People enjoying some fresh air in Paris, Source: Depositphotos

These 3 EU metropolises are among the World’s Best Cities

These 3 EU metropolises are among the World’s Best Cities

And one of them is not even a country’s capital

Market research consultancy Resonance has compiled its annual list of the World’s Best Cities, which identifies the top 100 places to live, visit and invest on our planet. The crème de la crème of this ranking naturally is the top 10 and the good news is that three cities in that higher echelon are located in the European Union – Paris, Barcelona and Amsterdam, which take 2nd, 8th and 9th places, respectively.

The prestigious ranking, which this year was topped by London (an ex-EU city), takes into consideration urban areas, which have at least a million residents.

The overall Best Cities rankings are determined by analyzing the performance of each city for a wide range of factors that have historically shown positive correlations with attracting employment, investment and/or visitors to cities. Resonance groups these 24 metrics into a city’s Livability, Lovability and Prosperity.

Let’s have a closer look at the things the European cities did right to earn the high rankings.

Paris shines bright ahead of Olympic Games

The Resonance researchers were impressed with the future-proofing efforts implemented in the French capital. And this, apart from the fact that it remains a tourism powerhouse, being the most visited city in the world last year with 44 million people dropping in.

Paris was also recently crowned the world’s most powerful urban tourist destination for 2022 by the World Travel & Tourism Council, with the city’s hospitality industry worth 35.6 billion dollars last year. And it’s projected to grow to 49 billion dollars by 2032.

What has been particularly notable is the drive to make the city less car-friendly and more enticing for pedestrians and outdoor living. Mayor Anne Hidalgo managed to keep the 60,000 parking spots turned into seatings even after the pandemic was gone.

Paris has made many smaller streets car-free. The most striking change is along the Seine, where people gather every night near Notre Dame and city hall. The Paris Plages project offers cheap and easy access to the urban beach.

Speaking of Notre Dame, the famous cathedral is set to reopen this year, the same year Paris hosts the Olympics. Many events will take place in the city itself. Paris also wants to show its commitment to a greener and healthier environment by hosting swimming events in the Seine, which has boosted biodiversity thanks to 30 fish species calling it home. Last summer, people could swim in the river on some days for the first time in 100 years. More swimming spots will be available by 2025.

The city leaders also plan to turn the Champs-Élysées into a huge garden, with fewer cars and more facilities for pedestrians.

Barcelona - love it and live it

According to the Resonance report, Barcelona is one of those rare cities that ranks in the top 10 both in terms of Livability and Lovability. It has been long since the Catalan capital has stopped relying only on its architectural and geographical charms to easily draw in tourists thirsty for Mediterranean style.

In fact, the city is now so loved and popular that it’s turned into a bit of a problem with policies now trying to figure out ways how to retain its popularity without sacrificing the quality of living for those who call it their home.

Barcelona now has very strict rules for vacation rentals to limit the negative impact of tourism. After the Covid pandemic tourists are coming back in droves, but they also see a different city. Barcelona is more bike-friendly and pedestrian-friendly, with many green spaces and community areas. A local project showed that this helps people’s mental health.

Barcelona also wants to attract big businesses, and not just digital nomads. The city is getting investments from Europe’s biggest airline group, Lufthansa, and a U.S. real estate company, Panattoni. These companies plan to build a digital hub and a data centre there soon.

Amsterdam – small city, big heart

Amsterdam is the smallest city in the top 10 of the ranking and in 2024, its administration has shown true intentions to return to having a feel for a local community that cares for its residents. In that sense, it shares a lot of the trials and tribulations of Barcelona.

Known for being a magnet for rowdy, thrill-seeking tourists, the Dutch capital seeks to reinvent itself as a place that is family-friendly, socially minded and culturally oriented.

The city already ranks high in livability but it seems that the plan is to boost that standing even higher. One of the plans is to move the (in)famous red-light district to the suburbs. Last year, authorities also banned outsiders from cannabis coffee shops and tours promoting them. It also stopped public pot smoking and party tourism. It closed restaurants and bars early and limited visitors to the old city.

The policy now is to offer tours and programs about Amsterdam’s good life and rich history. It encourages tourists to explore its shopping and museums. And let’s not forget that cruise ships were banned from the city centre canals in order to cut pollution.

You can check out the entire World’s Best Cities ranking, consisting of 100 entries, here.



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