Cost of Living in Geneva

As is the case throughout Switzerland, the cost of living in Geneva is high. The city regularly features in the top 15 most expensive expat cities in Mercer's Cost of Living Survey. The 2019 edition of the survey ranks Geneva 13th out of 209 countries. Luckily, most expats are lured to the city for work and receive a salary that offsets the expenses they're likely to incur.

Cost of accommodation in Geneva

Accommodation is likely to be an expat's biggest expense in this Swiss city. There's a serious shortage of accommodation in Geneva, and landlords can charge a premium. Rentals can be high, even for a one-bedroom apartment on the city's outskirts. Landlords can also request up to three months' rent as a security deposit.

Expats moving to Geneva with a family and looking for a larger home may need to consider investigating housing options across the border in France. Here they will find more options with slightly better value rental rates.

Cost of public transport in Geneva

While Geneva's public transportation infrastructure is extensive and efficient, it's by no means cheap. However, it still remains cheaper than owning and maintaining a car in the city. There are various discount passes to combat the expense of public travel.

The cheapest way to get around in Geneva would be by bicycle. The city is well-equipped to cater for cyclists and this is a quick, efficient and cost-effective way to get about. 

Cost of education in Geneva

Education is another large expense for expats with families. The city has a large number of international schools but places are hard to come by and fees are accordingly high. International school fees easily add up as parents will often also need to pay for additional costs like textbooks, uniforms and field trips.

Cost of eating out and entertainment in Geneva

The amount an expat spends on leisure activities will depend on their personal preferences. Geneva has some excellent restaurants, but eating out, bars and clubs aren't cheap. Skiing can be quite pricey too, but there are numerous free trails for those who enjoy hiking and biking. 

Cost of living in Geneva chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Geneva for February 2020.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

CHF 3,000 - 5,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside city centre

CHF 2,500 - 3,500

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

CHF 1,500 - 2,500

One-bedroom apartment outside city centre

CHF 1,200 - 1,400


Eggs (dozen)


Milk (1 litre)

CHF 1.80

Rice (1kg)

CHF 2.50

Loaf of white bread (500g)

CHF 3.20

Chicken breasts (1kg)

CHF 23

Pack of cigarettes 

CHF 8.50

Eating Out

Big Mac Meal

CHF 14

Coca-Cola (330ml)

CHF 3.80



Bottle of beer (domestic)


Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

CHF 95


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

CHF 0.30

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

CHF 60

Basic utilities per month for standard household

CHF 200


Taxi rate (per kilometre)


Bus/train fare to the city centre


Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

CHF 1.70

Expat Health Insurance


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