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Where Do Expats Choose To Live In Switzerland? An Overview Of Popular Locations

The 2014 Expat Explorer Survey says that Switzerland is the most popular destination among expats, followed by Singapore, China and Germany. There are many reasons why expats love living in Switzerland. The economy is strong and inspires confidence in young professionals and businesspersons. The working conditions are favorable and many feel that there is a pleasant balance between work and life. Switzerland is also a land of natural beauty and the quality of air is excellent. Plus, the country ranks high in terms of social security because of the many benefits that families receive. Some locations in Switzerland are more popular among expats than others. Here is an overview of some of these hotspots.Bern

Bern or Berne is the country’s capital city and is the seat of government. It is just half the size of Zurich, but all the important political decisions are made here. The city lies in the heart of Switzerland and serves as the gateway to the Alps. It is also an ideal base for those who want to travel to other parts of the country due to its central location. Due to its historic towers, fountains and winding streets, Bern has a medieval ambience. But it is also equipped with an efficient public transport system that makes commuting within the city quick and easy.


Zurich regularly ranks high in quality of living surveys because of its high quality public transport, education and healthcare. Many companies prefer to have their offices in this financially strategic city. But living in Zurich does come at price and the cost of accommodation especially in the city center can be quite steep. Areas such as Kreis 5 are becoming increasingly popular with young expats, as are places like Oerlikon and Affoltern, which used to be industrial areas in the past. The suburbs provide a quieter lifestyle and are also suited for families. Villages like Zollikon and Erlenbach on the Gold Coast and Kilchberg and Wädenswil on the Silver coat are popular among English speaking expats.


Geneva is where the headquarters of the United Nations and many other international organizations are located. As a result many top-level politicians and diplomats live and work here. It is a naturally scenic and multicultural city that is steeped in history. However expats may encounter the problem of a shortage of accommodation in Geneva. The prices of rental houses are high and many have to share or sublet their houses, as they wait for more favorable accommodation. The advantage of living here is that due to an efficient public transport system, it is easy to commute to work and back rather quickly.

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Due to its location, the city of Basel is a good place from which to explore the rest of Switzerland and also neighboring France and Germany. This small city is a cultural hub of Europe and houses many heritage sites and museums. Being a seaport, Basel plays an important role in the import and export business of the country. It is also located close to the cities of Bern and Zurich. The cost of accommodation in Basel is cheaper than it is in Zurich and Geneva. There are various options available for those who want to settle down here, ranging from apartments in the historic old town to quiet residential areas with spacious family homes. Some popular areas to live include those that lie along on the banks of the river Rhine; the village of Bettingen, which is situated at a height above the city; the southernmost district of Bruderholz; and the small, but wealthy town of Riehen.


Lugano lies in southern Switzerland and is one of the country’s largest cities. It has a different character compared to the other cities and towns due to its largely Italian-speaking population. The Italian influence is apparent in the food, architecture and lifestyle. Lugano is just a one-hour train ride away from Milan. Many wealthy residents have their homes in the neighborhoods that overlook the beautiful scenery of Mount Brè or Mount San Salvatore. The areas within the main city are more affordable and are also better connected to the public transport system. Massagno is one such area that has become popular with expats.

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