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REVEALED: Which Swiss cities offer the best quality of life?

Thinking of a move or just want to rub it into your friend in another part of the country? Here's where you can find the good life in Switzerland.

New study ranks quality of life in nine Swiss cities, including Zurich (pictured here). Photo by Henrique Ferreira on Unsplash
Do salaries in Switzerland make up for high cost of living? Photo by Henrique Ferreira on Unsplash

While the concept of “quality of life” can be based on subjective perceptions, some factual data is also used to define and determine the well-being of the population.

The City Statistics project by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), examined a number of categories, including housing, health, personal safety, public transport, environmental quality and other factors to rate the quality of life in Basel, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne, Lucerne, Lugano, St. Gallen, Winterthur and Zurich.

Here’s a look at several categories that contribute to good life quality in each of the nine cities.


Good housing is important to overall quality of life because it fulfils basic needs for safety, feeling of protection, privacy and personal space, the FSO said.

“A high dwelling rate makes the search for and the choice of accommodation easier and influences the price of housing on offer”, the study found.

This chart shows vacancy rates in each of the nine cities.

READ MORE: Top ten tips for finding an apartment in Switzerland

Infrastructure and services

The quality of local infrastructure is an important factor because it leads to  higher efficiency, as well as overall comforts and conveniences.

This is how the cities fare in this category.


The choice and availability of the transport network is important to satisfy daily needs such as work, shopping, and recreation, FSO noted. 

The price of monthly public transport ticket and the number of stops along each route is also taken into account.

Work-life balance

This is unquestionably a major contributing factor to the overall quality of life as it “influences well-being, contributes to productivity in the workplace and helps people remain healthy and happy”, the study found.

In this particular category, the FSO focused specifically on childcare options in each city, as it allows “to reconcile family responsibilities with their work commitments”.

READ MORE: A developing country’: Why do so few Swiss children attend childcare?

Civic engagement

“By taking part in political and social life, citizens express their needs, making a democratic contribution to political decisions”, FSO pointed out.

“This ensures that people are better informed and more easily accept political decisions. Civic engagement strengthens people’s trust in institutions and increases the effectiveness of political action”.


Pleasant surroundings are essential for good quality of life, while an environment that is contaminated with pollutants or excessive noise “affects the mental and physical health of the population”, according to the study.

This chart shows the average air pollution in the nine cities.

You can see here how these cities are doing in other categories.

And this link includes detailed information about prices and cost of living in each on the nine locations.

Quality of life is not exactly a new concept in Switzerland: the country and its cities are frequently ranked very highly in international surveys.

These are some of the findings of previous studies:

Quality of life: Which Swiss cities are the best to live in and why?

Zurich ranked world’s best city for ‘prosperity and social inclusion’

Why Bern is ranked Europe’s third ‘healthiest’ capital city

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REVEALED: Are these the ‘best’ places to live in Switzerland?

German-speaking cities dominate the list in a new quality of life in Switzerland study - here are the best places to live in the Alpine country.

REVEALED: Are these the 'best' places to live in Switzerland?

Zurich, Geneva, Basel are all beautiful cities with plenty of offers for their residents, but which would top the list of the best place to live in Switzerland? Turn out, none of them.

A new quality of life study commissioned by the daily newspaper Handelszeitung looked into several criteria to determine the best places in the country. The Gemeinderatings 2022 evaluated 944 municipalities with more than 2,000 inhabitants to make the ranking.

READ ALSO: Health, prices, and safety: Is Switzerland a good country to retire in?

Among the criteria to determine how attractive each area is, they looked into taxation issues, how safe the cities are, how many jobs are available, the quality of the real estate market (both when buying and renting properties) and the level of support for elderly residents.

Additionally, Handelszeitung looked into matters such as the availability of leisure offers, access to public transportation, and sustainability factors as well.

These are the top ten places to live in Switzerland:

  1. Cham, Canton Zug
  2. Zug, Canton Zug
  3. Risch, Canton Zug
  4. Altendorf, Canton Schwyz
  5. Walchwil, Canton Zug
  6. Meggen, Canton Lucerne
  7. Meilen, Canton Zurich
  8. Hergiswil, Canton Nidwalden
  9. Hünenberg, Canton Zug
  10. Baar, Canton Zug

German-speaking Switzerland dominates the list

The best city, Cham, did exceptionally well in the criteria of taxes (reaching the fifth spot) and real estate (11th in the ranking for this criteria). The neighbouring city of Zug secured second place, followed by Risch, all in the same canton.

Switzerland’s French or Italian-speaking areas have certainly not fared well, and all the country’s top ten cities are in German-speaking cantons. Moreover, Canton Zug gets an impressive number of six towns (and the top 3) in the best 10.

READ ALSO: MAP: The best cantons for business in Switzerland

The first French-speaking city in Switzerland to show up in the ranking comes only in 63rd place: Pregny-Chambésy, in the canton of Geneva. Then, Saint-Sulpice (VD) follows in 69th place, Carouge (GE) in 73rd, and Lutry (VD) in 95th).

Italian-speaking Switzerland does even worse: it only appears in 90th place with Collina d’Oro.