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 the best places to live in Switzerland for ex-pats in this article. Read on!
Can I just move to Switzerland?
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?
Despite a higher cost of living, It’s worth moving to Switzerland because of its stable economy, low unemployment rate, and higher wages along with favorable working conditions.
The 10 best cities in Switzerland for Expats
Check out the list of the 10 best places to stay in Switzerland in 2023.
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1. Zurich – Known as the Financial District of the world
When we think about the best cities in Switzerland to live in, Zurich comes to our mind first.
The city is the world hub of finance and banking which helps it in developing the economic strength of the city and the country.
It is termed one of the costliest cities in Switzerland and globally because of its great pre-medieval history, culture, and business opportunities.
Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, excels on the European’s best cities list in quality of lifestyle, living standards,
low crime rates, the best healthcare, high salaries, and outdoor and cultural opportunities which makes it the largest ex-pat community.
Best places to live in Zurich– Niederdorf, Lindenhof, District 1, Aussersihl, Zurich West
- Multicultural environment
- English speakers
- High wages
- Expensive cost of living
- Least real estate market
- Offs on Sundays except for service providers.
What is the distance between Zurich to Geneva?
Zurich is 277 km (3 hours 9 minutes) away from Geneva.
2. Geneva – Headquarters of the Largest Number of International Organizations in the World
Geneva is the second largest cosmopolitan city in Switzerland that extends along Lake Geneva.
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) welcomes diplomats and officials from across the globe there.
As it counts as the 7th most expensive city in the world, life in Geneva Switzerland is all about the higher cost of living, foyers, residences, and quality of living.
On the flip side, it offers excellent transit links, the best places for hiking in Switzerland, the best ski resorts, and other outdoor activities.
Best places to stay in Geneva- Versoix, Champel, Acacias Batie, Eaux-Vives Cite, Paquis
- Safest City
- Rich cultural scene
- Breathtaking landscape
- Higher leaving quality
- Strong expat scene.
- Higher real estate prices
- Offs on Sundays except for service providers.
Which is the best to live in – Geneva or Zurich Switzerland?
Geneva has a slightly affordable cost of living which makes it more lively than Zurich. For those who have a luxurious living style and don’t fear spending a lot of cash, Zurich is best for them.
What are the best restaurants in Geneva’s old town?
L’Aparte, Spinella Restaurant and Bar, Le Darshana, La Favola, and old town cafe are the best restaurants in Geneva’s Old Town.
What is Geneva famous for?
Geneva is famous for having the headquarters of the world’s largest organizations, excellent cuisines, a banking and finance hub, stunning alpine views, and international appeal.
Is Geneva an excellent place to live in Switzerland?
Geneva is a densely populated city with well local transit connections, excellent and mobile coming communities, breath-taking landscapes, and amusement activities for all ages which makes it a worthy city to live in.
What are the most beautiful places in Geneva?
The Geneva water fountain, flower clock, Saint Pierre cathedral, Palais des Nations, and international museum of the Red Cross and red crescent are some of the most beautiful places in Geneva.
What language do people speak in Geneva?
French is the mostly spoken language in Geneva.
3. Bern – Acknowledged as the UNESCO world heritage site
Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, is situated on the Jura and the Alps – Swiss plateau.
Nestled near the German-French-Swiss linguistic boundary, the city is an Adobe to the Swiss parliament, UNESCO World Heritage site, bearpit, Einstein House botanic garden, and Bern’s old town.
The city is well connected to other parts of the country which results in attracting tourists to the River Aare coastlines when summer hits.
Expats in Bern get a small-town pleasure with a luxurious feel from its restaurants, bars, amusement parks, and museums.
Best places to live in Bern– Muri Bei, Old Town
- Best summers.
- Unique cultural feel.
- Welcoming communities.
- 70+ Amusement parks, and outdoor activities.
- Language issues.
- Difficulty in socializing with neighbours.
Where is Bern Switzerland?
Bern is situated on the Swiss plateau, slightly west of the heart of Switzerland.
4. Winterthur – Home to the Institute of Higher Education Technikum
Winterthur is a beautiful state-of-the-art industrial satellite city of Switzerland located within greater Zurich.
This quaint German-bordered town is the sixth-largest city in the country and boasts an amazingly huge expat population.
It is a perfect destination for history, music, and art lovers, and tourist groups of all ages. The city is home to 17 museums, the oldest orchestra theater, and art galleries.
Best places to stay in Winterthur –Teufen, Freienstein, Rorbas
- Nearer to Zurich
- Great public transportation system
- Beautiful landscapes
- Vibrant cultural scene
- Less nightlife
- High cost of living
- Small sized city
Why is Winterthur famous?
Winterthur is known for its preeminent museum of American decorative arts which has a collection of more than 80000 antiques, presented in a 175-roomed space, in the US since the 1640s.
Where is Winterthur located?
Winterthur is situated 20 km away from Zurich and northwest of Delaware, Switzerland.
5. Lausanne – Acknowledged as the World’s Olympics Capital
With its major universities, young population, and international companies, the fourth-largest city in the country, Lausanne, maintains a surprisingly cosmopolitan vibe.
Interestingly this quaint French-speaking city has a metro system that makes public transportation easy to access.
It also offers a lot of cultural festivals, hiking trails to the beautiful Alps, breathtaking landscapes,
moderate Lausanne weather, and exploration of the nearest vineyards for people moving to Lausanne.
Best places to live in Lausanne – La Cite, Ouchy, The Flon, The Place de la Palud
- Active and diverse city life
- Plenty job opportunities
- Good education system.
- Good transportation system traffic and roads
- Safest city
- Excellent health care system
- Higher cost of living.
- A lot of smokers
- No places for relaxation and entertainment
- Worst social life.
Is Lausanne a good place to live?
Lausanne is a heavenly abode to live in the state of Switzerland. Expats moving to Lausanne praise its beautiful landscapes, great job prospects, moderate climate, air quality, green goods and services, and safety features.
6. Basel – Renowned as the cultural capital of Switzerland
Located close to the German and French borders, Basel is considered by many to be one of the best cities in Switzerland to reside in.
Settled along the Rhine River in the northwest, the third-largest city of Switzerland is a snug and dynamic place, with a large population of students and a thriving nightlife environment.
It is also a cultural hub with many attractions like restaurants, boutiques, bars, and for expats to enjoy.
People migrate to Basel to access a wide-spread lifestyle across the borders to make things a bit cheaper – cheaper shopping in France, working in Switzerland and staying in Germany.
Best places to live in Basel- Rhine River Banks, St. Alban, Wettstein, Gellert, Bachletten
- A hub of historical sites, museums, parks, cultural life, and entertainment.
- Good salaries
- Clean place.
- Close to nature
- Close to France in Germany
- Parking cost
- small city
- languages issues
7. Lucerne – Known for its stunning landscape, pristine lakes, snow-capped mountains and architecture
Are you looking for stunning medieval architecture, beautiful lakesides, crystal clear waters, and Snow-capped mountains? Lucerne has it all in its lap.
This German-speaking city attracts tourists and expats for alpine hiking, visiting the most famous Chapel Bridge, going for the dragon ride, visiting the lion monument, boating in the lake, and witnessing the queen of the mountain.
While the housing prices and transportation costs are lower in this city, the cost of living remains higher in this small city.
best places to stay in Lucerne – Altstadt, Oberseeburg, Tribschen, Littau, Bruch
- Green all-around
- Pedestrian-friendly roads
- Great outdoor recreations
- Low property and rental price
- Low crime rate
- Low tax rates
- Costly child care
- High earthquake risk
- Higher poverty and abuse rate.
- Costly child and infant care.
- Poor education system
What are the things to do in Lucerne at night?
Visiting a grand casino, enjoying a meal with a lakeside view, going pub hopping, and attending a concert in Casineum are some of the best things to do in Lucerne at night.
8. Ticino – Renowned for its Mediterranean-styled towns and beautiful landscapes
Ticino is an Italian-speaking city that is popular for its beautiful weather and its proximity to Italy.
Ticino has an Italian flair with palm trees and piazzas even though the Alps are not far away.
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 move here, you can enjoy the Ticino wine and the ambiance or even ‘run off’ to Milan which is only one hour away.
Best places to live in Ticino – Lugano, Lago Maggiore, Bellinzona, Morcote
- Low rental and property cost
- Higher GDP
- Beautiful, safe, clean environment.
- Good schools and medical facilities
- Gender per gaps
- Difficulty in making friends
- Language issues
9. St. Gallen – Home to the University of St. Gallen, Walter Zoo, & Abbey Library
The canton of St. Gallen is quite small, with agricultural, tourist, and pharmaceutical industries as its principal economic sectors.
As it is situated near the German border the most spoken language here is Swiss German, other than Gallen.
It is home to one of the top-rated Business Schools in Europe – St. Gallen, the headquarters of the most popular bank in Switzerland-
Raiffeisen cooperative bank, and Baroque Cathedral along with the Abbey Library, which holds more than a thousand years old 180000 documents.
St Gallen is one of the cheapest places to live in Switzerland because of its lower rental prices and cost of living for people working in Zurich.
Best places to stay in St Gallen – Schoren, Rotmonten Lachen, St. Goeorgeb
- Lawyer cost of living
- Great amenities
- The scenic and quiet landscape,
- Great quality of life
- Affordable and widely available housing options.
- Bad network services
- Less shopping and choices
Where is St. Gallen in Switzerland?
Saint Gallen is located in the Northeastern area of Switzerland, close to Austria and Germany borders, 700 meters above the mean sea level.
10. Lugano – Renowned for its quasi-Mediterranean landscapes, gastronomy & film festival
Lugano is located on the northern banks of the amazing Lake Lugano and is recognized as the Italian-speaking capital of Switzerland.
Living in Lugano Switzerland, a Swiss piece of the dolce vita is all about its astounding architecture, bustling coffee, vibrant culture,
warmer environment, laid-back lifestyle, and Mediterranean breeze that attract expats from every part of the country.
However, regarding Lugano weather, because of its mountainous position, a generous coating of snowfall can still be expected during the winter.
Zurich, Milan Bergamo, Milan Malpensa, and Milan Linate are some of the airports near Lugano Switzerland.
best areas to stay in Lugano – Bre-Aldesago, Loreto, Villa Luganese, Cassarate
- Beautiful natural beauty
- Stunning lake and mountain views
- Great public transportation system
- Luxurious lifestyle
- Low crime rate
- Higher cost of living
- Small sized City
- Fewer job opportunities
Is Lugano a good place to live?
If you are Moving to Lugano, it’s a nice place to live in as it’s Switzerland’s tourist destination filled with outdoor activities, safe & calm living environment, and a heaven for nature enthusiasts.
Best Places To Live In Switzerland FAQs
Where is the best place to live in Switzerland?
Geneva, Bern, and Zurich are the best places to stay in Switzerland.
How much money do you need to live comfortably in Switzerland?
A single individual would need a net salary of CHF 3,000 – 4,000 and a family of four would require a net income of CHF 9000 or more to live comfortably in Switzerland.
Where do expats live in Switzerland?
While most expatriates usually settle in Geneva or Zurich, some end up in other critical Swiss towns including Bern, Basel, Lausanne, Lugano, and Lucerne.
What is the cheapest place to live in Switzerland?
Glarus, Uri, and Obwalden are the cheapest places to live in Switzerland.
Is Switzerland a great place to live?
Switzerland is one of the great places to live and work because it offers a stable economy, the best quality of life, tremendous opportunities, and state-of-the-art infrastructures.
Why do celebrities move to Switzerland?
Most Hollywood Celebrities are seen moving to Switzerland to get a quality of life, stay away from the limelight, and value privacy and discretion.
Why is Switzerland an excellent place to live?
Most people have claimed to get a calm, safe, and strong quality of life to develop themselves and raise a family in Switzerland. The country has a stable society, respect for law and tradition, and extremely low crime rates.
How to get a job in Switzerland as an American?
To get a job in Switzerland as an American you will need to collect your educational certificates and prepare a cover letter and a CV. Thereafter, complete the application in the language provided in the job description be that English Italian German, or French.
Which cities in Switzerland speak German?
German is one official language spoken in Switzerland and 17 Swiss cantons. Some of them include – Basel, Glarus, Uri, Zug, Zürich, and more.
That was all about our research for the 10 best places to live in Switzerland. Which one of them has a unique Swiss life and quality of living?
But one thing that can be noticed is its higher cost of living than other global expat destinations.
So, brace yourself to migrate to Helvetia, but before that see how much does it cost to go to Switzerland?
This is also one of the major indicators to know about the cost of packaging and moving to Switzerland.
If you are confused between Sweden vs Switzerland, for settling down, or a vacation trip, check out the link to know more to know what’ll suit you the best.