So why is Vienna the most liveable city in the world?

The Economist Intelligence Unit has recently named Vienna the World’s Most Liveable City for the second year running. But beyond the palaces and Apfelstrudel is the Austrian capital really the perfect city?

So why is Vienna the most liveable city in the world?
Photo: DPA

“Grünanlagen” – Green Spaces

The environment is essential to consider when determining the liveability of a city, and in Vienna the drinking water comes direct from the Alps and half of its urban surface areas are are covered with some sort of greenery.

The efficient public transport makes it easy for residents to access plentiful green spaces and rolling woodland at the city limits. Even the Danube River is on the Metro Line, with a stretch of it opening every every summer for swimming if residents need to cool off.

READ MORE: Vienna “world’s most liveable city” for second year in a row

“Raunzen” – To Complain Like a Local

We’d assume that by calling the World’s Most Liveable City home, the Viennese would be among the happiest and friendliest people in the world. Not quite. According to a worldwide survey of emigrants, Vienna is the 65th friendliest city out of 72, with language barrier cited as a particular difficulty of fitting in. 

The Viennese are in fact known for being a pessimistic bunch and for “Schmaeh”, a sardonic sense of humour. They also love a good complain, with the local word “raunzen” an essential skill for becoming accustomed to Viennese way of life. 

Though it’s not all doom and gloom, as the latest satisfaction survey released by city authorities in June shows that nine out of ten are indeed “happy” or “very happy” to live in Vienna, with the city’s cultural life and environment being particularly important to the locals.

“Wien-Bashing” – Vienna Bashing

Unlike in the rest of the country, which is generally more conservative, the left has won every democratic election in Vienna for a century. Therefore in the anticipation of a strong right-wing challenge in the 2020 municipal elections, international praise of Vienna is useful ammunition for the city authorities. 

Vienna’s left-wing stance sometimes puts it at odds with the rest of Austria. Sebastian Kurz, Chancellor of the previous right-wing national government, was often accused of “Wien-Bashing”, particularly in respect of the city’s social expenditure.

“Einschließigkeit” – Inclusivity

Unlike in many other cities, Vienna focuses on preventing patterns of inequality and gentrification by limiting the cost of living. As a result, the city’s crime rate is the lowest it has been for almost 20 years. One resident, Barbara Zburny, told AFP that there were “no ghettos” in the city and that “different cultures mix together well”.

The cost of living is near the European average, with 60% of residents living in a property where the rent is capped. Annual travel cards for public transport now outnumber cars in the city as they cost just one euro per day. 

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What’s on: Five things to do in Vienna this weekend

Vienna is full of events, places to visit and great new restaurants to try out. If you are overwhelmed with the possibilities or just wondering where you can find a cafe with a fireplace, here are some ideas.

What's on: Five things to do in Vienna this weekend

Haus der Musik

Austria and its capital Vienna are known for their connection to the world of music, from classical names to more recent rock, pop and hip hop creations. 

In Vienna, one of the best museums for all ages is the house of music, with information and many interactive experiences will teach you how sound is created and show you pieces from the city’s philharmonic. 

One of the highlights is the staircase between floors that acts as a piano allowing visitors to compose their music. 

You can find more information here.

Long night in the museum

Definitely one of the coolest events in any city. This weekend is the time to visit Viennese museums way after hours – the event is actually Austria-wide and you can check all participating institutions here.

On Saturday, the 1st of October, the “ORF Long Night of Museums” takes place. From 6 pm to 1 am, numerous museums open their doors and offer a diverse program for young and old. The regular tickets cost 15 euros, discounted tickets 12 euros and regionally limited tickets six euros. Admission is free for children up to the age of twelve.

You can find more information here.

Café Jelinek

As the weather gets colder and the weekend promises some rain, of course staying indoors is a good idea. Vienna is full of beautiful cafes to visit and enjoy, but Jelinek has a charm of its own.

The traditional coffee house not only has delicious food in a great environment, but visitors can also enjoy some warmth straight from the fireplace (no extremely high gas bills here!).

You can find more information here.

Vienna Comic Con 

This weekend, Austria’s capital is hosting the Vienna Comic Con. Comic fans can meet up and enjoy the event with some great guests. Besides famous comic artists, fantasy authors, and voice actors, there are cosplay guests and entertainment guests. One of them is Jack Gleeson, the actor who played Joeffrey in Game of Thrones. 

The comic con also has thrilling esports tournaments, free-to-play areas, and more. 

You can find more information here.

Visit a heuriger

Not ready to say goodbye to heuriger season just yet? There are many unique places still open and worth a visit before it gets too old outside. 

The classic suggestion is Heuriger Wieninger, in the 21st district. Besides the house wine, there’s a buffet with warm and cold dishes, all in the traditional ambiance of a heuriger. 

You can find more information here.

Do you know any other cool events happening in Vienna during the weekends? You can email us at [email protected] to share your tips and suggestions.