The waterfront at Zurich.
Ricardo Gomez Angel

Zurich is one of the top three most expensive cities in the world to live in

Written by
Time Out editors
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We all know that living in Switzerland isn’t exactly cheap, especially if you’re in one of the big cities, but this fact was drilled-home this week with the news that Zurich is tied with Paris and Hong Kong as the most expensive city in the world.

The findings come from the bi-annual Worldwide Cost of Living Survey carried out by the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which compares the price of 138 products and services from more than 130 cities.

Zurich has climbed four places from the previous EIU survey in April 2020, as has the other European top-hitter, Paris. Both of these cities overtook Singapore and Osaka, which previously tied with Hong Kong for joint first place. And if you’re in Geneva and feeling a little smug right now – don’t be, as Geneva is seventh on the list.

The report says the increased costliness of Western European cities is partly due to a rise in European currencies against the US Dollar.

In terms of spending categories, tobacco and ‘recreation’ (which includes things like consumer electronics) have seen the biggest price rises, while clothing has fallen the most sharply.

If you’re wondering how this all plays out in the real world, the report gives a handy guide based on the cost (in US Dollars) of a 1kg loaf of bread for the ten most expensive cities on the list. In Zurich, the average price is $5.03, a rise from 2019 (when it was $4.69), but actually cheaper than ten years ago, when the same loaf would have cost you $5.75. So, it’s not all bad news. Unless you live in Geneva, that is, where your bread will currently cost you a lot of dough at $6.05.

For anyone who’s had a big night out in Zurich or Geneva, woken up the next morning and then checked their debit and credit card receipts, none of this will be a huge surprise.

Whatever your budget, we’ve got you covered with our guides to the best things to do in both Zurich and Geneva, including plenty of great free stuff.

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