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26 Nov. 2022


Cost of living in Switzerland: rent, food, entertainment and healthcare

Cost of living


Cost of living in Switzerland: rent, food, entertainment and healthcare

Issuing a policy Green card for traveling abroad by car
Issuing a policy Green card for traveling abroad by car

Switzerland is a country in the center of Europe that attracts expats with political and economic stability, picturesque landscapes, high salaries, relatively low taxes (compared to other Western European countries) and, of course, one of the highest levels of quality of life in the world. There are currently 2.2 million expats living in Switzerland, which is 25% of the country's total population.

Three Swiss cities made it into the top 10 of Mercer's 2021 ranking of cities for the cost of living in the world - Zurich (fifth), Geneva (eighth) and Bern (tenth). Living in Zurich is more expensive than in Brussels, Munich and Paris.

For a comfortable life in Switzerland, a family of two needs to have a budget of €2,400 to €2,800 per month. Ukrainians who have moved to Switzerland will find it useful to have the opportunity to exchange hryvnias for francs, detailed instructions at the link.

Housing rent and utilities in Switzerland

Only 40% of the population of Switzerland owns their own real estate, the rest rent, so it is more difficult to find decent and affordable housing here than in other European countries. Due to high demand, the best apartments are rented out with many requirements, including up to three months' advance payment. A one-room apartment in the center of Zurich or Geneva will cost you about €2,000 per month, in Lausanne and Basel about €1,500, if you rent outside the city center, you can save up to €500. Quite often, people live in neighboring countries. Basel, for example, lies on the border with Germany and France, both of which are much cheaper.

You can also rent a room in a shared apartment instead of your own apartment.  It will cost approximately the same as a private apartment in another city of the world (800-1200€). Shared housing is the most common option among single expats.

Basic utilities in Switzerland: electricity, gas, water and garbage collection will cost an average of €200 per month.  Some landlords include basic utilities such as electricity and water in the rent, but most Swiss residents pay for utilities themselves. 

The monthly cost for garbage collection depends on the volume of bags and varies slightly between municipalities.  Recycling is taken very seriously in Switzerland and local councils have strict regulations.  If you violate them, you can receive a large fine or even a two-day stay in the local jail.

The average cost of an Internet package is €57 per month. Fee for television and radio - 360€ per year.


The cost of products in Switzerland

Products in Switzerland are of very high quality.  However, their cost is much higher than the average prices in Europe.  A family of two should count on a budget of €470 per month for buying food. Switzerland is known all over the world for its chocolate and cheese.

Several supermarket chains operate in the state.  Among them are the Swiss chains Migros and Coop, Coop is about 10% more expensive than Migros. Migros is popular because most of its products are from domestic producers.  The cheapest chains are Lidl and Aldi.

Entertainment in Switzerland

A complex lunch in a Swiss restaurant will cost 20-30€ per person.  Dinner in an elegant middle-class restaurant for two €120-140. Gratuities are already included in the total bill. A cup of cappuccino costs about €5. A  ticket to the cinema is €20.

Visiting an exhibition or museum from €10.  On some days of the week, museums organize an open day, on these days you can visit the institution for free.

Subscription to the gym - 80€ per month.

Public transport and own car in Switzerland

The public transport network in Switzerland is one of the best in the world.  Every big city and town is connected by railway.  From those areas where there is no railway station, you can get there by bus. Thus, owning a car is not quite popular in Switzerland.  A monthly pass for trams, trains and buses costs €75, a one-time ticket - €3.

Car owners need to pay for a parking permit, insurance and car tax. The cost of 1 liter of fuel is €1.6. The average cost of a car per month is €260.

Health care

Basic health insurance in Switzerland provides access to one of the best health care systems in the world and is mandatory, but the cost is quite significant. The average fee for health insurance is €315 per month. It is possible to find cheaper health insurance packages, but you may have to pay bills that you did not expect in the inexpensive plan.

A family doctor's examination in Switzerland costs €120.  Cold medicine for 6 days - 15€, prescription antibiotics - 35€.

Expats are required to issue a policy within 3 months of arrival. For this period, we advise you to have travel insurance, because the cost of medical services in Switzerland is quite high.


 Rules for obtaining "Protection Status S" in Switzerland for Ukrainians at the link.