Best City,  Blog

Most Livable City, for the 9th Time!




Last year’s Mercer’s quality of living survey placed Vienna on the top spot, and not to disappoint, this lovely city tops it again this year – the ranking includes 231 cities. Vienna is followed by Zurich (2), Auckland and Munich (in joint 3rd place), Vancouver is in 5th place (same as last year) which completes the top five and is the highest ranking city in North America.  Sunny Singapore also placed (25) and Montevideo (77) – which are the highest ranking cities in Asia and Latin America respectively.

For 2018, Mercer provided a separate ranking on City Sanitation, this category analyses the cities’ waste removal and sewage infrastructure, the levels of infectious disease detected, air pollution, water availability and quality – which are all important aspects of a city’s attractiveness for people and businesses. It was Honolulu on the top of that list.

And like last year, I am showing you again some of Vienna’s picturesque spots, like a virtual tour, not really a claim to support as to why it deserves having the title for the 9th year since Mercer has its own qualifications, this blog is all about Vienna after all.

schönbrunn, wien
Schönbrunn Palace seen from the side wing
vienna, ruins
By the Roman ruins, Schönbrunn

Perhaps the most popular tourist destination in Vienna is the Schönbrunn Palace. It is the summer residence of then emperors and their families. Nowadays, it’s open to the public as a museum, and partly a hotel. The vast garden, once a hunting ground now holds a zoo, an aquarium, and parks that visitors can enjoy.

The Great Gallerie ballroom at the Schönbrunn is an example of how lavish the lifestyle of the royalty, the Habsburgs, was during their time. Definitely one of the most grandiose Rococo ceremonial halls in existence, the paintings on the ceiling were done by Gregorio Gugliemi. This is just one of the 1441 rooms (with a handful open for tours) decorated with magnificent paintings, gold-plated walls, elegant chandeliers, and other fancy indulgences.

Vienna, most livable city
“Great Gallerie” Ballroom, Schönbrunn Palace
MUseum MOderner Kunst (Museum of Modern Art), Vienna
MUMOK – MUseum MOderner Kunst (Museum of Modern Art)

Vienna’s music scene, art culture, and architecture fare well with any other country in Europe. The various Opera houses and theatres hold performances on different schedules, it is never appropriate to say “I’m too busy” because you will find something to interest you at any given day. The Museumsquartier, a compound of baroque and modern buildings opposite the twin museums, Natural History and Art History houses a number of display that are targeted for different age groups. Zoom Kindermuseum for example, encourages children to ask, touch, investigate, feel, and play to their hearts’ content. Their installations often revolve around the themes of water, air, and earth. The last summer we passed by, there was a grass-top water bed just outside where you can wait on, sit, or jump!

It’s also a hub for artists, students, musicians who sometimes spend their time showing off their creativity. If you come by at the right time, you might find a Mindy Smith casually serenading passersby along with a friend who is equally talented playing the guitar.

One of the museums I would recommend is the MUMOK – the MUseum MOderner Kunst (Museum of Modern Art). The MUMOK has a 10,000 collection of both modern and contemporary art works, some of which are from Warhol,  Picasso,  Beuys,  Paik,  and Vostell.

On certain days, there are free exhibits that we would walk into from the side building, and it’s always a fun one!

Installation at the MUMOK during one of our visits.

 

Church at Michaelerplatz, shield bearing the Tetragrammaton (4-letter hebrew name of God)

Last year, Vienna finished its trainline project adding five more train stations to the U1 line.  It became the longest line on Vienna’s train network, but also with 24 stops as is the U6 line. This means a more comfortable travel experience to the already convenient practicality of the transportation system, especially for those living at Vienna’s 10th district who were only used to utilising the trams and buses – which is, by the way, very well-structured.

I have often mentioned that Vienna is a small city. One can pretty much walk around the city centre and see most of the attractions, but the engineers have conveniently done well with the public transportation that I have only recently discovered how near this area is to that museum or to that palace. 😀 I was used to going around in the trams and buses that I never thought it possible to just walk.

The city has also recently allowed public “stages” for buskers in train stations. There only used to be plaza spaces for them, but nowadays, if you find yourself early for your train going to another European city, you can listen to talented violinists, guitarists, pianists, even singers on their stage.

Burgtheater, Wien
Burgtheater and Tram line 1
My brave boy skating in the big rink.

That Vienna is a kid-friendly city is something  I have reiterated on my parenting blog. Children are effectively placed in free, state-sponsored schools nearer home, unless the parents opt for private education. Since school is until 12:00 or 13:00 in the afternoon, there are after school institutions or Horts provided by the city so kids can stay there to eat, do homework, play or attend extra-curricular activities while they wait for their nannies or parents to be taken home. I used to work at one of those, as an English-speaker since the school beside is a bilingual one.

There are a lot of parks, recreational centres, indoor activity areas, child-minded museums (as mentioned above) that kids can go to on the weekends or whenever they have off from school, and they give them discounts, most of the time free entrance fees on those days. Thus, it is right to say that no kid gets bored in Vienna.

Feeding ducks.
sunrise vienna
“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.”

And because Vienna has four seasons, the photographer in me is always so excited whenever mother nature changes its clothing. Below are some of my favorite shots all year-round, and some of my favourite quotes, too, about each season.

Spring
Summer
Autumn
wedding, vienna winter
Winter (almost done)

 

“Spring drew on…and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.”

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

“Fall has always been my favourite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”

Whether you choose to see Vienna in spring or in summer, if you decide to drop by in winter or autumn, know that: Vienna will surely be a truly memorable city.



14 Comments

  • Lauryn R

    Well I can definitely see why it is the most livable city for the ninth time in a row! I know that I would definitely love to visit!

  • Ann F. Snook-Moreau

    I visited Vienna for a weekend when I studied abroad a few years ago and there was so much to see and do! I feel like I barely scratched the surface. Visiting Schonbrunn Palace was one of my favorite memories of the city.

  • Shelley King

    I have never been here but it looks beautiful. I love culture so I would love the museums and such. I also would be very intrigued by riding the train. Your pictures are beautiful and make me want to hop a plane.

  • Lena

    Such a great combination of beauty and smarts – the city looks amazing with so many pretty sights I am sure l=tourists love it yet the government help for families sounds absolutely critical! I crying over here trying to figure out how to pay for my kids’ summer camp and after school activities and so could use some breathing room. Congratulations to Vienna for making the list once again

  • Melanie

    That is many years to be on such a list! I can see why. It looks like a great city. Maybe one day I will get to visit. Your photos make it look awesome.

  • Nadalie Bardo

    I have yet to travel to Austria but when I get the chance, I would definitely try to incorporate Vienna into the itinerary. This city looks so beautiful and I am sure it is rich in culture too.

  • Ali Rost

    My goodness, Vienna must be quite a city if it’s been voted the most liveable nine times in a row. If my husband and I are ever lucky enough to visit, we’d love to spend an afternoon strolling around the Museum of Modern Art (for him) and taking in the amazing sunsets (for her)

  • Melissa Dixon

    That looks like a wonderful place to visit and take lots of pictures. My family has sworn to never fly again but I bet if they took a look at this they would want to travel there. I need to show them because I would love to see that in person someday that is for sure!

  • Aileen Adalid

    I have not been to Vienna, only other parts of Austria BUT I have heard so many great things about it! My best friend in particular has so many praises for it and now I can see why. I would totally love to be in a place like this!

  • Heather

    WOW, this looks stunning! We were married at an Arizona venue called Sierra Viena and have always wanted to visit Vienna. We would love to plan a visit soon.

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