The ultimate guide to the cost of living in Berlin

Find out how much you need to earn to live comfortably in Berlin as a student, working professional or with a family.


5 minute read
Updated on 18 Jun 2024

Berlin's average cost of living is just above the European average, yet this vibrant spot is the cheapest capital city in Western Europe! For the average single person, monthly expenses in Berlin will cost around €2,000 per month.

It’s important to factor in the cost of living while you search for a place to live in Berlin, so we’ve broken it down for you.

In this article, we’ll walk you through

  • The cost of living for a single person and a family of 4
  • How much food costs in Berlin
  • Average rental prices in Berlin
  • The cost of transport in Berlin

Is Berlin an expensive city to live in?

Compared to other cities, Berlin is one of the cheaper options in Western Europe. The cost of living will vary depending on your job and the area to choose to live in Berlin, but you can certainly live quite affordably in Berlin. If you budgeted strictly, you could live in Berlin for €1,500 per month. Without too strict a budget, your monthly expenses should average around €2,000 per month.

Cost of living in Berlin for a single person

On average, a person in Berlin will spend about €2,000 per month. The most significant expense you’ll have is your accommodation, and the type of accommodation you choose will greatly impact your monthly expenses.

Your salary will also be a deciding factor in how much you spend each month. According to Stepstone’s 2024 salary report, the median gross salary in Germany is €3,645 per month. While you can expect this to be slightly higher in Berlin, it’s a decent amount to live on. The average salary in Germany is estimated to be around €4,323 according to De Statis. Any salary in the range between the median and average salary will be plenty to live comfortably in Berlin as a single person.

Some uniquely German expenses you’ll have to keep in mind are the ARD licence fee (€18.36 per month, paid every 3 months) and your liability insurance (around €5 per month).

If you need to maintain a lower budget, you can use a trick or two to save money while living in Berlin. The most effective way to live affordably is to rent a place with roommates or rent a studio in a more affordable neighbourhood.

Cost of living in Berlin for a family of 4

A family of 4 can expect to spend around €4,300 per month to cover their living expenses, including rent. As with a single person, rent is likely your biggest expense. With a family of 4, you’ll want to rent somewhere with at least 2 bedrooms. The average cost of a 2-bedroom apartment in Berlin, including bills, is about €2,100 per month. Thankfully, your children will be covered by your health insurance contributions, as will your partner if they are unemployed.

Groceries for a family of 4 in Berlin will cost around €800 per month, and you should budget around €400 for “leisure” activities! Whether taking the family out for an occasional meal or taking the kids to a fun park, your leisure budget will ensure the family has money set aside for fun.

Every household in Germany has to pay the ARD licence fee every 3 months. Broken down monthly, this costs €18.36 per month. It’s also a good idea to purchase liability insurance, which costs around €5 per month per person.

Public schools in Berlin are free; however, preschool (or kindergarten) costs an average of €195 per month. You may be able to claim kindergeld, which is a government-funded allowance to support parents financially. You should also plan for additional expenses related to your child’s school, such as school trips or supplies.

We’ve mapped out the projected expenses for a family of 4 consisting of 2 employed parents, 1 school-aged child and 1 preschool-aged child for you.

Food Costs

Germany is one of the cheapest countries when it comes to groceries, and Berlin is no different. The average grocery prices in Berlin are very affordable, especially compared to those in other European cities like Amsterdam.

Overall, you can expect to spend around €250 per month on groceries as an individual.

And don't forget: 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 more expensive supermarket (e.g. EDEKA or Rewe). Doing groceries at an organic or bio store will also increase your expenses.

You don’t have to spend a lot on eating out either! Berlin has plenty of restaurants where you can eat for €10 or less.

Discover the secrets to living the Berlin lifestyle on a budget:

Average rental prices

Rent will be the biggest expense in your monthly budget for living in Berlin. Understanding the difference between warmiete and kaltmiete before renting in Berlin is essential. If you opt for warmiete, your utilities will be included in your rent. Choosing kaltmiete means your utilities won’t be included, so you’ll have to budget for the cost of your utilities.

Here's what you can expect from the average warmiete rent prices in Berlin:

Type of accommodationAverage rent prices in Berlin
Private rooms€700

As you’d expect, the price of rent in Berlin will vary hugely between a hip flat in Friedrichshain and a low-priced student room in Tempelhof. 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 different areas of Berlin.

Transportation prices

Berlin's public transport system takes you from one corner to the other in no time at all.

The average cost of public transportation in Berlin is:

TypeAverage cost
Single tickets (2 hrs)€3.50
24-hour ticket€9.90
4-trip ticket€10.80
7-day ticket€41.50
School student monthly ticket€71.40
Monthly ticket€99

For most people in Berlin, the BVG AB ticket of €99 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 €3.50 or a 24-hour ticket for €9.90. Children below the age of 5 can use public transport for free, and school children can travel for free with a student ID.

It’s also good to know that taxis are pretty cheap in Berlin, with a starting tariff of €4.30 and €2.50/km after that.

Leisure costs

It’s important to leave space for leisure activities in your monthly budget. To give you an idea of what popular leisure activities in Berlin will cost, we’ve outlined the prices:

Leisure timeAverage price
Lunch out, with a drink€12
3-course dinner out (for 2 people)€70
Theatre tickets (for 2 people)€156
Cinema tickets (for 2 people)€24 (on some weekdays it's cheaper than on weekends!)
Museum tickets€6-12 (but many nice galleries have free exhibitions)

Health insurance costs

To live in Germany, you must take out health insurance. As an international student, you can expect to pay a discounted price of around €120 per month for public health insurance in Germany.

If you're a working professional, a contribution of 7.3% will be taken from your gross salary. Your employer will match this contribution. The maximum you can be charged is capped at €360 a month.

There's space for any budget in Berlin

Just about every lifestyle finds its home in Berlin. Those who try to live on a low budget can comfortably keep their monthly expenses in Berlin small - even without missing out on that vibrant city vibe. Instead of spending your time (and money!) in a fancy cocktail bar, why not just sip beer from a Späti on the Weserstraße in Neukölln while soaking up the ease of Berlin?

This article is for informational purposes only.

Please reach out to if you have any suggestions or questions about the content on this page.

Share this article
Read more about renting in Berlin
Browse other articles about the renting experience in Berlin

Find your home in Berlin

Browse hundreds of verified rental properties across Berlin's neighbourhoods. Search smart, search safe.

Search Now