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Lisbon, Portugal
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Can you guess the happiest city in the world?

This new list ranks the most joyful places to visit across the globe

Sophie Dickinson
Written by
Sophie Dickinson

After the past couple of years, we could all do with a bit more joy in our lives. There’s no better way to raise your spirits than by whacking on the out of office, jumping on a plane and heading somewhere new. The only problem? Working out the places most likely to bring you true relaxation and happiness.

So it’s fortunate that this new survey from travel company IVisa claims to have worked out the most contented cities in the world. To come up with the ranking, they took on board five factors: life expectancy, amount of sunshine, hours worked, cost of living and friendliness of locals.

And where came out top? That would be Lisbon. The Portuguese capital gets a whopping 2,801 hours of sunshine a year, plus locals work an average of 31 hours a week – meaning there’s plenty of time to catch those rays. And it’s apparently the second friendliest place, too, so you’d make a whole load of pals if you moved there. 

In second place was Barcelona. Residents have an average life expectancy of 84 years, the city ranked 11th (out of 40) for cost of living and locals work even less than the people of Lisbon (an average of 30 hours a week).

Generally speaking, Europe does seriously well on the list: next up is Athens, followed by Rome in fourth place. Then we head Down Under to Sydney, which was named one of the friendliest locations. The only city in the USA to crack the top 20 is Las Vegas, in at number 12. And the UK doesn’t perform too well, either, with Brighton at 13 and Cardiff at 19. 

Here are the top ten happiest cities in the world, according to the study:

  1. Lisbon, Portugal
  2. Barcelona, Spain
  3. Athens, Greece
  4. Rome, Italy
  5. Sydney, Australia 
  6. Madrid, Spain
  7. Toronto, Canada
  8. San José, Costa Rica
  9. Istanbul, Turkey 
  10. Bangkok, Thailand 

ICYMI: these are officially the world’s best cities for dating.

Plus: these are the world’s top 10 attractions, according to TripAdvisor.

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