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UPDATE: In which Swiss canton are rents the highest and lowest in 2022?

When it comes to rents, big disparities exist between different Swiss regions. This is where prices are highest and lowest across the country.

Rent for the same apartment varies sharply from one canton to another. Photo by léa b on Unsplash
Rent for the same apartment varies sharply from one canton to another. Photo by léa b on Unsplash

The fact that rents differ from one to another of Switzerland’s 26 cantons is not exactly breaking news.

But what might be surprising is how big the disparities are, particularly in cantons which are only a short trip from another. 

According to a new large-scale study carried out by Swiss Marketplace Group (SMG), rents in Switzerland’s most expensive canton are more than three times higher than those in the cheapest. 

The survey, which used data from ImmoScout24 and Homegate real estate platforms, found that the cost of a 3.5-room apartment in the canton of Zug — the most expensive in Switzerland — is equivalent to the rents of almost three apartments of the same size in Jura.

The 3.5-room flats, which typically consist of a living room and two bedrooms, in addition to kitchen and bathroom, are the most sought-after accommodations in Switzerland, according to SMG.

Geneva and Vaud are two other cantons where rents for a 3.5-room property are notoriously high — 2,248 and 1,895 francs respectively.

On one hand, the study found “the average price difference of more than 1,200 francs between the expensive canton of Zug and the relatively affordable canton of Jura”.

On the other, “there are many cantons in the lower and middle price segments, where asking prices have risen over the past year. This, combined with stable and falling rents in the upper price segment, means that the rent gap has started to close”.

READ MORE: Why is Geneva’s rent the highest in Switzerland?

This map shows where the cheapest and priciest rents can be found. 

A comparison of cantonal rental prices across Switzerland. Image: SMG

A comparison of cantonal rental prices across Switzerland. Image: SMG

In which Swiss canton is rent the cheapest and most expensive in 2022?

The highest prices tend to be in the more urbanised cantons near the cities of Geneva and Zurich, while lower costs were found in regional and rural cantons. 

Located in the northwest of Switzerland, Neuchâtel and Jura have the most affordable rents —  a little over 1,000 francs for a 3.5-room flat.  

There are other rules at play however besides a mere proximity to Switzerland’s largest and most economically powerful cities. 

Zug, the most expensive canton to rent in Switzerland, has a favourable tax system and as such attracts many of the country’s wealthiest people.

In fact, one in eight residents of Zug have a net worth north of one million francs, as we covered in the following article. 

READ MORE: Which Swiss canton has the most millionaires?

The complete list of Switzerland’s 26 cantons ranked from most expensive to cheapest on the average monthly rent for a 3.5 bedroom apartment. 

Zug 2428
Geneva 2248
Zürich 2131
Basel-City 2029
Schwyz 1948
Nidwalden 1947
Vaud 1895
Lucerne 1777
Baselland 1767
Obwalden 1685
Aarau 1659
Graubünden 1591
Bern 1577
Thurgau 1570
Freiburg 1556
Appenzell Ausserrhoden 1539
St. Gallen 1537
Solothurn 1496
Schaffhausen 1483
Ticino 1470
Wallis 1440
Uri 1427
Glarus 1373
Appenzell Innerrhoden 1372
Neuchâtel 1343
Jura 1135

What about buying an apartment rather than renting?

SMG study looked at this option as well, analysing slightly larger dwellings — 4.5 rooms, which means three bedrooms instead of two. Prices for this this type of properties “soared in 17 of the 26 cantons”, the study found.

On average, an apartment of this size costs 516,000 francs in Jura, but more than three times as much — 1,722,000 francs in Zug, SMG reports.

A comparison of cantonal house prices across Switzerland. Image: SMG

A comparison of cantonal house prices across Switzerland. Image: SMG

One way to find a less expensive option is to look for properties in neighbouring cantons.

“If, for example, you could see yourself living in the cantons of Aargau, Schaffhausen, Thurgau or St. Gallen instead of Zurich, you could save up to 43 percent on average when buying a home”, the report said.

READ MORE: REVEALED: The six major Swiss cities where rents are falling

Member comments

  1. This topic is very interesting to many people, I should think. However I find it quite difficult to understand the statistics and graphics. Am I the only one?
    The list of cantons in the above article on the comparative rents for 3.5 room apts list the names of the cantons on one side than a bunch of numbers that correspond to what exactly. For a comparative of “26 cantons” there are numbers like 29`?
    Also the map is color coded for rents and Geneva/Vaud seems sort of glomed together in dark blue. Obviously the key is color coded, so that is easy, but the boundaries of cantons are not delineated, the cantons have no names, and for some cantons, I am a bit iffy, frankly. I am frustrated, any help is welcome.

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What you need to know when taking your clothes off in Switzerland

As you know by now, the Swiss have laws and regulations for pretty much everything — ranging from how to throw away your garbage to how to boil a lobster. But what about nudity? Here's the bare truth.

What you need to know when taking your clothes off in Switzerland

The weather is getting warmer and you may want to shed as much of your clothing as you legally can. But how much skin can you safely bare in Switzerland?

You may be surprised to learn that Switzerland’s, um, penal code does not ban public nudity — as long as it is not indecent.

Interestingly though, the term “indecent” is not clearly defined in the Swiss law, so it is open to interpretation.

Be it as it may, the subject was widely reported in the media in 2009, when residents of Appenzell Innerrhoden complained about people hiking in their mountains, wearing nothing but backpacks and hiking boots.

Their concern had nothing to do with the fact that unclothed hikers took to the mountains in the middle of a cold Alpine winter.

Rather, they disliked that the walkers passed families with children and a Christian rehabilitation facility. 

The case eventually ended up before the cantonal court, which ruled that people should cover up when walking in public places. However, this ruling applies only in Appenzell, not in the rest of the country.

Another example of the liberal attitude that reigns in much of Switzerland regarding nudity has been the Body and Freedom Festival that took place regularly in August in various Swiss cities until 2018.

The festival exposed —  literally — actors performing in the buff in the midst of crowded city streets.

During one such event that took place in Bienne, local officials not only authorised the performance, but also contributed $20,000 of public funds to it.

The only condition they made was that, for safety reasons, naked performers stay clear of traffic, so drivers wouldn’t be distracted.

READ MORE: Naked artists cause stir with Zurich street performances

What about topless bathing in public?

This practice is much more common than walking in the nude (after all, how many naked hikers have you encountered on mountain trails?)

Nothing in the federal law addresses the issue of toplessness; cantons don’t have such legislation either, leaving final decisions in this matter to individual municipalities.

It is perhaps incorrect to say that the vast majority of communes in Switzerland actually authorise topless sunbathing and swimming, but they don’t ban it either.

In fact, there is currently a motion in the parliament (because apparently MPs are not busy enough with more pressing matters) urging Swiss officials to allow toplessness on public beaches.

“Such a topless rule is absolutely necessary in Switzerland”, said Social Democratic MP Tamara Funiciello.  “Women should be able to walk around, swim, and sunbathe as they please”.

Helena Trachsel, head of the Equal Opportunities Office in the canton of Zurich, also believes that toplessness makes sense: “From an equal opportunities perspective, it is clear that the same rules apply to all genders, including women and non-binary people”, she said.

However, Martin Enz, managing director of the Association of Indoor and Outdoor Pools sees no need for action: “If a person discreetly drops their bikini top and does not show off, this is accepted in most outdoor pools. The problem tends to be men who gape”, he noted.

So when and where can you take your clothes off in Switzerland?

What is clear is that you definitely should not walk around naked anywhere in Appenzell.

As far as other cantons and or /municipalities are concerned — whether you want to hike naked in the mountains or swim topless — it’s best to check with your local authorities about what is and is not permitted in your area before you leave your house buck naked.

READ MORE: The 12 strange laws in Switzerland you need to know