The Most Expensive Cities in Europe | Updated in December 2022

Europe is a dream destination for many expats and travelers. What’s not to like? Rich history, diverse culture, great cuisines… Well, no one said it’d be cheap; it all comes at a cost.

With the war in Ukraine, supply disruptions, and the spike in energy prices, 2022 proves to be a challenging year. A massive cost of living crisis is the result.

While Hong Kong continues to be the most expensive city in the world for expats and travelers in, the winner in Europe belongs to Zurich. As a matter of fact, Switzerland holds the lavish medal with four cities in the top five most expensive cities in Europe!

This guide covers the following expensive cities in Europe:

1st Zurich, Switzerland
2nd Geneva, Switzerland
3rd London, UK
4th Lausanne, Switzerland
5th Basel, Switzerland
6th Dublin, Ireland
7th Copenhagen, Denmark
8th Oslo, Norway
9th Amsterdam, the Netherlands
10th Trondheim, Norway

To calculate the Price Index value for each city, Expatistan assigns a value of 100 to a central reference city which is Prague. After establishing the reference point, the Price Index value of each other city in their database is determined by comparing their cost of living to the cost of living in Prague. 

For example, if a city has a Price Index of 134, it means that living there is 34 percent more expensive than living in Prague.

See the below chart for the price index of the expensive cities in Europe listed in our article.

Ranking

City

Price Index

1st

Zurich (Switzerland)

244

2nd

Geneva (Switzerland)

243

3rd

London (United Kingdom)

229

4th

Lausanne (Switzerland)

229

5th

Basel (Switzerland)

228

6th

Dublin (Ireland)

195

7th

Copenhagen (Denmark)

180

8th

Oslo (Norway)

178

9th

Amsterdam (Netherlands)

172

10th

Trondheim (Norway)

169

Top 10 Most Expensive Cities in Europe

If you are planning to live in Europe, it’s crucial to assess the cost of living in different cities. But, living in a cheap city is not necessarily the best option, you should check out the benefits of living in the most expensive cities in Europe, as well. After all, they are expensive for a reason…

Below, you may find the 10 most expensive cities in Europe according to Expatistan’s cost of living index as of October 2022. We’ve also added a cost of the living section with data we’ve collected from Numbeo. Note that these figures are subject to change and this is why we recommend making a thorough search when you decide your relocation to a certain city. Also, we’ve converted the local currencies to Euro.

1. Zurich, Switzerland

As you probably already know, Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world, and Zurich stands out as the most expensive city in Europe.

With a rich history and many museums, in addition to its central position in Europe and proximity to the famous Swiss Alps, Zurich is often a popular stop on a European adventure. However, this adventure may cost a fortune.

It’s true that Zurich has a reputation for being costly. This holds true for both the expense of living generally and real estate. Fortunately, though, the net compensation is among the best in the world, and there are plenty of jobs available for foreigners. 

Like in other financial centers, prices can increase significantly depending on where you live. This is especially true with real estate, which may be challenging for digital nomads and expats to handle.

Cost of Living

Accommodation
One-bedroom apartment in the city center: €1,952
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €1,525

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €15.47
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €25.79
Cappuccino: €5.39
Beer: €7.22

Markets
Milk (1 liter): €1.74
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €3.10
Eggs (12): €5.71
Banana (1kg): €2.89

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €246
Internet: €50

living in zurich
Zurich, Switzerland

2. Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva, a cosmopolitan city and the second-largest city in Switzerland, is a significant financial and diplomatic hub.

In every sense of the term, living in Geneva is luxurious. Its standard of living is among the highest in Europe, but so is its expense of living. Even by Swiss standards, Geneva is considered very expensive for expats living in Switzerland. The cost of living in Geneva is possibly higher than in your home country. It is preferable to purchase necessities in your home nation in order to save money for the move.

But, Geneva is a beautiful city with so much to offer that many foreigners choose to live there. It’s situated at the end of “Lake Geneva” and offers many beautiful landscapes. Despite the high expense of living, the city offers a high quality of life.

Cost of Living

Accommodation
One-bedroom apartment in the city center: €2,100
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €1,750

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €15
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €26
Cappuccino: €4.61
Beer: €8

Markets
Milk (1 liter): €1.60
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €2.67
Eggs (12): €5.46
Banana (1kg): €2.61

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €188
Internet: €55

3. London, UK

London is among Europe’s most expensive cities. The English capital carries the reputation of an extremely expensive city. Well, it’s safe to say the Big Smoke lives up to its reputation. With one of the most valued currencies in the world, the pound sterling £, the land of Big Ben does indeed have a higher cost of living, even for those who earn Euro or American dollars.

London is the most costly city in the UK to live in due to the prohibitively high rent prices, but the relatively high earnings assist to offset this. The average rent in Greater London is the highest in the UK.

London can be an expensive city, but you get value for your money because almost anything you could want is right outside your door. And the general quality of life is excellent. Few cities can compare to London in terms of its artistic, cultural, sporting, culinary, and social scenes.

Cost of Living

Accommodation
One-bedroom apartment in the city center: €2,150
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €1,565

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €7.99
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €18.27
Cappuccino: €3.71
Beer: €6.85

Markets
Milk (1 liter): €1.26
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €1.24
Eggs (12): €2.73
Banana (1kg): €1.48

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €283
Internet: €34

London, UK

4. Lausanne, Switzerland

Located in French Switzerland, the city of Lausanne is a typical Swiss city, made of pure elegance and quality of life. But it’s true that it’s one of the most expensive cities to live in Europe.

Despite being a small city, there are plenty of chances for digital nomads there. Lausanne offers a wealth of knowledge along with a variety of activities and cultural events that you should put on your calendar. You will undoubtedly adore Lausanne because there is always something to do, whether it is strolling and taking in the breathtaking views or dining and dancing at one of the many local celebrations.

Lausanne is known for hosting the Olympic headquarters and being a student city. The place has popular ski resorts, is between the mountains, and has a beautiful lake, the Leman, where locals practice windsurfing and water skiing. 

Cost of Living

Accommodation
One-bedroom apartment in the city center: €1,610
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €1,328

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €15.47
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €25.79
Cappuccino: €5.08
Beer: €8.25

Markets
Milk (1 liter): €1.72
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €2.94
Eggs (12): €6.54
Banana (1kg): €2.63

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €296
Internet: €56

5. Basel, Switzerland

Basel, which is on the northern and western borders of Switzerland and the southern Black Forest of Germany and Alsace, respectively, offers outstanding retail, cultural, and leisure opportunities. Because of this, Basel offers a unique way of life throughout all of Switzerland.

Nothing is more than a few steps away if you live in Basel…Parks and playgrounds, as well as museums, eateries, and nightclubs. There are breath-taking modern homes and offices, as well as a medieval town center and 19th-century historic areas.

Basel is a green city and you’re invited to enjoy sports, games, and recreation throughout the year in small neighborhood oases and city parks. But everything comes with a price and this beautiful cist is on the list of the most expensive cities to live in Europe.

Cost of Living

Accommodation
One-bedroom apartment in the city center: €1,326
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €1,150

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €16.53
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €25.82
Cappuccino: €5.34
Beer: €7.75

Markets
Milk (1 liter): €1.70
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €3.26
Eggs (12): €5.79
Banana (1kg): €2.62

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €277
Internet: €52

6. Dublin, Ireland

Dublin remains the sixth most expensive city in Europe in October 2022. Dublin is known for its bustling nightlife and proximity to Ireland’s stunning natural landscapes. However, it is one of the most expensive cities in Europe, largely due to the high number of expats, and thus the high rents.

But there are many reasons why you can consider living in Dublin. The city offers all the benefits of city living while also maintaining a laid-back atmosphere. The rushing that is typical in other capital cities won’t happen there. 

Dublin’s neighborhood’s mountains and coast also provide a short gateway to the outdoors. Public transportation makes it possible to reach many hiking trails and bathing areas, giving you a break from the rush and bustle of daily life.

Cost of Living

Accommodation

One-bedroom apartment in the city center: €1,653
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €1,458

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €9.50
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €18
Cappuccino: €3.55
Beer: €6

Markets
Milk (1 liter): €1.15
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €1.66
Eggs (12): €3.10
Banana (1kg): €1.76

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €145
Internet: €51

Dublin, Ireland

7. Copenhagen, Denmark

The capital of Denmark has been a popular tourist destination for several years. Unfortunately for budget-conscious digital nomads, however, Copenhagen is usually a short trip. Denmark is among the countries with high quality of living, as a direct correlation, there is a very high cost of living.

Still, this ever-changing Nordic city boasts a sizable foreign community and serves as a creative and innovative hotspot. For many digital nomads and expats foreigners, trying their luck in Copenhagen makes perfect sense; it’s a terrific place to have a fulfilling life.

Cost of Living

Accommodation
One-bedroom apartment in the city center: €1,483
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €1,111

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €11.09
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €18.83
Cappuccino: €5.71
Beer: €6.72

Markets
Milk (regular), (1 liter): €1.67
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €2.90
Eggs (regular) (12): €3.97
Banana (1kg): €2.56

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €188
Internet: €34

living in denmark
Copenhagen, Denmark

8. Oslo, Norway

Oslo is praised for its quality of extremely high life, constantly on top of European cities. But generally, high quality of life translates to high costs. And in Oslo, there’s is no exception.

The city ranks seventh on the list of most expensive cities in Europe in October 2022.

But here is the deal: Oslo is the most multicultural city of Norway. It is also one of Europe’s fastest-growing capital cities. The fjords, the forests, the archipelagos… Norway is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

Cost of Living

Accommodation
One-bedroom apartment in the city center: €1,387
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €1,103

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €11.13
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €19
Cappuccino: €4.39
Beer: €9

Markets
Milk (regular), (1 liter): €1.88
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €2.75
Eggs (12): €3.82
Banana (1kg): €2.12

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €219
Internet: €46

9. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Netherlands is another country that has its place among countries with high quality of life and this certainly comes with a price. Amsterdam, the capital city, ranks as the ninth most expensive city in Europe according to the 2022 index. 

However, this doesn’t seem to stop travelers and expats from traveling to this beautiful city in great masses all throughout the year. The city is alive with cultural events such as art expositions, concerts, and other acts catering to a wide range of tastes. 

Living in the Dutch capital may not be as expensive as in Nordic capitals; still, be prepared to pay a significant portion of your monthly income on housing. This is especially true if you choose a fully furnished house.

Cost of Living

Accommodation
One-bedroom apartment in the city center: €1,671
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €1,423

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €10
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €18
Cappuccino: €3.47
Beer: €5.50

Markets
Milk (regular), (1 liter): €1.15
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €1.66
Eggs (regular) (12): €3.06
Banana (1kg): €1.63

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €228
Internet: €46

Amsterdam, Netherlands

10. Trondheim, Norway

Trondheim is Norway’s third-largest city. It was once the country’s capital and is considered the most historic city in Norway. It’s a university town, with lots of pubs and young people. In addition to the various historical monuments to visit, those who know Trondheim say there is no lack of excitement. 

This city offers it all: history, architecture, wonderful restaurants, great green areas, interesting nightlife, and a plethora of student organizations.

But note that even with many discounts, public transit is fairly expensive, so the simplest method to save money is to invest in a bicycle. Luckily, the city is very tiny in the sense that everything in the city center is within walking distance, so you’ll be able to save a lot of money on transportation.

Cost of Living

Accommodation
One-bedroom apartment in the city center: €1,157
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €910

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €10.63
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €19.73
Cappuccino: €4.19
Beer: €9

Markets
Milk (regular), (1 liter): €1.98
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €3
Eggs (regular) (12): €4.28
Banana (1kg): €2.30

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €132
Internet: €47

There you have it – list of the most expensive cities in Europe. But don’t let this ranking deter you from visiting the continent. Europe is very big and also home to many cities that cater to different budgets. 

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Frequently Asked Questions About Most Expensive Cities in Europe

What are the top 10 most expensive cities in Europe?

According to Expatistan, below are the most expensive cities in Europe to visit and to live in.

Top 10 expensive cities in Europe

1. Zurich, Switzerland
2.
Geneva, Switzerland
3. 
London, UK
4. 
Lausanne, Switzerland
5. 
Basel, Switzerland
6. 
Dublin, Ireland
7. 
Copenhagen, Denmark
8. 
Oslo, Norway
9. 
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
10.
Trondheim, Norway

Expatistan provides a value of 100 to a central reference city, Prague, to generate the Price Index value for each city. Following the establishment of the reference point, the Price Index value of each other city in their database is determined by comparing the cost of living in that city to the cost of living in Prague.

For example, a Price Index of 134 indicates that living in that city is 34% more expensive than living in Prague.

Which part of Europe is expensive?

Western Europe is considered to be more expensive than Eastern Europe. Switzerland is considered to be the most expensive, while Scandinavia is also very expensive. In general, we can say that the prices go up as you go up the North.

Also, it’s worth noting that four Swiss cities rank in the Top 10 expensive cities in Europe list.

Which European countries are the richest?

With over 50 countries and non-country territories, many of which have millennia of worldwide influence, Europe is home to some of the most prosperous countries on the planet.

The most common fundamental measure of national wealth is Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which represents the total value of goods and services generated by a country over a specific time period (typically a year). The top six major European countries together had a GDP of more than $1 trillion (US$) in 2020, totaling $13.833 trillion (US$). These statistics place Europe’s financial leaders among the world’s most productive countries.

The top 3 richest countries in Europe by total 2020 GDP are:

  • Germany – $3.8 trillion
  • United Kingdom – $2.7 trillion
  • France – $2.6 trillion

What is the number 1 most expensive city in Europe?

Zurich (Switzerland) is considered to be the most expensive city in Europe. According to the Expatistan survey, the city’s price index is 244.

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