I can’t believe it’s already been three years since I published a post here about the ten most expensive cities in the world. Well, it’s that time again, because the same magazine, The Economist, has published their new report with the most expensive cities in the world, 2016 update.

Most of us are aware the world has changed a lot in a very short time, with petrol prices dropping and some countries now in deep recession – privet Russia, olá Brasil! Difference in exchange rates during this period also plays a strong role in defining who’s gone up and who’s gone down the list. The report is based on the cost of living in each city, and takes New York as a benchmark. So, basically, it simply says which cities are more or less expensive than New York, from the perspective of someone who lives in each of the cities analysed. Sounds boring or too complicated? Nah, not really!

Back in 2013, Singapore took the 1st place for the first time and London wasn’t even there. Australia, on the other hand, had two cities on the list, but since then the Australian dollar has fallen to pretty much the same level it was 8 to 10 years ago, meaning the country is no longer as expensive as it was a few years ago. Whilst three years ago I only talked about the top 10 cities, now in 2016 I’ll show you the top 15, since the whole list looks very interesting.

So, finally, here I show you the 15 most expensive cities in the world in 2016. Yay!

THE 15 MOST EXPENSIVE CITIES IN THE WORLD 2016 (according to The Economist)

The list starts with a big surprise and the only Middle Eastern city on top 15.


The Most Expensive Cities in the World 2016 - Tel Aviv

At first I was surprised to see Tel Aviv so high on the list, ahead of many European cities. Then I remembered my trip there last year, and how expensive I found it. From a tourist’s perspective, Tel Aviv seemed as expensive as London, for example.


The Most Expensive Cities in the World 2016 - Osaka, Japan

Photo by Augustin Rafael Reyes http://ow.ly/4mVTNk (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

With Tokyo being top of the list for many years in a row, it’s quite understandable that Osaka, Japan’s second largest city, makes the list.


The Most Expensive Cities in the World 2016 - Oslo, Norway

I personally think that Oslo is a very expensive city, and it was considered one of the top three cities in the world for a long time. Since 2013, though, the city has dropped from 3rd to 13th priciest city.


The Most Expensive Cities in the World 2016 - Shanghai, China

Photo by ShowBizSuperStar http://ow.ly/4mW1T2 (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Who would imagine that cheap and cheerful China would make the list?


The Most Expensive Cities in the World 2016 - Tokyo, Japan

Photo by Moyan Brenn http://ow.ly/4mW2oL (CC BY 2.0)

So, finally, Tokyo is no longer that expensive, after all! The Japanese capital has just missed the top 10 places and it seems your hard earned cash will go a bit further there. (Pedro opens a new browser and looks for flights to Tokyo…)


The Most Expensive Cities in the World 2016 - Los Angeles, USA

A stronger American dollar means the USA has become more expensive. Apparently, most American cities have analysed moved 15 places up the list.


Seoul, South Korea, is one of the world's most expensive cities

Photo by David Hepworth (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)



The Most Expensive Cities in the World 2016 - Copenhagen, Denmark

Scandinavia is expensive – full stop. Usually all capitals come high on the list, but this time only Copenhagen made the top 10, in a shy 8th position.


The Most Expensive Cities in the World 2016 - New York, USA

It may sound slightly complicated, but New York prices are used as a benchmark. Three years ago, when I shared the list with you, New York didn’t even appear among the 10 most expensive cities. Although seeing it on 7th place is not much of a surprise, it does show how the American dollar has become stronger against many currencies.


The Most Expensive Cities in the World 2016 - London, United Kingdom

London, London… well, home is expensive, very expensive. So much so that, just like NYC, it didn’t show on top ten the list in 2013. Rents have gone up and the same happened to the price of transport, food, gas, electricity and alcohol. Cheers! 🙁


The Most Expensive Cities in the World 2016 - Paris, France

Back in 2013 Paris took second place, but now appears on 5th. I wouldn’t say it’s now cheaper, but rather other cities have been affected by all sorts of changes, making them take the French capital’s spo.


The Most Expensive Cities in the World 2016 - Geneva


The Most Expensive Cities in the World 2016 - Hong Kong

Hong Kong? Really? Yes, the former British enclave in Asia has taken the third stop, moving up six places from 2015. I may have to rethink my intended return to Victoria Harbour and Kowloon…


The Most Expensive Cities in the World 2016 - Zurich

Zurich captured by Dennis Jarvis – http://ow.ly/4mVRtO – (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Fairy tale-like Switzerland, the country of political neutrality, rich banks and Milka chocolates has always been an expensive place to live and to travel to. This year the country’s two largest cities have moved up on the list: Geneva has moved up from 7th to 4th place since last year, and Zurich is “two positions dearest”.


The Most Expensive Cities in the World 2016 - Singapore

Photo by Nicolas Lannuzel (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Once again, Singapore takes the top spot as the most expensive city in the world. Who would imagine? Would you? Despite keeping the same top position, the small city-State is cheaper than it was three years ago – and even in 2015, for that matter.

Moscow, which used to be one of the world’s most priciest cities, moved down several positions. The Russian ruble has lost about 40% of its value, compared to 2013, when the conflict with Ukraine started. Oh, and did you see that in 2013 Caracas, in Venezuela, was on the top 10 list? This time, due to a huge economical crises in Hugo Chavez’s country, the city has dropped 117 places.

And you, did you find any big surprises on this list? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!

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