How Should I Budget for Zurich?
How Much is an Apartment in Zurich?
One thing to keep in mind with Zurich is that isn’t a traditionally ‘big city’ - comprised of just over 400,000 residents, perhaps it’s easier to see Zurich as a medium sized city with more to do. Considering it’s size and desirability, it stands to reason that property in Zurich is expensive, as is renting. You can expect to pay at least Chf2,000 for a one bedroom apartment each month, which is the equivalent of £1560. While this is cheaper the further out of Zurich city center you get, it never drops significantly and this is the general barometer of monthly prices you should use. That does it make it cheaper than London on average when it comes to accommodation.
Apartments in Zurich are modern & make good use of their space, and there are frequent new builds & modernization projects for older buildings. It’s difficult to find large single-occupancy homes, no matter the price you’re willing to pay. Many in Zurich are happy to rent apartments for most of their lives.
Cost of Travel in Zurich
It’s highly recommended in Zurich to live within walking distance of your work place. Public transportation in Switzerland is expensive, with a 30 minute commute on a train potentially costing more than Chf20, or £15.
If you’re unable to live within walking distance, a bicycle is a worthy investment. Zurich is a very pedestrian-and-bike friendly city, and public grounds are kept clean & tidy. Keep in mind that a bicycle license is required to operate a bike in Switzerland, but this is a small charge of Chf5 annually.
Average Food Costs in Zurich
Grocery costs in Zurich are on the high end of the spectrum, as is the cost of dining out. Most of the expense comes from meat & packaged foods.
Monthly cost of groceries in Zurich can be, on average per person Chf500, somewhere around £300. It’s entirely possible to bring this cost down by buying produce & staples in bulk, and shopping at discount grocery stores like Aldi, Denner, and Lidl.
Eating out in Switzerland is expensive - and while there are plenty of good restaurants that offer a value-priced meal, you will have to shop around. Take a look at Yelp's best Zurich restaurants for an idea of where to go, and how much it will cost. You may even consider, if possible, travelling into neighboring Germany or France for cheaper nights out.
Internet & Phone Costs in Zurich
Broadband access in Switzerland is good, and 85% of the population has internet access - a very high percentage for the world! There are multiple providers, so do some research to find which is best for you. Many plans include phone & television service as well, but these same providers often offer ‘Naked DSL’, which is just an internet connection.It’s fairly easy to get a SIM card in Zurich, and most are sold by Swisscom. You can purchase them in the airport, in post offices, and in some large shops. It should be fairly easy to get a signal, unless you're in the mountains or out for a hike. Switzerland is generally a technologically advanced society which has embraced modern convenience in this sector.
Cost of Enterainment in Zurich
Swiss activities are very outdoorsy, and the public areas of the country are beautifully maintained. The Swiss Alps, for example, is an easy destination for a weekend away - and that’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. If you live in Zurich it’s even possible to make a trip to the mountains a day trip - it takes about 4 hours to get to some of the summits from Zurich, so if you leave early in the morning you can be back home in time for bed. That should save money on lodging!
Not only the Alps, but the other beautiful wild areas of Switzerland are yours to explore. Hiking, sports, and other outdoors activities are major sources of entertainment in Zurich - and in many cases, completely free & healthy.
Cinema tickets are quite expensive, at Chf18 or £14 per person.Going out for drinks is also considerably more expensive than average, as is dining out - averaging about Chf18 or £14 for a cocktail and Chf75 or £56 for a meal in a mid-range restaurant. Perhaps this explains why the Swiss spend so much time outdoors!