Why Is Geneva So Expensive?

Geneva is the most expensive city in Switzerland, which is one of the most expensive countries in the world. This city always ranks in the top 5 most expensive cities in the world and a holiday here isn’t cheap. You can find prices here are higher from groceries to leisure activities. But what drives these high prices and what are you expected to pay for goods and services in Geneva?

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Consider food costs

A cup of coffee can cost as much as $5 in Geneva. A small bottle of water costs around $3.5. This makes getting around the city not a very pleasant experience as a tourist. Unless you come from a higher earnings country (there are just a couple), you will find these prices high. A meal at an entry-level restaurant costs around $30 here.

As a tourist, you can skip the restaurants in Geneva and shop in supermarkets. Prices here are still high, but they can be a bit more affordable. A loaf of bread is at least $3. A bottle of a mil is $1.8, while 12 eggs are at least $7.

Transportation is expensive in Geneva

Transportation isn’t cheap in Geneva. Gasoline here is slightly more expensive than in Europe. You are expected to pay at least $1.9 for gasoline in Geneva. Public transport isn’t cheap either. A one-way public transport ticket costs around $4. A monthly pass on public transport in Geneva costs at least $70. But you are still better off traveling by public transport here. Just consider the alternative is taking a taxi that charges $4 per kilometer.

Rents are the highest in Geneva

By far, the biggest impact on Geneva prices is rent. This drives supermarket product prices up as well as the general cost of living prices up. Renting a small mediocre 1-bed apartment in the city center comes with a monthly cost of $2.100. If you decide to live outside the city center, you will still pay around $1.600 for such an apartment. Young professionals earn more here, but they certainly spend more as well. Its families tend to suffer the most in Geneva due to high rent prices. A 3 bedroom apartment outside of the city center comes with a minimum rent of $3.100. You then add childcare costs and you find out this city is very expensive for parents.

Swiss watches are cheaper in Geneva

But not all prices are the highest in Geneva. If you’re coming from neighboring France or Italy, you will find luxury watches here are the cheapest, particularly Swiss watches. If you’re visiting from outside of the EU, you can also get your VAT back at the airport. When you’re spending $1.000 on a watch, you can get a few hundred dollars back as part of a VAT return. But most of those traveling to Geneva for the watches usually buy even more expensive watches that are subject to a high luxury import tax in other countries. At least not everything is the most expensive in Geneva.