Pros and cons of living in Switzerland? You'll wanna read this. (2022)

Moving abroad is a huge undertaking, even though people do it for so many reasons: for work, to go to school, to follow love or just to find a new adventure. If you’ve ever thought about moving abroad, you probably realize how much work and research it takes to find a place that you can happily and comfortably call your new home.

If you love chocolate and picturesque mountain ranges, you’ve probably dreamed of living in Switzerland. But like any country, Switzerland has its pros and cons. Read on to find out more about some of the reasons you might want to call Switzerland home, and some of the reasons you might want to just stay away.

Pros of living in Switzerland

Switzerland is a very desirable place to live -- just ask the ex-pat community from all over the world that has settled there. Thinking of following in their footsteps? Here are some of the many reasons you might want to choose Switzerland to be your new home.

You’ll have an immediate community

Pros and cons of living in Switzerland? You'll wanna read this. (1)

Switzerland is a very popular place for expats to choose to live. For that reason, there are people living there from all over the world, and new expats are likely to find a welcoming community ready to help them adjust to their new culture. Wherever you’re from, you’ll probably find others from the same home country as you, which can help with culture shock. Plus, you’ll have people to commiserate with if you ever get homesick.

You’re close to everything

Pros and cons of living in Switzerland? You'll wanna read this. (2)

(Video) Downsides of living in Switzerland 🇨🇭👎

So many people dream of seeing the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the London Eye. If you live in Switzerland, you’re just a short (and often cheap) flight away from all the European vacation spots that decorate Pinterest boards all over the world. If you’re a frequent world traveller, Switzerland will offer you an excellent home base for exploring dozens of other countries that are close by. Get your passport ready!

Healthcare is abundant and affordable

Pros and cons of living in Switzerland? You'll wanna read this. (3)

Switzerland has a universal healthcare system, and insurance providers are non-profit and government approved, ensuring their policies are affordable. There’s a lot of cost sharing in the Swiss system -- insurance plans come with deductibles and co-pays -- but yearly co-pays are capped to avoid financial hardship based on medical costs. There’s also an annual out-of-pocket limit for all Swiss health insurance plans.

The food is incredible

Pros and cons of living in Switzerland? You'll wanna read this. (4)

The Swiss have a culture of eating what is local and in-season. That means that meals are fresh, healthy and delicious, including any of Switzerland’s 450 kinds of cheese, 200 kinds of bread and pastries, farm-fresh meat and eggs and more.

You’ll probably spend a lot of time outside

Pros and cons of living in Switzerland? You'll wanna read this. (5)

Outdoor recreation in Switzerland is rampant. Have you seen those mountains? Skiing, hiking, swimming, tubing and more are common activities for Swiss people, who get more than their fair share of fresh air living in such a beautiful country.

Education is excellent

Pros and cons of living in Switzerland? You'll wanna read this. (6)

(Video) Life in Zurich, Switzerland | Pros and Cons of Living Here!

The Swiss education system is known all over the world for being among the best. The state school system is free for all children to enroll in, and there are also numerous options for private and international schools, though these tend to be competitive and require an interview and testing to gain admission. The International Baccalaureate syllabus was created in Switzerland, and many schools there still teach to it.

You may have a fast track to citizenship

Pros and cons of living in Switzerland? You'll wanna read this. (7)

For most foreign nationals, it’s required that you live in Switzerland for a minimum of 12 years before you’re eligible to become a citizen. But if you’re from Canada or the US, it’s only five years.

It’s easy for foreigners to start businesses

Pros and cons of living in Switzerland? You'll wanna read this. (8)

Switzerland has a simple, straightforward process for registering a new business, meaning just about anyone can be a Swiss entrepreneur. You do have to be a Swiss resident to register a business, which makes it a little trickier to set things up from abroad. But good news: the only requirement for Swiss residency is that you live there for at least 90 days, so you can get your business up and running fairly quickly.

And it’s even easier to open a bank account

Pros and cons of living in Switzerland? You'll wanna read this. (9)

Switzerland is famous for its many banks, and being one of the finance hubs of the world makes it any easy place to open a bank account. It’s even possible to open a Swiss account from outside the country, although you’ll be required to mail in some documentation -- after all, the anonymous Swiss banks you see in the movies only exist in the movies. Some documentation, like proof of identity, residency and address, will be required, and some accounts may come with annual fees. But overall, opening a Swiss account is simple and straightforward.

Cons of living in Switzerland

As you can see, there are many reasons to consider Switzerland as your new home. The country is famous all over the world for its high standard of living, so no wonder there are a lot of pros to moving there! But where there are pros, there must be cons. Switzerland has some downsides, too, and you should be aware of those as you consider a move to the country.

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It can be hard to meet actual Swiss people

Pros and cons of living in Switzerland? You'll wanna read this. (10)

Remember that healthy and thriving ex-pat community in Switzerland? Once you join it, you can definitely end up in an expat bubble. Some people who have moved to Switzerland from other countries have reported it took them years to make Swiss friends, even though they had friends from over a dozen other nationalities. It doesn’t help that Switzerland has its own dialect of German that is different from what’s spoken in most other German-speaking countries. It will take serious effort to integrate, and the thriving ex-pat community will probably make it even more difficult.

There is a bias against foreigners

Pros and cons of living in Switzerland? You'll wanna read this. (11)

In Switzerland, there are people who view foreigners as being highly suspect. There’s not always an outright bias, but it’s important to note that is does exist, and it could affect the ease with which expats find jobs and housing.

The cost of living is extremely high

Pros and cons of living in Switzerland? You'll wanna read this. (12)

Switzerland is a wildly expensive place to live. Rent is on par with places like London and New York City. Groceries and restaurants are pricey, too. Switzerland is home to several of the most expensive cities on the planet, so moving there from somewhere like Canada may come as a shock to your wallet. It’ll take a high salary and some good budgeting to make the most of a life in Switzerland, especially if you plan on living near a city center, where the action is.

Renting can be difficult for a foreigner

Pros and cons of living in Switzerland? You'll wanna read this. (13)

While we’re on the subject of rent, let’s talk about getting an apartment in Switzerland, one of the biggest hurdles for foreigners to overcome. Most Swiss people — around 60% of the total population — rent their homes instead of owning them, which means there’s a highly saturated and highly competitive rental market. It’s also going to be expensive to get into an apartment in the first place. Many Swiss people rent apartments and then stay for a long time. That means it’s standard to pay a deposit of three months’ rent just to get into a place. Even once you find the perfect apartment, there will probably be competition for it. You’ll be more likely to win if you have an agent, but that’ll cost you too — about two more months’ rent in fees. Ouch.

(Video) 7 Things I Wish I knew Before Moving- Living in Switzerland

You may be far from home

Pros and cons of living in Switzerland? You'll wanna read this. (14)

If you move to Switzerland from the US, Canada or Australia, you’re going to be far from home. The long distance and time differences are a recipe for homesickness and feelings of isolation, and it won’t help that a lot of creature comforts you may have enjoyed back home (things like peanut butter and processed foods) are difficult to find or very expensive in Switzerland.

Everything is closed on Sundays

Pros and cons of living in Switzerland? You'll wanna read this. (15)

This one may be a little bit of a culture shock for some expats. If you routinely run errands on Sundays, you won’t be able to anymore, because everything that isn’t a museum or restaurant is closed on Sundays. The Swiss consider Sunday to truly be a day of rest, which might be nice, but it sure can be inconvenient, too.

Juggling lives between two nations? Want to save money? Wise borderless multi-currency accounts could help.

Whether you’re just visiting Switzerland or you’re ready to make your permanent move, there’s one aspect of your life that you’ll need to get in order sooner rather than later: your finances. You’ll need to have access to your money when you arrive in Switzerland, and that may mean making an international money transfer. But if you use your bank or a traditional money transfer service, you’ll routinely see a 4-5% markup on the exchange rate, which basically amounts to a hidden fee you’ll have to pay for just to move your money.

With Wise, you can move money across borders at the actual mid-market rate -- that’s the same exchange rate you see when you Google it. There are no markups or hidden fees. There’s just a small, fair transfer fee that’s spelled out for you upfront.

Wise also offers borderless multi-currency accounts, which allow users to send, receive, hold and manage money in dozens of global currencies all at the same time. Try Wise today and see how easy it can be to manage and move your money.

As you can see, even with its famous quality of life, Switzerland has both pros and cons. It may be the place for you, or you might find that somewhere else in the world is a better fit. Regardless, the first step is research, and this list should give you a good idea of whether you’ll feel right at home, or not quite. No matter where you end up, good luck with your move!

(Video) Student Jobs for University Students- Switzerland

FAQs

What's the advantage of living in Switzerland? ›

Life in Switzerland is calm and the country is often voted one of the safest countries to live and raise a family in Europe. Violent crime is very rare, although there is some petty crime such as pickpockets in the more popular tourist areas. If you have an emergency the number to call is 117 in Switzerland.

Is Switzerland best for living? ›

Switzerland's reputation for a great quality of life is part of the reason it tops the 2022 Best Countries rankings, which this year surveyed more than 17,000 global citizens to gather perceptions about 85 nations.

Why is Switzerland the best place to live? ›

Stunning scenery and high quality education are just a couple of reasons why expats enjoy living in Switzerland. The findings of a HSBC survey of 20,460 expats from 46 countries showed that Switzerland was the favorite place to live and work for the third year in a row.

Is it good to move to Switzerland? ›

The standard of living in Switzerland is extremely high and its economy stable, plus unemployment is low. Therefore, it is ideal for expats who want to relocate and take up a new position. Salaries in Switzerland are amongst the highest in the world and working conditions good.

Is it easy to live in Switzerland? ›

Switzerland is one of the world's best expat countries, with some of the highest living standards and a sophisticated, multilingual population. Yet moving to Switzerland can still be stressful and difficult if you don't do it right. The challenges faced by expats vary depending on where in Switzerland they live.

Is Switzerland cheap to live? ›

Cost of Living in Switzerland

One of the reasons that prices in Switzerland are a bit higher than average is due to the higher wages in the country. In a report by the European Intelligence Unit (EIOU) in 2021, two Swiss cities, Zurich and Geneva, were in the top 10 most expensive cities in the world.

Is Switzerland expensive to live? ›

If you're planning on moving to the most expensive country in the world, you'll need to budget. Living in Switzerland is not a cheap affair, and there are a number of costs you'll need to balance. That being said, it's home to one of the best standards of living in the world, so maybe it's all worth it.

Is Switzerland good place to work? ›

Many foreigners – especially highly skilled – successfully find work in Switzerland, with almost half of all executive jobs in Switzerland filled by foreigners. Switzerland is a very appealing place to come and work: average Swiss salaries, working conditions and Switzerland's standard of living are very high.

What is Switzerland known for? ›

Switzerland is famous for its mesmerizing alpine scenery, luxury branded watches, and deliciously milky chocolate. A melting pot of many different cultures, Switzerland is also known for its alluring cities and scenic train rides that showcase the best of the country's natural vistas.

Is college free in Switzerland? ›

Well, technically, no, there aren't any universities in Switzerland that are entirely free of cost. This is not only the case with international students, but there are also no free programs for nationals.

Is education free in Switzerland? ›

Because public education is free in Switzerland, there is usually no financial aid or scholarships available for schooling. That said, depending on their income, parents may be able to receive discounts on daycare or after-school care.

Is Swiss healthcare free? ›

There are no free state-provided health services, but private health insurance is compulsory for all persons residing in Switzerland (within three months of taking up residence or being born in the country).

What is the safest city in Switzerland? ›

10 Safest Cities in Switzerland
  • Berne, Switzerland. Berne. Berne is the capital and epicenter of Switzerland. ...
  • Zermatt, Switzerland. Zermatt. ...
  • Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. Lauterbrunnen. ...
  • Grindelwald, Switzerland. Grindelwald. ...
  • Interlaken, Switzerland. Interlaken. ...
  • Gruyères, Switzerland. Gruyères. ...
  • Lucerne, Switzerland. Lucerne.

What are 3 interesting facts about Switzerland? ›

Here are some important facts about Switzerland that will blow your mind.
  • Switzerland has 7000 lakes. ...
  • Most innovative country in the world. ...
  • Highest peaks in Europe. ...
  • Longest tunnel of the world. ...
  • Lowest crime rate. ...
  • Creux de Van. ...
  • Switzerland has its own Grand Canyon. ...
  • Sundays are a big deal.
8 Mar 2022

What's the best part about living in Switzerland? ›

Expats in Switzerland enjoy a great work-life balance, high-quality education and healthcare, great housing, and incredible natural landscapes. All this is in one of the safest countries in the world. In fact, Swiss residents enjoy a high degree of personal security.

Is Switzerland friendly to foreigners? ›

Switzerland is a very welcoming country, with 25% of its population being foreign individuals. One report indicated that Americans make up five percent of Switzerland's total population as of 2016. Americans are choosing this country more and more to start a new life.

Why do people go to Switzerland? ›

The amazing mountains, heaps of lakes and beautiful villages make for the most beautiful scenery in Switzerland. These landscapes are considered to be what makes Switzerland the perfect destination for vacationing and exploring new cultures. The high-peak Alps and mountains make up to 62% of the country's territory.

What do I need to know before moving to Switzerland? ›

21 Things to Know Before Moving to Switzerland
  • Four, yes FOUR official languages are spoken. ...
  • Finding a home can be challenging. ...
  • Medicine is expensive. ...
  • Cosmetics can break the bank, too. ...
  • In fact, Switzerland is just plain pricey. ...
  • Sunday is really a day of rest. ...
  • Exchanging money takes some thought. ...
  • Landing a job takes time.
28 Oct 2021

What jobs are in demand in Switzerland? ›

Most In-Demand Jobs in Switzerland in 2022:
  • Various engineers: civil, mechatronics and electrical engineers.
  • Skilled technicians.
  • Welders and mechanics.
  • Software developers and other IT-related jobs.
  • Legal jobs.
  • Nurses.
  • Doctors.
  • Other medical staff.
12 Aug 2022

Can I live in Switzerland speaking English? ›

English is not recognized as an official language but is still quite commonly spoken due to widespread teaching. Zurich and Geneva especially are very international cities and you will perfectly fine using English there as well as the other major cities.

How hard is it to get a job in Switzerland? ›

On one hand, the Swiss job market readily welcomes foreigners, especially in senior management level positions. However, competition for positions is stiff. In such a small country with a reputation for a high quality of life, expats from around the globe flock to call Switzerland home, leaving few job vacancies.

How much is a Coke in Switzerland? ›

Price Rankings by Country of Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) (Restaurants)
1.Switzerland4.21 $
2.Denmark3.10 $
3.Norway2.84 $
4.Austria2.69 $
5.Israel2.65 $
101 more rows

How much do you need to buy a house in Switzerland? ›

A 20% deposit is typically the minimum necessary, including at least 10% in cash. There are no general assistance schemes in Switzerland to help with the costs of buying property. If you don't have the minimum 20% to contribute towards a mortgage, you are unlikely to be able to buy a Swiss home.

How much is an apartment in Switzerland? ›

The median of monthly rent for Apartments on the market is CHF 1,541. The monthly rent of 80% of properties falls within the range between CHF 890 and CHF 2,767. The average annual rent per m² in Switzerland is CHF 261 / m² / year (annual rent per living surface squared meter).

How much is tax in Switzerland? ›

The maximum overall rate of federal income tax is 11.5%. The various cantonal and municipal taxes are also levied at progressive rates, with a maximum combined cantonal and municipal rate of approximately 36%. In addition, cantonal and municipal net wealth taxes are levied.

What is a good Swiss salary? ›

In Switzerland, a monthly income between 6,000 CHF and 9,000 CHF is considered to be a good salary. With that salary, you can afford a decent life in Switzerland, including renting a 2-3 bedroom apartment, regularly eating out, and weekends away.

How much is rent in Switzerland in US dollars? ›

Rent and utilities prices in Switzerland
CityRent 1 bed, city centerRent 1 bed, outside of city center
Geneva²2,196.60 USD1,723.40 USD
Lausanne⁵1,636.62. USD1,320.40 USD
Zurich⁴2,155.56 USD1,560.13 USD
Average price¹⁰1,628.76 USD1,268.51 USD
1 more row
21 Feb 2022

How much is the average house in Switzerland? ›

The average purchasing price of a single-family home in Switzerland is around 1,050,000 Swiss francs, about 3,040,000 CHF in Zurich (almost three times more expensive), and 2,823,000 CHF in Geneva. The average price per square meter for an apartment was 7,400 CHF in 2020 across the country.

Where is the safest place to live in Switzerland? ›

Zurich, Basel and Bern have been ranked within the top 20 safest cities in the world, according to a new crowdsourced survey.

What is the cheapest place to live in Switzerland? ›

The canton of Uri is consistently making the cut as the cheapest place to live in Switzerland. Its comparatively cheap property costs are, of course, a big draw. However, the canton also offers relatively low tax rates.

What is the best job in Switzerland? ›

IT system architecture is one of the highest-paid professions in Switzerland.
...
IT Systems Architect
  • Server cluster administration.
  • Provisioning and maintenance across multiple locations.
  • System backup management.
  • Troubleshooting/diagnosis.
16 Feb 2022

What is the highest paid job in Switzerland? ›

Top 10 Highest-Paying Jobs in Switzerland
  • Accountant. ...
  • Pilot. ...
  • Priest/Minister. ...
  • Actuary. ...
  • Veterinarian. ...
  • Investment banker. Average estimated salary: 118,444 CHF ($118,626) ...
  • Physician. Average estimated salary: 131,602 CHF ($131,805) ...
  • IT systems architect. Average estimated salary: 135,295 CHF ($135,503)
10 Apr 2019

How is life in Switzerland? ›

High quality of life

In 2021, the OECD Better Life Index found that Switzerland is above average for OECD countries in subjective well-being, jobs and earnings, income and wealth, health status, social connections, environmental quality, education and skills, work-life balance, housing, and personal security.

What makes Switzerland so happy? ›

Even the research community supports Switzerland's idyllic image. The country has consistently been either the first or the second happiest country in the World Happiness Report, which incorporates factors like GDP per capita, life expectancy, and perception of corruption.

What is famous food in Switzerland? ›

Typical food
  • Cheese fondue. Melted cheese with bread cubes. ...
  • Raclette. Melted cheese served with "Gschwellti" (jacket potatoes), cocktail gherkins and onions as well as pickled fruit.
  • Älplermagronen. A kind of gratin with potatoes, macaroni, cheese, cream and onions. ...
  • Rösti. ...
  • Birchermüesli. ...
  • Swiss chocolate. ...
  • Swiss cheese.

Do you speak English in Switzerland? ›

Yes, English is quite widely spoken across Switzerland. Apart from the country's four languages – German, French, Italian, and Romansh – English is known and spoken. In fact, around two-thirds of its population is said to be able to converse in English. So, tourists should be able to get by fine with just English.

Is Switzerland friendly to foreigners? ›

Switzerland is a very welcoming country, with 25% of its population being foreign individuals. One report indicated that Americans make up five percent of Switzerland's total population as of 2016. Americans are choosing this country more and more to start a new life.

Is Swiss healthcare free? ›

There are no free state-provided health services, but private health insurance is compulsory for all persons residing in Switzerland (within three months of taking up residence or being born in the country).

Is it difficult to live in Switzerland? ›

Switzerland is one of the world's best expat countries, with some of the highest living standards and a sophisticated, multilingual population. Yet moving to Switzerland can still be stressful and difficult if you don't do it right. The challenges faced by expats vary depending on where in Switzerland they live.

How much money do I need to retire in Switzerland? ›

Average Cost to Retire in Switzerland

In order to live comfortably in Switzerland, a single person would need more than $3,500 per month. However, in the larger cities, a retired couple can expect to pay $4,000 per month or more just for rent, utilities, food, and healthcare.

What jobs are in demand in Switzerland? ›

Most In-Demand Jobs in Switzerland in 2022:
  • Various engineers: civil, mechatronics and electrical engineers.
  • Skilled technicians.
  • Welders and mechanics.
  • Software developers and other IT-related jobs.
  • Legal jobs.
  • Nurses.
  • Doctors.
  • Other medical staff.
12 Aug 2022

How much is rent in Switzerland? ›

A single person estimated monthly costs are 1,462$ (1,435Fr.) without rent. Cost of living in Switzerland is, on average, 52.82% higher than in United States.
...
Cost of Living in Switzerland.
RestaurantsEdit
Rent Per MonthEdit
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre1,601.70Fr.
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre1,248.49Fr.
63 more rows

Is it hard to find a job in Switzerland? ›

On one hand, the Swiss job market readily welcomes foreigners, especially in senior management level positions. However, competition for positions is stiff. In such a small country with a reputation for a high quality of life, expats from around the globe flock to call Switzerland home, leaving few job vacancies.

Is college free in Switzerland? ›

Well, technically, no, there aren't any universities in Switzerland that are entirely free of cost. This is not only the case with international students, but there are also no free programs for nationals.

Are schools free in Switzerland? ›

Under the Swiss constitution, schooling is free and open to all children. The cantons are in charge of education matters, meaning there are currently 26 different school systems.

Are there taxes in Switzerland? ›

Taxes are calculated based on specific figures for specific cantons and municipalities. The maximum overall rate of federal income tax is 11.5%. The various cantonal and municipal taxes are also levied at progressive rates, with a maximum combined cantonal and municipal rate of approximately 36%.

Is Switzerland cheap to live? ›

Cost of Living in Switzerland

One of the reasons that prices in Switzerland are a bit higher than average is due to the higher wages in the country. In a report by the European Intelligence Unit (EIOU) in 2021, two Swiss cities, Zurich and Geneva, were in the top 10 most expensive cities in the world.

Can I live in Switzerland speaking English? ›

English is not recognized as an official language but is still quite commonly spoken due to widespread teaching. Zurich and Geneva especially are very international cities and you will perfectly fine using English there as well as the other major cities.

What is the number 1 place to retire in the world? ›

1. Panama. Not for the first time, Panama tops the list of the world's best places to retire. Located away from Central America's hurricane belt, its warm tropical climate is tempered by breezes from the Pacific Ocean on one coast and the Caribbean Sea on the other.

What is the cheapest place to live in Switzerland? ›

The canton of Uri is consistently making the cut as the cheapest place to live in Switzerland. Its comparatively cheap property costs are, of course, a big draw. However, the canton also offers relatively low tax rates.

What is Switzerland, pension age? ›

You are entitled to a full pension in Switzerland, as long as you make continuous payments from the age of 20 until retirement for at least 44 years, with an average annual income of CHF 84,600 or more. If not, then you can calculate payments based on the proportion of years that you have worked in the country.

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