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8. Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva, Switzerland's second most populous city and home to several international organizations, holds on to the eighth spot it earned in 2011.

Located at the foot of the Swiss Alps, along the banks of Lake Geneva, the city's natural environment also makes it one of the greenest cities in Europe. About 20 percent of Geneva is covered by green areas, giving it the name "city of parks." The city has benefited from strict air pollution laws and other environmental regulations, given that it is the base of many global environmental groups.

As home to a large expatriate community with over 40 percent of its population being foreigners, the cost of living in Geneva is the highest in Western Europe. It's considered the fifth most expensive city in the world, according to Mercer. The cosmopolitan hub is also home to the world's most expensive private schools and is said to have one of the best education systems globally. Geneva's strong economy is also boosted by the fact that it is the world's No. 1 center for oil trading, seeing 35 percent of global volume.

Katarina Stefanovic | Getty Images