As is the case throughout Switzerland, the cost of living in Geneva is inescapably high. The city regularly features in the top 15 most expensive expat cities in Mercer's Cost of Living Survey. The 2023 edition of the survey ranks Geneva fourth out of 227 countries. Luckily, most expats are drawn to the city by high salaries, which offset the expenses they're likely to incur.

Cost of accommodation in Geneva

Accommodation is likely to be an expat's biggest expense in this Swiss city. There's a serious shortage of accommodation in Geneva, and landlords can charge a premium. Rentals can be high, even for a one-bedroom apartment on the city's outskirts. Landlords can also request up to three months' rent as a security deposit.

Expats moving to Geneva with a family and looking for a larger home may need to consider investigating housing options across the border in France. Here they will find more options with rental rates that offer slightly better value than in Geneva.

Cost of public transport in Geneva

While Geneva's public transport infrastructure is extensive and efficient, it's by no means cheap. That said, it remains cheaper than owning and maintaining a car in the city. There are various discount passes designed to combat the expense of public travel.

The cheapest way to get around Geneva would be by bicycle. The city is well equipped to cater for cyclists and this is a quick, efficient and cost-effective way to get about. 

Cost of education in Geneva

Education is another large expense for expats with families to consider. The city has many international schools, but places are hard to come by and fees are exorbitant. International school fees easily add up as parents will often also need to pay for additional costs such as textbooks, uniforms and field trips.

Cost of groceries in Geneva

Switzerland is known for its high quality of food, especially its chocolate and cheese, and Geneva is no exception. This does, however, come at a price. Expats can expect grocery prices to be 20 to 30 percent higher than in neighbouring EU countries; on the higher end at Swiss supermarkets like Coop and Migros, and on the lower at international supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl.

Thrifty shoppers know to visit Genevese supermarkets after 5pm, when some perishable items go on discount. They also might hop across the border to France to do their bulk shopping, though some Swiss consumers are adamant about supporting domestic brands.

Cost of eating out and entertainment in Geneva

The amount an expat spends on leisure activities will depend on their personal preferences. Geneva has some excellent restaurants, but eating out, bars and clubs aren't cheap. Skiing can be quite pricey too, but there are numerous free trails for those who enjoy hiking and biking.

Cost of living in Geneva chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Geneva for January 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

CHF 4,250

Three-bedroom apartment outside city centre

CHF 3,050

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

CHF 2,000

One-bedroom apartment outside city centre

CHF 1,700


Eggs (dozen)


Milk (1 litre)

CHF 1.56

Rice (1kg)

CHF 2.63

Loaf of white bread (500g)

CHF 2.78

Chicken breasts (1kg)

CHF 24

Pack of cigarettes 

CHF 8.25

Eating Out

Big Mac Meal

CHF 15

Coca-Cola (330ml)

CHF 3.79


CHF 4.46

Local beer (500ml)


Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

CHF 110


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

CHF 0.20

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

CHF 57

Basic utilities per month for standard household

CHF 190


Taxi rate (per kilometre)


Bus/train fare to the city centre


Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

CHF 1.97