Switzerland's most expensive cities

Hello everyone,

What are the most expensive cities to live in Switzerland? What are the costs of things such as rent, utilities, weekly groceries, dining out, etc.?

What is the lifestyle like in these cities, for expats and locals?

What are the different neighbourhoods like? Are there more affordable areas?

Do you have any experience living in any of Switzerland's most expensive cities? What was it like?

Which cities in Switzerland would you recommend? Are there any that offer particularly good value for money when it comes to cost of living?

Thank you for sharing your experience.


Zürich, Geneva and Basel are the most expensive cities.
Particularly housing is very expensive in this cities - it can be very tedious to find affordable accomodation here.

Housing can be expensive in any other part of Switzerland with low taxes and/or beautiful views. Expect to pay - and quite a lot - for that beautiful lake or mountain view from your living room.

It would be nice if you could provide some real "details"..

We all know Switzerland is expensive when it comes to housing and life in general.

It would be much appreciated if you (or others9 could give some real and detailed info in order for people, moving to CH - like me or the author of the post, to have a better understanding and plan how to move smoothly.


I probably will not have the "golden tip" for you.

Finding a good place to live at an affordable price may take quite some time - and you may have to accept a suboptimal place at first, just "to have some place to live" - and search on later: it is easier to search if you're over there than from abroad.

If downtown is not the place for you (or unaffordable, or unavailable), my advice is to go to towns and villages around it, rather than the suburbs. You may  more easily find a cheaper place to live - and have similar travel distances to down town, as Swiss infrastructure and public transport are excellent.

If you are willing and able to buy instead of rent a place: that's the cheaper option on the long term. Mortgage rates are homoeopathic at the moment (around 1%) - but you'll need to bring 20% of the price of the house yourself. Banks will only finance up to 80% of the market value.

Always check the tax level in the town you plan to live in. Tax levels may differ considerably from town to town and you may want to accept higher costs for accomodation in a place with lower taxes.

The same holds for education facilities (in case you have children). Primary and secondary education is free, but organised by the town where you live. Your children will most probably go to the school that is closest to where you live - if you'ld prefer another school, you most probably have to pay for that.
The same may hold for day care facilities - particularly if you're a single parent or if both parents are working. Some cantons and towns have ample facilities, others may have long waiting lists (up to 2 years is no exception).

Hello expat..I find Zürich the most expensive city in Switzerland.

Wow what a questions! I could write 30 pages here..

Great - thanks for the feedback!

Any info / tips when it comes to grocery shopping? I heard CH has 150% higher prices on meat vs the EU average prices.  Any good supermarket, discount or any tips when it comes to grocery?

I heard many people move (30min up to 1hr drive) to go make shopping in Germany / France / Italy.

I would be living in Bern / Bern area - what would be the best scenario in that case?

Thank you very much for getting back to me!