Best Places To Live In Switzerland

Switzerland is a country full of striking contrasts, despite its small size. Wherever you go, the rest of the country is typically only a short drive away.

But migrating to Switzerland can be a difficulty if you don’t know which place is best for you. To inspire you, we have covered a list of the ten best places to live in Switzerland.

Can I just move to Switzerland?

The regulations and conditions of Switzerland’s immigration vary depending on your country or nationality.

For EU/EFTA citizens who have no quota limits, moving to Switzerland is significantly easier than for non-EU/EFTA people who are subject to annual quota constraints.

Is it worth moving to Switzerland?

Switzerland’s cost of living is exceedingly high, but its economy is highly stable. In addition, the unemployment rate is actually low. It is therefore worthwhile for ex-pats who want to move to a new city.

Plus wages in Switzerland are among the highest in the world and they have favorable working conditions in Switzerland.

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The 10 best cities in Switzerland for expats

1. Zurich

Without adding Zurich, no ranking of the top cities in Switzerland for ex-pats would be complete. The country’s economic strength and the largest metropolis also house Switzerland’s largest ex-pat community.


And you will not take long to understand why so many ex-pats prefer to call this German-speaking metropolis home.

Zurich, after all, features wonderful bars and restaurants, fantastic transit to European cities, and an unavoidable Swiss lake with pictures. What else could you ask for?

2. Geneva

This multicultural treasure stretched across the magnificent Lake Geneva has long been one of the best places to live in Switzerland for ex-pats relocating there.


This French-speaking region is home to some of the most prominent organizations in the world including the Red Cross, the United Nations (UN), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

This makes Geneva popular both with diplomats and government personnel, who represent a substantial number of expatriates in the city.

3. Bern

Expats migrating to Switzerland may be shocked to discover that the capital of the country is not Geneva or Zurich, but the comparatively comfortable town of Bern.


Nestled near the German-French Swiss linguistic boundary, the city houses the Swiss parliament.

It also houses a UNESCO World Heritage site,  being home to some of the best shopping in the country and of course the popular bearpit; home to the permanent bear’s symbol of the city.

4. Winterthur

Many expatriates overlook Winterthur when searching for towns in Switzerland to make their new home, but you shouldn’t make the same mistake as well.


This quaint German-speaking town is the sixth-largest city in the country and boasts an amazingly huge ex-pat population.

This makes it a perfect place to relocate to as your new Swiss home and you won’t be far away from the large metropolis of Zurich either, being a 20-minute train journey away.

5. Lausanne

Thinking we won’t squeeze into this list another city on the lakeside? Think again. On the banks of Lake Geneva, Lausanne is another great location for ex-pats.


With its major universities and young population, the fourth-largest city in the country maintains a surprisingly cosmopolitan vibe. There are also several international companies that assist to draw an increasing population of expatriates to the area.

When you move here, you’ll definitely agree that Lausanne is indeed one of the best places for ex-pats to live in Switzerland.

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6. Basel

Located near the German and French borders, Basel is considered by many to be one of the nicest places to live in Switzerland. The third-largest city in the country is snug and dynamic, with a large population of students and a thriving nightlife environment.


It is also a cultural hub with many attractions for ex-pats to enjoy. That said, a number of foreigners that migrate to Basel spread their lives across the borders to make things a bit cheaper.

For example, you can work in Germany, live in Switzerland, and shop in France for groceries. In all, Basel offers whatever options work best for you, making it one of the best places to live in Switzerland for American citizens.

7. Lucerne

Even in a land packed with stunning lakesides, few places in Switzerland come near Lucerne. Are you looking for stunning medieval architecture? Lucerne’s got it. Snow-capped mountains all around? Lucerne has these too.


Crystal clear waters which look sufficiently clean to drink? Yeah, you guessed it, Lucerne’s got everything. Basically, Lucerne is the place to be if you’re searching for the ultimate Swiss experience.

It is no surprise that this German-speaking city is popular with visitors and ex-pats alike. It’s modest enough to have this friendly feeling, but it’s a huge city hustle because of the churn of guests.

Its relatively compact size also assists to reduce the cost of transport, as most areas are easy to reach. Although the costs of properties are normally less than in Zurich or Geneva, you may expect to spend more to have a view over the famed Kappelbrug.

8. Ticino

Ticino is an Italian-speaking city that is popular for its beautiful weather and its proximity to Italy. In fact, Ticino has an Italian flair with palm trees and piazzas despite the fact that the Alps are not really far away.


Lugano and Lago Maggiore, other famous ex-pat destinations, are both located in this area. Lugano is regarded as the capital of the country’s Italian-speaking section.

The town is also one of the most visited tourist destinations, plenty thanks to the snowy winters as well as the scorching summers.

If you opt to move here, you can enjoy the Ticino wine and the ambiance or even ‘run off’ to Milan which is only one hour away.

9. St. Gallen

The canton of St. Gallen is quite small, with agricultural, tourist, and pharmaceutical industries as its principal economic sectors.


The capital of this city with the same name notably draws investors, and many researchers and students have also moved to St Gallen University at the canton.

Although the population is only over 500,000, nearly 21 percent are foreigners. Expats moving to the northeast of Switzerland will therefore be in excellent company. St. Gallen is widely considered the best village to live in Switzerland.

The Canton borders Lake Constance in the north, which it shares with Germany. So it is not unexpected that German in St.

Gallen is the official language and a substantial percentage of the ex-pats you find there are actually Germans.

10. Lugano

There are not so many places like Lugano in the world. The city is located on the northern banks of the amazing Lake Lugano and is recognized as the Italian-speaking capital of Switzerland.


It is often remarked that Lugano is more culturally related — than other Swiss cities — to Milan which is barely an hour’s drive across the border.

It is a Swiss piece of the dolce vita, starting from its astounding architecture to its bustling coffee culture and even its lovely Mediterranean breeze.

Many ex-pats are attracted to this part of Switzerland by the warmer environment and laid-back lifestyle.

However, because of its mountainous position, a generous coating of snowfall can still be expected during the winter. This makes it great for ex-pats who love a blend of things together.

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Places To Live In Switzerland FAQs

Where is the best place to live in Switzerland?

While Geneva is historically a touch of stuffy and soulless, Switzerland’s second-largest city now has a more relaxed atmosphere.

The ancient city has been beautifully preserved and when summer comes, there are few better spots to have an evening drink and go on a stroll.

Geneva also boasts great transit connections and is only a short drive from many of the top ski destinations in Europe.

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Switzerland?

Indeed, Switzerland is Europe’s most costly country, so prepare to spend double or even three times more on all the services than in France or Italy.

For example, you may have to pay CHF 3,000 – 4,000 (that’s about €1,800 – €2,800) per month for your insurance, housing (if applicable), transportation, and utility.

To live in Switzerland comfortably (depending on the city), you are expected to have a minimum income of CHF 4,000 – 5,000 (approximately $4,350 – $5,440).

Where do expats live in Switzerland?

While most expatriates usually settle in Geneva or Zurich, some of them end up in other important Swiss towns including Bern, Basel, Lausanne, Lugano, and Lucerne.

Without Zurich and Geneva’s business centers and popularity, people frequently forget that Bern is the capital of Switzerland. Bern is indeed one of the best places in Switzerland to live in.

All cities in Switzerland have adequate transport connections and are close to international schooling alternatives, both of which benefit most expatriates.

What is the cheapest place to live in Switzerland?

While Switzerland is not recognized for its low living costs, the most affordable swiss location has been found in a survey.

The people of the canton of Appenzell Inner Rhodes in eastern Switzerland have the highest amounts of tax-displaceable income and fixed costs, like housing.

The Credit Suisse bank poll examined a range of expenses in several localities – from taxes, health insurance premiums to public bills, social security payments, property prices, and rent.

The rural canton of Appenzell Inner Rhodes once again ranked as the cheapest place to live, like in 2006, when the study was last carried out.


Now that you know the best places to live in Switzerland: do you need to migrate abroad? International relocation is not anything you should organize on your own.

As ex-pats, Moveity understands just what you need, and provides the necessary services you require for easy relocation and travel. Why don’t you give us a call today to start your preparations for a stress-free relocation!?

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