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Does Graz offer the best quality of life among Austria's cities?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Does Graz offer the best quality of life among Austria's cities?
The Austrian city of Graz. Photo by Daniel J. Schwarz on Unsplash

Austria's Vienna and Salzburg usually get most of the attention of foreigners, but the country's second-largest city Graz has a lot of charm and many fans. Are you one of them?


When people think about Austria, they often imagine either the imperial Vienna capital, with its opulent buildings and beautiful parks, or the breathtaking Alpine regions, where skiing is popular and mountains tower over villages.

But there is much more to Austria than that. The country's second-largest city, Graz, has just over 300,000 inhabitants and was cited in a global study as the world's best city for "quiet living". The Styrian capital scored high in safety rates, public transport links, access to amenities, and other criteria used in the survey. 

There is also some curious data that makes Graz perhaps more attractive to quiet-seeking people: "If you enjoy practising yoga, then you’ll be pleased to know that Graz has the second most yoga studios per 100,000 people on our list, at 37.86". 

The top 10 cities are Graz (Austria), Canberra (Australia), Zurich (Switzerland), Sydney (Australia), Helsinki (Finland), Vienna (Austria), Brno (Czechia), Munich (Germany), Copenhagen (Denmark) and Stockholm (Sweden).

READ ALSO: Salzburg, Linz, Graz: Where are Austria’s biggest companies?


What makes Graz so great?

First of all, it's a bit of a city by Austrian standards (the second-largest) but still small, with just over 300,000 people compared with the more than two million Viennese. Graz is a centre for knowledge and science, with four colleges and four universities.

“The best thing about Graz is that there is always a lot going on; it’s a big city, but with a small-town vibe, and everything is so easily accessible, even by bike", Valeria Queiroz, a Brazilian who moved to Graz before finally settling in Vienna, told The Local in a 2022 interview.

Part of living a quiet life means you live in a safe city. Austria is not by any means a dangerous country, but Graz has one of the lowest crime index scores among the state capitals, as The Local reported. Styria, the province where Graz is located, has one of the lowest frequency rates of criminal offences in Austria, with only Lower Austria and Burgenland having fewer criminal offences per 100,000 inhabitants, according to Statista.

Great connections and lower cost of living

You can live a quiet life in Graz but still be near the hustle and bustle of other cities, which adds to the perks of the Styrian capital. 

“Graz has everything you might need and is not far from Vienna. The atmosphere is charming, and you are close to places like lake regions, Slovenia and Italy. My entire family decided to stay in Graz, and they love it,” Natália Amaral-Skreinig told The Local.

It's also easier to travel further, as Styria has its own regional airport in Graz with nearly 20 direct flight connections, including daily flights to Vienna, Munich and Berlin, and weekly options to the Canary Islands and Greek islands.

READ ALSO: What are the new flights to and from Austrian airports in 2024?

Besides the great connections, Graz has another advantage over many bigger cities: cheaper cost of living. 

“Rents are much lower in Graz than in Vienna, but energy and other costs are the same. When it comes to highly skilled workers, because they have salary requirements according to the immigration law, they end up having a higher purchasing power in Styria and lower living expenses outside of Vienna”, Kornelia Epping, a specialist in immigration and relocation and CEO of MOVES consulting, explains.


Nature and overall atmosphere

Even though it is not an Alpine city, Graz is surrounded by beautiful natural places and is very green, adding to the quiet living experience. Graz also has a rich historical and cultural heritage, which, combined with its recent resurgence as a design city, makes for a compelling combination. 

Graz is not just renowned for its architecture: the city is Austria’s officially designated culinary capital, partly because its position between the Styrian Alps and the fertile Grazerfeld basin makes it an ideal setting for agricultural production.

Graz's numerous parks and green spaces are the city's green oases. Relaxing walks, quiet thoughts on a shady bench, beautiful views of old giant trees and colourful flowerbeds, sculptures and water art, playgrounds and dog meadows - the parks and gardens of Graz offer urban recreation for every need.

The city is also perfect for nature lovers, with many parks, a clean and beautiful river, and many bike paths.

READ NEXT: How to make the most of 24 hours in Graz

Share your own views on life in Graz in the comments section below? Does it offer the best quality of life in Austria? 


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