Private: Cost of Living in Bern

Exploring the Cost of Living in Bern: A Guide for Expats

Switzerland, known for its stunning landscapes, high quality of life, and efficient public services, is a popular destination for expats seeking new opportunities. Among its many cities, Bern, the capital, stands out as a vibrant and culturally rich hub. However, before making the move, it's crucial to understand the cost of living in Bern to effectively plan your budget. In this article, we'll provide a comprehensive breakdown of living expenses in Bern, helping expats make informed decisions about their financial future.

Understanding Housing Costs in Bern

One of the most significant expenses when living in Bern is housing. The city offers a range of accommodation options, from apartments to houses, catering to various budgets. However, it's important to note that housing costs in Bern are generally higher than the Swiss national average.

The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can range from CHF 1,500 to CHF 2,500, depending on the location and amenities. If you prefer a more affordable option, consider looking for apartments in the outskirts of Bern, where prices can be slightly lower.

For those looking to purchase property in Bern, be prepared for higher prices. The average cost per square meter in the city center can range from CHF 10,000 to CHF 15,000. It's advisable to consult with a local real estate agent to navigate the housing market and find the best deals.

Transportation Costs in Bern

Bern boasts an excellent public transportation system, making it easy to navigate the city and its surroundings. The cost of transportation in Bern largely depends on your usage and preferences.

If you plan on using public transportation frequently, consider purchasing a monthly pass, which costs around CHF 80 to CHF 100. This pass allows unlimited travel within the city and its neighboring zones. Alternatively, single tickets for a one-way trip within the city cost approximately CHF 2.60.

For those who prefer cycling, Bern offers an extensive network of bike lanes and rental services. Renting a bike can cost around CHF 5 per hour or CHF 20 per day. Additionally, the city provides a bike-sharing program, allowing residents to use bicycles for short trips at a minimal cost.

Food and Grocery Expenses in Bern

Switzerland is renowned for its high-quality food products, and Bern is no exception. However, it's important to note that dining out and grocery shopping in Bern can be relatively expensive compared to other European cities.

When it comes to dining out, a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant can cost around CHF 70 to CHF 100, excluding drinks. For a more budget-friendly option, consider exploring the local food markets and street vendors, where you can find delicious Swiss specialties at lower prices.

Grocery shopping in Bern can also be pricey, especially if you prefer organic or specialty products. On average, a monthly grocery bill for a single person can range from CHF 300 to CHF 500, depending on dietary preferences and shopping habits. To save money, consider shopping at discount supermarkets or local farmers' markets.

Healthcare and Insurance Costs in Bern

Switzerland is known for its exceptional healthcare system, providing high-quality medical services to its residents. However, healthcare and insurance costs in Bern can be significant.

All residents in Switzerland are required to have basic health insurance, which covers essential medical services. The cost of health insurance can vary depending on factors such as age, health condition, and chosen insurance provider. On average, monthly premiums can range from CHF 300 to CHF 500.

It's important to note that additional insurance coverage, such as dental or supplementary health insurance, may incur extra costs. Expats should carefully consider their healthcare needs and explore different insurance options to find the most suitable coverage.

Entertainment and Leisure Expenses in Bern

Bern offers a wide range of entertainment and leisure activities to suit various interests. From museums and art galleries to outdoor adventures, there's something for everyone in this vibrant city.

The cost of entertainment in Bern can vary depending on the activity. Visiting museums and cultural attractions typically costs around CHF 10 to CHF 20 per person. Outdoor activities, such as hiking or skiing in the nearby Alps, may require additional expenses for equipment rental or transportation.

For those who enjoy socializing and nightlife, drinks at a local bar or pub can cost around CHF 5 to CHF 10, while a ticket to a movie theater can range from CHF 15 to CHF 20.


Understanding the cost of living in Bern is essential for expats planning to relocate to Switzerland's capital. While the city offers a high standard of living and numerous opportunities, it's important to budget accordingly to ensure financial stability.

From housing and transportation to food and healthcare, each aspect of living in Bern comes with its own set of expenses. By considering these factors and exploring cost-saving options, expats can effectively plan their budgets and make the most of their experience in this beautiful Swiss city.