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Cost of Living in Switzerland vs the UK

Nestled in a Central European region home to stunning lakes, picturesque villages, and the spectacular Alps, Switzerland is a thrilling choice for expatriates considering relocation overseas. With Swiss chocolate and watches being renowned across the world, the country’s economy is booming with major industries such as banking and finance leading the growth. With incredible recreational pursuits such as hiking and skiing on offer, Switzerland’s charm is irresistible. Living costs, however, are the biggest question for anyone looking to move.

Whether you’re relocating for a short duration or looking to put down roots in Switzerland, our cost of living analysis gives you a realistic estimate of the living costs between Switzerland and the UK so you can start planning your move. 

Housing in Switzerland vs the UK

Accommodation is a major expense expats need to consider when relocating. If you are moving to Zurich, finding the perfect property can be challenging as Switzerland’s capital is among the most sought-after places to live in the country.  Local estate agents can take into account your preferences and find the best match in the region you choose.

Renting a Property

Renting in London is quite expensive. Although the same is true of Zurich as well, the price also varies based on the size of the rental, and the location as some of the prominent areas of the city are more expensive. If you’re using an estate agent, you’ll have to pay an additional fee, excluding rental prices.

Item Switzerland* UK*
1 Bedroom Apartment in the City Centre £1,600 £1,050
1 Bedroom Apartment outside the City Centre £1,230 £850
3 Bedroom Apartment in the City Centre £2,800 £1,800
3 Bedroom Apartment outside the City Centre £2,200 £1,300
A Swiss train in the Alps, Switzerland

Buying a House

When it comes to housing in Switzerland, buying a house might be a better option as the rental market is quite competitive with 58% of the population renting a property. Just bear in mind that prices are considerably higher compared to the UK.

Item (Price per square metre) Switzerland* UK*
Apartment in the City Centre £13,400 £5,050
Apartment outside the City Centre £9,900 £3,800

Utility Bills

Utility bills in Switzerland vary based on where you live as each supplier has a monopoly over a specific area. Typically, utility bills are not included in rent, so you’ll have to budget for these costs separately when relocating.

Item Switzerland* UK*
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment £220 £250
Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data £45 £10
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) £45 £30
The old town of Basel in Switzerland with the red stone Munster cathedral overlooking the Rhine river

Food Prices in Switzerland vs the UK

Consumer prices in Switzerland are a whopping 41% more expensive than that of the UK. And with food comprising a significant fraction of these costs, you could easily overspend on groceries as local food prices are among the most expensive in the world.

In 2022, Switzerland scored 157.4 points on the global GDP Index, making it the most expensive country in the world. 

Grocery Prices

Groceries might be expensive in Switzerland, but you can avoid going over budget by opting for affordable produce at local hubs instead of shopping at upscale supermarkets all the time.

Item Switzerland* UK*
Milk (regular), (1 litre) £1.70 £1.20
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) £2.70 £1.20
White Rice, (1kg) £2.50 £1.60
12 Eggs £5.40 £3
Local Cheese (1kg) £20 £7
Chicken Fillets (1kg) £20 £6.50
Ground Beef (1kg) £45 £10.50
Apples (1kg) £3.26 £2.10
Banana (1kg) £2.20 £1.15
Potato (1kg) £2.10 £1.10
Onion (1kg) £2 £1
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) £10.50 £7.50

Restaurants 

Relocating to a new country is a costly pursuit, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on dining out entirely. If you shop smart when getting your groceries, and have homecooked meals more often, you could eat out without going over your budget. 

Item Switzerland* UK*
3-course Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant £105 £60
McDonald’s McMeal (or Equivalent) £13 £7
Beer (0.33 litre bottle) £6 £4.50
Cappuccino (regular) £4 £3.15
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle) £3.50 £1.70
Water (0.33 litre bottle) £3.50 £1.25
Matterhorn peak reflected in Stellisee Lake in Zermatt, Switzerland

Transportation Costs in Switzerland vs the UK

Rising fuel prices have been a strain on people across the world, so that shouldn’t deter you from moving to Switzerland. The cost of single tickets and monthly passes here are almost the same as that of the UK, so expats won’t find that much of a difference. Petrol prices are also nearly identical. 

Item Switzerland* UK*
One-way Ticket (Local Transport) £3 £2.40
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) £70 £70
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) £6 £3
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) £3.50 £1.20
Gasoline (1 litre) £1.80 £1.50
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) £28,850 £28,300
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) £29,150 £24,800

Childcare Costs

Both the UK and Switzerland offer free schooling. Private schools and higher education are expensive in both countries, although there are ample scholarships available to students. If you’re relocating to Switzerland with family, this can be a great opportunity for your kids to experience a new culture and environment. 

Item Switzerland* UK*
Full Day at Private Preschool (Monthly) £2,200 £1,200
International Primary School (Yearly) £25,800 £14,600

Recreation Costs

Recreational costs are often easily overlooked when budgeting a move abroad. Although Switzerland’s leisurely pursuits are on the costlier side, it’s important to take them into consideration for that work-life balance. The physical, emotional, and mental health benefits that some of Switzerland’s recreational activities provide far outweigh the costs. 

Item Switzerland* UK*
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult £65 £30
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) £35 £10
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat £18 £18
Rolling green hills and mountains in Switzerland

Expats across the world see Switzerland as an ideal place to relocate. The country offers an excellent healthcare and educational system, as well as attractive job opportunities and recreational pursuits. The picturesque views of the Alps, glacial lakes, and lush green forests also compel many visitors to put down roots here.

If a move to Switzerland is on the horizon for you, our international moving guide has all the information you’ll need. Whether you require specific information on visas and immigration or help with settling in, our bespoke and professional services are catered to your needs.

 

(*All prices are approx. as of April 2024)

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