Best places to live in Switzerland

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Bridge in zurich Switzerland
For a relatively small country, Switzerland has a lot to offer. It is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and is famous for its glacier-carved Alps, lakes and rolling valleys.

Switzerland has something for everyone, but getting the right place for you is important and may be challenging. To give you some inspiration and guidance, we have put together a list of our favourite eight Swiss cities for British expats.


This cosmopolitan city is Switzerland’s second largest city and is one of the most popular cities among the Brits – here's why:

  • Incredible scenery: Geneva lies at the southern tip of Switzerland. As well as running alongside the picturesque Lake Geneva, the city is surrounded by both the Alps and Jura mountains with extremely dramatic views of Mont Blanc.
  • Rich in culture: Geneva is the largest city in Switzerland’s French-speaking region and therefore it has a lot of cultural opportunities on offer. There are plenty of museums such as the Museum of Art and History, History of Science Museum and Museum of Natural History.
  • International hub: Geneva is home to some of the world’s highest-profile organisations, including the United Nations, Red Cross and World Health Organisation, meaning that a large number of the city’s expat population is made up of diplomats and officials.


Winterthur is often overlooked by Brits when they are looking for their new place to call home, but don’t rule this one out! It’s Switzerland sixth largest city and is only a twenty-minute train ride from Zurich. Here’s why we think you should consider Winterthur:

  • Great place for nature lovers: One of the cities greatest attractions is the Wildpark Bruderhaus, which is a well-kept nature reserve, home to hundreds of animals and lovely picnic spots. In the summer, Rosengarten is a great place to go with around 300 species of roses and a stunning, panoramic view of the city.
  • Easy to get around: Winterthur is a pretty small city and therefore is pretty walkable. It is also well connected by trains and has great, direct, links to Zurich airport.
  • Rich in culture: This cozy, German-speaking city is home to a plethora of museums, art galleries and multiple events throughout the year.


You may be surprised to find out that Bern is in fact the capital city of the country. The city is located near the border between France and Germany and is where the Swiss parliament is located. Why should you move to Bern?:

  • Small town feel: This cozy city may be the capital, but it doesn't feel like that! One of the most appealing factors for many expats is the fact that it has managed to maintain its distinct small town feel and laid-back attitude. You can also explore the majority of the city on foot.
  • Incredible scenery: The beautiful River Aare runs right through the city and is a great attraction in the summer for swimming or boating. You can also climb up 222s steps of Bern Munster to get the most incredible panoramic view of the city - the perfect opportunity to really take in your new home!
  • Well connected: One great thing about Bern is that is has great connections to surrounding European countries. The international airport offers, regular, direct flights to and from many other, major European cities such as London, Paris, Barcelona. Travel by rail is also an option, with great train links via the Swiss Federal Railway network to Basel, Geneva, Zurich and more. You can also rent bikes to get around the city, as well as skateboards and scooters.


Lugano is the capital of Italian-speaking Switzerland and, in fact, it is often said that, culturally, the city is very similar to that of Milan. This corner of Switzerland is very popular with British expats and here’s why:

  • Warmer climate: Lugano is situated in the warmest part of Switzerland. It has a rare, subtropical climate and has an average temperature of 22 degrees. However, due to its mountainous surroundings, it is still very likely to generously snow come the winter.
  • Rich in culture: The Piazza della Riforma is known to be the city's most beautiful square, surrounded by old buildings including the town hall. Lugano is also home to Saint Laurence Cathedral, which is rich in cultural heritage and the view from the top of the steps is also phenomenal. If you head over to Centro Stroico, you can explore Lugano’s oldest churches, arcade squares and convents.
  • Incredible scenery: Lugano is surrounded by Lake Lugano and breath taking mountains such as Monte San Salvatore and Monte Bre. You can hike up these mountains and take in the amazing views of your new home from the top. The city is also home to a lakeside park called Parco Civico which gives you the most magical views of the lake and mountains, and is especially exceptional at sunset.


Located between Zurich and Lucerne, Zug is very popular among British expats and here is why:

  • Quieter lifestyle: Right on the edge of the Alps, this part of Switzerland is perfect for those who are looking for a quieter Swiss lifestyle. The entire town only covers about 8.34 square miles, so residents choose to get everywhere by foot. Outdoor living is important part of life here and so there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, cycling, walking, boating, swimming and more – perfect for all the family.
  • Well connected: With Zurich only being a 20-minute train ride away, Zug is a good location if you want to stay out the way of the hustle and bustle of busy city life. It also has very easy access to other major cities via train, bus or even boat.
  • Incredible scenery: Zug is practically located on a beautiful lake and is surrounded by mountains, including the famous Alps. The town has some fantastic countryside and lots of green spaces to enjoy


Basel is located near the French and German borders and is the country's third largest city. It is a cultural center, with expats from all over the world. Here’s why expats are so attracted to the city:

  • Great nightlife scene: Basel is probably Switzerland’s most lively area when it comes to nightlife, due to it’s large student population. There is a huge range of bars and clubs to choose from, so you’ll be well and truly spoilt for choice.
  • Great outdoor opportunities: Being right on the German border means that British expats can easily enjoy the wonders of the Black Forest in Germany, as well as Swiss attractions such as the Jura Mountains or the Rhine River. You can take a boat trip along the river or even go for a swim.
  • Rich in culture: The historical town center of Basel is home to many museums and even the Munster Cathedral, which is located along the river Rhine. The cathedral is famous for its various decor, stained glass windows and incredible arched ceilings.


This city probably Switzerland's most magical of them all - very few come close to this! Here’s why you should move to Lucerne:

  • Incredible scenery: This city is situated on Lack Lucerne and surrounded by gorgeous, snow-capped mountains, so it is a popular location with tourists. It’s incredible, natural surroundings mean that you will never be bored.
  • Rich in history: Lucerne is best known for its medieval architecture and Chapel Bridge which spans the river Reuss to connect the city together. This bridge is the world’s oldest and dates back to the 14th century. In the ceiling there are numerous 17th century paintings which depict Switzerland and Lucerne’s history.
  • Quieter lifestyle: Lucerne is small enough to retain it’s cozy atmosphere so for those who want to be away from the buzz of larger Swiss cities then this could be the place for you. However, due to the churn of tourists and visitors, the city can become a little livelier during popular seasons.


Zurich is Switzerland’s economic powerhouse and is the largest city in the country. No list of Switzerland’s best cities with be complete without it and here’s why:

  • Well connected: Zurich’s transport system consists of regular trains, buses and boat services to other Swiss cities and even major European cities.
  • Great outdoor opportunities: If you love the outdoors then Zurich could be for you. In the summer, you can swim orsail on Lake Zurich and then in the winter, go skiing in one of the nearby Alpine resorts.
  • International hub: Zurich is a financial and international hub. It's also located near to various international borders, which means there is a lot to explore. You can very easily hop over to France, Germany or Austria for the day, or even for just a couple of hours!

If you've already decided to move to Switzerland and you're interested in learning more about the international removals process then take a look at our removals to Switzerland page.