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Find out where you should start your new life in the alpine nation with our guide to the 10 best cities in Switzerland for expats. Despite its compact size, Switzerland is a country full of surprising contrasts. From the palm tree-lined shores of the southern lakes to the quaint towns and cities of the Swiss plateau, there really is something for everyone.
But when moving to Switzerlandknowing which city is right for you can be a challenge. Whether you settle in cosmopolitan Geneva, laid-back Lugano or bustling Zurich will largely depend on you and how you want to live your Swiss life. With a high quality of life and great public transit links throughout the alpine nation, however, you might not think it matters. That said, finding the right home for you and your family can make all the difference to your new life abroad.
So, to give you some inspiration, here is a rundown of the 10 best cities in Switzerland for expats. Stretched along picturesque Lake Geneva, this multicultural gem has long been one of the most popular cities in Switzerland for expats. The old town is beautifully preserved and there are few better places to enjoy an evening drink and stroll when the summer arrives.
For a city of its size, Winterthur definitely packs a punch when it comes to culture, too. The city is also pretty small, making it easy to get around, with the city center being extremely walkable. You can find more information about this in our guide on where to live in Zurich.
Nestled near the linguistic border between French and German Switzerland, the city is home to the Swiss parliament. For a capital city in the heart of Europe, however, Bern manages to retain that distinctly small-town feel. This is one of the biggest appealing factors for the many expats who call the city home, alongside the postcard-perfect streets and laid-back attitude.
While Bern is well-connected with the rest of the country, when summer hits, the locals are more interested in floating along the turquoise waters of River Aare as it twists through the city. There are few places in the world quite like Lugano. Located on the northern shores of the breathtaking Lake Lugano, the city is seen as the capital of Italian-speaking Switzerland.
The warmer climate and laid-back lifestyle attract many expats to this corner of Switzerland. However, due to its mountainous location, you can still expect a generous covering of snowfall come winter. This makes it ideal for expats who like to mix things up. If Lugano sounds a little too hectic for you, though, there are a few other places in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino you should look into. These include lakeside Locarno and the border town of Chiasso. Although technically a town, snug little Zug is another popular city in Switzerland among expats.
Located between Zurich and Lucerne, German-speaking Zug provides a welcome alternative for those looking for an altogether quieter Swiss life.
And plenty of expats have decided to move to Zug, too, making it surprisingly multicultural Switzerland looking for new life a town of around 30, people. Although house prices are increasing in the area, Zug remains cheaper than Zurich, which lies just a twenty-minute train ride away. That said, there is still a decent selection of shops and restaurants and, of course, a beautiful lake to enjoy. Zug is definitely a great option for families looking for a little more space and access to greenery.
Located near the French and German borders, Basel is seen by many as one of the best cities in Switzerland to live in. It is also a cultural center with plenty to offer expats. That said, some internationals who move to Basel spread their lives over the borders to make things Switzerland looking for new life little cheaper. For instance, you can live in Germany, work in Switzerland, and go grocery shopping in France.
Essentially, whatever works best for you, there are options in the Basel area. Expats living in Basel are also blessed with a lot of outdoor options nearby. Even in a country crammed full of beautiful lakeside locations, few cities in Switzerland come close to Lucerne. Looking for enchanting medieval architecture?
Lucerne has it. Snow-capped mountains looming up all around? Lucerne has these, too. Crystal clear waters that look clean enough to drink from? Yep, you guessed it, Lucerne has it all. Unsurprisingly, this German-speaking city is popular with expats and tourists alike. Its size also helps keep transport costs down, as most places are easily accessible. While property prices are typically cheaper than in Zurich or Geneva, you can expect to pay more for a view over the iconic Kappelbrug.
If none of these cities in Switzerland are quite mountainous for you, then why not settle on higher pastures? The French-speaking town of Sion is the capital of the beautiful Valais canton, which lies next to the Italian border. The most famous of these is the ski resort of Zermatt, which sits under the watchful gaze of the Matterhorn. However, while Zermatt attracts crowds all winter, there are quieter options nearby.
No list of the best cities in Switzerland for expats would be complete without mentioning Zurich. After all, it boasts great bars and restaurants, excellent transit links to cities across Europe, and an inevitable picture-perfect Swiss lake. What more could you want? Indeed, few cities in Switzerland come close to matching it in terms of cultural and entertainment opportunities.
That said, this all comes at a cost as Zurich is one of the most expensive cities in Europe. Thankfully, though, the city has an excellent public transit network, which makes soaking up all that magic a little easier. Think again. Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, French-speaking Lausanne is another popular option for expats.
It is also home to a of international corporations, which helps to attract an ever-growing of expats to the city. Amazingly, Lausanne is the smallest city in the world to have its own metro system, which makes it easy to get around. Residents of this resort town enjoy a mild microclimate and plenty of cultural offerings. And, of course, wherever you are, the beautiful Alps are just a short hike away. Have a cookie Expatica uses technology such as cookies and scripts to personalize content andprovide social media features, and analyze our traffic.
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You may change your settings at any time. Your choices will not impact your visit. NOTE: These settings will only apply to the browser and device you are currently using. Search for:. The 10 best cities in Switzerland for expats. Last update on March 24, Written by Christian Lapper. Geneva Stretched along picturesque Lake Geneva, this multicultural gem has long been one of the most popular cities in Switzerland for expats.
Related articles. December 12, Where to live in Lugano and other cities in Ticino. May 24, Where to live in Zurich. May 16, A complete guide on moving to Bern.
May 16, The cheapest places to live in Switzerland. Latest articles. June 24, Car insurance in Switzerland. June 22, Buying a car and registration in Switzerland.Switzerland looking for new life
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