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Europe’s best cities for residents and tourists are revealed in annual rankings… and it’s good news for Britain. So where does YOUR favourite city come on the list?

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Europe’s best cities for residents and tourists have been revealed, with each ranked in an annual league table in terms of prosperity, livability and lovability. 

The continent’s top destinations were evaluated by Resonance Consultancy, which took factors such as Tripadvisor reviews and education and work opportunities into account, as well as dozens of other metrics.

The report looked at more than 180 cities with populations of more than 500,000, in order to identify the Top 100 places to live, visit and invest in Europe.

For the second year in a row, London came out on top – but other popular urban centres, perhaps surprisingly, failed to make the cut. 

Here, MailOnline looks at the top 10, and why each earned its spot on the coveted list.

10. Milan, Italy

Milan has long been the financial capital of Italy, with investment continuing to cement its status as Italy’s wealthiest city

Known for its fashion week and being the birthplace of major fashion houses Armani and Versace, Milan attracts tourists in search of the finer things in life.

It has also long been the financial capital of Italy, with investment continuing to cement its status as Italy’s wealthiest city and one of the richest in Europe.

‘Milan is driven, as always, by its entrepreneurial hunger and is increasingly fuelled by wealthy newcomers lured to the famed good life by government tax breaks on foreign income earned abroad,’ Resonance said in its analysis.

‘The result is an influx of Brexit (and Russian) capital seeking a home, and the flurry of luxury real estate, hotels and social clubs that such capital inspires.’

Milan is served by three main airports, which welcome holidaymakers looking for a slice of the the Italian lakes – with Como and Garda short journeys away.

In 2026, it will see a rush of sports fans flock as Italy hosts the 2026 Olympic Winter Games, and is well-connected in terms of flights, bikes and trains.

9. Istanbul, Türkiye

Locals of Istanbul are seen walking by the famous Galata Bridge during a heavy snow storm in Istanbul

Locals of Istanbul are seen walking by the famous Galata Bridge during a heavy snow storm in Istanbul

This ancient city on the edge of Europe is where east meets west, and is known for its rich history and culture.

Ancient sites in the Turkish capital are expected to be renovated as part of the Republic’s 100-year anniversary, with more tourists expected to arrive when they are complete.

Investment into Galataport, the world’s first-ever underground cruise terminal, will also attract travellers.

The city has an enviably low cost of living for locals, though property costs are up.

The country is still rebuilding from the devastating February 2023 earthquake which killed tens of thousands in the southeast and neighbouring Syria, but is looking ahead to the future as the government vows to rebuild. 

8. Amsterdam, Netherlands 

The city council also banned cruise ships from the city centre last year as part of its clean-air efforts

The city council also banned cruise ships from the city centre last year as part of its clean-air efforts

After gaining a reputation as one of Europe’s pre-eminent party cities in recent years, Amsterdam has been looking to clean up its act, and has been focusing on livability, Resonance suggests.

Smoking cannabis in public was banned in 2023, and the city launched a ‘stay away’ campaign targetting party tourism, though neither seem to have had much impact on the city’s popularity. 

Tourists are still choosing the Dutch capital for its renowned museums and great shopping, and are enjoying nights out that end a bit earlier. 

In a city famous for its bikes, the city council also banned cruise ships from the city centre last year as part of its clean-air efforts. 

7. Barcelona, Spain 

Gaudí's famous church, the Sagrada Familia, is set to be complete after almost a century and a half

Gaudí’s famous church, the Sagrada Familia, is set to be complete after almost a century and a half

This seaside city brings people in from all around the world thanks to its stunning location, weather and extraordinary architecture.

Excitingly, the jewel in its crown, Gaudí’s famous church, the Sagrada Familia, is set to be complete after almost a century and a half.

With 12 million tourists heading to the Spanish city pre-pandemic, the numbers are expected to shoot back up to similar levels four years on.

In terms of livability, the city is struggling with a housing shortage, and will see what are already some of Europe’s strictest vacation rental rules tested as it aims to resupply resident housing, Resonance says.

6. Prague, Czechia   

Picture shows Prague in Christmas time, with the market in front of Tyn church

Picture shows Prague in Christmas time, with the market in front of Tyn church

The Czech capital will not disappoint visitors in terms of its beauty and cultural offering.

With 2024 the 100th anniversary of Franz Kafka’s death, the writer’s hometown has literary walking tours and exhibits celebrating the writer.

Modern cultural highlights include its new Beer Spa – which lets visitors dip in a wood hot tub filled with hops, yeast and beer extracts, which are said to be great for the skin, while a cold pint is not far away.

Locals are also looked after, Resonance says. ‘Over the past 18 months, city leaders made long-lasting decisions to ensure that Prague’s #3-ranked Museums (ahead of places like Berlin, Rome and Madrid) and Attractions (which trail only London) remain accessible to the citizens who supported local when tourism didn’t.’

Highlights include the Čapadlo embankment on the Vltava River, which has seen open-air stages and galleries set up, and the recently renovated and publicly accessible Prague Castle.

5. Madrid, Spain 

The Prado Museum facade. Established in 1819, the museum is considered the best collection of Spanish art and one of the world's finest collections of European art

The Prado Museum facade. Established in 1819, the museum is considered the best collection of Spanish art and one of the world’s finest collections of European art

Spain is ploughing huge investment into its capital city, with a focus on urban planning and green spaces.

‘Madrid’s sustainability-driven investment in its bounteous urban and natural assets is a wonder to watch unfold in real time,’ Resonance says.

The largest current urban regeneration project in Europe, Madrid Nuevo Norte, has just been approved, promising to revitalise the city’s underused northern rail district.

It is ranked number one in terms of restaurants – next to Barcelona – and boasts a vibrant cultural landscape.

4. Rome, Italy

Rome's Colosseum - an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city, east of the Roman Forum

Rome’s Colosseum – an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city, east of the Roman Forum

‘The millennial history of our city never ceases to amaze and enchant the world,’ mayor of Rome Roberto Gualtieri said last year.

His comments came after a construction projects unearthed a rare fourth-century golden glass depiction of Roma – the goddess personifying the city. 

Resonance describes Rome as an ‘urban treasure’ and highlights its ‘underrated parks and greenways’ and ‘thousands of portals back in time’.

‘The treasure trove is increasingly being shared with locals and visitors, like the Largo di Torre Argentina site of Julius Caesar’s assassination, opened with the contribution of Italian jewellery brand Bulgari last June,’ it says.

The fourth-placed city trails only London in terms of positive global Tripadvisor Reviews, according to the firms analysis.

3. Berlin, Germany 

The skyline of Berlin over the Spree River. The city will see EURO 2024 arrive in June

The skyline of Berlin over the Spree River. The city will see EURO 2024 arrive in June

The German capital is hailed as a haven – a centre of tolerance which welcomes people from all backgrounds, and is all the richer for it.

Its hospitality means it has a ‘raw, unabashed urbanity and self-expression as diverse and proud as its 12 sprawling kiez (neighbourhoods),’ Resonance says.

It is ranked highly in terms as a place to live for foreigners, and also attracts holidaymakers with its huge range of museums and other cultural offerings. 

The city will also see EURO 2024 arrive in June, with the Olympiastadion hosting matches in what will be the country’s first major football tournament since the 2006 FIFA World Cup. 

Resonance ranks Berlin number 4 in its Culture subcategory (which includes festivals and concerts) and number five in its #Nightlife ranking, meaning ‘the city was ready to party like few others.’

2. Paris, France

Paris is ranked number one for sights and landmarks and is the place with the most Global Fortune 500 headquarters on the continent

Paris is ranked number one for sights and landmarks and is the place with the most Global Fortune 500 headquarters on the continent

The City of Light is set to be Europe’s star of the show this summer, as France hosts the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

As well as catering to the millions of visitors expected to descend on the French capital this year, the events are bringing benefits for its residents.

‘With half a decade and billions in investment to prepare for this summer’s Summer Olympics, Paris has codified pedestrianism, biking and alfresco living like nowhere else on the planet,’ Resonance says.

While huge protests gripped the city last year, seeing a visit by King Charles cancelled, travellers continued to flock to the tourist favourite.

It is ranked number one for sights and landmarks and is the place with the most Global Fortune 500 headquarters on the continent.

1. London, United Kingdom

London continues to be a major business hub in Europe, attracting global investment

London continues to be a major business hub in Europe, attracting global investment

London has won out over its European neighbours for the second year in a row, beating them in the rankings thanks to its offering for tourists and students.

‘The city is top of mind for students, foreign investors and tourists, all eager to get back out and plug into a place that topped all three of our overall indices: Livability, Lovability and Prosperity—the only city in this year’s ranking to do so,’ Resonance says in its analysis.

Despite Brexit and other challenges, London also continues to be a major business hub, attracting global investment.

‘London’s exceptional business growth environment continues to produce and attract top companies positioned to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, but also the very best talent and investors to help them get there,’ notes Janet Coyle, CBE Managing Director of Grow London at London & Partners. 

Tourists still flood Heathrow and other travel hubs, and London was ranked third on the planet (and first in Europe) for cities with the biggest international traveller spend in 2022, worth €14.88 billion, showing that it continues to be a must-visit.

THE 100 WORLD’S BEST CITIES FOR 2024 REVEALED 

 1 – London

2 – Paris 

3 – New York

4 – Tokyo

5 – Singapore

6 – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

7 – San Francisco, U.S

8 – Barcelona, Spain

9 – Amsterdam, Netherlands

10 – Seoul, South Korea

11 – Rome, Italy 

12 – Prague, Czechia 

13 – Madrid, Spain 

14 – Berlin, Germany

15 – Los Angeles, U.S

16 – Chicago, U.S

17 – Washington, D.C, U.S

18 – Beijing, China 

19 – Istanbul, Turkey 

20 – Dublin, Ireland

21 – Vienna, Austria 

22 – Milan, Italy 

23 – Toronto, Canada

24 – Boston, U.S

25 – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 

26 – Budapest, Hungry 

27 – São Paulo, Brazil

28 – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

29 – Stockholm, Sweden 

30 – Munich, Germany

31 – Melbourne, Australia 

32 – Lisbon, Portugal 

33 – Zürich, Switzerland

34 – Seattle, U.S

35 – Sydney, Australia 

36 – Doha, Qatar

37 – Brussels, Belgium 

38 – San Jose, U.S

39 – Bangkok, Thailand

40 – Warsaw, Poland 

41 – Copenhagen, Denmark 

42 – Taipei, Taiwan 

43 – Austin, U.S

44 – Oslo, Norway 

45 – Osaka, Japan 

46 – Hong Kong, China 

47 – Tel Aviv, Israel 

48 – Athens, Greece

49 – Frankfurt, Germany

50 – Vancouver, Canada 

51 – San Diego, U.S

52 – Orlando, U.S

53 – Helsinki, Finland 

54 – Miami, U.S

55 – Buenos Aires, Argentina 

56 – Hamburg, Germany 

57 – Brisbane, Australia 

58 – Kuwait, Kuwait

59 – Las Vegas, U.S

60 – Montreal, Canada 

61 – Glasgow, UK

62 – Shanghai, China 

63 – Rio de Janeiro

64 – Auckland, New Zealand 

65 – Atlanta, U.S

66 – Houston, U.S

67 – Busan, South Korea

68 – Philadelphia, U.S

69 – Naples, Italy 

70 – Denver, U.S

71 – Nashville, U.S

72 – Manchester, UK

73 – Dallas, U.S

74 – Liverpool, UK

75 – Minneapolis, U.S

76 – Mexico City, Mexico

77 – Minsk, Belarus 

78 – Lyon, France 

79 – Portland, U.S 

80 – Rotterdam, Netherlands 

81 – Bogotá, Colombia

82 – Kraków, Poland

83 – Valencia, Spain

84 – Santiago, Chile 

85 – Birmingham, UK

86 – New Orleans, U.S

87 – Bucharest, Romania

88 – Leeds, UK

89 – Muscat, Oman 

90 – Ottawa, Canada 

91 – Cologne, Germany 

92 – Charlotte, U.S

93 – Calgary, Canada 

94 – Nagoya, Japan  

95 – Düsseldorf, Germany 

96 – Hanoi, Vietnam

97 – Gothenburg, Sweden 

98 – Sapporo, Japan

99 – Bilbao, Spain 

100 – Baltimore, U.S 

 Source: World’s Best Cities, Resonance Consultancy

 

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