Most Expensive in Europe: Switzerland and Iceland

Vala Hafstað

Since 2016, Iceland and Switzerland have taken turns being Europe’s most expensive countries, mbl.is reports, quoting Kjarafréttir, which bases its information on figures from Eurostat regarding total consumption expenditures of private households. Europe’s highest price levels were in Switzerland in 2016, 2019 and 2020, and in Iceland in 2017 and 2018.

Price levels in Iceland in 2020 were more then 40 percent higher than the EU average, while in Switzerland, they were nearly 70 percent higher than the EU average.

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, price levels in Iceland were considerably lower than they had been before the crisis. In 2009, Iceland ranked 16th out of 37 European countries in terms of price levels, but since then, prices have gradually risen.

The only parts of household costs that are relatively inexpensive in Iceland are electricity and the heating of houses. Low-income groups are particularly sensitive to the high prices of necessities, such as food and housing.

Other Nordic countries are expensive as well: among European countries, Denmark ranks third, Norway fifth, Finland seventh and Sweden eighth.

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