Some of the most interesting places to visit in the world may be in poor countries, however, there are some really exciting destinations in some of the richest countries too. Every year, Forbes Magazine and other research tanks like GoBusinessInsider look into the cost of living around the world and determine the most expensive countries in the world.
There are many different reasons for the expensive cost of living in these places, and they make for intriguing visits too.
So let’s have a look at the 12 most expensive countries in the world.
List of Expensive World’s Countries
The most expensive country in the world is Denmark, the country who gave the world Hans Christian Andersen and the Little Mermaid. While the overall cost of daily life – including rent – is slightly lower in Copenhagen (the capital) than for example, New York City, Denmark has some of the world’s most expensive restaurants. Menu prices, in general, are 14% higher than in Manhattan, which is quite unexpected. This is partly because extremely high-end chefs have opened Michelin-starred restaurants here, such as the much-coveted Noma.
The wonderful holiday destination of Bahamas is enticing travelers with its sunny beaches. However, living there is very expensive compared to what the population earns. Daily life is on a par with New York City, but the positive could be for expats, that Bahamas is the third most tax-friendly country in the world.
The tiny nation of Luxembourg has immense purchasing power. Whilst it’s filled with high-end banking and international finance corporations, it pays for this by having really expensive restaurants, cafes and bars.
Norway is always in the top 5 of the most expensive countries in the world, and tourists definitely feel it when they compare what their currency can get them once exchanged. Food is very costly, as is eating out, and even things such as taxi fares and museum entrance fees are sometimes double what you would expect to pay in the rest of Europe.
Switzerland has a very high cost of living, including groceries and rent. This is somewhat balanced out by the fact that they have very well-paying jobs and excellent public services. However, income tax is very high, to cover for the state-provided benefits. Depending in which canton of Switzerland you live, you can expect to pay 40% of your income in tax. According to polls in 2020, Switzerland is the most recent country to be voted top of the most expensive countries in the world to live in (There are many other interesting facts about this country. Visit Switzerland Facts for more info!)
Because of how isolated it is and the need to import most of its food, Iceland always tops the expensive countries list. Rent is very low compared to the United States or Western Europe, but food costs significantly more, including eating out.
With expensive rents, Tokyo is one of the most costly places to live in the world. An Airbnb rental can be c. $111 a night, while a one-bedroom studio apartment will cost c. $1,370 a month.
Prices in Japan are generally quite high, but in return, they have very high-quality services. For example, transport is more expensive than in other Asian countries, but we all know that they have some of the best and fastest transport networks in the world.
A country of contrasts, Israel is home to many places of importance for Christian religious worship as well as a destination for Jewish and Muslim faiths too. Its contrasting image in international politics, linked to the conflict over Palestinian land, doesn’t impact the desirability of cities like Tel Aviv for living in. Israelis in urban areas tend to be quite well-to-do and the cost of living in Israel is very high compared to many of its neighbours.
Next on the list of pricey countries in the world is Singapore, where you will face a melting pot of cultures in this amazing city state. The well paid business sectors in Singapore have led to high costs of rent and day-to-day living costs, landing in the top 10 most expensive countries for a few years running.
10. South Korea
The capital city of South Korea, Seoul, is vastly more expensive than the rest of the country. This is largely due to the concentration of well-paying jobs and the cost of housing is what makes Seoul very expensive to live in. However, this is generally still lower than the nominal New York City comparison. Clothing is expensive too.
11. Hong Kong
Whilst jobs in Hong Kong are generally well paid, the large part of people’s salaries goes into their expensive rents or mortgages. Furthermore, food is expensive in Hong Kong as there are a lot of imports from Japan for example, which are costly. Eating out is part of the culture in Hong Kong, and that’s the most expensive way to eat! Restaurants are very pricey.
Unexpectedly, the tiny island of Barbados is part of the most expensive countries to live. From supermarket shops to more luxury items, on average, things cost about twice the amount they do in the United States. They import a lot of goods from the UK and the US, but even local items are very highly priced – for example, seafood in restaurants. However, it is worth noting that rent and utilities cost a lot less than in Western Europe and the US.
Some of the most expensive countries in the world are the ones you would expect: more isolated, island nations that may not trade so heavily with others or are affected by tariffs and expensive imports. However, there are places such as the Bahamas and Barbados, where one might expect to be able to just relax and sip cocktails by the beach while paying very little for one’s everyday life. This isn’t the case, surprisingly enough! Overall, visiting any of the countries on this list will be expensive, but worth it. And there you have it – the 12 most expensive countries in the world.
I hope that this article on most expensive countries was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Ranking Page!