Ever wondered whether your suspicion that Stockholm or Oslo are the world’s most expensive cities is actually correct? Well, it’s not…

To be fair to you, those were really just my suspicions, and you likely had other ideas of who would come out on top.  As it turns out, my guesses didn’t even scratch the top ten.  These are the world’s most expensive cities in 2019:


Although I was expecting a Scandinavian capital to come out on top, I’m not too surprised that Paris sits in joint first place on the annual World Wide Cost of Living Survey for 2019. It was in second spot last year, so it’s managed to completely outdo itself this time around. Not exactly something to be celebrated, but I’m sure it will continue to pull in visitors and new residents. I won’t be one of them, but that’s probably for the best.


Along with the French capital, in the joint top spot, lies Singapore. The survey, taking into account the costs of living and items, such as rent, food, drinks, and transport, kept the Asian megacity at the top of the crop for 2019. Singapore has placed at the top of the list for the 6th straight year.

Hong Kong

In a survey first, three cities hold the top slot, and Hong Kong joins Paris and Singapore as the most expensive city, out of a total of 133.  I can’t say I found HK to be overly extortionate when I visited, but that back in 2005 and I’m sure it’s changed dramatically since then.

Zurich and Geneva

The Swiss cities place 4th and 5th, respectively, which might explain why their chocolate is so expensive. According to the survey, the average price of a woman’s hair cut in Geneva is a whopping $73.97, which would certainly keep me away from the barber’s chair. It doesn’t cost that in Wales, let me tell you.


The beautiful island city of Osaka in Japan ranks 6th on the list, placing higher than New York. A booming economy, high salaries and high standards of living make the Japanese city a bad choice for budget travellers.


I’m a little surprised to see Seoul in the top ten as I really didn’t think it was too expensive when I was there in November 2018. Mind you, I wasn’t paying electricity bills or getting my hair cut.  However, transport was cheap and food could be relatively inexpensive, depending on where you ate.  According to the survey, the South Korean capital city lands top of the heap for the cost of bread, with people paying an average of £15.58 for a kg.  This is compared to a mere $3.40 for the same in Singapore.


I knew a Scandi capital would pop up eventually and I was only slightly disappointed to find out it wasn’t Swedish or Norwegian, but Danish.  Although the capital city ranks at 8th out of 133, it’s a very cheap place to buy beer.  The average cost of a bottle of beer is only $2.61. If you go without paying your utility bills for a month, just think of how many you could buy…

New York

The first entry for a US capital comes flying in a number 9. New York previously sat in 7th spot in 2018, but only 39th in 2015, proving that the US economy has been fluctuating fairly widely for the past few years.

Tel Aviv/Los Angeles

Sitting at joint 10th is the US city of LA and the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv featured at 9th in 2018, while LA didn’t feature at all in the top ten.  I can’t imagine food being that expensive in the Californian city where no one seems to eat.  Although a kg of bread will set you back $5.09 in Tel Aviv, a bottle of beer is only $2.94. And who needs bread when you have beer, anyway??

Would you avoid destinations that feature in the top ten? Or would you simply stick to your budget and visit anyway?

Suz xx