Australia,  Canada,  Colorado,  New Zealand,  Sweden,  Urban Outdoors

Confessions: Cities I wouldn’t mind living

Those of you who know me, know I’m not a city girl, or better said, not al all. “So why do you live in a city then?” I can hear you wonder … well basically because I love the conveniences that living in a (small) city brings me, such as cycling to work and the gym (or basically cycle everywhere), having a grocery store within a 3 minute walk and being able to go to shops/bars/restaurants without having to grab the car.
Arnhem, the city where we live, is among the greenest cities in The Netherlands. There are parks everywhere and the city is surrounded by nature. In the north is Hoge Veluwe National Park, in the east is Veluwezoom National Park and in the south runs the Rhine river (right by our house) which has green spots all around. Being a brat like this, I can be in the outdoors within a couple of minutes only. Not many other Dutch cities offer that kind of luxury.
When I’m old (let’s say, retired or so) I’d love to live in the woods, in a small cabin where I can spend my time reading and cooking. For now, I love to live in a normal house. In a normal city. In The Netherlands. I’ve often asked myself if I could see myself living in a large city, with loads of people, traffic, pollution and such. The answer is yes, but there’s only a handful of cities, I think I’d enjoy living. They are spread out all over the planet, yet they have one thing in common: they ooze the outdoor vibe! Here’s my top-5 of cities I wouldn’t mind living:

1. Vancouver

My number one favorite city in the world is Vancouver! Really, there is no place like Vancouver for me. I’ve been there 3 times now and I can’t help but say that each time I’m there, it kind of feels like coming home, or at least, it makes me a feel at home. I’ve not nearly seen enough of the city but, like all of the cities menioned below, it oozes outdoor. My favorite Vancouver-moment probably was the morning run I took in the Vancouver Harbor last year. So many people were out at the same time and running or doing other excercizes. When I go running in Holland I usually see 2 or 3 people along the way. In Vancouver, I met people all the time. I actually felt like I was one of them, not just a stupid tourist. Big plus to Vancouver is obviously its proximity to nature, Whistler can be reached within a 1.5 hour drive (I LOVE Whistler!) and Vancouver Island is just around the corner, too. If I ever have to move abroad for whatever reason, Vancouver would be my place!
 downtown vancouver

2. Sydney

Unlike many other people, my Australian backpack adventure didn’t start in Sydney, but in the tropical north, in Darwin to be more precise. It took me 2 months until I finally reached Sydney and when I did, I immediately felt like home. In my opinion, Sydney is the most relaxed city I’ve ever been to. People were incredibly friendly and there was just so much to see and do. Their beaches are just gorgeous (I spent about a week hanging around Bondi Beach) and the location is just perfect, apart from being on the other side of the world…
downtown sydney

3. Denver

Call me crazy for not being a fan of New York, but I love Denver. Just like Vancouver, the whole city oozes the outdoor spirit. When visiting Denver a couple of years ago, we spent a some of days before and after our trip there and we did so many cool things, such as visiting the REI Flagstore shop and take a hike along the Platte River. Just outside of Denver there is so much to see and do and it’s a great base for adventure enthusiasts, both Rocky Mountain National Park and Mueller State Park are a short drive away only. If I’d move to the USA, Denver would be my pick!
downtown denver

4. Stockholm

The only European city on my list is Stockholm. I’m just not a real fan of European cities and other than Berlin I can’t really imagine myself moving elsewhere than where I’m living nowadays. Stockholm is another one of those places I felt really at home. The Swedes are extremely friendly, most of them speak perfect English and there is plenty of nature around. In the summer the sun stays out all the time and in the winter it’s perfect for outdoor activities such as ice-skating on one of their many lakes or winter hiking in Djurgarden.

5. Wellington

I could not make a list without adding a New Zealand city. It would have been logic to say Auckland but I actually enjoyed Wellington a lot more. It’s been 13 years since I’ve been there (during our last visit we only went there to catch the ferry) but it still reminds me of the good times we had. The Southern Island is only a short ferry ride away so living in Wellington would be my ultimate gateway to the amazing outdoors in New Zealand. Sorry I couldn’t find a pic of Wellington though. Back then, we still had a regular camera…
As I finished writing this, I asked Martijn where he’d like to live if he had to move abroad. Funnily, he answered with the city that would have been my number 6: Reykjavík in Iceland. When I asked him what my first choice would be, he thought it would be Anchorage. I love Anchorage (Alaska) but I couldn’t see myself live there, their winters would be way too cold and lonely for me. Maybe just for a few months during the summer or so…
What would be your city of choice to live in?
Want to read more? You may also enjoy these posts:
Urban Outdoors: cyling in Luxembourg City
The Urban Outdoors of Munich, Germany
The Urban Outdoors of Vienna in Austria
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Thanks for sharing!


  • Meg Jerrard

    A very worthy list of cities here! Personally Sydney doesn’t really do it for me, though I’m a little bias as I live in Canberra which is 3 hours away. MUCH less stress and hecticness while still having the conveniences of being close to city life, and the perk of always being 15 minutes from an amazing park 🙂

  • Toni | 2 Aussie Travellers

    Absolutely some great cities there but I would have picked Auckland over Wellington have lived and worked in both. The beaches, warmer climate and all those gorgeous islands to exlore in the Hauraki gulf sell it for me.

    • anto

      Ah yes, I wouldn’t mind living in Auckland, either. I’ve never been further north than that so I’m sure there’s indeed lots to explore!

  • Katie

    Great list! Denver is my top! It’s the perfect spot for adventurous and city living. I used to live in Boulder, and wish I lived in Denver instead! I currently live just outside of Seoul, South Korea. And while I couldn’t live right in the city, living just outside of it is fantastic!

    • anto

      I’m not a fan of Melbourne to be honest, however it’s been ages since I was there, maybe it has changed. I really should go back one day!

  • Kathrin

    I’ve only been in Stockholm, so can’t really say if I’d would like to life in any of the other cities. I really enjoyed Budapest, and if the language wouldn’t be so complicated to learn, I could imagine myself living there. I also really like London, but you need to own a small fortune to afford to live there. 😀

    • anto

      Ah yes, I heard that Hungarian is among the hardest languages in the world to learn, together with Finnish… I love London too, but it’s a bit too busy for my taste…

  • Rosemary

    What a great list. We share the same passion for Vancouver and Denver. Have not been to Australia or New Zealand, so need to explore a little more before sharing my list 🙂

  • chrysoula

    I have never been to the cities you mentioned so I can’t say. Apart from Athens that I live, I have lived in Edinburgh Scotland and in Oxford England. I loved both places. Apart from those I would love to live in Rome or Tuscany and maybe Madrid.

  • Mar Pages

    I’d love to spend some time in The Netherlands actually. I’m sure it would be a far cry from where I live now in Singapore, could be a pleasant break from city life. Having a river by my house would be great!

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