Switzerland is a European and worldwide hub for finance, engineering and life sciences, that means that there are fantastic, well paid jobs for foreigners in many Swiss cities. But that comes with a price. In fact, Zurich is rated as the most expensive city in the world (21 percent more expensive generally than London), and Switzerland is the world’s third expensive country.

So live in general is quite expensive in Switzerland. Obviously the salaries are usually high as well. But if you are retiring, temporarily moving or moving to Switzerland once and for all, it is helpful to have an idea of what to expect when it comes to prices and living costs.

How expensive is it to live in Switzerland? | image source: pexels.com
How expensive is it to live in Switzerland? | image source: pexels.com

Even if your lender says it provides fee-free currency market, you can be sure its cut is wrapped up at the market rate it uses. Here, it is possible to get a fast service, and low flat fees to transport your money, this may be a far better bargain than just using your bank in your home.

With different cities rated among the priciest in the world, you’re going to want a healthy bank balance. Rent plays a major part in this. Decide to reside beyond those towns, and you will discover the expense of living is a lot lower.

Wages in Switzerland

To be able to pay the over all high prices, salaries in Switzerland are among the highest in the world as well. Just like in any other country: the better educated you are, the more you earn. Being an international financial hub, Switzerland is very attractive for anyone working in finance.

If your job does not pay that well, and yes, that exists too,, then think about living across the border in order to save money. Many Swiss people who work close to the boarder decide to actually live in Germany, France or Italy. For the simple fact that living costs in those countries are a lot cheaper.

It is compulsory to get private medical insurance in Switzerland. As an expat you have 3 months upon arrival to arrange you medical insurance. You can pic, from a vide range of insurance companies.

Public transport

Public transport in Switzerland is superb. As you would expect, in a nation famous for their watch manufacturing, pubic transportation is very punctual in Switzerland. There is a wide variety of trains, tram and buses in every city which makes getting around the country extremely easy.



Buying power

Although wages are high, Switzerland is among the priciest countries in the world. Taxes are rather low, but rent, services and food are costly. Nevertheless Swiss residents still have relatively high disposable incomes and buying power compared with other countries.

A global study about buying power from 2012 rated Zurich number one and Switzerland number four globally. Employees require much less time to make enough to purchase universal items like a Big Mac or a iPod Nano. However, real estate and utilities, in addition to food, health care, clothing and leisure activities are more expensive in Switzerland.

Taxes in Switzerland are different from canton to canton. | image source: pexels.com
Taxes in Switzerland are different from canton to canton. | image source: pexels.com

Most people rent their house or apartment because land prices are high. In addition, in order to purchase a house, a down payment of 20% of the real estate value is required by any bank. The expense of leasing an apartment in Switzerland is higher than in New York or Paris and twice the cost of Amsterdam or Brussels.

Cost of living

Transport, telecommunications and electronics are at comparable levels to the rest of Europe. A family spends about 16% of their income on rent and energy costs, 8% on transportation, 13% on leisure and entertainment and 7% on meals and non-alcoholic beverages. A household of four people requires an income of about CHF 7000 a month to keep up a modest way of life.



A deposit of the equivalent of around 3 weeks’ rent is payable so to finalize the contract. One logical method of paying for lodging is to reside beyond the center of Switzerland. Other methods of saving cash in Switzerland include picking attentively when and where to store, taking advantage of discounts, special offers, loyalty programs, particularly with respect to public transportation, and seasonal earnings.

There is nothing that the Swiss love more that compiling and tabulating figures, particularly when they’re about Switzerland. Barely a month goes by with no fresh report on road deaths, organic food ingestion, or amounts of foreigners; past week it had been the reverse of disposable earnings, when Credit Suisse released its most recent look where Swiss cantons would be the least expensive and cheapest to reside in.

Canton Uri

If you are reading this outside Switzerland, then you might not know of canton Uri. It was among the three original cantons that founded the nation back in 1291 and was also home to the most well-known Swiss guy, William Tell. Other for its history, most people only pass through the canton Uri on their way to the sunny canton Ticino, and therefore crossing the Gotthard pass.

If you plan on moving to Switzerland, Uri could be an interesting option for you because of it’s very low taxes and living costs in general. Medical insurance and rent for example are also within the lowest in the country. However, living in Uri means living in the countryside. There are no bigger towns in that area, it’s all rural. If you like nature, a quiet lifestyle and don’t mind being far away from everything, Uri could be your place. For all those of you who prefer a more happening lifestyle, we suggest you stick to the big cities.

City life

Living in a city in Switzerland comes with its price. With Zurich and Geneva constantly being listed among the 10 most expensive cities in the world, this does not surprise. But also smaller cities are not cheap anymore, be it the capital Bern or the pharmaceutical hub Basel. Within those 4 cities you also find the highest density of foreigners.

Zurich - Switzerland | image source: pexels.com
Zurich – Switzerland | image source: pexels.com

Some may say real estate prices have gone up also due to the large amount of foreigners, who have moved to Switzerland. Others would argue that the same development that is happening in any big, international city, is also occurring in Switzerland. Especially  Geneva and Zurich have been reported that phenomena. But luckily you have more options to choose from than just two. Lucerne, Lausanne, St. Gallen or Solothurn are relatively small cities with lots of charm and still lower living costs.  Or like in my case, move to the Swiss capital Bern. There is nowhere else in Switzerland I would rather be.




How expensive is it to live in Switzerland?
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