The annual list of world’s most liveable cities has been released by the Economist and there are few surprises, with Australia and Canada continuing to dominate, and Melbourne topping the list for a fifth consecutive year. They’re a nice place to live, but would you want to visit there? Here’s what the top five cities have to offer tourists.
Adelaide (equal fifth)
South Australia’s unfairly-maligned capital has a lot to offer residents and visitors alike. Sometimes good things come in small packages, and this sunny, wide blue-skied city’s best bits are easy to explore – from its expansive sandy beaches in the west, to its orchard-laden foothills in the east. There are advantages to being able to walk from one end of the city to the other in an easy stroll, allowing visitors to take in everything from the parklands to the botanic gardens and the cafe culture in between.
Adelaide’s much like Melbourne’s baby sister; but with less hustle and bustle, wider spaces, and better weather. Much like Melbourne, it has diverse and much-lauded cuisine – the fresh produce adorning stalls in the Central Markets is plated later in high-end, hip restaurants or hidden bars. And if you do visit, don’t forget to sample its celebrated wine from such luminaries as Penfolds, Coonawarra or the Barossa.
Calgary (equal fifth)
The city that Canadians love to hate throws one of North America’s biggest parties every year – the Calgary Stampede. Each July, the population swells with rodeo stars and wannabes, and visitors can try their luck on a mechanical bull at a ‘honky tonk’ such as Ranchman’s. If not, you can sit back and enjoy live country music, dance lessons, and cowboy fare; which, if you visit during this time of year, could be anything from deep fried bubble gum, choc-dipped jalapenos, dessert fries and bison ribs. Yee-haw!
Outside the Stampede, things turn to relative normality, with new bars, boutiques, restaurants and tempting coffee with which you can chow down avant-garde donuts with toppings such as maple bacon. All this of course is within spitting distance of some of the world’s most spectacular scenery, such as Banff and Jasper National Parks.
Toronto is not just liveable, it’s also the most culturally diverse city on the planet. It’s soaring skyscrapers that sprawl along Lake Ontario’s northwestern shore are dwarfed by the iconic CN Tower, once the world’s tallest free-standing building (a title that now belongs to Dubai’s Burj Khalifa), and the place to do the Toronto Edgewalk – the world’s craziest walk around the top of the tower’s restaurant from where, on a good day, you can see the spray from Niagara Falls. Packed into the city are some of the world’s finest restaurants, hipster bars, clubs and eclectic festivals, as well as unusual sights such as Casa Loma – one of the world’s most fascinating castles. To find out it’s bizarre story, you’ll just have to pay it a visit.
What is it about this city that is consistently voted into the top ten of the world’s most liveable? Is it possessing a dramatic cityscape with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains? Perhaps it’s a lush green lung central to the city from which to gape at it? It’s hardly surprising locals may be smug about waking up to that sort of view, but there is much more to Vancouver than eye candy. Hip neighbourhoods wrestle good-naturedely over who has the best cuisine or craft breweries. Producing some of the world’s best farm-to-table, seafood, and Asian cuisine, Vancouver attracts foodie visitors in droves. And if that wasn’t enough, you can burn off the calories hitting the ski slopes at Whistler in the morning and the beach in the afternoon, because it’s that close.
Austria’s capital was thrust into the spotlight this year when 198 million people tuned in around the world to watch Eurovision. The city played host gregariously, embracing Euro-daptations such as altering its pedestrian lights with images of gay, lesbian and straight couples and hotel staff sporting Conchita Wurst’s beard for the contest, which made headlines worldwide.
Once the furore died down and the pop fanaticism faded into the background, the city was once again is remembered for its seemingly endless list great composers who were born or just worked here, such as Mozart and Beethoven.
Some rankings put this city at the top of the list. Vienna is not only renowned for its music, but for its coffee houses, its enchanting, stately palaces, sacher torte, and just generally being a grand, beautiful European city oozing with history. Dotted with lush green parks, an efficient public transport system and bike tracks shuffle tourists and residents from one end of the city to the other. Its blend of postmodern and contemporary architecture, a buzzing culinary scene that ranges from bistro pubs to hot dog stands and friendly locals keep visitors returning to Vienna again and again.
From an insider’s perspective, it’s easy to see why Melbourne has been voted the world’s most liveable. The crisp blue skies of winter give way to warm summer days that rarely get unbearably hot, over which there is a plethora of parks and beaches to enjoy, interconnected by an efficient – and if you’re CBD bound – free public transport system. We’re never short of a new restaurant to try, such as the five-story monster announced for Fitzroy’s Brunswick Street, or an international band touring, or festival. Add to this our laneway culture, world-renowned street art, rapidly evolving food courts and ‘hidden bars’ that are constantly keeping us on our toes, we’re never lost for entertainment – so it’s little wonder this ‘second city’ is booming.