Switzerland Takes Out Top Spot in Monocle’s Best Small Cities Index

Lausanne, Switzerland
Lausanne, Switzerland

Monocle’s inaugural Small Cities Index ranks the top 25 best places in the world to relocate to

Lausanne has taken out the number one spot in Monocle’s inaugural Small Cities Index. The ranking was published on Thursday 28 November 2019 in the magazine’s special annual title ‘The Forecast’, which looks at the places and trends that will shape the coming year. It is the first time the publication has focused on smaller hubs, with populations of up to 200,000.

Lausanne – population 140,000 – won as a result of its global outlook, multilingual population (40 per cent of residents are not nationals), good schools, public transport (it’s the smallest city with a metro in the world), great natural setting and its hosting of key employers, including the International Olympic Committee. The Swiss city of Basel also made the list, coming in at number 14.

Increasingly popular among international tourists, Tasmanian capital Hobart also made the top four.

The following places have been identified as the top 25 small cities in the world:

  1. Lausanne, Switzerland
  2. Boulder, USA
  3. Bergen, Norway
  4. Hobart, Australia
  5. Chigasaki, Japan
  6. Bolzano, Italy
  7. Bordeaux, France
  8. Innsbruck, Austria
  9. Porto, Portugal
  10. Aachen, Germany
  11. Reykjavik, Iceland
  12. Savannah, USA
  13. Potsdam, Germany
  14. Basel, Switzerland
  15. Chiang Mai, Thailand
  16. Victoria, Canada
  17. San Sebastián, Spain
  18. Eindhoven, Netherlands
  19. Bath, UK
  20. Aalborg, Denmark
  21. Wiesbaden, Germany
  22. Trieste, Italy
  23. Haarlem, Netherlands
  24. Annapolis, USA
  25. Salzburg, Austria

According to Monocle, the new ranking responds to an evolving global society where technology has freed a generation to run their businesses and lives from second- and third-tier cities. People are also increasingly seeking the quality of life available in compact cities; many people feel priced out of capitals and small cities have invested in culture, architecture and education to become key centres for manufacturing, technology and learning.

“Having established a strong franchise with the annual Monocle quality-of-life ranking, we felt that it was time to measure liveability in smaller-scale cities that were hard to put in the same league as cities like Tokyo or Vancouver,” says Monocle Editor-in-Chief, Tyler Brûlé.

“We kept noticing that our readers were moving to the likes of Porto and Boulder and creating busy, better lives for themselves. This survey shows why people are voting with their feet and ambitions,” added Monocle Editor, Andrew Tuck.

The ranking was compiled by Monocle’s correspondents, editors and researchers analysing elements such as the quality of public transport, rail and air connections, lively metabolism and progressive local government, among other metrics.


See more travel trends here.

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