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The 20 Most Expensive Cities in Europe


In a world that is rapidly embracing the use of technology in almost everything, things have become more accessible whether its communication, infrastructure or even transport. Everything is now moving in the fast lane, and things have become way more efficient.

However, nothing good comes easy and as the world dances to the tune of technology and other developments, so does the economy with inflation rates shooting to high levels with each new dawn.

As a result, the standards of living have also gone up with some of the essential commodities going at insane prices. Various parts have been affected by this change and according to a recent survey in the world’s cost of living some parts of the world have a higher cost of living than others. Topping this list are cities in Europe.

Our list is based on the World’s cost of living which is usually compared to Prague’s price index. In this case, the city is given 100 as the price index, and all the towns which are below are said to be cheap while those above are expensive. In Layman’s terms, it is the central reference city.

Here are 20 of the most expensive cities in Europe:

Brussels, Belgium

20. Brussels

In Brussels Belgium, you pay 60 Euros for a meal of two people and 15 Euros for a simple dinner of one in an inexpensive restaurant. In comparison to other five star hotels, the price of a simple meal is even high which not many people can afford.

The Dutch-speaking city is home to many international organizations, diplomats and civil servants which makes it a global politics center. Due to that, the city has attracted a high population, and more people continue to stream in.

Of the 516 cities in the world, it ranks 88th position among the ones with the highest cost of living. Residing here means you will spend 52% more on all your requirements contrary to someone who is a Prague citizen.

Barcelona, Spain

19. Barcelona

Founded as a Roman city, it is ranked one of the world's successful city brands and is a hub for myriads of tourists. It also leads regarding economic activities, art, fashion, entertainment among many other activities which continue to take it to the global map.

It is home to one of Europe's most famous football teams which goes by the same name. As you would expect with such a city, the living costs are high. It ranks 274 among the other cities with high living costs, and the general consumer prices are 23.64% than those in Prague.

The food prices are 49% higher than those in Prague. In general, the cost of living is 43% more than Prague which is the world's central reference city.

18. Rome

Rome is regarded as one of the most prominent places in Europe and comes with a cost. Rome is the capital city of Italy and is a tourist hub and a romantic getaway for many people owing to its ancient architectural buildings and infrastructure.

It has blessed the world with many popes since Nicholas V, and it boasts the Global city status. It acts as the headquarters of an eclectic array of international and local businesses.

However, like mentioned earlier, that comes with its disadvantages such as causing the cost of living to be high. It ranks 35th in the world's most expensive cities, and the lifestyle here is 50% more costly than in Prague in all areas from food to entertainment.

17. Oxford

Going Southern England is the city of Oxford, famous for its educational facilities the most prominent one being the University of Oxford. It is also known as the city of dreaming spires due to the many young people who come here to study and meet their big dreams.

Its economic base is mainly on education based business such as publishing, Information technology, manufacturing and even science-based facilities. Nevertheless, living there is not as easy as dreaming because even a simple meal for two people is quite expensive as it goes for fifty euros.

The housing costs are 57% more than those of Prague while the overall cost of living in Oxford is 74% more than that of Prague. It ranks 97th among the 516 most expensive cities in the world and 16th among Europe’s.


16. Birmingham

Common to many cities with rapid economic growth, Birmingham's PI is also quite high. It is one of the densely populated towns in the UK and is known for its numerous innovations which have helped lay the foundations of the modern industrial model.

It attracts hundreds of business people due to its intense industrialization, and as a result, the cost of living has sky whizzed. For a simple basic lunchtime menu, you pay 12 euros while a two people meal you sweat out 40 Euros.

Food prices in Birmingham are 14.91 higher than in Amsterdam while the general cost of living is 74% more compared to Prague.

Mandarin Oriental Munich

15. Munich

Munich is one of German's most powerful cities and prides itself on a rich history. It is also the third largest city in the country and the 12th largest among those in the European Union and prides to have a population of 1.5 million.

Munich is regarded as a center of finance, art, culture, business, innovation, finance, tourism, and advanced technologies that make it one of the most attractive and adorable cities across the world.

It also means that it is full of people from all walks of life which highly contributes to its tremendous cost of living. A Munich's resident spends 16% more on food, 4% more on housing and 25% more on clothes than someone who resides in Oxford

. A plate of food from an inexpensive hotel goes at 12 twelve euros while someone in Prague pays 48.78% more on food and groceries.

14. Helsinki

Finland’s largest and also capital city carries similar traits to most urban areas such as a dense population and a high cost of living. It is one of the world's most livable and also one which offers quality life. However, all that is due to its high living costs.

For instance, someone living in New York will pay 18% less on clothes than someone in Helsinki. While someone in Prague will pay 59.15% less on food and groceries than someone who is in Prague. It has a PI of 175.


13. Stockholm

Sweden has not been left out in this selection as one of its most famous city’s is on our list too. Stockholm which is among the top 10 regions in Europe with regards to its GDP is the seat of most Swedish government agencies and even the government itself.

As a result, it attracts numerous diplomats, professionals and business people which lead to skyrocketing living costs. A meal for two people goes for approximately 262 euros, and a Stockholm resident will spend roughly 29% more on clothes and 1% more in transport in comparison to someone who is in New York.

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

12. Luxembourg

The German city also finds its place on our list thanks to its high PI. It is one of the official capital of the European Union Court of Justice and is full of people from different races and countries who come here in search of greener pastures.

Nonetheless, in comparison to the United States, the city is quite costly to reside in. For instance, a US citizen will spend 7.90 less on groceries and foodstuffs than someone who resides in Luxembourg. The rent prices in the US are also 32.41% lower. Therefore, living in Luxembourg is not for the faint-hearted.

Houseboat Museum

11. Amsterdam

Also known as the alpha world city in regards to globalization, Amsterdam in one of the cities in Europe with a high price index meaning its cost of living too is no joke. It is the commercial and financial city of Netherlands and is also famous for its remarkable artistic heritage.

It has a PI of 182 and residents here spend 82% more than what they would have spent if they lived in the world's reference city in regards to the price index. The food costs only are 74% higher while you would spend 15% less on clothes if you were to relocate to Prague instead of Amsterdam.

Copenhagen, Denmark

10. Copenhagen

Copenhagen is the capital city of Denmark which also happens to be densely populated. Copenhagen was originally a Viking fishing village back in the 10th century.

Copenhagen suffered from the effects of fire and plague in the 18th century where it underwent a redevelopment period which included construction of Frederiksstaden and founding of various institutions such as Royal Academy of Fine Arts and the Royal Theatre.

The city suffered other blows in the 19th century after it was bombarded by Nelson. After the Second World War, Finger Plan nurtured the development of business as well as housing, inclusive of five urban railway routes.

21st century has seen a new dawn for Copenhagen in terms of tremendous development, and is now one of Europe's fast-growing cities. As a result, the living costs also dance to the growth by increasing on every single day.

The town which features plenty of investment facilities is 93% expensive than Prague especially in the case of transportation and personal care. At Copenhagen, a very simple one person meal goes for 125 euros while a regular cup of cappuccino goes for 34 euros. However, entertainment is 28% cheaper than in New York.

Enjoy a Boat Trip Along the Seine

9. Paris

Since time immemorial, Paris has always been a favorite of many travelers, celebrities, and actors due to its numerous historic sites and architectural landmarks, where in 2016, the Louvre registered 7.4 million visitors thus becoming the most visited museum in the world.

Paris also prides itself with one of the best football clubs in the world Paris Saint-German, and Stade Français which is a rugby union club. The city also boasts a wide array of tourist's attractions and is a charm to many.

In 2015 for instance, Paris was regarded as one of the top tourist destinations in the world after registering 22.2 million visitors. However, living there is no walk in the park. It requires a fat wallet or else you may end up starving.

The city has a price index of 195, and you will spend 94% more than what you would have spent while living in Prague. It ranks 29th among the world’s most expensive cities and for a single meal in the most inexpensive restaurant costs fourteen Euros.


8. Dublin

Being a capital city, Dublin is highly populated which means it has many business units and high tax rates. It is also among the top thirty cities in the world and consequently the budget for each inhabitant is equally high. It takes position 43 out of the 516 cities and the overall consumer prices are 69.30 higher than Prague’s.

You spend 37% more on transport and clothes than what you would have spent if you were in New York. Nonetheless, the inhabitants of this European have something to smile about as there are expectations that the living costs might go down thanks to Britain voting out of EU.

Grindelwald, Switzerland

7. Bern

Also referred to as the federal city, Bern is Switzerland’s fourth most densely populated location. The official language is German and is ranked among top ten cities in the world with quality life.

Nonetheless, the good life does not come on a silver platter as the price index is more than 100. Its overall consumer prices are 141.28% more than those in Prague with food, housing transportation and entertainment costs being quite high. Luckily, the consumer purchase power is also high.

6. Lausanne

Lausanne is yet another city from Switzerland with a price index of 218. The city's position is just perfect as it is on the shores of Lake Geneva and north-westlie the Jura Mountains. It is a French-speaking region and is a hub for sports and has hence hosted more than 55 international sports associations including the International Olympic Committee.

However, it is all games and fun until you consider its cost of living. With quite a high price index, the city is not for the faint-hearted ones. For instance in comparison to Munich which is a city in Germany, the housing charges are 15.43% higher while the grocery and food prices are even higher at 44.19% more. Out of the 516 cities in the world, Lausanne ranks the 8th in cities with high living costs.

London, United Kingdom

5. London

Also referred to as the Queen's city or the metropolis, has always been a favorite of many people due to its wide range of entertainment options, fashion, art, healthcare, media and you mention it, you will find it here.

Thanks to that, the city which is the capital of England has a diverse array of people from more than 300 hundred languages. It prides itself over four world heritage sites and many more attractions which continue to attract myriads of people each day.

In mid-2016, the municipal population was estimated to be 8,787,892 which became the largest in European Union’s cities. London happens to be a home to various museums, sporting events, galleries, museums, and other cultural institutions such as Natural History Museum, British Museum, Tate Modern, British Library, National Gallery, and West End theaters.

Like you would expect with a town that has so many people and economic activities, the cost of living simply skyrockets on every single day. For instance, the consumer prices of groceries are 31.69% higher than Prague while the housing costs are 53.78% higher.

Fortunately, the purchasing power is also high because there is better money flow in the economy. It has a price index of 223 which is higher than the world's price index.

Oslo, Norway

4. Oslo

Oslo is one of the most famous and one of the most densely populated cities in Norway. It is the current capital city of the country and also a trading place. It is the economic and governmental city of Norway.

In addition, it is a center of banking and shipping. Due to its features, the city attracts professionals in search of better jobs and hoards if investors each year.

Oslo is regarded as a center for maritime trade and maritime industries in Europe. It’s also a base to various companies in the maritime sectors, some of which happen to be largest shipping companies in the world, maritime insurance brokers, and shipbrokers. On the basis of quality of life, Oslo tops the list among European cities.

As a result, the cost of living is nothing to smile about as it is quite high. It has a price index of 224 which happens to be 124 more than that of the world's central reference city. Therefore the housing, transportation and basically everything in Oslo is 34% more expensive than when you reside in Prague.

3. Reykjavik

Moving to Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik is also among Europe’s most expensive cities. Being a capital state and a having a regular tourist flow, the town is full of investors and entrepreneurs seeking to better their business careers.

It is one of the cleanest, safest and greenest cities in the world. As a result, the population is high and so are the costs of living. For example, the cost of food, housing, transportation, entertainment, and personal care is more than 120% in contrast to that of Prague. Generally the, living cost is 138% more than that of the central reference city.

Zurich, Switzerland

2. Zurich

Also in Switzerland, the city boasts an average population and it dates more than two centuries back. The official language is German and prides itself on a rich history hence the numerous museums and historical sites.

The city is among the world's largest financial centers and is home to many banking and financial institutions. Thanks to its fast-rising rates of growth, the city has attracted many foreign investors hence leading to an increased population and also cost of living.

For instance if you happen to shift to the city of Zurich today from New York, then you will spend approximately 74% more on food and clothing, and ten percent more on personal care. However, the cost of transportation and entertainment is relatively low in comparison to the world’s 100 price index.

Geneva, Switzerland

1. Geneva

It is one of Switzerland cities and is home to Europe’s United Nations headquarters and also the Red Cross. The city which offers you a spectacular view of the Mont Blanc has hosted myriads of diplomacy conferences which attract prominent and powerful people.

Owing to that, the city has attracted quite a high population of people from all walks of life who find it as a good business hub. As a result, the cost of living in Geneva is quite high. Geneva was number one in European cities with the highest cost of living.

It had a price index of 249 which is way too high in comparison to the central reference city which is a hundred. For instance the cost of groceries and other food items in Geneva is 127.5% more than that of Houston in the United States while the cost of household utilities is 122.2% more than in Kuala Lumpur.

Transportation is not that cheap either as it is 11.4% more in comparison to what people in Dubai pays. The city has an adversity of 10% and hence has been ranked among the minimum hardship locations in Europe.

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Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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