still managed to improve three spots from the previous year. When it comes to infrastructure, Tokyo continues to set the bar high, and experts expect that the city will only become better in the second half of 2021 and beyond. Apart from the infrastructure, we’d be pleased to live in Tokyo just for the food: The Japanese capital has the most Michelin stars of any city on the planet.
7. Wellington, New Zealand
New Zealand’s stringent border closures, like Australia’s, kept the case count low throughout the epidemic, so cultural sites and eateries didn’t have to close for long. Students were also able to complete their studies, earning places such as Wellington a perfect score in education. Even if you don’t have children, the capital city is a fascinating, unique place to call home, ideal for art and culinary enthusiasts. The city, which is on the southern tip of New Zealand’s vastly undervalued North Island, is surrounded on one side by hills and on the other by a harbor that goes straight to the South Island. And what you’ve heard about Kiwis being known for their friendliness? It’s all accurate.
8. Adelaide, Australia
Adelaide is known for its world-class vineyards and natural wines, but it turns out that the southern coastal city is also a terrific place to call home. The Economist Intelligence Unit gave it a perfect score of 100 (the best possible) in both education and healthcare (based on availability and quality), and it did really well in all other areas. The city’s stunning beaches, world-class restaurants, and aforementioned wine scene, we’re sure, contribute to its livability.
9. Osaka, Japan
The nation’s third-largest city (after Tokyo and Yokohama) is frequently overshadowed by the nation’s capital, but there are numerous reasons why it has grown into a destination in its own right. For starters, Osaka is one of Japan’s best cuisine towns, with takoyaki (battered, fried octopus balls) and okonomiyaki among the must-try regional delicacies (grilled savory pancakes with a variety of additions). The city also appeals to us because of its baseball culture, neon-lit streets, and the stunning Osaka Castle.
10. Auckland, New Zealand
That’s right, folks—Auckland has been named the best city to live in for the year 2021. While the city is frequently misunderstood as nothing more than a transit stop on the way to Queenstown, a slew of new urban renewal projects are forcing us to consider a permanent move. Previously neglected areas of the city’s waterfront are being converted into bustling neighborhoods with green spaces and well-known shopping destinations. Even before all of these changes, Auckland had a reputation for being a popular destination for expats—in fact, about 40% of its population was born outside of the country. Aside from being close to lovely locations to hike, sail, and surf, the city offers a diversified food scene to match its international population.