Easter Weekend Experience: 3 Cities with the Best Quality of Life
In the annual survey conducted by Mercer, Vienna was recently named the city with the best quality of life in the world for the second year in a row. Zurich and Munich also did Europe proud, coming in at 2nd and 4th respectively.
And if they’re great to live in, that definitely means they’re great to visit. Read on for our quick guides to three of Europe’s best city break destinations.
The grand old capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Vienna retains an imperial majesty that still delights to this day. The best way to see the city’s spectacular architecture is by hopping on a streetcar and taking a trip down the tree-lined Ringstrasse. Try not to gasp as you pass the glorious palaces built by wealthy citizens of the past. The Ringstrasse is also where you’ll find essential local landmarks like the Academy of Fine Arts, the Vienna State Opera, and the Imperial Palace.
Vienna is also famed as the home of some of the greatest ever composers including Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. No trip to the city is complete without a visit to the hallowed surroundings of the Musikverein, the magnificent concert hall which is home to the Vienna Philharmonic. Need some refreshments after all that culture? Coffee is a Viennese institution. And there’s no better way to relax and watch the city go by than with a relaxing cup and an indulgent pastry at the historic Café Central or luxurious Café Landtmann.
To most outsiders, Zurich is largely known as one of the banking capitals of the world. But there’s much more to Switzerland’s largest city. Situated where the river Limmat enters the lake that gives the city its name, it’s a charming mix of cobbled medieval streets and gleaming modern architecture.
Shopaholics should head straight for the Bahnhofstrasse, the internationally famous retail street, which stretches for over a kilometre through the heart of the city. It has some of the highest rents in the world, and exclusive stores to match. If you’re a fashion fanatic, window shopping alone could keep you going for days. For the more budget-conscious, the ancient district of Niederdorf in the city’s old town is a fantastic place for a wander, and at night turns into a vibrant hub of clubs and bars.
One Zurich sight you won’t be able to miss is the Grossmünster, the soaring medieval church which towers over the city. Not everyone was a fan of the Grossmunster’s distinctive design - legendary composer Richard Wagner once likened the church’s towers to two pepperpots. Elsewhere, if you want to get away from the noise of the city for a while, make for the trails of Wildnispark Zurich, a tranquil and unspoilt forest park less than half an hour from the city.
Munich is most famous for Oktoberfest - the annual beer and food festival that, confusingly enough, mostly takes place in September. But this beautiful city has plenty to offer visitors at any time of the year. Can’t miss local sights include the beautiful courts and gardens of the Munich Residenz, which has over 120 treasure-filled rooms to get lost in. The gargantuan Deutsches Museum, which has one of the most impressive collections of scientific and technological exhibits in the world, and the hustle and bustle of the city’s central shopping square, the Marienplatz, are also top sights to see. Every day at 11am and 12pm in the square, crowds of tourists gather to see the famous Glockenspiel’s life-sized mechanical figures re-enact scenes from Bavarian history as it chimes out the hour.
If you find yourself hungry after all that sightseeing, make your way to the Viktualienmarkt. This beloved local market has an endless array of stalls selling popular street food like weisswurst and bratwurst. For an al fresco dining experience like no other, grab some supplies from the market and make your way to the Englischer Garten. This huge urban park contains 900 acres of grassland, lakes, and streams, as well as more than 100 bridges. On a sunny day, there’s no better place to watch the unhurried pace of life in Munich unfold.
Make the Most of your AIB Account When Travelling
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