There’s more to being healthy than just watching what you eat. In a place like Europe, eating is an important part of culture. Surely diet and exercise play significant roles in the overall well-being of a person. However, being healthy is a lifestyle. This means that where you live actually plays an active role in how healthy you actually are. Cities in Europe that have higher walkability scores generally have healthier residents. At the same time, cities with less pollution are also considered to be healthier living options. These are just some qualities that make up a healthy living environment. If you were trying to live a healthier lifestyle in Europe, you might do better if you lived in one of these 20 places that are considered to be the healthiest.
20. Rome, Italy
If you’re surprised to find an Italian city on this list, you shouldn’t be. While most Italians love their carbs in the form of pasta and pizza, they also balance it out with tradition. This is important because traditional Italian food is actually quite healthy. Most of it is made up of vegetables, grains, and other plant-based foods. Dairy and red meat only make up a small portion of traditional Italian cooking. Over consumption is also not a problem in Rome, and residents of the city generally like spending time outdoors admiring its ancient history and architecture. Rome may be the last place you’d think of when talking about the healthiest places in Europe, but the city will easily prove you wrong with every single delicious and enjoyable Italian bite.
19. Frankfurt, Germany
When it comes Germany, Frankfurt often gets overlooked for the more popular cities such as Munich. But when it comes to health, Frankfurt offers just as many positives in comparison. The quality of life in Frankfurt is something that many expats seek out. Biking is a way of life here and is a viable option for transportation in the city. The city may be small, but it offers a lot when it comes to healthy restaurant options and cultural opportunities—great for the body and also for the mind.
18. Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich is known for its incredible architecture and fashion. To say that Zurich is incredible place to live in is a true understatement. Zurich also happens to be a great place to work at. This is because the city actually has a Wellbeing Framework available to all employees and implemented by the municipality to promote healthier lifestyles in all aspects—physical, mental, social, and financial. It’s a unique implementation that serves as a global standard today.
17. Lyon, France
Many people from all over the world wonder how the French stay fit and healthy despite having a diet that includes solid amounts of butter, cheese, and wine. Interestingly enough, that’s probably one of the reasons why Lyon is one of the healthiest places to live in Europe. Being content and happy with what you eat is always good for the psyche, but it also helps that the walkability score of Lyon is pretty high up there. During the midday break, you’ll likely find residents taking a stroll, taking in some Vitamin D, or possibly just eating to their hearts’ desires. It’s good for the heart and good for the brain—the simplest formula to good well-being.
16. Luxembourg, Luxembourg
There are many reasons why Luxembourg ranks 17 in the world when it comes to happiness. One of those reasons is the fact that majority of the residents that live in the city enjoy healthy lifestyles. It shows in the life expectancy value in the city, which ranks 11thbest in the world. Luxembourg boasts an incredible healthcare system in comparison to the rest of Europe. The city also regularly collaborates with the WHO, provides funding help, and promotes the ideals set by the healthy organization.
15. Gothenburg, Sweden
Compared to the larger Scandinavian city of Stockholm, Gothenburg is a lot less crowded—a comparison of one million residents to 500,000. It’s a stark difference, and it’s something palpable when living in the beautiful city. With a smaller population come less pollution and more space to move around and breathe. The seafood in Gothenburg is even considered by some to be superior. Gothenburg residents always have the freshest options when it comes to seafood. The cultural scene is active in the city, and it’s the kind of thing that generally makes residents entertained and happy.
14. Hamburg, Germany
People can live the healthiest lifestyles possible, but even that needs to be augmented by a solid healthcare system. This is exactly the reason why Hamburg makes this list. Although not perfect, Hamburg’s healthcare system is considered to be one of the best in the world. In addition, the city pays close attention to environmental standards, guaranteeing that its residents continuously intake the best air and water quality possible. It’s certainly more than enough to get people towards healthier living overall.
13. Geneva, Switzerland
It should be noted here that the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters happen to be located just on the outskirts of Geneva. While it normally shouldn’t necessarily point to the health situation of the city, it surely does in this situation. Geneva continues to be one of the healthiest places to live in Europe, and it’s partly due to the many programs implemented in the area to promote health. For one, the younger population in Geneva is encouraged to consciously maintain healthy minds, bodies, and spirits.
12. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen has made it a citywide goal to become healthier, and that goal seems to be driven by its residents and citizens. The city is already known as one of the most livable places in the world due to its abundant green spaces, smoke-free environments, and pedestrian-friendly streets. Copenhagen makes health a priority, and it shows. They even serve organic food in day cares, schools, and other care facilities.
11. Lisbon, Portugal
Over the last few years, the popularity of healthy restaurants in Lisbon has increased dramatically following the same trend that’s happening in many cities in the world. The difference is in the food itself, as healthy Portuguese dishes are just tastier options in general. Travelers to Lisbon agree, and so do the residents of the stunning city. With plenty of healthy options around and incredible outdoor walking spaces, Lisbon continues to be one of Europe’s best cities when it comes to staying fit.
10. Berlin, Germany
When compared to many cities in Europe, living in Berlin has proven to be just better all-around. Accessibility to necessities in life—housing, transportation, and food—is just easier in Berlin. Because of this, residents in Berlin find it easier to get better food and live in better home environments. In addition, the healthy food scene in Berlin is gaining traction and popularity. More and more residents are opting for healthier food options than not. All of these contribute to why Berlin is considered to be one of the healthiest European cities today.
9. Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm is on this list for one reason: healthy environment. Without a healthy environment, it becomes so much harder to maintain a healthy body and lifestyle. Stockholm is actually the first European city to be rated as the European Green Capital back in 2010. The city has maintained its incredible living environment by promoting public transportation and bicycling, recycling, and reducing carbon emissions. All these efforts help Stockholm residents to breathe cleaner air and spend more time outdoors.
8. Helsinki, Finland
Apart from just being a gorgeous place to live in, Helsinki also happens to be one of the healthiest in Europe. This is due to several factors including low pollution rates and better work-life balance. Finnish residents also tend to incorporate a lot of fruits and other fresh ingredients in their diets. With great eating habits and healthier food options, it’s definitely easier for most Helsinki residents to stay in shape. They take into consideration all aspects of well-being including body and mind.
7. Vienna, Austria
You’ll have to wonder why the obesity rate in Vienna is better than most cities in the world. Residents of Vienna enjoy outdoor activities, and this is probably fueled by the stunning city landscape set against the backdrop of the Alps. It’s also important to note that Vienna has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. The doctor-to-citizen ratio in the city is exceptional. Better healthcare systems definitely help residents get healthier and stay healthier.
6. Tallinn, Estonia
If you’ve ever had the chance to visit Tallinn, you might wonder why everyone seems to be good-looking. Let’s just leave it up to good genes, but the fact of the matter is residents of Tallinn make the effort to get in shape. Tallinn is known to have some of the best gyms in the Europe, which naturally translates to residents that are more fit and in shape. Having excellent gyms is definitely motivation for most people to work out.
5. Munich, Germany
When most of us hear of Munich, we think of Oktoberfest and beer. While beer as a healthy option is arguable, the air quality in Munich is not. Munich ranks high compared to many cities in the world when it comes to air quality. The water quality in Munich is also great. Many people trying to get healthy put a lot of focus on food, but water is just as important—if not more.
4. Valencia, Spain
The life expectancy in Spain is some of the highest you’d see around the world. There are a few contributing factors to this fact. For one, a healthy Mediterranean diet is what most Valencia residents enjoy. Also, the gorgeous warm climate encourages more people to spend more time outdoors. Most Valencia residents prefer to walk than commute. It’s also common for families in Spain to take care of each other, especially the elderly. This helps keep citizens healthier for a lot longer.
3. Rotterdam, Netherlands
The Netherlands value family life like no other, and that’s the reason why the country is on this list yet again. Rotterdam is a city that exemplifies balancing family life and personal life. In this city, work takes the back seat when it comes to living. With work stresses on the back burner, family stress could still play a role. However, Rotterdam solves this problem by promoting the sharing of workload between the male and female citizens of the city. Again, it’s great for mental health and overall well-being.
2. Oslo, Norway
Oslo is known for its abundance of green space. When it comes to the environment, more green is better. But that’s just one reason why Oslo is on this list. This city in Norway is known for having incredible work-life balances. What this mean for a citizen is tremendous balance when it comes to the normal stresses in life. Mental health is part of anyone’s overall well-being, and having a balanced work and home life is crucial to being healthy. It definitely sounds awesome to get off of work at 4pm daily.
1. Amsterdam, Netherlands
The beautiful city of Amsterdam has long held the top spot among healthiest European cities for a while now. What exactly makes Amsterdam the healthiest city? A quick visit there will give anyone quick answers. Not only is Amsterdam pedestrian-friendly; it is also one of the most biker-friendly cities in the world. According to this article, there are at least four times more bikes in Amsterdam than there are cars. Most residents in this city actually prefer to bike rather than drive on a daily basis. This is good for overall physical health, but it’s also good for the environment. People that live in Amsterdam are definitely breathing cleaner air than most parts of the world.
Written by Liz Flynn
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