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Top 5 European Cities With the Highest Quality of Life

5. Frankfurt, Germany (world: 7)

Living in Germany's banking center on the river Main with skyscrapers that gave it the monikers Mainhattan and Bankfurt; an annual bookfair, and one of Europe's busiest airports, Frankfurters play as hard as they work.

Heavily bombed during the war, the old town center has now been faithfully reconstructed and offers a great atmosphere with its cobbled pedestrianized streets, shops and bistros, and squares covered in chairs and umbrellas, inviting people to stop for food and a drink.

A walk along the river Main is a must. Stop off at cafes, in summer stay on the man-made beaches, and pop into one or more of the nine museums that line the quay. Every Saturday, a flea market takes over the Schaumainkai promenade and the area around the Osthafen docklands.

4. Düsseldorf, Germany (world: 6)

Düsseldorf is a very livable city, but it is not on the global tourist radar. And it's better for it. The capital of the industrial hothouse county of North Rhine-Westphalia is a wealthy and chic city, despite the dorf (village) in the name.

For architecture buffs, the Rheinhafen, the modern media center along the Rhine, is a must. Some of the world's top architects have built here and Frank Gehry alone has three building complexes next to each other, making for a dramatic skyline. And speaking of the Rhine, along the river lies the Altstadt, the Old Town. This is, in the local language, "die längste Theke der Welt," the longest bar in the world, with one bar bordering the next. Indulge in local Altbier, a dark beer, here.

Düsseldorf is also home to Europe's third-largest community of Japanese, so hop over to Schadowstrasse for some superb Japanese food.

3. Munich (world: 3)

After Berlin, Munich is Germany's most visited city. The annual Octoberfest alone draws some 7 million visitors to its beer tents. But Munich is not just about beer and pretzels, even though you can see how those already improve the liveability.

The quality of the museums is outstanding; just like in Amsterdam, they could keep you busy forever, but maybe pick the Neue Pinakothek and the Deutsches Museum, and if you a car enthusiast, add the BMW museum for variety.

Don't miss the architecture of the Marienplatz, the Hofbräuhaus for a beer, and the Englischer Garten for a stroll, a sunbathe or a picnic. And then there is also the surfing. Yes, despite being close to the Alps rather than the sea, Munich's Eisbach has a perfect surfing spot. So, bring your board.

2. Zurich (world: 2)

Zurich has so much going for it that sadly only the rather substantial budget you will need takes away from it. A multicultural city with a medieval center, surrounded by mountains, with a river and a lake whose water is mineral-water clear, and a fabulous eating and drinking culture, makes visits in winter and summer equally enjoyable. Go window-shopping along the exclusive Bahnhofstrasse, get an overview of the surroundings on a short roundtrip on Lake Zurich and climb up Uetliberg for spectacular views. After, enjoy some sausages in the beer garden Bauschänzli by the river, and meander the old cobbled streets in the Old Town off the Münstergasse with is many little bars and cafes.

For those who want something different, there is the FIFA Football Museum; a Zoological Museum with a stuffed version of every Swiss species in attendance, and a Money museum

1. Vienna (world: 1)

Vienna, capital of Austria, is not only the most livable city in Europe, but the world, according to both the Mercer and EIU reports. It achieved sterling ratings in measures such as Stability, Infrastructure, Education and Healthcare.

Finding its origins as a Roman war camp, it later was the capital of the substantial and very rich Austrian Empire. This resulted in some magnificent palaces and buildings associated with the imperial family. Baroque buildings and cafes famous for their sweet treats, such as Sachertorte and Kaiserschmarrn, vie for visitors' attention. As do the Danube meadows, in summer bustling with festivals and concerts.

When you're saturated with palaces and cakes, visit the Prater with is fabulous views off the Ferris wheel, and marvel at Vienna's answer to Gaudi: the colorful houses and art of Friedrich Stowasser, better known as Hundertwasser.

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Originally published: https://www.farandwide.com

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