As is to be expected in any major European capital, the cost of living in Berlin can be considered high. At the Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2020, the German capital ranks 82nd out of 209 cities evaluated worldwide. That is, among the cities participating in the survey, it is the 82nd most expensive to live. However, according to Countryaah.com, Berlin is still considered cheaper than other cities in Europe, including Germany, as Frankfurt (76th) and Munich (72nd) appear in even higher positions. In relation to the European continent, Berlin is cheaper than Brussels (78th), Oslo (76th), Helsinki (74th), Rome (65th), Amsterdam (64th), Saint Petersburg (59th), Vienna (54th), Paris (50th) ), Milan (47th), Dublin (46th), Copenhagen (25th), Moscow (21st),London (19th), Geneva (9th), Bern (8th) and Zurich (4th).
Cost of living in Berlin: Accommodation
As is the case in much of Germany, most Berlin residents choose to rent rather than buy property. The same is true of expatriates who move to the city due to the short-term nature of their tasks. The result of that? Expensive rents, mainly in the central region and with an increasing trend every year. However, renting an apartment in Berlin is still more affordable than in other German cities, such as Stuttgart, Munich, Hamburg and Frankfurt.
Check out some information regarding rentals in the city:
- The most popular districts for those looking for rental houses / apartments in Berlin are Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, followed by Pankow, Prenzlauer Berg, Mitte and Neukölln
- The average size of apartments in Berlin is around 69 m². But you can find everything from 20 m² apartments to an impressive 180 m²!
- Most young students in the city share an apartment with one or two people
Cost of living in Berlin: Entertainment and Restaurants
Naturally, the costs of entertainment and food outside the home vary greatly according to the tastes and preferences of each person. And Berlin contributes to this, since the city has options for all types of budgets and tastes.
When it comes to food, Berlin has everything from luxury bistros to street food stalls, so expatriates are sure to find good quality food to satisfy any desire and fit any budget.
As for entertainment, while the main nightclubs in the city charge a small entrance fee, it is also possible to find many bars and restaurants where visitors can have a drink and listen to live music at no cost.
Other popular activities in the city, such as enjoying a summer day in the park, visiting local markets or taking a bike ride, can be done with little or no cost. Therefore, even those with a tight budget can have an active social life in the German capital.
Regarding the cultural world, it is possible to find free activities in the city, including several interesting museums. A ticket for one person at the cinema costs, on average, 11 euros. In the theater, prices rise to around 45 euros.
Cost of living in Berlin: Transportation
Berlin has an excellent public transport network that is generally more accessible than transport in Frankfurt and Munich. That said, it is not necessary to have a car there and most foreign residents prefer to use buses and subways. In fact, anyone who needs to use public transportation to and from work / college daily can save a lot by investing in a monthly travel pass, which is valid throughout the transportation network
As we already said, bicycles are also very popular there and represent the most economical way to get around the city. In addition, Berlin’s infrastructure contributes to this, with many bike paths and bicycle storage facilities scattered everywhere. In winter, however, it may not be so easy and pleasant to use your skinny girl there.
Explaining the city’s public transport a little more, the subway system is known as the U-Bahn and the fast train system is known as the S-Bahn. The bus system uses the same tickets as these two, which is very useful for those who live in areas farther from the center. AB tickets cover the entire city area and Tegel airport and the prices are as follows (students are entitled to discounts):
- Single trip: 2.80 euros
- Individual tickets for four trips: 9 euros
- Daily ticket: 7 euros
- 7-day pass: 30 euros
- Monthly pass: 81 euros
- Annual plan: around 60 euros per month
Cost of living in Berlin: Health
Berlin is home to some excellent hospitals and newcomers can be sure that they will be well looked after if they become ill during their stay in the city. However, it is mandatory for everyone in Germany to have some form of health insurance. And this obviously also applies to expatriates who move there.
If you are going to work in Berlin, it is important to know that anyone employed by a company operating in Germany can take advantage of the state’s well-subsidized health insurance plan. But remember that those who earn above a certain income range do not qualify for public health insurance. In that case, private insurance becomes mandatory. In this situation, expatriates are advised to try to negotiate a health care allowance under the employment contract.
Freelancers and self-employed people will also need to purchase private health insurance, which is significantly more expensive. The exact amount varies according to the age and health status of the beneficiary, as well as the type of coverage required.
For those who want to keep in shape, the average prices of the city’s fitness centers are around 25 euros per month, but it is possible to find options ranging from 10 euros to more than 120 euros per month.
Cost of living in Berlin: Supermarkets
Grocery shopping prices will also vary according to your personal tastes and lifestyle. However, you can expect to spend an average of 200 euros a month (50 euros a week) on cheaper networks like Edeka, Aldi and Lidl. The value can go up if you choose more sophisticated supermarket chains, such as Biocompany and Frischeparadies. For those who want to save even more, it is worth taking a stroll through the Turkish markets that offer products even cheaper than the big supermarkets.
Cost of living in Berlin: Average values
To have an overview of the cost of living in Berlin, check below the average prices of some essential activities / products in the city (the values are in Euro):
|Accommodation (monthly rent in euros)|
|One bedroom apartment in the city center||Between 800 and 1000|
|One bedroom apartment outside the city center||Between 600 and 800|
|Three bedroom apartment in the city center||Between 1500 and 2000|
|Three bedroom apartment outside the city center||Between 1000 and 1200|
|Food and drink|
|Milk (1 liter)||0.85|
|Eggs (a dozen)||2|
|Loaf of loaf of bread||1.40|
|Chicken breast (1kg)||7.50|
|Marlboro Cigarette Pack||7|
|Monthly Internet (ADSL or cable)||25|
|Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)||0.10|
|Monthly bills (water, electricity, gas, etc.) in a small apartment||130|
|Hourly rate for a daily cleaning||13|
|Restaurants and Entertainment|
|Restaurant meal (three courses) for two people||40|
|Big Mac Snack||7|
|Coca-Cola (330 ml)||2|
|German beer bottle||3.50|
|Taxi (per km)||2|
|Bus or train / metro ticket||2.80|