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The Ultimate Guide for Living in the German Capital

By Yann, published on 14/06/2019 We Love Prof > Languages > German > Preparing for Your Stay in Berlin: Traveling & Living in Berlin

If you’ve chosen to visit Berlin for a weekend or for a long holiday – you’ve chosen the right city. Berlin is often ranked as one of the best places to live in the world – despite the recent rise in housing trouble.

If you’re looking to experience the best that Germany has to offer, Berlin is one of the best cities to experience this. The German capital is a great place to live comfortably while visiting some of the monuments that have marked German history and culture.

Whether you’re looking for the best place to live or stay during your visit in Berlin, this guide covers everything from housing costs to the best metro areas in the city.

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The Necessary Budget for a Stay in Berlin

Living or visiting Berlin has many positives, from its low crime, high living index and low median home price – your trip might make Berlin livability look extremely easy. However, taking a close look at your budget during your stay abroad is a vital step in planning your stay.

Flights can vary from as low as 30 pounds to 300 pounds. For example, the average cost of flying from Glasgow ranges from 75 pounds to 152 pounds, while flights from London have been known to reach even thousands of pounds.

If you have time to spare, or want to lower your average monthly travel expenses, or are moving abroad an need a bit more flexibility in your travels, you can also make the journey to Berlin by car. If you’re travelling from the most expensive city in the UK, otherwise known as London, this journey will take you about 12 hours nonstop.

If you’re travelling from Liverpool, however, your journey time will be almost the same as if you were living in Spain in Barcelona – from 15 hours to 20 hours nonstop. Please keep in mind that the average rent price for a car does not allow for you, normally, to travel from country to country.

The Price of Services in the German Capital

While these prices might make it seem as if international living is quite pricey, or give you an impression that Berlin is one of the most expensive cities – it is actually one of the more affordable options for experiencing sausages, bretzels, currywurst, apfelstrudel and more!

In a country where the average household income is actually lower than that of the United Kingdom, Berlin can seem like a cheaper city to visit than many of the other capitals of Europe.

Looking at the price comparison between Berlin and many major cities in the UK can give you an idea of why it is constantly voted as one of the best cities to live in and dispel the myth that it is an expensive city.

Food in Berlin is actually 15% cheaper than in London, whereas transportation is a whopping 40% cheaper. While housing is 5% more expensive than in cities like Manchester, personal care including everything from doctor visits to shampoo – is about 21% cheaper.

You don’t need to be an expert or have an economist intelligence background to realize that Berlin is actually also one of the best places to retire in Germany. Here are some of the average prices of some services you will need in Berlin that will give you an idea of the overall cost of living as well as insight as to why it’s one of the most liveable cities in the world.

  • Basic dinner for two in a pub: 27 pounds
  • Two tickets to the theatre: 76 pounds
  • A cocktail: 8 pounds
  • 1 pint of beer: 2.50 pounds
  • Monthly public transport: 70 pounds

Securing Housing in Berlin City

While you might be jumping at the chance to experience the expat life in what many consider the safest city in Northern Germany with such a low cost of living index, Berlin is not part of the small cities list. It does require some time in order to figure out the cheapest places to live or stay while on holiday.

Luckily, we’ve compiled some key information that, while not being as meticulous as a cost of living calculator, will help you execute a living comparison to your current city.

In Berlin, as with all German cities, there exists a rich culture of hostels. To give you an idea without going into any information from a cost of living survey, there are a little over 100 hostels in the Berlin area.

The average price of a night in about 20 pounds, while the price of a night in a dorm can range anywhere from 4 to 80 pounds.  To compare cost of living and staying in a hostel in some of the major cities in Germany, the average price for a hostel in Munich is about 16 pounds while in Hamburg that price is about 25 pounds.

If you’re looking towards Airbnb, the price of renting a single bedroom apartment around the centre of Berlin is around 50 to 80 euros. The living cost for a month renting from Airbnb is on average 1,600 pounds in July and 2,000 in November.

You will most likely find the lowest cost of living and travelling to be from October to February, the lower cost of living being obviously associated with the colder weather and busier work seasons.

Lodging in a Hotel

If you have a more flexible budget or are paranoid about staying in hostels, despite the low crime rate associated with them, here is a cost of living comparison and visiting comparison to hotels in the Berlin area.

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Berlin city transport Public transport in Berlin can be relatively cheaper than most major cities

Things You Must See in Berlin

While there are many different components you should take into account while travelling or living abroad, such as affordability, median income, home prices and home value – another important consideration is what cultural activities the city has to offer. Berlin is a big city, which means that it has many different social and historical monuments and museums that are worth checking out.

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Here are some of the must-see monuments while you’re staying in Berlin:

  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Reichstag building
  • Berliner Dom, or Berlin Cathedral
  • Fernsehturm de Berlin
  • Alexanderplatz
  • Schloss Charlottenburg palace
  • Sanssouci palace
  • Berlin Victory Column

On the other hand, if you ever get tired of walking around or need some more historical stimulation, you’ll feel right at home in a capital that is full to the brim with museums and memorials, often with links to the Berlin wall. Here is a list of the sites you can visit:

  • East Side Gallery
  • Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
  • Checkpoint Charlie
  • Pergamon Museum
  • Memorial to the Berlin Wall
  • Jewish Museum
  • GDR Museum

One thing is for sure: you will never get bored in Berlin and you while it is certain you won’t have time to accomplish seeing everything during your stay, you can rest assured that you will get the most out of your visit.

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Leisure Activities in Berlin

Newcomers can be overwhelmed with the number of activities you can find in Berlin alone – which is why its important to have some ideas of what you can do for leisure activities.

If you’re looking to spend a day simply wandering, there are no better location to do this than the Berlin Zoo or the Berlin aquarium. If you’re a sports lover, look towards the Berlin Olympic stadium in order to learn more about the interesting history of the building.

In the winter, you will be able to profit from the ice skating rink at the Liquidrom. For those interested in film, the cinema tickets in Berlin are actually cheaper than in many major cities in the UK. And of course, there are plenty of bars and cheap beer to keep you entertained all year long.

Local advice in Berlin Get some tips from German people by reading online forums on living in Berlin!

Some Advice for Your Trip Abroad

As with any new city, it takes a while to get used to the culture shock or simply to find the restaurants and bars that best fit your lifestyle.

One great idea, if you’re ambitious and want to visit the majority of the monuments in Berlin, would be to get a Welcome Card. The special pass will allow you to travel on common transport for free while also scoring discounts on monuments, restaurants and museums in the city.

If you’re the type of person that loves to discover a city by simply wandering about, renting a bicycle might be the perfect solution. Not only is it a cheap option for touring the city, Berlin is also one of the most bike friendly cities in Europe.

If you’re interested in knowing when the best season is to travel to Berlin, know that the answer will depend on what you’d like to do during your visit. The summer is an ideal time for tourists who are looking for heat, outdoor activities and walking around. The winter season is more for tourists who want to avoid crowds, spend time in museums or simply prefer colder weather.

Another tip to follow while you’re visiting or living in Berlin is that the city mostly functions on physical notes, so if you’re the type of person who only carries around debit cards – make sure to take out some cash before going anywhere in the city.

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