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zurich shopping, most expensive shopping, shopping in switzerland, bahnhoffstrasse (1)

The most expensive shopping street

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This is the website of travel writer, Michael Turtle. After working in broadcast journalism for a decade in Australia, Michael left Sydney to travel the world indefinitely and write about his discoveries.

Zurich’s Bahnhoffstrasse, Switzerland

Have you got a bit of spare change to buy something with? Then don’t come to Zurich’s Bahnhoffstrasse shopping street. Around these parts, you may need a bank loan if you’re hoping to make a purchase.

Bahnhoffstrasse has the reputation for being the most expensive shopping strip in the world. Some of the most famous fashion houses have outlets here – Armani, Gucci, Prada. Amongst them you’ll find stores for companies like Rolex, Cartier, Tiffany.

zurich shopping, most expensive shopping, shopping in switzerland, bahnhoffstrasse (8)

zurich shopping, most expensive shopping, shopping in switzerland, bahnhoffstrasse (3)

Window shopping is free but step through any of those doors and you’ll want a pretty healthy limit on your credit cards. This street is either for the super rich or for us ordinary folk who are making a one-off special (and extravagant) purchase.

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zurich shopping, most expensive shopping, shopping in switzerland, bahnhoffstrasse (5)

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples, so you can get a sense of what it is like. Fancy buying this outfit for a night out? Well I hope you have a spare US$7,200!

zurich shopping, most expensive shopping, shopping in switzerland, bahnhoffstrasse (7)

What about this necklace? It’s not really my thing (doesn’t match my eye colour) but if it tickles your fancy it’ll set you back US$43,000 to get your hands on it.

zurich shopping, most expensive shopping, shopping in switzerland, bahnhoffstrasse (4)

The most expensive shopping in the world

There are plenty of other famous shopping malls in the world that are probably better known than Zurich’s. So how does Bahnhoffstrasse end up being the most expensive? Well, it has a lot to do with the cost of living in Switzerland and the exchange rates. Prices here are notoriously higher than other developed countries. Combine that with the strength of the Swiss Franc and you’ve got most of the answer.

zurich shopping, most expensive shopping, shopping in switzerland, bahnhoffstrasse (9)

The other main factor is the success of the financial sector here in Zurich. The famous Swiss banks may keep plenty of money safe in their vaults – but they’re also making a lot for people who work in the industry. There is a lot of cash going into workers’ wallets and a lot that’s able to be spent. That artificially inflates the prices for the top tier of shops on Bahnhoffstrasse.

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For the average tourist, strolling the streets, this is all just a bit of fun and aspirational voyeurism. Imagine being one of those people who treats a street like this as a supermarket!

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2 Comments
  • Carolyn | Jun 25, 2012 at 4:49 am

    I feel like I’m right back there looking at your photos. I did a lot of window shopping, but being a poor student during both of my visits to Switzerland, I couldn’t even dream of actually shopping there!
    Carolyn recently posted..Corcovado National Park: the highlight of Costa RicaMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Jul 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm

      I think even a rich student would have trouble buying something there!! :)

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