Does life feel stressful lately? Maybe you could use a change of scenery. Perhaps a move to a city where daily stresses take a back seat to actual life enjoyment. Wondering where to find this relaxed utopia?
Technology company Zipjet put together a list of the least and most stressful cities in the world, analyzing each city by ranking it in four main categories:
- City. Each city was judged on how dense its population was, how many green spaces it offered its residents and how safe it was. The ranking also took into account people’s public transit options, traffic congestion and how much sun the city gets a year.
- Pollution. It’s not exactly relaxing to breathe in smog, so cities were ranked by their levels of air pollution, noise pollution and light pollution.
- Finance. Cities were more likely to get a higher ranking if they had low unemployment rates, lower debt per capita, more purchasing power for families and strong social security (including health care, unemployment insurance and retirement).
- People. How much care is put into people’s mental and physical health, and what do gender and race equality look like in each city?
With those factors in mind, here are the 25 least stressful cities in the world, from pretty relaxing to entirely blissful:
25. Leipzig, Germany
Leipzig has surprisingly high levels of noise pollution (it had the highest scores of noise pollution on the list of 150 countries), but it boasts great gender equality and low levels of traffic.
24. Montréal, Canada
Montréal has fantastic race equality and—despite the cold winters—mental health seems well taken care of. It’s also a great city to live in economically. Residents are lucky enough to have low levels of unemployment and they enjoy a low cost of living with generous monthly salaries.
23. Kuwait City, Kuwait
Looking for a warm locale? Despite higher levels of air pollution and at-times-stressful race relations, Kuwait City offers up mild temperatures, low population density and plenty of sunlight year-round.
22. Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik may not have the best public transit available, and its noise pollution may get stressful at times, but other than that, the Icelandic capital is a great place to relax, with residents who enjoy great physical health and gender equality.
21. Düsseldorf, Germany
Düsseldorf might be a tad noisy, but its residents enjoy healthy lifestyles, race and gender equality and a safe, affordable city.
20. Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne continually nabs top marks as a great place to live, having been named the world’s most livable city seven years in a row now by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
19. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Aside from higher levels of pollution, the residents of Abu Dhabi enjoy a fairly stress-free life thanks to great social security, a lack of traffic and maximum sunlight year-round.
18. Helsinki, Finland
Across the board, residents of Finland’s capital enjoy great mental and physical health, plus a well-laid-out city with plenty of green spaces and public transit options. Their unemployment rate may be a bit higher than other stress-free cities, but with social security and good family purchasing power, Helsinki still rates pretty high when it comes to relaxed living.
17. Auckland, New Zealand
It may be home to a third of New Zealand’s population, but Auckland still boasts low population density and plenty of green spaces for its residents to enjoy. Auckland also consistently ranks as one of the best cities in the world for its quality of life.
16. Oslo, Norway
While it’s not the place to be if you value sunny days all year—a fact that’s reflected in its relatively poor mental health score—Oslo offers up a very livable city and enviable social equality.
15. Dresden, Germany
As one of the many German cities that ranked among the least stressful, Dresden is an affordable and safe place to settle down. And while other cities offer up better public transit, Dresden has some of the least stressful traffic in the world, making residents’ commutes easy.
14. Nice, France
It’s in the name after all, right? As it turns out, this beachside city isn’t only great for vacationing—it’s a pretty relaxing place to live, as well. Residents get to enjoy plenty of sunshine, low levels of pollution and plenty of outdoor space, which makes up for a high unemployment rate in the city.
13. Wellington, New Zealand
The second Kiwi city to make the list of the most relaxing cities in the world, Wellington offers residents and visitors easy access to the great outdoors and fairly affordable living for a capital city.
12. Seattle, United States
The only American city to make the list, Seattle ranks in 12th place thanks to its great quality of life. It loses points, however, due to a lack of social security and its public transit system.
11. Zurich, Switzerland
The global capital of banking and finance falls just shy of making it to the top 10. Zurich gets top marks for its transit, traffic, green spaces and safety, and also offers its residents excellent social parity.
10. Graz, Austria
Lonely Planet calls Graz Austria’s “most relaxed” city—and they’re absolutely right. Residents enjoy a high level of social security, financial stability and mental and physical wellness.
9. Hamburg, Germany
While Hamburg may not be the sunniest place on earth, it is pretty happy. The Germany city is well-laid-out, prosperous and clean.
8. Sydney, Australia
While Sydney loses a few points for its perceived safety and congested traffic, the city ranks high in relaxation thanks to its residents’ good health, a well-connected city layout and reliable financial stability.
7. Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Scotland’s capital might not get fantastic marks for its traffic or its yearly dose of sunshine (it is the U.K., after all), but Edinburgh’s air is clean, its transit is great and its residents have access to plenty of green space.
6. Bordeaux, France
Bordeaux has some of the lowest levels of air, noise and light pollution of all the cities on this list, and its residents enjoy free-flowing roads and transit, strong social parity and an affordable life (despite relatively high levels of unemployment in the town).
5. Munich, Germany
Munich is a dense city—with plenty of light and sound pollution to go with it—but it’s also incredibly affordable and boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates on Zipjet’s list.
4. Bern, Switzerland
Bern might not be the best place to live financially, but its residents have access to plenty of outdoor space and a well-connected public transit system. There’s also a strong sense of social equality and safety in the city.
3. Hannover, Germany
Thanks to affordable living and lack of pollution, Hannover easily makes it into the top three most relaxing places to live in the world. Maybe it’s time to move to Germany?
2. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Life in Luxembourg is pretty relaxed, with stress-free traffic, great social security, healthy residents and affordable living. The weather might not be the most tropical, but the quality of life is through the roof.
1. Stuttgart, Germany
In first place comes Stuttgart, which is filled with parks and green spaces, is perceived as quite safe and is very affordable. And with its ranking as the most stress-free city in the world, it’s no wonder its residents enjoy good mental health despite the weather (the category Stuttgart does the worst in).
With these 25 cities in mind, it just might be time to plan your next vacation.