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Europe’s 10 best cities to live – full list

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There are many factors to consider when choosing the best city to live in. This includes job opportunities, housing prices, green spaces and suitability for older people and families with young children.

The European Commission has produced a report on the quality of life in European cities, and named the best places to live.

The 112-page report is based on the results from a survey of over 71,000 residents from 83 cities across the EU, European Free Trade Association (EFTA), the UK, the West Balkans and Turkey, conducted in January to April 2023.

It found that nine out of ten people were satisfied with living in their city. 

The top ten all had their overall satisfaction rating as well above 90 percent. However, there was an overall decline compared with the Commission’s last survey in 2019.

However, the report’s “most livable city” is not actually part of the EU.

The biggest winners, with two cities each in the top ten were Switzerland and Germany, with the former claiming the top spot with Zurich.

The city had an overall satisfaction rating of a staggering 97%, with high approval ratings of the city’s general financial situation, job avaliability, public tranport, healthcare services and air quality. It was also named the best European city for LGBTQ+ and older people.

All is not perfect, however. Zurich, like it’s fellow Swiss city Geneva, which claimed the seventh spot, were rated low for affordable housing, at 11 and eight percent respectively. Copenhagen, Denmark, which came third, also fell short in this category, but it may also be Europe’s most corrupt city, with only 20 percent saying there is graft in city’s local public administration.

Groningen in the Netherlands earned second place, with an overall satisfaction rating of 96 percent. It was also considered to be safe and clean, with 86 percent of those surveyed saying they felt safe to walk alone at night.

It was praised for its plentiful green and public spaces and also described as a great place for immigrants and members of the LGBTQ+ community to live. It is also home to Europe’s largest pub, The Drie Gezusters, which can allegedly seat more than 3,700 people!

Germany became the survey’s second biggest winner, claiming two top ten spots with Rostock and Leipzig in eighth and fourth respectively.

Both were praised for their care for older people and families with young children. Rostock earned the top spot in Europe for its job situation, with an 85 percent satisfaction rating. Leizpig was also commended for air quality, at 83 percent.

Other top ten cities included unsurprising cities such as Braga, Portugal (ninth, 94 percent), which was named the best European destination in 2021, Stockholm, Sweden (seventh, satisfaction rating of 95 percent), and Gdańsk, Poland (fifth, 95 percent).

However, some more unusual cities also made the top ten, including Cluj-Napoca in Romania, scoring a 94 percent satisfaction rating, praised for its booming trade sector and with 73 percent saying it is easy to get a good job, securing it second place for job opportunities.

The study confirmed that smaller cities tend to outperform larger ones in several areas: “Smaller cities are perceived as a better place to live in many aspects, including safety, availability of public spaces, healthcare, housing affordability, and local public administrations,” the report stated.

Europe’s most livable cities:

10 – Cluj-Napoca, Romania (94% satisfaction)

9 – Braga, Portugal (94%)

8 – Rostock, Germany (94%)

7 – Geneva, Switzerland (95%)

6 – Stockholm, Sweden (95%)

5 – Gdansk, Poland (95%)

4 – Leipzig, Germany (95%)

3 – Copenhagen, Denmark (96%)

2 – Groningen, Netherlands (96%)

1 – Zurich, Switzerland (97%)

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