Munich and Frankfurt ranked among most expensive cities for expats in Europe

Munich and Frankfurt ranked among most expensive cities for expats in Europe

With the growing cost of living crisis dominating headlines at home and abroad, a new ranking has put into perspective just how pricey living in Germany is. Two German cities have ranked among the most expensive cities in Europe for expats, but in some of Germany’s neighbouring countries, life is even more expensive. 

Cost of living ranking compares cities around the world

How much does it cost to live in different cities around the world? That’s the question asked by the ECA’s annual Cost of Living Ranking, which looks at prices in 207 cities in 120 countries around the world and ranks them from most expensive to cheapest. The ranking is tailored towards expats and supposed to act as a guide for international companies to set employee salaries at a fair rate. 

ECA looked at various factors to determine each city’s score, including the cost of food, clothing, utilities, public transport and accommodation - including both the cost of renting and buying a house - to assemble the final ranking. 

Hong Kong is priciest city in the world for expats

The world ranking is topped by the city of Hong Kong, where drivers pay some of the highest prices in the world for petrol, a kilogram of tomatoes costs almost 10 euros, and a litre of milk costs as much as 3,79 euros. It is followed by New York in second place, and the Swiss city of Geneva, which was ranked as the third-most expensive city in the world for expats, and the most expensive city in Europe

Due to huge rises in inflation rate, which have cheapened the value of the local currency, Ankara in Turkey was found to be the cheapest city in the world for expats. 

Two German cities in top 20 in Europe

With the exception of London in the UK, Swiss cities also dominate the top spots on the Europe ranking, with Geneva, Zurich and Bern occupying positions one, three and four, respectively. Copenhagen in Denmark rounds out the top five. 

However, two German cities do make an appearance in the top 20, with Munich ranking as the most expensive city for expats in the federal republic, and 16th in Europe (down from 14th in 2021). Frankfurt also retained its position as the 19th most expensive city in Europe. 

According to the ECA, the most expensive cities in Europe for expats are as follows:

  1. Geneva, Switzerland
  2. London, UK
  3. Zurich, Switzerland 
  4. Bern, Switzerland
  5. Copenhagen, Denmark
  6. Oslo, Norway
  7. Stavanger, Norway
  8. Reykjavik, Iceland
  9. Stockholm, Sweden
  10. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
  11. Paris, France
  12. Vienna, Austria
  13. Dublin, Ireland
  14. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  15. The Hague, Netherlands
  16. Munich, Germany
  17. Helsinki, Finland
  18. Moscow, Russia
  19. Frankfurt, Germany
  20. Rome, Italy

For more details on the ranking and how the scores are worked out, visit the ECA website



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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