10 Reasons Vienna Was Named City With Highest Quality of Life

Vienna at sunset | Pixabay
Vienna at sunset | Pixabay
Photo of Culture Trip
14 June 2017

A study examining the socioeconomic conditions of cities has placed Vienna in first place in terms of quality of life. From affordable housing and an excellent education system, to a rich cultural heritage and easy access to beautiful natural surroundings, here are just ten reasons why Vienna is such a great place to live.


Having a decent and affordable roof over your head is of course a serious priority when living in a city. Viennese apartments are enviable – polished parquet flooring, high, decorative ceilings, bright, spacious rooms, gorgeous façades and, most importantly, generally affordable rents.

Contracts can be arranged to protect tenants from being charged extortionate rates, with restrictions depending on the size and condition of the apartment. Although prices have been steadily increasing in recent years, they still remain relatively low in comparison to many European cities.

The social housing system also has a solid reputation, with 60% of the city’s population residing in ‘subsidized apartments,’ with 220,00 in homes provided by the council. Some of the most remarkable social housing structures were designed by Harry Gluck, an Austrian architect, who had a vision of creating homes for the poor with features favored by the wealthy.

Otto Wagner Jugendstil apartments on Vienna's linke Wienzeile, along the Naschmarkt | © Ethan Prater / Flickr

Transport and infrastructure

A functioning public transport system is essential to an enjoyable and productive life in the city. Commuting back and forth is painful enough, without the added misery of delays and sardine-packed cabins filled with fuming folk. The U-Bahn in Vienna is easy to navigate, reliable, and there are 24-hour services on weekends. Annual tickets can be purchased for just one euro per day. Cyclists are also well-looked after, with clear pathways and many cycle routes winding around the city, while exploring on foot is also a great option in the summertime.

The Vienna U-bahn | © Drantcom / Flickr

Environment and pollution

Pollution is currently a massive global issue, with cities around the world being increasingly smothered in smog. Vienna has an excellent reputation for being a clean and green city, with air quality being measured as ‘good’ and drinking water quality and accessibility as ‘very high.’ Noise and light pollution is also considered to be ‘low.’


Vienna’s education system is widely considered to be excellent and its universities rank among the best in the world. The Montessori method, a progressive form of education that encourages individual thought and creativity, is common in kindergartens and early years education. The city also has a few specialist schools that are geared towards children who don’t perform well under conventional forms of education. The Rudolph Steiner school, for example, takes a more experimental approach to learning by nurturing the individual’s strengths.

Inside the impressive Austrian National Library | © suju / pixabay

Health care

Anyone covered by Austrian insurance can reap the benefits of the country’s impressive health care system. Skill and competency of staff in hospitals and clinics are considered ‘very high’ and speed in completing examinations and reports is also ‘high.’

Counseling and therapy are also well-ingrained in the Austrian way of life – Vienna was once the home of psychoanalysis godfather Sigmund Freud, who perhaps influenced its popularity.


Austria is the 14th-richest country in the world, due to its well-developed social market economy. Maintaining close ties with other EU members and exporting trade is vital to Austria’s economy, and the World Bank has stated that Austria has one of the highest GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per head, indicating a high standard of living for citizens.

Known as ‘Europe’s Delishop,’ Austria has over 18,500 organic farms, another contributing factor to its blossoming economy.

Euros | © wfabry / Flickr

Crime rates

Crime rates in Vienna are among the lowest in Europe. According to the world’s largest user-contributed data website, Numbeo, worries felt by residents over theft, muggings, and assaults are ‘low to very low,’ and the overall level of crime across the city was ranked as ‘low.’ Safety walking home late at night is ‘high’ and walking in the daytime is ‘very high.’ Like with any large city, there are still areas that are considered more ‘dodgy’ but overall Vienna is an incredibly secure city.


Vienna is drenched in culture and the arts, with a strong heritage for producing exceptional classical music, fine arts, and theater. Some of the biggest names the city is associated with are monumental: Beethoven, Klimt and Mozart, to name but a few.

The city has incredible museums and some amazing music venues – including the world-famous Vienna State Opera House, where thousands of visitors flock each year to see world-class musical performances.

Another key feature likely contributing to the city’s well-being is the coveted coffee culture. Viennese coffee houses are considered institutions, loved by locals and tourists alike, for providing a space to discuss the day’s events in a relaxed and quaint environment. Frequented by intellectuals, artists, and philosophers during the 19th century, they have developed a reputation for being cultural hubs where great minds gather.

Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer 1, 1907 | © Gustav Klimt/WikiCommons


Geographically, Vienna is the capital of the continent and this definitely has its benefits. Italy, Slovenia, Hungary and Germany are easily accessible by car or train. In addition, although Austria is a landlocked country, the Mediterranean sea can be easily reached by a relatively short car journey, while the River Danube will quench your desire to swim if you don’t fancy the journey.

Proximity to the countryside

As previously mentioned, Vienna is one of the greenest cities in Europe, hugged by lush hills and rural landscapes, and it has a lot of lovely parks to explore and hiking routes in and around the city. If craving country air, it is very easy to take a break away from the city, with fantastic vineyards and rolling hills a short train-ride away.

Vineyards in Vienna's hills | © lafilledevienne / pixabay