Vienna voted best city in the world

Vienna is famous for a number of things; its rich cultural history, a couple of famous composers (Mozart and Strauss), a waltz, and of course, a Wiener schnitzel. It’s also famous for being the best city to live in the world, an award it has retained for the third year in a row.

According to the Mercer 2011 Quality of Living survey, Vienna in Austria beat 220 other cities to earn the distinction.

Zurich in Switzerland was second followed by Auckland in New Zealand.

More than half of the top 25 cities are in Europe.

"European cities in general continue to have high standards of living because they enjoy advanced and modern city infrastructures combined with high-class medical, recreational and leisure facilities," said Slagin Parakatil, senior researcher at Mercer. "But economic turmoil, high levels of unemployment and lack of confidence in political institutions make their future positions hard to predict."

Baghdad was ranked as the worst city to live due to its high levels of crime and political instability.

Mercer scored the cities based on 39 criteria, including relationships with other countries, traffic congestion, schools, climate, recreational activities, internal stability and economic factors.

"The top-ranking cities for personal safety and security are in politically stable countries with good international relations and relatively sustainable economic growth," Parakatil said. "Most of the low-scoring cities are in countries with civil unrest, high crime levels and little law enforcement."

Mercer's survey is intended to help governments and international companies compensate employees working abroad.

Did you go to Vienna on your gap year? If so, what did you think?

Vienna and Austria is a popular InterRailing destination for a gap year. For more information on InterRailing then see our InterRailing section, and for more information on Austria then see out Austria country section.

The top 10 cities to live in are:

  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Zurich, Switzerland
  3. Auckland, New Zealand
  4. Munich, Germany
  5. Düsseldorf, Germany
  6. Vancouver, Canada
  7. Frankfurt, Germany
  8. Geneva, Switzerland
  9. Bern, Switzerland
  10. Copenhagen, Denmark