The 10 most expensive cities in the world


For many of us, cities are a way to keep our lives connected. We go to them to work, play and even date. But while we might love the hustle and bustle of urban life, there’s no denying that it also comes with a number of hidden costs. How much do we pay for basic necessities like rent or food in different cities around the world? What about transportation or entertainment? To find out more about these costs (and others), I teamed up with my friend and fellow writer Megan Bannen over at We decided to investigate which cities are most expensive based on what residents have told us about their personal budgets for things like rent and food bills—and then ranked them by cost-of-living index numbers from Numbeo (a site that crowdsources data from users who enter their own expenses as well as estimates from experts). Here’s what we found:


  • Zurich, Switzerland

  • $26,000 per square meter (the highest price per square meter in the world)

  • $399 for a hotel room (the highest price for a single night in a hotel room)

  • Expats living here are paying $5,000 more than they did five years ago and food has gone up by 20%.


You might be surprised to find that Geneva is the second most expensive city in the world. It's not just the most expensive city in Switzerland, but also the most expensive city in Europe.

It comes as no surprise that a city with such high standards would demand high prices for everything from housing to food. As an international hub of finance and banking, you can expect to pay top dollar for anything involving money or financial transactions (which is basically everything).

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is the world's most expensive city. It's also a special administrative region of China, and its economy is based on finance, trade and tourism.

Hong Kong has a high cost of living and high rent prices, so it's no surprise that its residents are among the world's highest wage earners.


London is the most expensive city in the world, with a cost of living that's higher than even New York and Paris. The British capital has two major markets: its own currency and the Euro. Because of this, it's easy to lose track of just how much you're spending when you're out having fun on a night out or shopping for necessities like food or clothing.

The cost of living in London is higher than in Athens, Tokyo and New York City—so what does that mean for your wallet?

New York City

If you’re considering a new career in finance, head to New York City. The city is one of the most expensive places to live in the world, with an average rent of $2,349 per month and an average price of food at $34 per day. If you want to buy a meal out for two at one of the city’s famous restaurants, expect it to cost around $100 on average—and that’s before drinks!

If you want to enjoy your favorite beer while in New York City, plan on spending about $10 for a pint of draft or bottle ($6 – $12), depending on where you go. However, if craft beer is more your style (and why wouldn’t it be?), then expect to pay even more—upwards of $15 – 18 per glass ($8 – 10).


Seoul is the most expensive city in the world. It is also the capital of South Korea and an international financial center. It’s home to many corporate headquarters, including Samsung Electronics, SK Telecom, Hyundai Motor Group and POSCO.

Seoul is an important global transport hub with a large number of passenger flights each day from other countries as well as domestic flights within South Korea.


Copenhagen is the capital and most populous city of Denmark. It is located in the Hovedstaden region of the country. Copenhagen has an area of 1,415.35 square kilometres (546.78 sq mi) and a population of 774,715 as of January 2017 — making it the most populated city in both Denmark, and Scandinavia as a whole. The city also serves as a hub for ferry routes to Gotland through its port at Helsingør (Elsinore).

Copenhagen Airport was opened on 25 March 1925, with flights to Berlin, Amsterdam, London and Paris among others. A few years later international direct flights were operated from Kastrup to destinations such as Barcelona; Budapest; Helsinki; London; Moscow; New York City via Gander during World War II between 1943-1944 until Sweden's neutrality could be maintained after the end of World War II which had previously been threatened by Germany's invasion plan named Operation Weserübung had forced Sweden into an unavoidable alliance with Nazi Germany against Norway who were now under German occupation until 1944 when Allied forces liberated Norway from German control but not before they had already taken over northern Norway where they built bases such as Banak Air Station near Lakselv which today houses Norwegian F-16 fighters along with surveillance aircraft like AWACS planes

Tel Aviv

  • Average cost of a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant: $55

  • Average cost of a cocktail in a bar: $30

  • Average cost of a cappuccino in a coffee shop: $5.50

  • Average cost of a one-way ticket for public transportation (monthly pass): $108.50

  • Average taxi fare: around $20


Paris is the most expensive city in Europe. It’s also the most expensive city in the world, and has been for years. Paris is also the most expensive city in France, as well as being one of the priciest places to live for expats in all of Europe.

Paris is a beautiful place to visit with its famous landmarks such as The Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral; however it’s not exactly cheap to live there if you don't make much money. The cost of living here averages at around $2,300 per month which includes rent but excludes food costs (which will be quite high).


Singapore is the world's most expensive city for expats, according to Mercer's 2019 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey. The city's cost of living ranks even higher if you're an expat family—the highest in Asia and the second-highest in the world after Hong Kong.

Singapore has had the highest cost of living in Asia for 21 years running. While it may be a good place to live if you have a high salary, it's not always easy to save money here due to its high tax rates and relatively low salaries compared with other countries in Southeast Asia.

10 most expensive cities

Zurich, Switzerland

Geneva, Switzerland

Hong Kong, China

London, England

New York City, USA

Seoul, South Korea

Copenhagen, Denmark

Tel Aviv, Israel


That's the end of our list of the 10 most expensive cities in the world. We hope you enjoyed reading it as much as we did making it!

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