Are you looking for the perfect destination to live in, work in, or buy a house in Switzerland? Well, if so, then Winterthur is your perfect stop. I present to you the absolute nature of the city, describing its ins and outs. Despite its cultural-packed fragrance, its grassy valleys, towering mountains, small towns blending the old and the new and the awe of its natural beauty, this city has so much to offer.
So, is Winterthur a good place to live, visit, retire, work or buy a house? The answer is yes. Situated in the canton of Zurich in northern Switzerland, Winterthur has the sixth largest population in the country with an estimated population of 108,000 people.
Want to know more about this treasure trove of art, history and nature? Well, Winterthur alone is a high-tech industrial satellite city located just 20 kilometres northeast of downtown Zurich, which is only 20 minutes by train. Yes, you read that right. You will find the busiest railway in all of Switzerland here. No matter the season, the medieval heart of this city is always full of life.
Have you wondered why Winterthur is so popular among expats? Perhaps it is because this city is small enough to get around with restaurants, shops and markets conveniently located, offering the perfect meeting point for the locals, visitors and businesspeople.
Is Winterthur a Good Place to Live?
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to move to Winterthur and live there? Or are you looking for tips to make the most out of your extended stay in the town? I will try to paint an honest picture of the city in this section and give you tips on what to expect.
With its charm and many stately buildings, Winterthur is no doubt a great place to live in. It is a major business destination, a home to many expats and a true powerhouse, operating as an art and media sector.
Winterthur is the sixth largest city in Switzerland, popular as a cultural and education hub. It is often featured as a top place to visit in Switzerland, presenting numerous public parks and gardens where people planning to settle can take guided tours of the villas or simply stroll about and explore the new home.
Soak yourself in the high number of street cafes and shops and the wonder of the city’s 16 museums. Although it comes with a high price tag, on the upside, the town offers a combined experience of cultural highlights and beautiful getaways.
However, compared to the other popular expat destinations, including Bern and Zurich, Winterthur is a well-kept secret with low rental prices. I would advise you to settle here if you are a foreigner because 25 per cent of the population is made up of people from other countries.
Nestled between green hills, the city has a high quality of life, international schools and low crime rates making it a highly rated area in the country. Although it is fast-paced, it also has a lot of fun activities such as clubs, concerts, museums and operas.
Here, German is the most widely spoken language, although you can still communicate in English and many other languages. The town has great transport and shopping experience. Taxes in the city are relatively low, but the services, food and insurance are expensive. The housing market here is tight with offers relatively scarce, so I advise you get your rental property booked before moving to the old town.
Is Winterthur a Good Place to Work?
Although Winterthur is one of the most expensive cities in Europe, it is easy to live and work because of the high salaries. A study revealed that when West European countries pay about 2,000 Euros, companies in Switzerland pay an average of 4,000 Euros. The tax system is also simple. Here, you find canto taxes, federal taxes and city taxes. All these, when combined, come to a percentage of about 15-20 of the earnings for the higher middle-class salaries. Switzerland is ranked as the most stable economy across the globe.
While still preserving its landscape and enhancing its buildings, Winterthur inspires and delights in its visitors. It considers employees and volunteers as the greatest assets, giving them the chance to develop their abilities. Working in Winterthur is always a unique and rewarding opportunity, offering many career paths in a beautiful setting. The city employs temporary, full-time and part-time employees in horticulture, curatorial, conservation, maintenance, education, administration and library sectors.
Employment here is more than just work. Employees get to enjoy the rich, cultured environment while still upholding the core values of their organisation. Employees are also provided with a wide array of benefits. These range from comprehensive healthcare options to a competitive retirement program. Some of the values held by organisations here include:
• High-level achievement
• Effective communication
These are the values that make Winterthur a great place to work. I find the city to be a great source of excellence and inspiration. The work environment tends to be formal and conservative. This city does not discriminate on the basis of colour, sex, race, origin, disability, age, religion, veteran or marital status. If you are looking for work in Winterthur, there are always positions for highly-skilled workers.
Is Winterthur a Good Place to Buy a House?
For people moving to work and live in Winterthur, buying a dream home can be both expensive and daunting but not impossible. Although buying a house here is a good idea, I recommend that you rest first, at least for a couple of years.
It is worth noting that the rental accommodation market is quickly deteriorating in the city. This is a fact evidenced by the growing vacancies and the rising pressure on rents. On the upside, investors are taking advantage of the high yield premiums by investing in the real estate market. House construction is experiencing a surge in this region, while the market is also being confronted with falling demand as a result of the lost immigration momentum. Because construction is still ongoing, vacant houses could rise sharply by about 2.5 per cent.
Depending on the life plans, the canton, how well you know the area and the available time, buying could still be a great idea. With Winterthur being a focal point of cultural, economic and social life, it tends to give expats a strong appeal. An improvement in the quality of life has contributed greatly to the rediscovery of urban living. The good news is that the mortgage interest rates are relatively low. Many future needs of Winterthur buildings will, however, change over time. Some of the emerging developments include:
• Rising urbanisation and demographic changes, altering the housing markets
• Internet-based commerce
• Telecommunicating concepts that require different landscapes
Because an investment in real-estate is long-term, I advise that you consider sustainability as an evaluation criterion to support your investment decision.
Is Winterthur a Good Place to Retire?
Aside from the financial benefits and great food, there are good reasons you might want to retire in Winterthur. It is a cosmopolitan, diverse, and multilingual nation known for efficiency and punctuality. Most of all, it is a top tourist destination, making it the perfect place to retire. However, for any retiree on a budget, this is not a place I would recommend. Winterthur has a high living cost and is, therefore, not a typical retirement destination. It is a great hotspot, however, and comes with many benefits for those who can afford.
The city ranks highly in safety, infrastructure, and earning potential. Because other neighbouring cities are well connected, and the infrastructure is good, travelling is easy and fun. Switzerland has been ranked to have the highest life expectancy across the globe, making Winterthur an excellent place for retirees.
Winterthur has a great social network that brings the old together, something that wades the feelings of loneliness and isolation. Because of the beautiful, natural landscape present here, life can almost feel like a vacation for the retirees. The retirement benefits include low taxes, top attractions to keep the retirees active, high living standards, and excellent healthcare.
Is Winterthur a Good Place to Visit?
Winterthur is a great place to visit and is a great city for family holidays. It has an abundance of entertainment facilities, parks and museums. If you are visiting for the first time, why not visit the Kunst museum or the contemporary photography museum if you are an art lover?
You could also explore the Swiss Science Centre Technorama that hosts about 500 interactive scientific themes. From interactive expositions to beautiful laws of light refraction creating bizarre illusions, there is a lot the museums have for every tourist.
Wildpark Bruderhaus is also a great place for nature lovers. It is a well-kept nature reserve with hundreds of animals and special picnic and recreation zones. When visiting during summer, Rosengarten is a place I encourage you not to miss. This is an oasis of tranquillity filled with a dozen varieties of roses. The species are about 300 with the garden attracting tourists from near and far. It is seated in a hill, giving tourists the breath-taking panoramic view of the city.
For the posterity of this hilltop garden, you will also enjoy photos to carry with you. Because roses are a symbol of love, you might want to visit this place with your special someone. Whatever you choose to do in this beautiful city, trust me, you will leave with tons of memorable experiences. There are many attractions to discover, so why not start planning your trip now?
Because Winterthur has high salaries and an unparalleled living standard with financial stability, a lot of people find it quite accommodating. Some people prefer to buy cars, others homes and others just have fun. Whatever you like to do, Winterthur is the perfect destination to explore.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.