7 things to know before moving to Berlin


Updated on Dec 10 • 4 minute read

With a visa in your pocket and a job in the pipeline, you're off to Berlin: now which are the things to know before moving to Berlin?

By moving to the capital, you'll step into a creative patch that strikes a balance between the past on its shoulders and visionary minds in its focus. As surreal as life in Berlin sounds to you, what is it like to live in Berlin?

Get a taste of what it's like to live in Berlin with our 7 things you should know before you move to Berlin.

Things to know before moving to Berlin

It goes without saying that high on your moving list to Germany stands plenty of organisation and a pinch of calmness. You're lucky, we've put together this moving checklist along with a timeline to give you peace of mind when preparing your move to Germany.

However, it's much more than just bureaucracy: What's it like to live in Berlin? What should you prepare for as an expat in Berlin?

Here are 7 things to know before moving to Berlin:

  1. Finding a flat in Berlin is no walk in the park

  2. There's a fitting home for anyone in one of the 12 districts

  3. Get used to the Berlin Schnauze

  4. Knowing the cost of living in Berlin

  5. Cash is king

  6. Mentally prepare yourself for a grey, cold winter

  7. Nightlife isn't for sleepy heads

Well, let's dive into the seven things you should know before you move to Berlin, step by step:

1. Finding a flat in Berlin is no walk in the park

In a European comparison, Berlin holds a place in the lower end of the rental price range. It’s true that Berlin has long been considered a well-kept secret among artists and students, who were able to indulge themselves in the thrilling urban jungle with affordable flats.

However, these days are over, as Berlin draws more and more locals and internationals magnetically into the vibrant capital. And in line with the simple economic principle of having more demand than supply, rental prices in Berlin have been skyrocketing in recent years.

In other words,

landlords in Berlin are spoilt for choice, competition in the housing market is tough.

The good news is that, despite strong competition, with HousingAnywhere, as an international, you'll still secure your accommodation before you even arrive to Berlin! You can even find fully furnished apartments for rent in Berlin. Wanna bet?

2. There's a fitting home for anyone in one of the 12 districts

In every German city there's a city centre, in every city other than Berlin. Certainly, the district Berlin-Mitte can pass for city centre, however, in Berlin every district has its own city centre and so with your neighbourhood you truly choose the heart of your expat life. There's no doubt you'll find a district in Berlin that feels just like home!

Be it the alternative cafés in Prenzlauer Berg in Pankow, where you can pick up a matcha latte after your outdoor yoga in Mauerpark, or the prefabricated concrete block charm in East Berlin like Lichtenberg.

3. Get used to the Berlin Schnauze

Unembellished, direct and often a bit mockingly smug, but above all easygoing. The Berlin dialect is characterised by a coarse humour, and once you make a Berliner mad, hard vowels and consonants quickly line up in his words. However, don't be intimidated by the Berliner Schnauze: behind the sloppy language, people from Berlin are genuinely open-hearted and helpful just in their very own way.

4. Knowing the cost of living in Berlin

Students' wallets typically don't flaunt their wealth, but neither do they have to: with €1,300, you can survive the month as an international student in Berlin. Obviously, you'd rather stock your flat with second-hand furniture and dip into a beer from a Späti than fancy cocktails. However, if you get a foothold as an expat in Berlin, you can live comfortably in Berlin for just under €2,270 a month.

You can see for yourself: Berlin opens its doors to just about any budget without having to give up the vibrant big city life. It's best to get your own idea of the cost of living in Berlin, so that you know how to survive in Berlin.

5. Cash is king

Contactless payment? Not that easy in Germany. As a matter of fact,

it wasn't until 2018 that the retail trade saw more sales with card payments (48.6%) than with cash (48.3%) in Germany for the first time

At many small shops, bakeries or ice-cream places you can search in vain for a card device. Make sure you always take a bit of cash with you!

6. Mentally prepare yourself for a grey, cold winter

After the cosy Christmas time with its glowing lights and mulled wine at the Christmas markets, sadly a very grey, cold time sets in. In January and February, a constant grey veil covers the city and when it gets cold, you'd really want to stay in your warm bed every morning.

Those of you who come from warmer countries need to brace themselves against the cold winter blues: with sun lamps in your home for natural light and candles for a bit of Gemütlichkeit, you can pass through the grey time with ease. And: with walks in the cold you can discover Berlin in the calmest time!

7. Nightlife isn't for sleepy heads

How to survive in Berlin? With a real party spirit and ample energy! It's no coincidence that Berlin's nightlife scene is acclaimed internationally by artists just as much as by party lovers. In countless pubs, bars, clubs and nightclubs you feel free to take to the dance floor almost any day of the week and at any time of day.

In the Berghain at Berlin Ostbahnhof, the technoclub has grown into the most hyped club; what originally started with gay parties now attracts a very mixed audience on its several floors. In the club Tresor Paul von Dyk started his career as a live DJ, a hot spot for all techno fans. Did you know that the original door from Tresor is now part of a museum?

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