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Happiest Places in the World to Live – 2024

Where in the world are people living their best lives? If you’re looking to relocate somewhere with an amazing quality of life, thriving community, and palpable positive vibes, these destinations should top your list as some of the happiest places in the world to live.

1. Copenhagen, Denmark


The Danish concept of “hygge” (loosely translated to a feeling of coziness and contentment) permeates daily life in the charming capital city of Copenhagen. With its colorful townhomes lining picturesque canals, ample green spaces, and bicycle-friendly culture, it’s no wonder Denmark consistently ranks as one of the happiest nations on earth. Copenhagen residents enjoy world-class public transportation, sustainable living, excellent work-life balance, and a cutting-edge dining scene celebrating locally-sourced Nordic cuisine.

2. Melbourne, Australia

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With fantastic weather, a brilliant coffee culture, and beautiful beaches just a tram ride away, Melbourne is a very livable city with a relaxed vibe. The cosmopolitan metropolis also scores high marks for its environmental policies, education system, and sporting/cultural scene. Known for its laneways filled with street art and hidden bars, Melbourne has a distinctive edgy yet laid-back feel. Its diverse food scene celebrates exceptional global cuisine across numerous vibrant neighborhoods.

3. Reykjavik, Iceland

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The world’s northernmost capital has developed a reputation as a modern, eco-friendly, and egalitarian city. Reykjavik’s safety, high quality of life, and stunning natural beauty in a land of geysers, hot springs, and the northern lights make it an enticing place to settle down. Despite its small size, Reykjavik features cosmopolitan vibes through its world-class museums, cutting-edge culinary establishments, and eclectic arts and music scene centered around the lively downtown area.

4. Helsinki, Finland

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Finland is routinely lauded for its world-class education system and work-life balance. Its capital city Helsinki boasts great public transportation, abundant green spaces, impressive sustainability initiatives, and ultra-low pollution levels. Often referred to as the “city of design,” Helsinki features innovative architecture and chic urban planning that focuses on pedestrian-friendly spaces. The coastal location also provides residents with ample opportunities to get out on the water.

5. Wellington, New Zealand

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New Zealand’s compact and cool capital city has an energetic arts and culture scene, as well as unbeatable access to the nation’s renowned natural playgrounds. With its gorgeous waterfront location and environmentally-conscious design, it’s a highly desirable home base. Creative types are drawn to Wellington’s flourishing culinary scene, craft beer movement, museums, and support for independent artists. The city is also blessed with pristine beaches, hiking trails, and incredible outdoor adventures right at its doorstep.

6. Zurich, Switzerland

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One of the wealthiest cities in the world, Zurich is also known for its impeccable organization, cleanliness, safety, and quality of life. Residents enjoy plentiful jobs, green spaces, outdoor activities, and a high standard of living. The ultramodern city still maintains historic charm through its charming Old Town and location on the banks of the Limmat River and Lake Zurich. Public transit, sustainability initiatives, and proximity to the Swiss Alps also make it a haven for nature lovers.

7. Vancouver, Canada

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Scenic Vancouver boasts incredibly fresh air, a relatively mild climate, easy access to beaches and mountains, walkable neighborhoods, and a vibrant cultural scene fueled by diversity. It’s a thriving and happy place to be. Known for its environmentally sustainable ethos, Vancouver offers bountiful green spaces, bike lanes, and eco-focused residents. The ocean-front location along English Bay also provides abundant opportunities to soak up the outdoors, from kayaking to hiking towering coastal rainforests.

8. Singapore

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Singapore tops global rankings in areas like education, healthcare, life expectancy, infrastructure, and economic opportunity. It’s also a melting pot of cultures, a street food paradise, and a shining beacon of cleanliness and order, minus any angst. Residents love the unparalleled public transit system, impeccable safety standards, focus on green space preservation amid stunning skyscrapers, and harmonious blending of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and other cultural influences.

9. Oslo, Norway

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Oil-rich Norway scores highly for work-life balance, gender equality, economic prosperity, and democracy. Its compact, eco-conscious capital of Oslo boasts minimal pollution, low crime rates, incredible nature access, and top-notch public services. The city seamlessly blends old-world Nordic charmwith trendy urban living, from its historic harbors and museums to its innovative design and culinary scene. Oslo is also considered one of the world’s greenest cities, weaving nature into its fabric through parks, public spaces, and commitment to environmental preservation.

10. Edinburgh, Scotland

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Full of cultural vibrancy, folklore, and world-class festivals, the historic yet hip city of Edinburgh is a dream home for people who love art, music, food, architecture, and outdoor adventures. From the medieval Old Town to trendy neighborhoods like Leith, the city offers a unique blend of heritage and modern living.

Residents can experience festivals celebrating film, art, music, and theater year-round, while also being a short drive from some of Scotland’s most breathtaking natural scenery.

11. Montreal, Canada

As a bilingual, highly walkable city with a progressive spirit and incredible array of food, art, diversity and nightlife to experience, it’s no surprise Montreal is a joyous place to live. Excellent healthcare, green spaces, and ample jobs only add to its appeal.

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North America’s answer to a European city, Montreal effortlessly blends old and new. From iconic architecture and cobblestone streets in Old Montreal to cutting-edge museums and indie rock clubs, the city pulses with energy and culture.

12. Taipei, Taiwan

The capital of Taiwan offers big-city energy, amenities, and activities along with a relatively affordable cost of living, amazing street food, and proximity to serene nature spots, hot springs, and hiking getaways.

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Taipei fuses seamlessly the modern and the historic, from its impressive skyline and malls to ancient temples and night markets packed with stalls selling delicious xiaochi (snacks). It’s easy to escape the hustle too with Yangmingshan National Park’s trails and hot springs just north of the city.

13. Vienna, Austria

Cultured, clean, and compact, the Austrian capital is routinely praised for its impeccable infrastructure, top-notch healthcare, safety, art and music scenes, and sheer livability. Beautiful architecture helps add to quality of life.

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From historic coffee houses to ornate opera houses, grand palaces to lush city parks and gardens, Vienna allows residents to immerse themselves in a rich cultural tapestry. The genteel yet dynamic city also ranks high for its overall affordability compared to other European capitals.

14. Stockholm, Sweden

The “Venice of the North” offers unparalleled work-life balance, low pollution levels, easy access to nature, and commitments to environmentally sustainability. It’s also an innovative, fashionable, and open-minded city with global connectivity.

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Built across 14 islands, Stockholm encourages an active outdoor lifestyle with plentiful parks, bike trails, and proximity to the sublime Swedish archipelago waterways. The city also ranks among the most LGBTQ+ friendly destinations in Europe.

15. Bordeaux, France

With its charming historic center, picturesque riverfront views, world-class wine, and enviable cafe culture, the city of Bordeaux exudes enviable French joie de vivre. Quality of life and relaxed vibes make this smaller city a beloved place to live.

In addition to being a UNESCO World Heritage Site with striking 18th century architecture, Bordeaux is adored for its pedestrian shopping areas, lively street life, and dozens of antique shops and art galleries scattered throughout its atmospheric neighborhoods.

Happiest Countries in the World Conclusion

There is no one-size-fits-all for determining the happiest place in the world to live. Factors like safety, work-life balance, sense of community, affordability, environmental policies, cultural amenities, job opportunities, and quality public infrastructure all contribute to overall well-being and contentment in a city. But by considering these 15 joyous global destinations, you’ll have a fantastic launching point to begin exploring some of the happiest places on the planet for expats.

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