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The Best Places to Live in Switzerland for Expats

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Switzerland is a great place to live for expats. It has a high quality of life, great infrastructure, and plenty of job opportunities. There are also many amazing places to live in Switzerland, each with its own unique charm. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the best places to live in Switzerland for expats.

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Basel attracts expats from more than 150 different countries and its expat community makes up almost 30% of its population. Basel boarders both Germany and France, resulting in many residents being bilingual and trilingual. Additionally, this allows expats to work in Basel for a higher salary while living in the more affordable boarding cities in France and Germany.

Aside from its ideal location for language and employment, expats can enrich themselves in the city that’s been deemed Switzerland’s cultural capital. Basel is known for its beautiful architecture and canals, as well as its arts and cultural offerings. It’s home to over 30 museums and hosts the country’s largest arts carnival, the Carnival of Basel.


Bern is the capital of Switzerland, and it’s one of the most popular cities for expats to live in. Like Basel, around 30% of Bern’s population is expats.

Located in the Bernese Highlands region of Switzerland, Bern has a centralized location with Geneva, Zurich, and many Swiss ski resorts being only a couple of hours away. If you’re looking to work with this picturesque backdrop, you’ll likely have the best luck in fields such as medical technology manufacturing, energy, telecom and technology, and design and consulting.

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Geneva’s not only the second-largest city in Switzerland but also home to the United Nations and many other international organizations. It’s one of the most vibrant cities in Europe, with plenty of museums, parks, and outdoor activities to keep you entertained. And, thanks to the immense cultural influences from around the world, over 40% of residents speak English, making this a great place for English-speaking expats to feel at ease.

Depending on where you live in Geneva, France can be a 10-minute trip away, and Italy only a couple of hours. However, these conveniences come at a price because Geneva is Europe’s most expensive city to live in. This may make it a better option for expats looking for a short-term stay.


Lausanne is a vibrant city that sits on the shores of Lake Geneva. It has an active international job market and many universities, making it a popular destination for expats. Whether you’re an academic looking to work at one of Lausanne’s many universities, or someone interested in working for large international companies, there should be no shortage of job opportunities for expats.

Also, the city is easy to navigate with its large pedestrian streets, but due to the city being built on a hill, most people get around by bike or the metro transportation system.


Lucerne is located in the middle of the Swiss Alps abutting a lake, which allows this city to offer a large range of leisure and water activities. The city has a lot of tourism due to its train system, which runs every couple of minutes and goes to all parts of the country, some even reaching out to Austria, Germany, France, and Italy. It’s also considered one of the most business-friendly destinations in Switzerland, so it’s also a popular spot for entrepreneurs.

Additionally, Lucerne is known as “the City of Lights,” because during wintertime the sun sets early and rises late due to its location near the mountains. If you’re a nature loving, stargazing, cultural enthusiast expat entrepreneur, Lucerne could be the perfect place for you.

St. Gallen

St. Gallen is a beautiful city lined with cobbled streets and surrounded by rolling hills and forests. It’s a city with a rich history and architecture dating back to the medieval times while maintaining a cosmopolitan feel. It’s also home to one of the best business schools in the world, the University of St. Gallen.

In addition to being steeped in history, St.Gallen has an excellent quality of life for expats searching for a quieter lifestyle. It’s one of the safest cities in Switzerland, has plenty of jobs available, offers an affordable alternative to more expensive cities like Zurich or Geneva, and has a variety of recreational activities like hiking trails or boat rides on Lake Constance.


Rounding out our list of best places to live in Switzerland for expats is Zurich. Zurich is commonly referred to as the industrial capital of Switzerland as it’s the headquarters for

many international finance corporations. Therefore, it’s a great place for an expat in this field. And, if high-end dining and luxury shopping are high on your must-have list, this city can deliver with a breathtaking natural backdrop, free of charge.

Something to keep in mind if you’re an expat looking to explore Zurich is while the quality of life for expats is ranked very high due to its high salaries, low crime rates, and excellent schools, it’s one of the highest-ranked cities for cost of living.

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Final Note

So, depending on what’s important to you as an expat, one of these cities might be a better fit for you. All of these destinations offer excellent opportunities for those looking to work and live in Switzerland, but each city has its own unique charm and benefits that should be taken into account when making your decision.

Let us know in the comments if we missed your favorite Swiss city or if you have any questions about finding the best place to live in Switzerland as an expat!

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