Which are the most (and least) popular large cities in Switzerland?

Which are the most (and least) popular large cities in Switzerland?

While already known for identifying the most popular brands, in 2024 the Brand Indicator for Switzerland (BIS) has branched out to see which Swiss cities are the most and least popular with the general public. According to the results, the jewel of central Switzerland conjures the most positive emotions among the Swiss.

BIS 2024 now includes Swiss city survey

For the first time, the annual BIS survey looked into how people view Swiss cities from an emotional standpoint. 2.631 people from across the cantons were asked to rate how much they liked or disliked the eight largest cities in Switzerland on an emotional level. While every respondent will have their own way of determining whether they like a city or not, BIS noted that positive and negative experiences and associations are often the factors that tip the scales one way or another.

BIS created two separate city rankings, one for the general population and one for those aged between 16 and 29 years old. Each city was given a rating out of 100 by how much respondents emotionally connected with them. 

Lucerne rated as the most popular city in Switzerland

According to the report, people in Switzerland only have eyes for one city: Lucerne. The heart of central Switzerland and gateway to the mountains was given a rating of 62,2 out of 100 - perhaps indicating that while it is "the best", there is still room for improvement.

Lucerne was followed by Bern, with the de facto capital earning 61,4 points. Zurich followed in third, with Lausanne rounding out the top four. The worst-rated city for the general population was poor old Winterthur. The second largest city in Canton Zurich earned just 50,3 points.

However, it's clear that young people have had different experiences with some cities: 16 to 29-year-olds favoured Bern and Zurich over Lucerne. Once again, Winterthur can’t seem to catch a break, placing bottom again with just 47,8 points - do you have any ideas why Winterthur is placed bottom? Let us know in the comments below!

Most and least popular Swiss cities

In all, here are the eight largest cities in Switzerland, rated from most to least loved:

  1. Lucerne (62,2)
  2. Bern (61,4)
  3. Zurich (56,5)
  4. Lausanne (54,9)
  5. Basel (53,9)
  6. Geneva (53,2)
  7. St. Gallen (52,8)
  8. Winterthur (50,3)

By contrast, here are the most and least popular cities among young people:

  1. Bern (62,6)
  2. Zurich (60,2)
  3. Lucerne (57,5)
  4. Lausanne (57,2)
  5. Geneva (53,9)
  6. St. Gallen (53,8)
  7. Basel (53,4)
  8. Winterthur (47,8)

For more information, check out the official study.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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