Taxis, Big Macs and hospital visits: check out Zurich's most expensive holiday costs

Written by
Megan Carnegie

In Time Out’s City Life Index 2018, we asked our readers across the planet to tell us how they really feel about where they lived. This revealed the good, the bad and the ugly sides of living in Zurich: its workaholic residents like their city, adore the transport system and pay extortionate amounts to make the most of living there.

But how expensive is it as a holiday destination? The UK travel platform Hoppa has listed the cheapest and most expensive cities in the world and it looks like the City Life Index results were spot on. 

First – the good news: Zurich is not the most expensive city in the world. Hurrah! New York City earned that title, with the average cost of a hotel, food, drinks, taxi and entertainment per person per night racking up to a cool CH454.13. Zurich came out sixth, averaging at CHF385.82 per person. 

Let's break it down a little. Start the day with a coffee in Zurich and you should expect to shell out CHF5.72 (that's the sixth most expensive in the world). But at least you're not in Caracas, where the average cup of joe goes for CHF7.72.

Peckish? Head to the golden arches of McDonald's and pay CHF14.44 for a Big Mac Meal. Sigh. If only you were in Kiev, where all that junk food goodness could be yours for CHF2.77. A meal for two in an average Zurich restaurant will set you back CHF68.24  let's not even go into fancy dining.

Sometimes, the only solution to haemorrhaging money is to accept it and enter into the burn with gusto. With alcohol, of course. A pint in Zurich is CHF6.75 which, in relative terms, isn't actually that bad. Holidaymakers in Oslo will be paying CHF9.13 for a brew. Cocktails are around CHF17.06 each, but again Caracas takes the crown, with the average concoction priced at CHF30.18. Imagine the dread when someone suggests doing rounds.

Now, the bad news: a 5km taxi ride in Zurich is the most expensive in the world at CHF22.97 per person. Cairo is a passenger's dream though, with a journey of the same distance priced at a mere CHF1.04.

And a word of advice: whatever you do in Zurich, don't get ill. A short visit to the doctor and a round of antibiotics is the third most expensive in the world, so set aside roughly CHF170.60 if you feel the flu lurking as you board the plane. 

Zurich – we love you, but loving you doesn't come cheap. Its costs haven't stopped it being among the top thirty most exciting global cities, proof that sometimes, you can't put a price on having a good time. After all, who goes on holiday to avoid spending money?

If you're planning – or even dreaming about – a holiday to Zurich, make sure to check out our guide to the city.

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