Would you visit the world’s most expensive cities for a taste of the high life?

For the majority of people planning a trip, budget plays a major role when it comes to deciding where to go, with affordable flights, accommodation and activities at the forefront of their minds. And other times, whether it’s for a special occasion like a honeymoon or a birthday, or simply to sample a taste of the high life, travellers are willing to spend more on unique experiences. With that being the case, a new index has been released that reveals the most expensive cities in the world to live, and the results have proven surprising.

Front Street in Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda. Brightly coloured houses, restaurants and shops and busy traffic.Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda took the top spot. Image by larigan/Patricia Hamilton

Released by global database site Numbeo, the index looked at 538 cities, ranking them on their cost of living using New York as a baseline for comparison. Each destination was examined under a number of different categories, including the cost of rent, groceries, transportation, utilities and restaurants, with the final figures giving an indication of how much it costs to be in each place. Topping the list wasn’t Singapore, Hong Kong or London, but Hamilton, Bermuda’s tiny capital city.

Famous for its bustling harbourside streets and a bay that is dotted with yachts and sailboats, despite its compact size, the city of Hamilton boasts an array of bars, restaurants, museums, shops and galleries, and enjoys an active tourism industry. This marks the fourth year in a row that Hamilton took the top spot in the ranking, which has been correlated every year since 2009. Known for its attractive tax laws, Hamilton is also a hub for local and international business, with its cost of living also being affected by import costs.

Zurich, SwitzerlandZurich was second in the ranking. Image by Rudy Balasko/Shutterstock

Perhaps less surprisingly, the second spot on the list went to Zurich, the Swiss city that is famous for being a centre of banking and finance. But while Zurich enjoys booming trade, it also enjoys a reputation as being trendy, artsy and cultural. When it comes to the cost of living however, it seems that Switzerland can take its toll on the pockets, with six of the country’s cities (Geneva at number three, Basel at number four, Bern at number five, Lausanne at number six and Lugano at number nine) being included in the top ten. The top ten was completed by Scandinavian countries, with Reykjavik in Iceland coming in seventh, Stavanger in Norway in eighth and Oslo at number ten.

The full cost of living index for 2018 is available at the official Numbeo website.