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  • The world’s most livable cities, from a traveler’s point of view

    Auckland

    Auckland

    Year after year, The Economist as well as Mercer compile lists of the most livable cities on the planet. If you want to move to another city and you want to make sure that you’ll get better living conditions than at your last home, it’s a good list to consult. But just because a city has a wealth of stuff to buy and services, or because it has good roads and little crime does not mean that they instantly become hot tourist attractions.

    So what are the advantages of visiting the kind of city you’d like to live in? Are they more tourist-friendly than your run of the mill town, or do they only make the tourist’s job harder? Here the pros and cons of visiting the world’s most livable cities, from a traveler’s point of view.

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    Melbourne, Australia

    Melbourne is huge, it has a plethora of restaurants, nightlife spots and shopping areas, and it is the cultural capital of Australia as well. Even someone who has lived in Melbourne all their life would find it hard to get bored in this diverse city.

    There are galleries, regular festivals, and a huge variety of museums in Melbourne, but the downside is that Melbourne is one of the priciest cities in the world. Although there are ways to cut down on expenses (budget accommodation, skipping the fancy dining), Melbourne is definitely not cheap.

    Vienna, Austria

    Vienna, photo by Charley1965

    Beautiful Vienna with its majestic historical buildings, the Hofburg palace, its luxury shopping streets and the small charming cafes is definitely one of the most glamorous destinations in Europe.

    But Vienna is also notoriously expensive, more so than its Western European neighbors, and although budget accommodation can be found in the city, it will be more expensive than in other countries (but also better quality).

    If you don’t want to spend too much money on food (although a plate of Schnitzel and a slice of Sachertorte are compulsory), you can take advantage of Vienna’s huge snack culture.

    Vancouver, Canada

    Vancouver is a stunning metropolis: bright and airy, elegant, and nestled between the majestic Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. In addition to being pretty, Vancouver affords a variety of activities, from hiking in the mountains to surfing and sightseeing. Although it is one of the most expensive cities in Canada, it is very bike friendly (so you can save on transport), has plenty of free attractions, and it you can have a decent meal at budget restaurants for less than $10.

    Helsinki, Finland

    Helsinki, photo by lindstormORG

    Finland is notoriously one of the most expensive destinations in Europe, but like the other Scandinavian countries, it is also famously liberal, clean, rich and beautiful. Helsinki is surrounded by several lovely small islands, it has parks, and quiet historical areas, while at the same time being very cosmopolitan.

    Helsinki is very expensive on the average, but if you don’t shop for the sake of shopping and you try to keep to budget accommodation and food, you can get by without sacrificing all your savings.

    Auckland, New Zealand

    The City of Sails is a very interesting cultural mix surrounded by scenic volcanic landscape, and it is a gateway for many of the most incredible sights in New Zealand. It’s possible to go on cheap daytrips outside the city for hikes and walks, but some of the major landmarks inside the city require you to pay to see them. While there are plenty of upscale dining options in Auckland, cheap food can be found in some cafes and the popular Food Alley on Albert Street.

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