Healthiest Cities in the World
Traveling is great for many things, but there's at least one thing it's not great for — staying healthy. When daily routines are disrupted, indulgent restaurant food prevails, and parks and gyms are few and far between, wellness can easily become an afterthought.
But there are some cities where staying healthy, or at least avoiding total gluttony, is surprisingly easy.
Travel Supermarket, a travel price comparison site, analyzed major metropolises around the world to devise its Healthiest Cities Index 2019. Each city was assessed for its per-capita number of green spaces, vegan-option restaurants, yoga and Pilates centers, health-food shops, spas and gyms, with annual sunshine and the average price for a one-night stay factored in as well.
The results are at turns expected and surprising (the healthiest city in the world, for instance, comes out on top despite being known for its extremely rich cuisine). Find out if your favorite city is also one of the world's healthiest.
50. Athens, Greece
The city of gods, with a history dating back more than 2,500 years, pairs its cultural intrigue with surprisingly cheap rates.
To stay healthy, you can walk the city, climb up to the Acropolis or eat at a restaurant serving famously good-for-you Greek cuisine; there are even 438 vegan-option restaurants on tap. Add in more than 2,800 sunlight hours and a good number of spas, and you have a winning destination for a restorative stay.
49. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest stretches across the Danube and has not only gorgeous architecture and a quirky vibe (think underground bars), but also a tempting covered food market where temptation might just get the better of you. Who among us could resist a culinary assortment that includes salami, cream cakes, spicy goulash and ice cream?
To make up for the extravagance, enjoy superb public baths and spas and high-quality vegan-option restaurants.
48. Prague, Czech Republic
It’s all about balance in Prague, where you can indulge and embrace a taking-care-of-yourself ethos.
After a great night out, simply get pampered in one of 119 spas, enjoy a walk on the treadmill in one of 27 gyms, buy coconut water in one of 30 health-food shops and have a light meal in one of nearly 400 restaurants serving vegan cuisine. Then enjoy a snooze in a park, of which Prague has 35, before getting ready to hit the town again.
47. Phuket, Thailand
Located off southern Thailand, Phuket city on the island of the same name is one of the world’s most beloved vacation spots.
You can stay healthy by walking along the area’s naturally blessed beaches, or by enjoying a world-famous Thai massage at one of nearly 300 local spas. Yoga is popular, and 600 vegan-option restaurants are available for clean eating. All that, and there’s plenty of sunshine too.
46. Rome, Italy
Home to some of the world’s most recognizable historic landmarks, with ancient ruins and magnificent art around every street corner, Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
It’s also in Italy, which means pizza, pasta, gelato and wine can also be found around every street corner. You don’t come here to be healthy; you come to let yourself go and have a grand time doing so.
But that doesn’t mean Rome lacks healthy options; indeed, the city offers 1,664 vegan-option restaurants, 88 health-food stores and more than enough spas to keep you feeling rejuvenated.
45. Rhodes, Greece
Ancient ruins and turquoise seas. White beaches and villages plucked from another time. Rhodes is quintessential Greece — and like many of its neighbors, it makes health a priority.
Enjoy water sports or clamber around historical sites, and you won’t need a gym or fitness center. To refuel, pop into one of 56 health-food stores or 428 vegan-option restaurants. Or better yet, just stick with the fresh local cuisine.
44. Toronto, Canada
Toronto has more than 300 spas, plenty of gyms and sport centers, 364 health-food stores, 537 vegan-option restaurants, 80 parks and more than 2,000 sunlight hours. That it’s not ranked higher is simply a testament to how many healthy cities there are in the world.
Visit this bustling cosmopolitan city by the waterfront and apart from enjoying a world-class getaway, you will have more than enough options to stay healthy.
43. Los Angeles, USA
One of six U.S. cities on this list, L.A. comes in 36 spaces after San Francisco. But make no mistake: This metropolis makes healthy living exceedingly easy.
With its 500 spas, 900 health-food shops, 700 vegan-option restaurants, 41 parks and 3,000 sunlight hours, the city is perfect for eating clean and working out — without sacrificing a great time.
42. Abu Dhabi, UAE
The capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi doesn’t possess the glitz or buzzing nightlife of its neighbor Dubai. But it does have plenty of history and art, and is surrounded by fabulous nature reserves and the endless desert.
Pop into the Louvre Abu Dhabi, try and spot an oryx amongst the mangroves or go for a camel safari. Afterwards, you can enjoy spas and gyms in pretty much every hotel, plus some 238 vegan-option restaurants.
41. Chennai, India
Formerly called Madras, Chennai lies on the east coast in the state of Tamil Nadu on the Bay of Bengal. Often overlooked as a travel destination because it is short on obvious tourist sites, the city has much to offer, hosting several worthwhile festivals each year and serving as the setting-off point for many attractions in the region.
While there, get pampered at one of 74 spas, enjoy a decent selection of gyms and yoga centers, and select from 301 vegan-option restaurants. Add in cheap hotel stays and plenty of sunshine, and there’s really no good reason not to visit.
40. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Ahh, Rio. Surely one of the most beautiful cities in the world with its seaside setting, stunning mountains, plethora of islands and tranquil beaches, Rio is not one many people think of when they think “healthy.” Why practice healthy living when you can spend your time sipping caipirinha cocktails, lazing about on the beach and indulging at the annual Carnival festival?
If you do want to curb the gluttony, though, it’s quite easy to do so, thanks to an amazing 120 spas, 65 health-food shops, 168 vegan-option restaurants, plenty of parks and more than enough sunshine hours to work on that tan.
39. Taichung, Taiwan
Predominantly an industrial city, Taichung is an intriguing mix of shiny skyscrapers and lush green parks. There is a fabulous 4.5-kilometer bike path in a tunnel through a mountain, built along a former railway line, which makes it probably one of the most unusual bike paths ever.
Hot springs and serene temples, plus a good selection of spas, vegan-food options and 40 parks, make this not only a healthy option, but a good one to put on the to-do list.
38. Heraklion, Greece
With its historic buildings set against turquoise seas, white-sand beaches, colorful fishing boats and abundant water-sport options, Heraklion — the capital of the island of Crete — has plenty to recommend it.
And while the city only includes five spas, one gym and one park, its 97 vegan-option restaurants, 2,761 sunlight hours and cheap overnight stays make it a great choice for healthy vacays as well.
37. Osaka, Japan
Osaka, Japan’s second city, is home to Osaka Castle, surrounded by cherry blossoms in spring; one of Japan’s oldest Shinto-shrines; and an aquarium so vast, it will take your breath away.
The bustling city also excels at spas and parks, making for a relaxing getaway. And healthy, fresh local cuisine abounds, including at 19 vegan-option restaurants and 45 health-food shops.
36. Colombo, Sri Lanka
Colombo promises an enticing mix of modern amenities and colonial history, with temples and shops, parks and lakes, plus bustling markets and access to the Indian Ocean.
You’ll be forgiven if you completely forget about staying healthy, but if you do want to keep wellness in mind, that’s easy to do. Walk the city or join sports activities by the lake in the mornings, enjoying the city’s abundant sunshine. Then enjoy fresh seafood or dishes from a vegan-option restaurant — Colombo has 134 of them.
35. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
This much is sure: With its glittering twin towers, bustling Chinatown, pretty colonial architecture and entire street dedicated to outdoor eating (Jalan Bukit Bintang), you won’t be bored in Kuala Lumpur.
For exercise, pop into one of the city’s handful of gyms. Or why not climb 275 steps up to the Batu Caves while fending off the cheeky monkeys?
The food scene here is thriving, too, with plenty of fresh seafood and street food available, plus 260 vegan-option restaurants and 117 health-food stores. You will definitely not go hungry here.
34. Moscow, Russia
Moscow is hopping with spas, gyms, and yoga and Pilates centres. Though it lacks health-food stores, it has an impressive 503 vegan-option restaurants and a very impressive 115 parks.
Really, this beautiful city seems like it should be much higher up the list. So what’s holding it back? Unfortunately, it has just 1,901 sunlight hours, much less than many other cities on here.
Then again, who cares about less-than-sunny days when you can walk Red Square, look at the Faberge eggs in the Kremlin, see amazing architecture and maybe even pop into the Bolshoi Ballet?
33. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Another Saudi Arabian contender on the list, Riyadh — with its mere four spas, one gym, one yoga and Pilates studio, and nonexistent health-food stories — seems like an unlikely inclusion.
Until, that is, you factor in its decent 71 vegan-option restaurants and extraordinary 3,224 sunlight hours.
32. Cairo, Egypt
Apparently there are only five gyms and four Pilates centers in Cairo. But who needs indoor workout spaces when you can walk around the pyramids instead — or scale the nearby sand dunes for an epic view of them?
That will burn some serious calories, which you can then replenish by enjoying the local cuisine. Some 83 vegan-option restaurants and 14 health-food shops will help you along, or you can just stick with the mezze and fresh food from the markets.
Better yet, go for a picnic by the Nile and take advantage of the city’s 3,541 sunlight hours.
31. Taipei, Taiwan
Home to impressive temples, a fabulous night market and a traditional teahouse culture, Taipei offers enough diversion to make a gym not all that necessary. For other exercise such as Tai Chi, you can always go to one of the city’s 72 parks. As for finding healthy food, you’re thoroughly covered, thanks to 535 vegan-option restaurants and 193 health-food stores.
And that’s without even mentioning the street-food culture!
30. Bangkok, Thailand
Sprawling Bangkok, with its golden domes and massive markets, has so many vegan-option restaurants (728!) that there is practically one at every street corner. No health-food stores are listed, but with the street markets selling fresh produce all year round, you don’t really need dedicated stores.
As expected, the city also touts plenty of spas, yoga centers, parks and sunlight hours. Honestly, the rank of 30 seems a little too low.
29. Johannesburg, South Africa
The biggest city in South Africa and second-largest on the continent of Africa, Jo’burg is nothing if not vibrant and diverse. Despite its significant size, there is just one yoga and Pilates centre listed, which is a little unexpected. And parks, spas and health-food stores are few and far between.
But it more than makes up for these drawbacks with its abundant African sunlight hours, 145 vegan-option restaurants and low-cost stays, which are together enough to make the city come in at number 29.
28. Brussels, Belgium
Beer, fries and chocolate must be good for you, because Brussels comes in at number 28.
Actually, the capital of Belgium, where restaurants sit next to bars that sit next to pubs, isn’t all about delicious indulgence: The city also has 301 vegan-option restaurants and 93 health-food shops. Add some spas, a yoga and Pilates center and green spaces where you can picnic on your beer and fries (or, sorry, nutritious salad) and you have a healthy city that also happens to be a lot of fun.
27. Dammam City, Saudi Arabia
Despite being the capital of the Eastern Province in Saudi Arabia and being situated on the Persian (Arabian) Gulf, this is still a bit of a surprise contender coming in at number 27. Traveling around Saudi Arabia has never been easy or straightforward, and this town, filled mostly with expatriates and workers, is probably not on any to-do list, even for those looking to travel within Saudi Arabia.
And yet, with its nearly constant sunlight hours, 425 health-food shops and 10 vegan option restaurants, this is actually a solid choice for a wellness-focused trip.
26. Antalya, Turkey
This vibrant Turkish city invites you to hop into the clear Mediterranean Sea along the Turquoise Coast, or to dance the night away after spending the day exploring Greco-Roman ruins and temples.
In other words, exercise is a given, but Antalya also offers a nice selection of parks and spas, some 52 health food shops and 35 restaurants with vegan options. Add to that nearly constant sunshine and reasonably priced overnight stays, and off you go…
25. Jakarta, Indonesia
Indonesia’s capital embraces spas — it touts over 100 of them — and relaxing green spaces. In recent years, public officials have worked diligently to create even more lush spaces for travelers and locals to enjoy, a testament to the city’s prioritizing of wellness.
Plus, it’s easy to eat clean here, thanks to 179 vegan-option restaurants. Add in bustling open-air markets in every quarter, plenty of cheap tropical fruit on offer and an abundance of juice stalls, and it’s easy to see why Jakarta made the healthy-cities cut.
24. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Who needs fitness facilities when you can just grab a bicycle and pedal along a serene canal?
Amsterdam touts an incredible 320 miles of dedicated cycling lanes and is famously home to more bikes than people, making it easy to get around while working up a sweat. When you’re done wheeling around, it’s also easy to enjoy a vegan meal (there are 812 vegan-option restaurants!) and other wellness-focused fare.
And that’s to say nothing of this chill city’s many other charms, from its colorful houseboats to its thriving indie culture.
23. Honolulu, USA
When it comes to wellness, the capital of Hawaii has it all: ample vegan restaurants, spas, health-food stores, green spaces and yoga options.
More importantly, there is the sea and the land. The city’s unique mix of mountains and surf make it easy to enjoy the benefits of outdoor exploration. (If you’re not spending most of your time in Honolulu exploring the gorgeous outdoors, you’re doing it wrong!)
22. Dublin, Ireland
Guinness is good for you, or so the old slogan for the beer company says. So if you want to enjoy the local tipple at Dublin’s Guinness Factory and say you did it for your health, we won’t judge.
Elsewhere, Ireland’s capital has plenty of vegan-option restaurants to choose from (528, to be exact), plus a nice mix of health-food shops (65).
Pair your healthy food with a pint, and you’ll feel better than ever. Guaranteed.
21. Istanbul, Turkey
An incredible 1,327 health-food stores fill the city by the Golden Horn. And its wellness-focused options don’t end there; this lively East-meets-West metropolis is also rife with incredible vegan food and hamman spas — the revitalizing Middle Eastern version of a steam bath.
For some outdoor rejuvenation, enjoy one of the city’s many green spaces, including Emirgan Park, a 117-acre oasis with fragrant gardens and tons of jogging trails.
20. Las Vegas, USA
Sin City may be known for its gluttony — hello, all-you-can-eat buffets and drinks the size of your head — but it also offers a surprisingly robust selection of healthy offerings. There are nearly as many health-food stores (148) as spas (152), and plenty of vegan-option restaurants (550) too.
Also working in Vegas' favor? It has the highest number of average daylight hours of any city on the list. Enjoy this sunshine, including on more sweltering days, by floating and splashing in one of the city's myriad cool pools.
A hop, skip and jump from Hong Kong and filled with old Portuguese architecture next to striking skyscrapers, Macau is well worth a visit. Like Vegas, it’s also a gambling mecca where indulgence reigns supreme, making its inclusion on this list something of a surprise.
But, despite being just 11 square miles, Macau manages to pack in a fair amount of green spaces, spas and healthy dining options. Want some respite from gaming? Head to Camoes Garden and Grotto, a city oasis spanning more than 65,000 square feet.
18. Johur Bahru, Indonesia
This little-known Malaysian city lies on the southern edge of the Malay Peninsula, just across the strait from Singapore. Few tourists make it here, which is a shame; the metropolis offers an intriguing mix of the old and new (think old Chinese temples and a Legoland — really) plus a wonderful assortment of health-food stores and clean-eating restaurants. And it’s affordable to boot.
It’s also sunny here pretty much all year round, including in the winter, making it easy to soak up some rays no matter when you visit.
17. New York City, USA
New York City healthy? Why, yes. With a mind-blowing 1,644 vegan-option restaurants and 859 health-food stores, it’s easy to eat your way through the city while maintaining a focus on health.
Add, of course, superb green spaces and a lifelong dedication to spa culture — there are 675 of them — and the only surprise is that this mega-city isn’t in the No. 1 spot.
16. Tel Aviv, Israel
“Tel Aviv” means “hill of spring” in Hebrew, a fittingly healthy-sounding name for this wellness-focused city.
A great mix of old and new, Middle Eastern and European, Tel Aviv touts a bounty of healthy street cafes and an idyllic setting on the sunny eastern Mediterranean coast, where the water stays warm longer throughout the year.
Go for a swim at one of many marvelous beaches before grabbing a vegetarian or vegan meal in this city that takes good health seriously.
15. Washington DC, USA
There is so much history and knowledge to soak up in DC that you’d be forgiven for forgetting to take advantage of its healthy offerings.
This would be a mistake.
The United States capital pairs 34 green spaces with an above-average number of sunlight hours. Fabulous parks include the National Arboretum, featuring North America’s largest collection of bonsai trees, and the 12-acre, historic Meridian Hall Park.
14. Doha, Qatar
Slowly but steadily emerging as an enticing destination for international travelers, Doha is one of the sunniest spots in the world, landing at No. 4 on the list of cities with the most average daylight per year.
Nearly every hotel has a superb spa and gym, and the city is a veritable sports hub as well; the FIFA World Cup will even be held there in 2022. Plus, a variety of restaurants catering to the city's dozens of nationalities ensure ample vegan and vegetarian food options.
13. Nice, France
Nice is situated along the splendid Mediterranean coast in the sunny south of France, where the yachts dock, celebrities flock and the beautiful parade along the Promenade des Anglais.
The city's sea, sunny hours, ample vegan options and extended beachfront to meander along all promise a healthy stay. And the city’s signature dish, salade niçoise — made with tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives, anchovies and olive oil — is a clean-eating delight.
12. Milan, Italy
The home of world-renowned pizza, pasta and gelato might not immediately scream “healthy,” but the city is all about moderation and touts plenty of vegan options, too.
Add in a plethora of spas, gyms, and yoga and Pilates centers, and you'll soon be ready to strut your stuff in this fashion mecca of the world.
11. Copenhagen, Denmark
It makes sense that the country that gave the world “hygge” — an ethos of coziness designed to foster well-being — also makes wellness a focus. The nation’s photogenic capital of Copenhagen is particularly good for you, thanks to its wonderful assortment of green spaces for enjoying R&R in the sunshine.
Make time for a rowboat ride around the canals at Fredericksburg Gardens (pictured here).
10. Buenos Aires, Argentina
The capital of Argentina is an all-arounder on this list — there are plenty of parks, health-food stores, restaurants with vegan options and spas, plus exercise venues and seven hours of daily sunshine.
The rose garden Rosedal, situated within Los Bosques de Palermo, is cited as a particularly idyllic spot to rejuvenate in the great outdoors.
9. Denpasar, Indonesia
Fun fact: Tempeh, the soy-based product that’s made its way onto vegetarian menus around the world, is from Indonesia, a country where it’s easy to eat a meat-free diet. (Should you choose to!)
In Denpasar, the capital of the Indonesian province of Bali, an incredible 1,123 restaurants offer not just vegetarian options, but vegan options; only Barcelona and Paris make vegan eating easier.
The city encourages wellness in other ways, too, boasting some 118 spas and plenty of beaches for soaking up the sun.
8. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon has more sunlight hours than almost anywhere else in Europe — 2,806, on average, per year. Plus, beaches are never far away, and the steep hills work just as well as a step-machine at the gym (while offering far better scenery).
Fresh seafood is bountiful, and many restaurants offer vegan options too. As for the city’s famous pastel de natas custard tarts? They’re decidedly less healthy, but well worth the indulgence.
7. San Francisco, USA
San Francisco is home to 50 parks — only Paris has more — making it an ideal place to get active, or simply unwind, outdoors. And while yes, the city is often foggy, it also touts an average of 3,061 hours of sunlight per year. (It is in California, after all.)
Also adding to its wellness quotient? Only three cities in the world have more health-food stores than it does.
6. Miami, USA
The healthiest city in the U.S. touts more sunshine hours than any other metropolis in the country besides Vegas — and its temperatures are far less stifling than Sin City’s. Moreover, it boasts more health-food stores than anywhere else in the world.
There are not many gyms and yoga centers listed, but with endless beaches at your doorstep, exercise is easy. And who wants to be stuck inside working out anyway, when white sandy shores and the Atlantic Ocean beckon?
5. Vancouver, Canada
After Miami, Vancouver has more health-food stores than anywhere else on the planet, and it ranks high for green spaces, too. (Stanley Park, spanning more than 1,000 acres and hugging the Burrard Inlet and English Bay, is an outdoors must-visit.)
Add in an abundance of fresh seafood and a prevailing commitment to active living, and you have the recipe for one of the five healthiest cities in the world.
4. Pattaya, Thailand
“Although it’s renowned for its cabaret bars and 24-hour clubs, the vast number of 5-star spa and fitness centers means that Pattaya really is the perfect place to maintain your health and well-being,” the Travel Supermarket study said of this Thai beach and party resort.
The city is firing on all cylinders when it comes to wellness: It ranks No. 1 for gyms and fitness centers, No. 2 for yoga and pilates centers, No. 4 for spas, No. 6 for health-food stores and No. 7 for green spaces and parks. Oh, and it offers cheap overnight stays.
What else could a health-minded traveler want?
3. Barcelona, Spain
With its renowned architecture, satisfying tapas, palm-lined plazas and sunny beaches, Barcelona is high on most everybody’s dream-travel list. True, jamon and churros are popular here, but the city also has more vegan-option restaurants than anywhere else in the world. It also cracks the top five when it comes to gyms and fitness centers, yoga and pilates centers, and parks and green spaces.
Don't forget to enjoy a glass (or few) of red wine — it's good for the heart!
2. Chiang Mai, Thailand
In Thailand, wellness is a way of life, thanks to an emphasis on physical activity and a homegrown bounty of rice, fish and fresh veggies. The northern city of Chiang Mai makes wellness particularly easy — it has more yoga and Pilates centers than any other city on the list, and only Paris touts more spas.
The city scores a big fat zero when it comes to health-food shops. But that makes little difference when you can just go to the local market to purchase fresh produce instead.
1. Paris, France
Paris is not only a top choice for cuisine, culture and history; it’s the healthiest city in the world.
With 1,305 vegan-option restaurants and 155 health-food shops, you don’t have to stray too far from your sweet crepe and cheese platter to eat healthy. The city also offers 139 parks, more than any other metropolis in the world, and plenty of sunny days to enjoy their beauty (it has 1,662 hours of annual sunshine).
As if that weren’t enough, there are also more spas here than anywhere else on the planet.
When it comes to wellness, the City of Lights quite literally can’t be beat.