These are the world’s best cities for a wellness workation

Research has uncovered the 25 best destinations in the world for a wellness workation, taking into account factors including internet speed and happiness

For obvious reasons, remote working has surged over the past few years across North America and beyond. 

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced millions around the globe to dramatically alter the way they work and, for many, these new working practices have become the new normal. 

Workhuman’s ‘Evolution of Work’ report for 2023 – the 15th iteration of the company’s annual whitepaper research – revealed 13% of employees in Canada and the US were working on a fully-remote basis, while 38% of Canadian workers had a hybrid arrangement. 

Evidently, the way in which people work varies significantly depending on their industry. Those in retail, healthcare, manufacturing, education and hospitality are working on site for the vast majority of the time, but banking and finance has a majority hybrid workforce (61%) and a third of the software and services workforce is entirely remote. 

There has been a steep rise in the number of people taking wellness workations

Another recent report from McKinsey & Co discovered the remote working ‘trend’ was anything but, with 20-25% of Americans found to be doing their jobs away from the office

However, the switch to remote, hybrid or flexible working also changed the relationship between workers’ personal and professional lives. 

Working from home may have its perks, but a lack of social interaction and daily monotony has the potential to take its toll on employee mental health. 

Cue the rise of the ‘workation’, an arrangement allowing workers to travel to far-flung locations, log on at their convenience and escape the 9-5 tedium – benefitting their wellbeing along the way. 

And now, new research from the airline Icelandair has uncovered the 25 best destinations in the world for a wellness workation, taking into account 10 factors including internet speed, cost of living and average working hours.

European cities best for wellness workations 

In carrying out its research, Icelandair used measures including a ‘quality of life index’, which takes into account eight different statistics such as purchasing power parity.

Vienna is the number one city in the world for a wellness workation

The top scorer in this category, Vienna, was also deemed to be the overall best city in the world for a wellness workation. The Austrian capital was lauded for its low pollution levels, stunning architecture and sweeping Vienna woods, offering an excuse to get lost during a break from work.

In fact, the entirety of Icelandair’s top 10 were cities in Europe, which generally scored favourably in terms of quality of life. 

Second-placed Copenhagen scored top marks for internet speeds and was runner-up for happiness, with its “artistic atmosphere” helping those on workation to enjoy a relaxed escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. 

The Danish capital was followed by Amsterdam, which is known for having some of the lowest working hours in the world and achieved an admirable happiness score of 7.4 out of 10. 

Amsterdam is one of the happiest cities in the world

Fourth-placed Luxembourg City had the second-highest quality of life, achieving an index score of 201.1/240, while Helsinski, in fifth, stood out for having both the lowest level of pollution and highest score for happiness (7.8). 

Rounding out the top 10 were Valencia, Reykjavik, Oslo, Madrid and Zurich. 

You have to look as far down as 12th to find a city outside of Europe, which comes in the form of Vancouver, Canada. There are, however, plenty more Canadian cities on the list: Calgary, Victoria, Edmonton, Halifax and Ottawa.

No US cities make the top 25, while Wellington, New Zealand (14th) is the only city not in Europe or North America.


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