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Cost of living in Switzerland – Everything Needs to be Known!

Updated on 13 June, 2024

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

Switzerland is renowned for its stunning landscapes and high standard of living, making it an attractive destination for students. However, living expenses in Switzerland can be quite high, especially in cities like Zurich, Geneva, and Bern. And if you are planning to study in Switzerland, our tips will help you to manage your expenses.

Important Link : Cost of Living for Studying Abroad

What is Cost of Living in Switzerland

When planning to study abroad, you should factor in cost of living in addition to your tuition fee. While studying in Switzerland, average living expenses in Switzerland without rent will be 1,478.5 Fr, per Numbeo.

It can vary based on chosen location, dining preferences (eating out versus cooking at home), transportation mode, and other personal choices. Additionally, Swiss salaries are generally high, which can offset some of the expenses.  

House or Accommodation Costs in Switzerland

The cost of student housing in Switzerland varies based on factors such as accommodation size, privacy, and proximity to the university. Typically, a shared room in a Swiss city ranges from 400 to 800 Swiss francs per month, while private housing costs approximately 600 to 2,000 Swiss francs per month. You should note here that some Swiss universities provide discounted rooms in university dormitories, which can be a cost-effective option for international students.

Type of AccommodationCost 
One-bedroom apartment in the city center1704.65 Fr 
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center1366.28 Fr
Three-bedroom apartment in city center2991.07 Fr 
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city center2485.22 Fr 


Type of AccommodationCost 
One bedroom apartment 2,125.56 Fr 
Three bedroom apartment 3,405.20 Fr 


Type of AccommodationCost 
One-bedroom apartment (in the city centre)1536.15 Fr 
Three-bedroom apartment  (in the city centre)3016.61 Fr 


Type of AccommodationCost
One bedroom apartment 1,221.50 Fr.
Three bedroom apartment 2,376.00 Fr


Type of AccommodationCost 
One bedroom apartment 2,044.10 Fr
Three bedroom apartment 4,030.26 Fr 

Transportation Costs

Public transport in Switzerland is efficient, punctual, and widespread. The country boasts an extensive network of over 5,300 kilometers (3,300 miles) of railway tracks, equivalent to the distance from Vancouver to Halifax or from Ushuaia to São Paulo. Trains are the fastest and most convenient way to get around, with the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) being the major train company. 

Transport Fare 
One-way ticket ( local transport)3.50 Fr
Taxi (1 km)3.90 Fr
Gasoline (1 litre)1.86 Fr

Note:  Sources for all the above tables is Numbeo.

Education Expenses in Switzerland 

In comparison to other countries, the tuition fees of Swiss universities are relatively affordable. Tuition fees for public and private universities differ as public universities are less expensive.  Here’s an average of different types of degrees.

  • Bachelor’s degree programs cost between 700 and 3,500 CHF. 
  • Master’s degree programs cost between 700 and 2,000 CHF.

Public universities such as ETH Zurich, University of Applied Sciences, University of Lausanne, University of Basel, and more are affordable compared to private universities such as Webster University, International University in Geneva, Swiss Hotel Management School, etc.

UniversityAverage Tuition Fees (PG)Average Tuition Fees (UG)
University of Zurich8000 Fr9760  Fr
University of Bern7000  Fr7600 Fr
ETH Zurich5000 Fr5850 Fr
University of Basel8000 Fr6800 Fr
EPFL7000 Fr6240 Fr

Healthcare Costs and Expenses 

The healthcare system of Switzerland is top-notch and world-famous. In Switzerland, you will have to pay for your healthcare, though the amount will vary depending on where you are. You will have to sign up for a private healthcare plan in the country, and you will have to pay at least INR 23,949 per month. Here are the different types of healthcare plans in Switzerland- 

  • Basic healthcare plan
  • Supplementary Insurance

Remember to know the details before opting for a plan, as both insurance plans cover different medical expenses.

Cost of Food & Groceries in Switzerland

Considering all the factors that constitute the cost of living in Switzerland, the most important element is the cost of food and groceries. Let’s take a look at the average cost of food and groceries for one person per month.

Details Switzerland 
Food (for one person)480.16 Fr.  
Groceries(for one person)194.53 Fr 

Miscellaneous Expenditures 

The recent data indicates that for an individual, the cost of living in Switzerland, encompassing miscellaneous expenses such as sports, leisure, child care, and other fees, amounts to 31,625.95 Swiss Francs.

Cost of Living in Switzerland for Indian Students





120 Fr 


Transportation (monthly pass)

80 Fr 


Health Insurance

359.50 Fr 



1,786.57 Fr


Utilities (Electricity, heating, water, internet)

330.47 Fr


 Source: Numbeo

Note: (₹, at an exchange rate of 1 CHF = ₹91.27 )

Cost of Living in Zurich (Switzerland)

The average cost of living in Zurich, Switzerland, is $3,380 per month. This places Zurich among the top 0.3% of the most expensive cities globally, ranking 31st out of 9,294 cities worldwide and 2nd out of 50 cities in Switzerland.

For a family of four, estimated monthly expenses (excluding rent) are approximately 4343.20 Fr, while a single person's estimated monthly costs are around 1254.46 Fr without rent. If you plan to study abroad in Zurich, planning your budget carefully and exploring scholarship opportunities to manage costs effectively is essential.


Amount (one person monthly)


821.42 Fr




195.56 Fr

Miscellaneous Expenses 

31,625 Fr

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Average Salary in Switzerland 

In Switzerland, the minimum wage is determined at the cantonal level. As of 2024, in Geneva, the minimum wage is 24.32 CHF per hour 2024. For a 40-hour workweek, the minimum wage in Geneva is 4,215.47 CHF per month.  

Moreover, individual cantons and industries establish their regulations concerning minimum wage. It boasts one of the highest minimum wages globally. Average salaries are notably affected by industry, work experience, and geographical location within Switzerland.

Country-Wise Cost of Living Guides

7 Tips to Reduce Expenses in Switzerland 

As an international student in Switzerland, it is mandatory to know your budget. We have already established that Switzerland is an expensive country and so we have gathered some of the most valuable tips that you can apply to manage your expenses more effectively and efficiently- 

1. Opt for On-Campus or Nearby Accomodation 

In Switzerland, accommodation is costly. Limited universities in the country offer on-campus rooms, and most of them are occupied by students, so if you can find one, take it. It is way cheaper than renting a room or finding a shared apartment. 
However, if you can’t find one, try to find a place near the university to avoid traveling long distances and save money. You can get a studio flat, which is less expensive, or find a room in a shared apartment.

2. Use Public Transport

If you have to travel, take public transport. Please note that public transportation in Switzerland is quite expensive. Most students buy a used bike and navigate the cities. Moreover, you can get a used bike for free in Zurich, depending on availability.

3. Prepare Food at Home 

Restaurants and pubs in Switzerland are pretty expensive. Cooking at home will help you save you a lot of money. You may not realize, but while eating out and drinking, people often forget how much money they are spending and exceed the budget.

4. Avail Student Discount 

Maximum modes of transport provide student discounts. You can get discounts on everything from movies to food, shops, and restaurants if you are a student. Whenever you go shopping, don’t forget to ask about discounts and you may save a tremendous amount of money.

5. Look for Part-Time Job

Switzerland's average cost of living can become a burden if you cannot save. To improve your lifestyle, consider finding a part-time job with flexible working hours. You can have plenty of work opportunities in Switzerland with good pay to help you save. However, as a student, you will have to adhere to the rules and regulations set by universities and the government.  

6. Apply for Scholarships:

Research scholarships are available for international students. Some universities and organizations offer financial aid based on merit, need, or specific criteria. Apply early and explore opportunities like the Excellence Scholarship by ETH Zurich or the Nestle MBA Scholarships for Women from Developing Countries.

7. Budget Wisely

You should keep track of and stick to your budget. It can be weekly or monthly. Track your expenses, prioritize necessities, and limit unnecessary spending. Be mindful of impulse purchases.

Living on a student budget can be challenging at times, but managing finances smartly will help you in the long run. Switzerland is an expensive country, and if you learn how to micromanage your budget, you can live in any costly country worldwide.

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FAQs on Cost of Living in Switzerland

Is it costly to live in Switzerland?

Yes, the cost of living in Switzerland is relatively high compared to many other European countries. Living expenses in Zurich for an individual, which is considered the most costly city, alone are 5,642.2Fr.

What salary do you need to live comfortably in Switzerland?

To lead a comfortable life and avoid a cash crunch while staying/living in Switzerland, one must earn a minimum of 6,015.13 Fr monthly. The amount includes all expenses.

What is the cost of living in Switzerland in Indian rupees?

The cost of living in Switzerland is 380.6% higher than in India. Precisely, monthly expenses for a single person, without including rent, is ₹138,800.90

Can I settle in Switzerland from India?

Yes, you can settle in Switzerland by following specific steps given below:

1. Choose Your Reason for Relocation:

  • Determine your purpose for moving (e.g., education abroad, employment, business).
  • Be aware of strict regulations for non-EU citizens.

2. Apply for an Entry Visa and Swiss B Permit:

  • Apply for an entry visa through the Swiss embassy in New Delhi.
  • After arrival, apply for a Swiss B permit within 14 days.

3. Obtain a Swiss C Permit (Permanent Residency):

  • Apply for a Swiss C permit once settled in Switzerland.
Did you find this article helpful?

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

We are a dedicated team of study-abroad experts, ensuring intensive research and comprehensive information in each of our blogs. With every piece written, we aim at simplifying the overseas education process for all. Our diverse experience as journalists, content writers, editors, content strategists, and marketers helps create the most relevant and authentic blogs for our readers.

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