There are cities you should definitely visit at least once, and then there are cities you should consider living in. Comfortable, rich in content and prosperous, certain Slavic cities have stood out from the rest due to the benefits they offer to their residents.
Prague, Czech Republic
Estimated to be the fifth most visited city in Europe, Prague is first and foremost globally known for its rich history and astonishing architecture. But it is not only attractive for tourists looking to explore the Old Continent; It is also one of top choices for expats and people who want to move to Europe permanently or do business. There are many reasons for such a preference, and they are all based on the quality of life and work one can have in Prague. With approximately 1.4 million residents, Prague landscape features hundreds of cultural and artistic attractions, as well as some of the most famous educational institutions in the world, most notably Charles University which was founded in 14th century. Classified as a Beta+ global city, Prague is considered equal in terms of economic global impact to Boston, Copenhagen and Atlanta. Being a home of headquarters of many international businesses and companies, Prague was also proclaimed in 2010 to be the best city for business in Central and Eastern Europe.
Only national capital that borders two states, Bratislava is one of the smallest capital cities in Europe, with only about 500 000 residents. Yet despite its size, Bratislava was ranked as the third wealthiest region in European Union, only behind Luxembourg City and Hamburg. Located in the heart of Europe, its culture is a blend of countless influences from Central, Western and Eastern Europe, while its geographical location makes some of the most attractive European cities easy and quick to reach. Built in a recognizable Central European style, Bratislava city center offers many palaces, historical buildings and bridges, such as Bratislava Castle and Rusovce. With the unemployment rate of 1.8%, high tech and IT businesses have flourished in the past two decades in Bratislava. Also a popular tourist attraction, Bratislava famously features Danube river, as well as a huge number of green surfaces, parks, gardens, hiking and biking trails. Due to its size and general coziness, it can be considered a walking city, where it isn’t too difficult to get around on foot and there are no traffic jams, something many would consider to be a huge advantage over larger cities. A home of many museums, galleries and palaces, it will not fail to provide the cultural and historical element of Slovakian identity to its visitors.
Considered to be an alpha global city, Warsaw stands equal to Sydney, Milan, Chicago, Moscow and L.A. in the global economic system. Ranked as the 32nd most liveable city in the world, it is tied with Berlin as the richest city in Eastern and Central Europe. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Warsaw city centre is known for its architecture and art bars, pubs, galleries and museums. Along with being a cultural hub, Warsaw has become the hot spot for business in the past 20 years, headquartering many globally successful companies. Known for being one of the top 3 cities in Europe when it comes to the number of skyscrapers, Warsaw is architecturally a unique mix of old with the new, traditional with the modern. Perhaps that is what makes Warsaw a popular tourist destination, and a well renowned Central European beauty. With almost 2 million residents, Warsaw is 9th most populous capital in European Union, yet its impeccable infrastructure and public transport make navigation through the city surprisingly easy and stress free.
Saint Petersburg, Russia
With 5 million inhabitants, Saint Petersburg is by far the most populous city on this list. However, its size is not the reason for its high rank, but rather the cultural, economical and educational benefits it provides to residents and tourists alike. Founded by Tsar Peter the Great, the place where a truly magnificent city stands today was reportedly a foggy swamp back then. Luckily, Peter stood his ground and persisted in making a new city which will serve as a cultural capital of Russia. Best known for Hermitage, considered by many to be the greatest art museum in the world, it is also a home to renowned Mariinsky Theatre and numerous other cultural institutions. Described by Dostoevsky as “The most abstract and intentional city in the world”, it is clear its beauty and architecture were not a result of accidental and spontaneous circumstances, but human desire to create something impeccable, other worldly and worthy of admiration. Economically successful, Petersburg is a financial and industrial capital of Russia, surpassed in wealth only by a far larger city of Moscow. Included in UNESCO World Heritage list as an area with over 4000 outstanding monuments, it is fair to say Petersburg has more than enough to offer to those who decide to settle there.
A financial and IT centre of Southeastern Europe, Belgrade was called “The greatest city you’d never thought to visit” by The Telegraph and is regularly hailed by the international media as the “New Berlin” for its exciting nightlife. Yet, the truth is Belgrade is a surprisingly liveable city, with large green areas, good infrastructure and public transportation and a fair amount of cultural content. Chosen to be a European center of operations by international companies such as Asus and Intel, Belgrade has lived up to its hype as a growing tech hub. A mixture of Islamic, Classical, Communist and modern styles, architecture of Belgrade varies significantly from one part of the city to another, making it difficult to ever get bored. Widely known for its dynamic nightlife, barges along the Sava and Danube river are especially attractive both to tourists and locals. Hailed by “The Times” as the best nightlife city in Europe, it is clear why Belgrade is consistently growing and expanding its global impact and visibility.
Ever dreamed of living in a city where you have it all as in any capital city, but that it still has that “zen” feeling? Well Zagreb is just that, you will find shopping malls, clubs, schools, places to work, nice locations to visit and all of that is packed in a perfectly-sized city with a lot of green. If you want to go mountaineering that is a local hill Medvednica just above it, and in summer time Adriatic sea is just hour and half drive away from it. Lot of cafes around, happy tourists exploring the city, you will surely feel alive the moment you step on its main square and start your journey. Many expats that came to live in Zagreb enjoy it because it is just a perfect combination of size, urbanism, safety and relaxation.
Situated on the far west part of Ukraine Lviv is far away from politically turbulent Kyiv and even more far away from the war-torn Donbas area. It is a traditionally beautiful central European city by its looks, a small peaceful town where you will enjoy to relax on its plazas. Historically a rich city where you will see a mixture of Ukrainian and Polish history intertwined in a beautiful city where anyone could find a permanent home.
So tell us, which one would you chose to live in?