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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

A Digital Nomad’s Guide To Switzerland

It’s not uncommon to get jittery when moving to a new place for the first time. For digital nomads looking at Switzerland as their next destination, the experience isn’t any different.

If you’ve done your research, then you know Switzerland’s largely spoken languages are German and French – something that could offset English speakers. However, this should not be a concern as Switzerland is an English-friendly country as depicted by English-marked signs and announcements.

Besides knowing where to live and places to visit while in Switzerland, a digital nomad needs to know the requirements for remote working.

If you are a digital nomad eyeing a move to Switzerland, read our quick guide to help you settle in with ease.

Do I Need a Digital Nomad Visa to Work in Switzerland?

Switzerland does not have a digital nomad visa yet, so this leaves you with the option of a short-term stay visa or a residence permit. The former, also known as a residence permit, may exempt you from taxation if you meet Switzerland’s regulations on remote working.

As a digital nomad, you’ll be guided by regulations adopted by European countries on remote work. Also, you cannot offer your services to an employer located in Switzerland while your work has to be conducted remotely.

How Much Does it Cost to Live in Switzerland as a Digital Nomad?

Your monthly expenses will largely depend on where you decide to live. With accommodation taking up the lion’s share of your monthly expense, your decision on where to live will determine how much you spend each month.

Typically, if you choose to stay in a city with low housing rates, you will also enjoy affordable food and utility prices. Bern and Winterthur are good choices if you’re on a tight budget but still want to experience the cosmopolitan life of Switzerland’s big cities.

You can still live near cities such as Zurich and still pay a fair price. Glarus, which is located near Zurich, is one of the least-expensive places to live in Switzerland. Monthly rent for a 1-bedroomed apartment starts from as low as $1,800 while utility bills will set you back $150.

You need not confine yourself to cities if you are on a tight budget. In places such as Thurgau, rent starts at $700 while meals cost as little as $20. The best part of living in such areas is that you get to enjoy the serene nature and still access Switzerland’s big cities via the efficient public transport system.

Getting Accommodation

There is plenty of short-term accommodation to suit the typical living needs of a digital nomad. Short-term apartments, holiday homes, rooms in private residences and hotels are some of the options we found suitable for a digital nomad’s lifestyle.

Monthly rates for holiday homes and rooms in private residences start from as low as $600 to $800. Popular means to find accommodation include AirBnB, Homestays and trusted companies like Blueground that offer monthly apartments in Zurich, Basel and other major cities.

New concepts such as co-living and home-sharing communities such as Bewelcome are also gaining popularity among digital nomads. Co-living spaces allow remote workers to live and work within the same spaces and in some cases from multiple locations on a single subscription.

When is The Best Time to Visit Switzerland?

If you are eyeing lower hotel prices and flight fees, then plan your travel between the months of March and May. This is the unofficial off-peak season characterized by fewer tourists and less-crowded spaces.

Even so, you’ll have to brace yourself for the chilly weather as these months normally experience temperatures between 12 and 13 degrees Celsius.

Other low-season months start from September through to November. Temperatures range from 4 to 10 degrees Celsius – a small sacrifice for lower hotel prices and less-crowded spaces.

Summer typically happens between June and August; this is the time Switzerland receives plenty of tourists. In line with the laws of demand and supply, hotel rates are at their highest during this period.

On the upside, the days are warmer and you’ll get to experience Switzerland’s famous festivals during this time.

The winter months that begin from December to February liven up the ski resorts. Although chilly, these are good times to take a break from your digital nomad life and experience the ski resorts of Switzerland.

Traveling in Switzerland

Getting around Switzerland is affordable, convenient and efficient thanks to a public transport system that’s made of trains, trams and buses.

The first thing you should do when you get to Switzerland is to get a train pass and download the SBB’s app to track train movement. This will help you track your journey and know your stops.

Alternatively, you could use the FAIRTIQ app to view all available transportation modes as well as suggest cheaper modes.

Coworking Spaces

Unlike in most places around the world, many Swiss cafes allow remote workers to use their facilities without asking them to purchase from the establishment. You’ll have access to a working space as well as free internet in many of these cafes.

However, if you need a more stable arrangement, you can pay for a day pass in one of the many co-working spaces spread across Switzerland.

Conclusion

Switzerland is a great place to stay as a digital nomad. Not only are the taxes friendly, but the country is also one of the most cost-effective places in Europe to live expenses-wise.

If you’re interested in jumping on the digital nomad bandwagon, or if you already reside in Switzerland and want to travel across the country while you work, we hope this guide has provided you with useful tips for succeeding. Good luck!

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