The cost of living in Berlin is just above the European average and yet the vibrant city is the cheapest capital city in Western Europe! A true paradise for all international students and young expats who want to swap their life in their home country for the urban jungle without having to dig too deep into their pockets.
But one thing at a time, let us walk you through the cost of living in Berlin. We’ll break down the average cost of living in Berlin into:
Spoilers: Odds are that you'll start plans to move to Berlin right after.
Both the average rent in Berlin and the low living expenses in everyday life, for instance, an affordable lunch between two lectures or a dinner date with your new colleagues, the €1 beer at night from a Späti, and the numerous nightlife options from Berghain to Tresor are what make Berlin more popular than hardly any other capital city for students and expats.
And whoever says A must also say B; after all, you shouldn't limit your gaze solely to the low cost of living in Berlin, but you need to bear in mind the average salaries in Berlin. Only if you get a grip on average salaries, you’ll be in the position to assess whether living expenses in Berlin is affordable or expensive.
Luckily, the capital scores points in this area as well:
With an average German salary of €28 091 (for apprentices) or €43 605 (for academics), living in Berlin is more than comfortable given monthly living costs of around €1 748.”
And students should also keep in mind that even working students and voluntary interns in Berlin with a minimum salary of €9.82 are well off in comparison to many other countries. And there are always many tips and tricks to save money while living in Germany.
So, playing with the idea of applying for a job in Berlin yet?
Truth to be told, we have to remember that the capital city has also recorded rising costs in recent years due to its growing popularity. As a result, rents have increased significantly, and more and more fun activities and restaurants are getting more expensive. However, everything is still well in line and cheaper than in other western capitals.
Let's take a closer look at the individual areas of the cost of living in Berlin to put it into the context of
For international students or expats from Germany's neighbouring countries, groceries will be a paradise. In contrast to France, Italy, Austria, Sweden and Belgium, the costs for food are considerably lower.
|Dairy & meat products||Price (in €)|
|Eggs (Pack of 6)||€1.56|
|Cheese (500g, local)||€5.00- 5.60|
|Chicken breast (500g)||€3.66|
|Menu in a fast-food restaurant||€8.00|
|Fruits & vegetables||Prices (in €)|
|Potatoes (1kg, locally sourced)||€1.30|
|Bread & pastries||Prices (in €)|
|Bread (from your local bakery)||€1.27|
|(Alcoholic) beverages||Prices in €|
|1 bottle of wine (1L, medium high quality)||€6|
|Domestic Beer (0. 5L)||€1.50|
Though don't forget here: this only represents the average. When going grocery shopping, you can choose between a discount store (e.g. Lidl, Aldi, Penny or Netto) or a supermarket (e.g. EDEKA or Rewe).
Do you wanna go all in and fancy sustainability or organic products? Then you also have a wide choice of organic markets. However, doing your groceries at a discount store gives you far lower living expenses in Berlin for food compared to buying your groceries at supermarkets or organic markets.
Once the basic needs (food) are covered, we can take a look at the expenses for accommodation that you need to budget. For this, we dived into the average rent prices in Berlin for private rooms and one-bedroom apartments.
|Type of accomodation||Average rent prices in Berlin|
Needless to say, that's only showing the average of Berlin's rental prices.
In our neighbourhood guide in Berlin, we delve deeper into the individual neighbourhoods, so you can get a feel for the average rent prices in Berlin for apartments and private rooms in different districts.
Berlin's public transport system takes you from one corner to the other in no time at all. And if you are an enrolled student in Berlin, you can even get around for free! Most universities in Germany are part of a network that provides students with a semester ticket for a small fee.
So, you said Berlin will be your new home? Let's face it: in the capital city, it's usually not worth taking a car. You will find yourself stuck in traffic jams and will end up getting around the city much faster by public transport.
For most people in Berlin, the BVG AB ticket of €86 per month is the way to go. And if you plan to live not too far from your study or work, you can save some money by using a bike. For occasional longer trips, you can just buy a single public transportation ticket for €3.00 or a 24-hour ticket for €8.80.
Also good to know is that taxi is quite cheap in Berlin. It starts at €4.00 with an extra €2.00 being charged per km. The city also offers a great carsharing service called BerlKönig which might save you some time and money.
And finally, don't forget that you can make use of e-scooters that you'll find pretty much around every corner of Berlin these days. The local Tier is one of our favorites!
Now, on to the fun part of living: leisure. In Berlin, you can roughly expect these prices for your free time:
|Leisure time||Prices in €|
|Lunch out (meal including drink)||€11|
|Dinner out (for 2 people)||€28|
|Theatre tickets (for 1 person)||€41.50|
|Cinema tickets (for 1 person)||€10 (on some weekdays it's cheaper than on weekends!)|
|Museum tickets||€8 (but many nice galleries have free exhibitions)|
|Coffee (flat White, of course with oat milk)||€3.34|
You'll be happy to hear that studying in Germany is very affordable.
Here is the best news: Students with European residence permit don't pay tuition fees. Each semester you'll only be charged semester fees, which usually add up to around €300.
The situation looks different if you attend a private university instead of a public one, of course. There, you’ll still be charged tuition fees.
And if you're coming from a country outside the EU, you'll need to get a residence permit before you arrive in Germany to study for free. Otherwise you can expect to pay a tuition fee of €1500 per semester. But that's still a gread deal cheaper than what you'd pay in other European countries!
All in all, you can live comfortably in Berlin as an international student with cost of living of €850 per month. Of course, this means that you have to adjust your living expenses in Berlin a little bit; do your groceries mainly in discount stores and search for a cheap student room.
As an international expat with an average gross salary of around €3 354 (or €43 605 a year including 13th salary), you have all the financial means to treat yourself to an elegant flat in Charlottenburg and spend your evenings on Kastanienallee in Prenzlauer Berg - at a cost of living in Berlin around €1748.
And another option to reduce your study costs is to apply for a German scholarship.
Just about every lifestyle finds its home in Berlin. Students who try to live on a low student budget can certainly keep their cost of living per month in Berlin small - without even having to miss out on that vibrant city vibe. Instead of spending your time (and money!) in one of those fancy cocktail bars, why not just sip beer from a Späti with your friends on the Weserstraße in Neukölln and soaking up the ease of Berlin?
With a sense for affordable alternatives, you can make it through life in Berlin with a cost of living of just over €770.
Expats in Berlin that want to kick off their career in one of the hip start-ups can easily treat themselves to some dinner out, go all in with the buzzling concerts and festivals. After all, the truth is that as an expat you can live very comfortably with costs of living in Berlin about €3000.