The cost of living in Germany is fairly high. If you're in Berlin, you'll find it to be Germany's most expensive city, ranking 37th out of 227 cities in Mercer's 2023 Cost of Living Survey, with Munich coming in second at 38th. These cities are cheaper than London but more expensive than Madrid, somewhere between Paris and Brussels.

Accommodation prices vary depending on the neighbourhood and the size and type (flat-share, apartment, or house). Private healthcare is also quite expensive, as are school fees for international schools. Items such as clothing and cellular phones aren't cheap either.

Taxes in Germany are also high, but if you're an expat, your expenses are likely to be offset by higher salaries.

Cost of accommodation in Germany

The cost of accommodation in Germany is generally quite high, but property prices vary significantly depending on the area.

Germany has a history of being a country of renters, and fewer people buy property. For instance, around 40 percent of people living in Berlin own their homes. While there are no significant restrictions on non-Germans buying property, most expats also rent rather than buy homes in Germany.

Rent in major cities such as Berlin and Munich is particularly steep – it's common for accommodation to gobble up half of a person's monthly salary. If you're an expat, you'll find accommodation even more expensive as it's typically furnished or partly furnished.

Cost of transport in Germany

There are many options when it comes to transport in Germany, but not all of them are cheap.

Germany offers a wide range of public transport options, including InterCity Express (ICE), regular InterCity (IC) trains, regional trains, and local trains. Trains are often the fastest and most efficient way to get around, though ICE trains are typically more expensive than IC and regional trains. The Bahn Card is a good investment as it's valid for a year and can make train travel more economical.

Bus travel tends to be cheaper than train travel, and booking tickets in advance can result in reduced prices. If you live in major urban hubs such as Hamburg or Munich, you won't need to own a car thanks to well-developed public transport networks. However, driving in Germany can be costly, especially when it comes to fuel, parking, and maintenance.

Cost of groceries in Germany

While groceries in Germany are not cheap, they are considered more affordable than in France and Austria. Essential food items such as bread, fresh produce, and eggs are all reasonably priced.

If you're an expat looking to get a taste of home, expect to spend a fair bit on imported foods. You can reduce your monthly grocery bills by shopping for discounts and specials at some of Germany's most popular supermarkets, such as Aldi, Lidl, and Spar.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Germany

Entertainment and eating out in Germany can be pricey, depending on your preferences. Major metropolitan cities offer a variety of cuisines to enjoy. Food is generally reasonably priced, but drinks can be more expensive than what you may be used to.

Germany's cities offer exciting nightlife and rich arts and cultural experiences. However, you should budget carefully to enjoy these without breaking the bank. If you're looking to avoid hefty gym membership fees, consider joining a local sports team or taking walks or runs to explore your new areas and suburbs.

Cost of education in Germany

Education in Germany is of an excellent standard. Public schools don't charge fees and are well worth considering if you have children young enough to pick up the language or if you plan on staying for the long term.

But most expats send their children to international schools in Germany due to the language barrier and to continue in the curriculum from their home country. These tend to come at a steep price, though, and tuition fees vary according to the institution and the child's grade level.

Cost of healthcare in Germany

If you fall ill during your stay, you can rest assured that you will be in good hands due to exceptional healthcare in Germany. It is, however, compulsory to have some form of health insurance in Germany.

If you're employed in Germany, you can take advantage of the state health insurance plan, which offers subsidised health insurance. However, if you are self-employed, you'll need to purchase private health insurance, which can cost a great deal.

International health insurance premiums vary according to the age and health of the individual and the type of coverage they need.

Cost of living in Germany chart

Note that prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Berlin for May 2024.

Accommodation (monthly rent)
Three-bedroom apartment in the city centreEUR 2,450
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centreEUR 1,810
One-bedroom apartment in the city centreEUR 1,315
One-bedroom apartment outside the city centreEUR 925
Food and drink
Dozen eggsEUR 4.45
Milk (1 litre)EUR 1.25
Rice (1kg)EUR 2.85
Loaf of white breadEUR 2.10
Chicken breasts (1kg)EUR 6.15
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)EUR 8.30
Eating out
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurantEUR 75
Big Mac MealEUR 10.15
Coca-Cola (330ml)EUR 2.95
CappuccinoEUR 3.80
Bottle of beer (local)EUR 1.10
Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)EUR 0.10
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)EUR 40
Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)EUR 260
Taxi rate/kmEUR 2.40
City-centre public transport fareEUR 3.60
Gasoline/Petrol (per litre)EUR 1.85

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