Switzerland remains Europe's most expensive country, FSO confirms

Switzerland remains Europe's most expensive country, FSO confirms

The latest numbers from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) have done the data equivalent of saying the quiet part out loud: Switzerland has the highest prices of any nation in Europe. Goods and services in Swiss cities and cantons are 1,5 times more expensive than the EU average.

Swiss prices 1,5 times higher than EU average

To create the report, the Swiss government analysed the average price of a number of goods and services in Switzerland and across the rest of Europe in 2022. These products range from healthcare and clothing to utilities, the cost of rent, leisure, food and education, among others. Using the European Union average as a benchmark (100 points), they then ranked the cost of living in each country.

With 157,4 points, Switzerland was rated as the most expensive country in Europe. The country was narrowly ahead of Iceland with 156,7 points, meaning the cost of living in both nations is over 50 percent higher than the European Union average. At the bottom of the list was Turkey, with prices there 57 percent cheaper than the EU average and 72 percent lower than in Switzerland.

Switzerland more expensive for all products analysed

The price differences in Switzerland were most extreme when compared to the country’s neighbours. All prices analysed were higher in Switzerland than they were in Germany, France, Italy and Austria, with the most dramatic increases recorded in housing, healthcare, communication (mobile phones, landlines, internet) and education. 

Compared to the EU average, the cost of seeing a doctor and hospital care in Switzerland can be more than three times more expensive. The same is true of education (2,7 times higher) and meat (2,3 times).

High prices, but high salaries?

In fact, there were only a few categories where Switzerland got close to its neighbours in terms of costs: the cost of alcohol and tobacco in the alpine nation is “only” 4,1 percent higher than in France, while machinery, construction and software costs are only marginally higher than the rest of the country’s neighbours.

However, as is the case with most discussions over the cost of living in Switzerland, the FSO also suggests that while prices are high, Swiss gross domestic product per capita is around 40 percent higher than in countries like Germany. Salaries, while struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living, are still some of the highest in Europe, with the average wage of a job in Switzerland still falling at just short of 80.000 francs a year.

10 European countries with the highest prices

In all, here are the 10 countries in Europe with the highest prices, according to the FSO:

  1. Switzerland (157,4)
  2. Iceland (156,7)
  3. Norway (134,3)
  4. Denmark (133,3)
  5. Luxembourg (130,6)
  6. Sweden (126,8)
  7. Finland (124)
  8. Ireland (118,9)
  9. The Netherlands (117)
  10. Austria (112,3)

For more information about the metrics used, check out the FSO data set.

Thumb image credit: Keitma /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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