Two Austrian cities among ‘best in the world’ for foreign residents

Two Austrian cities among 'best in the world' for foreign residents
Which Austrian city is favoured by expats? Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP
Two Austrian cities featured prominently in a new global ranking of the top 66 ‘most liveable cities for expats’ - although the Viennese will not be happy to learn another city in the country scored higher.

Graz tends to be best known for its well-preserved Old Town and its historic universities than for its international community, but a new worldwide ranking may change all that. 

Graz has come in as the tenth highest-rated city for expats in the Expat City Ranking 2020

The survey – which takes into account the opinions of 15,000 people across the globe – looks at how liveable a city is for international workers or ‘expats’. 

Graz came in at 11th, a few spots ahead of Vienna in 16th. 

While the capital ranked ahead of Graz in two major factors – quality of life and how easy it is to settle in – Graz ranks higher in terms of cost of living, the costs and accessibility of housing and professional life. 

Graz ranks fifth out of 66 cities for safety of jobs and sits in tenth for work-life balance. 

In total, 80 percent of Graz expats feel that their jobs are safe – and a similar amount view their work-life balance positively. 

Graz ranks fifth worldwide for quality of life, with public transport and environmental cleanliness scoring particularly highly. 

Austria’s famously tense relationship with friendliness did however become apparent in the survey. 

Vienna ranked as the third-worst city for friendliness after only Salmiya (Kuwait) – which finished last overall – and Prague. Graz ranked 50th worldwide for friendliness. 

Along with a lack of friendliness, social life was also a major concern in Austria. 

“It’s not easy to make friends. Austrians tend to stay with Austrians and neither speak much nor like English,” said an expat from South Africa.

Iberian cities rank highly

While larger cities like London, Berlin and Paris have traditionally been targets for foreign workers, it is Spain and Portugal which have emerged strongly in the survey results. 

Five of the top ten cities are in either Spain or Portugal. 

Valencia won top spot and Alicante came second, with cost of living, climate and leisure activities all ranking highly. 

Lisbon was third, Malaga sixth and Madrid ninth. 


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