The world is huge

Don't miss any of it

Travel news, itineraries, and inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Los Angeles skyline
John | Adobe Stock

The Most Expensive Cities in the World

Money can buy a lot of things, but in some cities, it seems to disappear almost as quickly as you can earn it. For budget-conscious travelers, a city’s notoriously high cost of living can prove a major deterrent in selecting it as their next vacation destination. Choosing a destination where your money stretches further can dramatically enhance a trip, affording you the opportunity to indulge in finer dining, luxurious accommodations, and a wealth of activities – all without draining your travel funds.

Knowing what the most expensive cities in the world, and the most expensive cities in the U.S. are, can help you make a smarter decision about where to travel to next. The EIU, the research and analysis division of The Economist Group, publishes a biannual list of the world’s most expensive cities, and the latest results are out.

To identify the priciest destinations, researchers compare more than 400 individual prices across more than 200 products and services in 173 cities. Costs for food, drink, clothing, rent, utility bills, transportation, and more are factored into the rankings. 

Planning a domestic trip and want to avoid the most expensive cities in the US? New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco all made it into the list of the top ten most expensive cities in the world.

The Most Expensive Cities in the World

According to the EIU, “Many cities across the world continue to struggle with a cost-of-living crisis, which has sent prices soaring over the past two years.” This year’s study found that prices rose by 7.4 percent on average year over year. 

1. Singapore (Tie with Switzerland)

Singapore skyline background
boule1301 | Adobe Stock

Topping the list is Singapore, a city-state renowned for its efficiency, cleanliness, and high standard of living. With a thriving economy and a limited land area, Singapore’s real estate market is one of the priciest in the world, which can drive up hotel prices as well. Transportation is especially expensive in Singapore as well, making it expensive to travel around. 

Money-saving tip: Singapore is famous for its thriving street food scene. Eat at food stalls and markets in lieu of restaurants to save some cash.

1.  Zurich, Switzerland (Tie with Singapore)

Zurich, Switzerland. View of the historic city center with famous Fraumunster Church, on the Limmat river.
SCStock | Adobe Stock

Inflation especially impacted Zurich, moving it from sixth place to tie with Singapore as the most expensive city in the world. This increase is partially attributed to the strength of the Swiss franc, along with higher-than-average prices for groceries, activities, and household goods. 

Money-saving tip: Explore Zurich for free with “Züri rollt”, the city’s network of bike stations that offer complimentary rentals (you’ll just have to put down a deposit to ensure you bring the bike back.)

3. Geneva, Switzerland (Tie with New York City)

Geneva, Switzerland Skyline Towards Lake Geneva
SeanPavonePhoto | Adobe Stock

Geneva, another Swiss city, is known for its beautiful landscapes, world-class institutions, and high standard of living. However, this comes at a significant cost, that can again be attributed partially due to the Swiss franc’s strength. The costs of transportation, dining out, and recreational activities in Geneva can be quite steep, especially for travelers coming from a country with a weaker currency.

Money-saving tip: Purchase a Swiss Travel Pass to save money on transportation around the country.

3. New York City, United States (Tie with Geneva)

Brooklyn Bridge and New York skyline
Stuart Monk | Adobe Stock

New York City is the most expensive city in the United States. However, things are getting a bit better—the city was tied for Zurich for the most expensive city in the world in 2022. Hotels are especially pricey in New York City, especially in popular neighborhoods in Manhattan.

Money-saving tip: To save money in New York City, head to the outer boroughs. Everything from hotels to meals are generally cheaper outside of Manhattan.

5. Hong Kong (Tie with Los Angeles)

Hong Kong city view from The Peak at twilight
Earnest Tse | Adobe Stock

With its towering skyscrapers and dense urban landscape, Hong Kong’s limited space has significantly driven up its cost of living. Housing and hotels are notoriously expensive. Add to that the costs of imported goods, transportation, and recreation, and it’s no wonder that Hong Kong consistently ranks as one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Money-saving tip: Hong Kong’s public transportation system is one of the safest and most efficient in the world. Get a Tourist Octopus card (a transit pass for visitors) to save money over taking taxis. 

5. Los Angeles, United States (Tie with Hong Kong)

Juancat | Adobe Stock

Los Angeles is the second most expensive city in the U.S. and the most expensive city on the West Coast. While often overshadowed by New York City in terms of cost of living, Los Angeles can also be extremely pricey. Public transportation is unreliable in the city, forcing visitors to rent a car or rely on costly rideshares or taxis.  

Money-saving tip: Plan your trip around Los Angeles’ numerous free attractions. Several of the city’s museums, including The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), The Broad, and The Getty Center, are all free—as are all the beautiful beaches and boardwalks around the city. 

7. Paris, France

View of famous Louvre Museum with Louvre Pyramid at evening at sunset in Paris France
Netfalls | Adobe Stock

Although Paris is one of the most notoriously expensive European cities, it’s only the seventh most priciest city in the world, thanks to the relative weakness of the euro. At the time of publication, the euro was nearly 1:1 with the dollar, helping out travelers from the U.S.

Money-saving tip: Look for ways to save on Paris’ most expensive attractions. The Louvre, for example, is free on the first Friday of every month (except for July and August) after 6 p.m.

8. Copenhagen, Denmark (Tie with Tel Aviv)

Equestrian statue of Frederik VII, Copenhagen, Denmark.
avmedved | Adobe Stock

Prices in Denmark include a 25 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) that makes everything from food to alcohol feel incredibly expensive. As the capital city, prices in Copenhagen tend to be even higher than in the rest of the country. 

Money-saving tip: Save your receipts! If you live outside the EU, you can claim back a portion of the VAT you paid on purchases over 300kr. Visitors can get a refund of between 10 percent and 19 percent of the VAT paid. 

8. Tel Aviv, Israel (Tie with Copenhagen)

Aerial view of Mediterranean Seashore of Tel Aviv, Israel.
borisbelenky | Adobe Stock

The EIU study notes “Our survey was conducted before the start of the Israel-Hamas war, which has affected the exchange rates in Israel and may have made it harder to procure some goods in Tel Aviv, thereby affecting prices.”

10. San Francisco, United States

The Painted Ladies of San Francisco
Frédéric Prochasson | Adobe Stock

San Francisco ranks among the most expensive cities in the U.S. Housing costs are a major factor, with hotel rates and short-term rental prices being exorbitant, even for modest accommodations. The city’s acclaimed restaurant scene means dining out can quickly become a budget-buster, with even casual meals at hip cafes and eateries running well over $20 per person. However, San Francisco is becoming more affordable, as it held the number eight spot on this list last year.

Money-saving tip: Check prices for flights into Oakland Airport (OAK) and San Francisco (SFO). Oakland is not far from San Francisco, and flights are often cheaper depending on your departure city.

You Might Also Like:

Flight Price Trackers: 6 Sites That Will Find the Cheapest Airfare for You
The Ultimate Cruise Packing List: What to Pack for a Cruise
The Best All-Inclusive Resorts in the United States
7 Things You Need to Know About Duty-Free Shopping
The 10 Best Things to Do in Paris, France

We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Top Fares From