Most people see city breaks as a contrast to beach holidays. On the beach is where we are our most relaxed, we have nothing to do and no problems to bother us; in the city, stress levels are higher as we struggle to fit everything in, wade through the crowds and deal with the sounds. But do city holidays need to be stressful?
To help make every holiday as relaxing as possible, we’ve created this index to identify the least stressful cities from across the world.
Everyone perceives stress differently, especially on holiday, but we decided to rank cities on widely-regard activities/amenities which lend to a more peaceful experience. Our intention was to identify environmental and social factors which would help travellers feel more relaxed during their stay.
Factors we assessed: Friendliness, Transport, Spas, Nature & Parks, Cost of a Meal (for 2), Avg. Sunlight Hours, Air Pollution, Population Density.
Using these metrics, we found the best cities to have a relaxing holiday while still being in the epicentre of another culture.
Vancouver is rated the friendliest city in the world but Adelaide’s low population density and wealth of natural amenities placed it at the top of the list.
Tokyo is 1st for both number of quality spas and available nature & parks.
Honolulu has some of the cleanest air but comes 43rd for friendliness and 41st for meal costs.
Singapore has the best public transport system but is the 40th most densely populated city in the list.
You can find the cheapest meal in Jaipur, India, but you’ll be enjoying it amongst the most polluted air.
Abu Dhabi, UAE gets the most daily sunlight on average but has the second worst air pollution score.
Lilongwe, Malawi has the lowest levels of air pollution but poor public transport and amenities.
Siem Reap, Cambodia is the least densely populated place on our list and just missed out in 11th place.
To identify the cities, we started with the top 50 friendliest cities as identified by Big Seven Travel. We then gathered the data for the other categories before calculating the overall rankings.
Friendliness was our leading category because cities in general are perceived as more hostile places so we decided to lead or research with cities known for their welcoming culture.
Transport: Country-wide ratings for ground & port transport quality. Data collected from the World Economic Forum (http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_TTCR_2019.pdf).
Nature & Parks: Number of listings in the Nature & Parks section with 4 and 5 star ratings. Data collected from TripAdvisor (https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/).
Sunlight Hours: Average number of sunlight hours per day. Data gathered from Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_by_sunshine_duration), Weather Atlas (https://www.holiday-weather.com/) and Holiday Weather (https://www.weather-atlas.com/).
Air Pollution: Most recent measurement of the average mean ug/m3 of P10 pollutants. Data gathered from the World Health Organisation (https://www.who.int/airpollution/data/aap_air_quality_database_2018_v14.xlsx).
Friendliness: Data collected from Big Seven Travel (https://bigseventravel.com/2019/08/the-50-friendliest-cities-in-the-world/).
Spas: Number of Spas listed with 4 and 5 star ratings. Data collected from TripAdvisor (https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/).
Cost of a Meal: Cost of a three-course meal for 2 people at a mid-range restaurant. Data from (https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/).
Population Density: Population density per square kilometer. Data from Wikipedia (http://wikipedia.org/).