Readers' verdict: The best and worst things about life in Zurich

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Readers' verdict: The best and worst things about life in Zurich
We asked The Local readers to tell us their thoughts on living in Zurich.

It's considered one of the best cities in the world, but what's life in Zurich really like? We asked our readers to give us their insights.


Globally famous for being a leader in banking and finance, the city of Zurich also boasts natural beauty with its picturesque lakeside views. From Lake Zurich to the Limmat River, "Züri" as it's known to locals, is breathtakingly beautiful. But what's life really like when you live in Switzerland's largest city?

We asked readers of The Local to tell us their thoughts on living in Zurich.

The good

The good news is that almost 80 percent of respondents to our survey had a very positive outlook on life in Zurich. Many readers responded that Zurich was perfect (33.3 percent) or very good (42.9 percent).

Readers cited the city's natural beauty, efficient public transport, high wages, and quality of life as reasons they are happy with life in this urban centre which boasts a population of 380,500 (or just over a million if you count the surrounding municipalities). The strong sense of community and friendliness was also rated highly by our readers.


Natural beauty

Almost all survey respondents agreed that Zurich is rich in natural beauty.

"The lakes, pools, cleanliness and the beautiful architecture… there is not just one thing," said one reader of Zurich's appeal.

"Everything is so green and mountains are close," agreed survey respondent Lunia Borza.

Another reader expressed a love of the lakes and winter activities: "The best thing about Zurich is the lakes and river swimming in the summer. It is also close to ski resorts in winter."

Public transport

A major plus for residents of Zurich is the efficient public transport that makes daily life and the commute to work much easier.

Davide Cester, who sees Zurich as the perfect place to live, lists the public transport as the biggest advantage: "It connects all the places and is efficient."

"The amazing public transit and abundance of parks" are, reader Margot Anderson agrees, favourite things about Zurich.


High wages

Zürich is one of Europe's most important financial centres so it's unsurprising that most respondents working in the Zurich listed the 'high salaries' or 'good competitive pay' as a major plus.

READ ALSO: Salaries in Zurich hit record high

Reader Kari Gunderson's listed "stability due to the social system…good wages, [and] good insurance" as reasons why she loves  the stability of living in Zurich.

The bad

Meanwhile, just 19 percent of respondents were satisfied with life in Zurich, although it still didn't feel like home to them. Less than five percent of respondents were not happy in Zurich.

File Photo: Fizkes/

The high cost of living

One thing most of our readers agreed on is life in Zurich can be very expensive.

Reader Jekaterina Klest is not a fan of Zurich's high price of living and "extremely expensive restaurant food."

"Train tickets are expensive for tourists and irregular use. Zurich should lead by example and have even cheaper public transport. Perhaps by increasing cost of car ownership in such way that more choose public transport (or biking) rather than car," said Rozbeh Aenehband.

Learning German is difficult

Many respondents agreed that you could get by in Zurich without being fluent in German because it is such an international city. But to truly experience the city and get to know the locals, learning German was considered a must.

Reader Lee Yee Min said that the worst thing about working in Zurich is that "you need to be fluent in German."

Steve Kienberger agreed, noting that the locals are; "very friendly but you have to speak German."

"Learn German. You don't strictly need it, but you will enjoy more of the community, and you will make a good impression on the locals," said Davide Cester.

Finding a job

File photo:

Zurich is considered Switzerland's economic powerhouse and employees from around the world are drawn to the city. However, the appeal of the city makes job-hunting highly competitive.

Reader Jekaterina Klest says one of the hardest things about living in Zurich is: "Finding a decent job and establishing a professional network, on top of learning high German and Swiss German."

"The worst thing about living in Zurich is the limited work opportunities," agrees Andre from the United States.

Reader Dario Muller advises those wishing to live in Zurich to "come with a local employment contract and research the local costs before moving."

The verdict

Zurich is a crowd-pleaser, with the majority of our readers agreeing that they love living there. The city's natural beauty, efficient public transport, and high salaries are major draw cards. However, readers almost unanimously agreed that learning German was difficult.

For the small number of readers that did not like living in Zurich, the main reasons listed were 'difficulty of job hunting' and 'the high cost of living.' Overall, it seems our Zurich based readers give the city a big thumbs up.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
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