Argentina's largest city makes the cut in part for its relative proximity to the first city on this list. "It's a slightly diluted version of Rio," says Anholt. "I suspect people know far less about Buenos Aires than Rio. They may not know it's in Argentina, but they know it's in Latin America."
Paris, je t'aime! Most people agree. "Paris is the most adored city on the planet," says Anholt. "People think it's so beautiful, so lovely, it must be happy."
8. Rome, Italy
Ancient history meets modern sophistication in Rome, and the rest of the world loves it. "Generally speaking, people associate Italy with being laid-back and stylish," says Anholt. "People think the Italians are always happy, always in a party mood."
7. San Francisco, U.S.
The lone American metropolis, San Francisco makes the list because it's perceived by foreigners as the "most fun" of America's major cities. "It's associated with gay pride," says Anholt. "That's a happy image unless you're a raging homophobe."
6. Madrid, Spain
Spain's capital and largest city makes the list due to its vibrant culture and high standard of living. That comes as something of a surprise to Anholt, considering the absence of Italian cities like Milan. "It's interesting that the Spanish are perceived as being happier than the Italians," he says. "I find the Spanish rather gloomy."
5. Melbourne, Australia
Australia's second city is a major center for arts and education, but it makes the list because it's part of a well-liked nation. "People know it's in Australia, and that it's full of Australians," says Anholt. "Therefore, it must be fun."
4. Amsterdam, Netherlands
This historical trading hub is now a chic metropolis--one where perceived happiness is abundant, if herbally induced. "A lot of our respondents are young people," says Anholt. "Amsterdam fared well, I presume, because they think everybody is stoned all the time. It's sex, drugs and rock and roll."
3. Barcelona, Spain
Lively culture, warm weather and one of the best soccer teams in the world are big draws for Barcelona. Anholt calls it "the classic Mediterranean city."
2. Sydney, Australia
Famous for friendly locals and its iconic opera house, Sydney fared well in Anholt's survey because of its association with a popular brand--Australia. "It's where everybody would like to go," says Anholt. "There's this image of this nation of people who basically sit around having barbecues."
1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Popular perception of the city is infused with images of starry-eyed youngsters dancing into the dusk, backed by mountains and dark sea. Not far from the truth for a city that's home to the annual Carnaval festival.