The Most Expensive Cities In The World

HWHP5K Hong Kong, Hong Kong - March 12, 2017: HSBC Main Building at night. Its a headquarters building of The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation design
HWHP5K Hong Kong, Hong Kong - March 12, 2017: HSBC Main Building at night. Its a headquarters building of The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation design | HWHP5K_© Christian Muller _ Alamy Stock Photo
Marcelina Morfin

Many of the cities around the world are wonderful places to explore. From incredible food to amazing art to outdoor adventures, sprawling metropolises usually offer something for everyone; however, a lot of places can be very expensive for both residents and tourists. The Culture Trip has put together a list of ten of the most expensive cities in the world.

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New York City

Hotel, Apartment
It should come as no surprise that the largest city in the USA is also one of the most expensive – not only for residents but also for tourists. NYC is brimming with top-notch designer shopping, exquisite restaurants, and exciting adventures. The vacancy rate for apartments is very low (a little over one percent), which, in turn, drives up prices, with the average rent of a one-bedroom apartment costing over $3,000 per month. For travelers, hotels can run steep as well; the average cost of a hotel room is $250 per night. However, if people look hard enough (residents and tourists), they will find some amazing, budget-friendly options, especially when it comes to food and activities.


Photo by David Monaghan on Unsplash

Just like NYC, London is sure to bust a wallet or two – both those of its residents as well as out-of-towners seeking to experience this vibrant city. In England’s capital, a one-bedroom flat on average — of course, this means that people can find places for slightly less or a lot more — will set people back over £1,500 ($2,300) per month, and this price often doesn’t include council tax, which drives up the price even more. For tourists looking to stay near the action (i.e., central London), they will pay a pretty penny for a room, averaging about £126 ($200) per night. As with any great city, London does have many things to do that are easy on the wallet, including free admission to most museums.

Hong Kong

A former British colony, Hong Kong is part of China in what’s called ‘one country, two systems’ — it has its own currency and legal system. While it may not be the most expensive city in the world, Hong Kong is, nevertheless, still pricey, especially for residents. Due to limited space, property prices continue to climb, and Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey states that the average cost for a two-bedroom apartment in a great area will run about $6,500 per month. Out-of-towners with fat wallets looking to explore this sprawling metropolis will have no problem finding luxurious hotels, incredible dining options, and excellent shopping.


According to UBS, an investment bank, Zurich and Geneva (see below) are the top two most expensive cities in the world, not including rent. Both are located in Switzerland; Zurich is the more expensive of the two cities, with people needing approximately $3,600 to support a family of three each month — again, not including a residence. The people who live in Zurich also make quite a bit of money, which keeps prices on the high side. Tourists will also find a stay to be costly, but it is definitely worth it for the delicious cuisine, fascinating art, and great adventures.


The second most expensive city in the world — before taking into account accommodation — according to UBS is Geneva. Located along the southern portion of the beautiful Lake Geneva, this city’s residents, like Zurich, earn greater wages, allowing them to live comfortably; however, for anyone else, especially those visiting, the prices will hurt , specifically when it comes to food. According to Expatistan, one dozen eggs can cost about $7 — compare that to a bit over $4 in NYC. However, don’t let the prices deter you — you might just have to save a bit more before visiting.


A city-state island located off southern Malaysia, Singapore is ranked as the most expensive city in the world according to the EIU (The Economist Intelligence Unit) report, but it’s not even in the top ten in the UBS report. That does not matter, though, as the city is still expensive. A large financial hub, Singapore attracts financial-sector people from all over the world. Most of the jobs these people seek are high paying; therefore, the cost of living reflects those wages. One of the great things about Singapore is that it is home to many inexpensive, tasty food options.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles is the second largest city in the USA and also one of its costliest. To live in a more ‘desirable’ neighborhood, you will have to pay more; however, if you’re willing to live farther away from the action, slightly less expensive accommodations can be found. What also makes Los Angeles more expensive is transportation costs. It’s not impossible, but very difficult, to get around this city without a car, costs of which add up fast (maintenance, insurance, gas). Even though gas prices have dropped quite a bit, Los Angeles still has some of the highest gas prices in the USA.


© chrisdorney Getty Images

The beautiful City of Light comes with a steep price for both residents and tourists (it is one of the most-visited cities in the world, after all). France’s capital, Paris is still pricey, despite the euro being weaker than it has been in the past. Property is at a premium, especially in the highly sought-after areas, which, in turn, feeds into the cost of everything else, including the retail and entertainment sectors. However, as one of the most gorgeous and romantic cities in the world, Paris is definitely worth saving up a bit of extra cash in order to visit and to experience its culture, including cuisine and art.


Angola’s capital, Luanda is at the top of Mercer’s list, which is based on expat communities. Known for its oil industry, Luanda has many foreign residents, mainly Americans, who make a lot of money, which creates high rents and the need for imported goods. Folks who want to live in desirable areas will, on average, pay about $6,600 for a two-bedroom place; a pair of jeans that costs $68 in the USA costs $248 in Luanda.


Another European city that has the potential to drain the wallets of citizens and tourists alike is Oslo, Norway. The Scandinavian city is consistently on ‘most expensive cities’ lists from various organizations. Everything is more expensive in this Oslo, from rent (less expensive on the outskirts) to food (much of which is imported) to beverages. As for travelers, they should be prepared to spend at least $120 each night for budget accommodations, but it’s worth it to be able to explore this lovely city, which is also home of the Nobel Peace Prize.

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