Best cities to live in Germany in 2021 [For Expats]

Germany has 79 cities with a population of at least 100.000 people. As an expat, it might be daunting to decide which city to move to.

In this guide, we will share with you the best cities to live in Germany for expats. We will break down, which cities are best for working, for families, the cheapest, and the most expensive.

Generally speaking, expats are very happy living in Germany. The quality of life is very good. However, all of us complain sometimes that Germans are tough to get to know.

A German once told me this story: Germans are like coconuts 🥥 . They might have a tough and strong exterior. But once you get past that, they are very sweet people. Once you find a German friend, they will remain your friend forever 🤗 .

So, without further ado let’s jump into the best cities to live in Germany.

Best cities to live in Germany

The best cities to live in Germany are Aachen, Dusseldorf, and Hamburg; the top three in the Best & Worst Cities for Expats report by InterNations in 2019.

1.  Aachen 

The cheapest city to live in Germany. It is famous for being a student town, as it is the home of one of the most prestigious engineering universities in Germany – RWTH -, and has a very charming city center. It is a relatively small city, so there is not much to do. 

2. Dusseldorf 

I live in Dusseldorf, and I love living here. I think the city is just the right size. It is big enough to have a lively life during the weekends and small enough that I can cycle everywhere I want.

Slowly, Dusseldorf has become the home for many startups. It is home of one of the most successful German tech companies: Trivago – they offer a lot of English-speaking jobs by the way.

3. Hamburg

Hamburg is the fourth city with the most English-speaking jobs in Germany. As a port city, there is a lot to explore, both on and off land. It has a buzzing night-life, great architecture, people are generally open-minded, and expats are very happy with their life in this city. 

Best cities to work in Germany

If you don’t speak German yet, Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt are the best places to find English-speaking jobs (according to englishjobs.de).

1. Berlin

This city is a startup hub, huge, always buzzing, and very alternative and open-minded. We have had friends move to Berlin, and they have told us that finding a shared apartment is a lot easier than finding an apartment for you alone.

2. Munich 

This is the most expensive German city to live in. Munich and its surrounding area have the fame of being a very rich place. People earn really good money, but life is also very expensive. People in the south of Germany tend to be very conservative, more serious, and not that open to foreigners. However, Munich offers many expat groups and meetups that you can join to meet like-minded people.

3. Frankfurt

This is the banking capital of Germany. Frankfurt is the second most expensive city to live in. Although it can somehow be a very luxurious city, it is very open-minded. Expats have ranked this the fourth most awesome city to live in Germany.

Personal storytime!

I have lived in Dusseldorf since 2012. I first got here with a job in customer service for an English-speaking company. I experienced firsthand how hard it was to find a new company in Dusseldorf that did not require me to speak fluent German. 

Due to the lack of English-speaking jobs in my industry, I decided to change careers. I worked very hard to become a software engineer. 

I have been a software developer since 2016, and ever since, my job prospects have increased tremendously. A lot of German companies are willing to hire developers that don’t speak fluent German. So if you have a highly skilled profession, your odds might be better to find a job in Germany.

If you do speak German or your job is 100% remote, then Germany is your oyster! You can freely choose which city to live in based on your dream job and the kind of lifestyle you would like to live in.

InterNations’ Expat Insider Survey from 2019 revealed that expats are very happy with their job in Germany. They are also satisfied with their quality of life and work-life balance.

Best place to live in Germany for Families

Munich is the best city in Germany for families to settle in; according to a study Movinga, a German moving company did in 2019.

The study compared 150 cities worldwide and took the following criteria to measure a good quality of life for families:

  • Education
  • Employment numbers
  • General affordability
  • Length of parental leave
  • Acceptance of same-sex parents
  • Parent’s perception of their child’s safety
  • Family-oriented leisure activities available

Munich ranked number 4 out of the 150 cities, followed by Stuttgart (13th place) and Hamburg (15th place).

🔥 Tip: Keep in mind that Munich is the most expensive city to live in in Germany. According to Numbeo, the average monthly cost of living is 5.272 euros. If you do not want to live in the city, you can always look at surrounding towns. 

Towns surrounding Munich

  • North: Dachau, Erding, Feldmoching, Freimann, Freising, Garching, Oberschleißheim
  • South: Herrsching
  • West: Fürstenfeldbruck, Germering 
  • East: Heimstetten, Kirchheim

Cheapest places to live in Germany

Aachen, Karlsruhe, and Hanover are the most affordable cities to live in Germany.

The table below shows the estimated monthly costs of a single person living in a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center:

CityMonthly cost of living
Aachen€1.260
Karlsruhe€1.336
Hanover€1.344
Source: Numbeo

The table below shows the estimated monthly costs of a four-person family living in a 3-bedroom apartment in the city center:

CityMonthly cost of living
Aachen€3.471
Karlsruhe€3.696
Hanover€3.862
Source: Numbeo

You can calculate your monthly costs using the following estimators:

Most expensive cities to live in Germany

Munich, Frankfurt, and Nuremberg are the most expensive cities in Germany to live in. 

The table below shows the estimated monthly costs of a single person living in a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center:

CityMonthly cost of living
Munich€2.136
Frankfurt€1.896
Nuremberg€1.550
Source: Numbeo
CityMonthly cost of living
Munich€5.272
Frankfurt€4.954
Nuremberg€4.039
Source: Numbeo

You can calculate your monthly costs using the following estimators:

Conclusion

I hope that wherever you decide to settle in Germany, you will be happy with your choice. You can check our articles on How to Move to Germany and the Cost of Living for more information regarding life in Germany.

See ya! 👋