Ever raised an eyebrow at the price of a meal on holiday? Spare a thought for those that live there. The Economist Intelligence Unit has published its annual Worldwide Cost of Living survey and it makes for very interesting reading.
The survey was created to help companies calculate cost-of-living for expatriates and business travellers. Comparing the cost of 160 items, including food, drink, transport, utility bills and rent in 133 cities, it tracks whether prices have gone up or down by comparing them with their equivalents in New York, which is used as a benchmark.
The title of most expensive city is shared by Paris, Hong Kong, and Singapore — the first time in the survey’s 30-year history that three cities share the top spot.
Here are the top ten most expensive cities (well, actually it’s eleven… because tenth place is tied!):
1.= Singapore (Singapore)
The global financial centre comes with a tropical climate, a multicultural population and soaring living costs. The business-friendly island city state continues to hold its number one spot for the fifth year running.
The epicentre of art, fashion, gastronomy and culture, Paris is a holiday rite of passage. With its chic café culture and designer boutiques, it’s one of the most popular tourist cities in the world. It’s also now the joint most expensive to live in.
1.= Hong Kong
With a major port and a skyscraper-clad skyline, the former British colony is a buzzing financial hub. Jumping three places from its 2018 position, the Pearl of the Orient now shares the crown of the most expensive city in the world.
Set to the backdrop of the snow-capped Alps, and embracing a dazzlingly pristine lake, Zurich is a picture-perfect medieval city. Traditional yet efficient, historic yet modern, it’s a core of finance and banking, and now ranks as the fourth most expensive city.
The second Swiss city to feature in the top ten, Geneva also enjoys dramatic views of the Alps. Famous for its luxury watches and gourmet chocolate, it’s also a diplomatic hub, with numerous global organisations, charities and institutions headquartered here.
With its modern architecture, vibrant nightlife and hearty street food, Osaka is a thriving port city. Encircled by a moat and scattered with cherry blossom trees, the fifth most expensive city is a blend of 16th history and sprawling tower blocks.
Glistening skyscrapers, futuristic shopping malls and pop culture mingle with Buddhist temples, ancient palaces and crowded street markets in this Asian metropolis. A culture bent on hard work and success makes Seoul a thriving business centre and it rates as the seventh most expensive city in the index.
With its cool Scandi vibe, cutting edge minimalist design and innovative cuisine, the Danish capital is a great city to visit and live in. While taxes are high, healthcare and transport are excellent, and locals don’t seem put off by its ranking as the joint seventh most expensive place in the world: Danes are consistently voted the happiest population in the world.
7.= New York
Shopping, culture and commerce – it’s all to be found in the Big Apple. Encompassing the sweeping beaches of Long Island, the towering offices of Manhattan and the bright lights of Broadway, NYC is a 24/7 city loved by many. Moving up six places to seventh in the ranking, life in the Empire State is not cheap, however.
10.= Tel Aviv
With its stark 1930s Bauhaus buildings, cultural centres and museums, as well as its balmy Mediterranean coast, Tel Aviv is a popular destination for expats and travellers alike. The only Middle Eastern city in the top ten, its rise in cost of living is due to an appreciation in the Shekel, as well as other high costs specific to Tel Aviv, such as buying, insuring and maintaining a car, which “push transport costs 64% above New York prices”.
10.= Los Angeles
The US capital of film and television, LA is home to the most famous studios in the world; Paramount Pictures, Universal and Warner Brothers are all to be found here. Hip stores, glamourous beaches and celebrity packed neighbourhoods make the Californian City of Angels an exciting place to live. Its stylish lifestyle, coupled with the rise in the US dollar price, push LA up four places to number ten in the ranking.
If you’re inspired to visit these cities for yourself, check out A Luxury Travel Blog’s expert recommendations for hotels, restaurants, culture and more.