The cost of living in Germany is fairly high. Berlin is Germany's most expensive city, ranking 37th out of 227 cities in Mercer's 2023 Cost of Living Survey, while Munich came in second at 38th. This makes these cities 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 expenses for expats 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 is a country of renters, and few people buy property. For instance, only around 10 percent of people living in Berlin own their homes. While there are no major 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. Accommodation preferred by expats tends to be even more expensive as it's typically furnished or partly furnished.


Cost of groceries in Germany

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

Expats looking to get a taste of home can expect to spend a fair bit on imported foods. Newcomers can reduce their 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 expats' preferences. The country's major metropolitan cities offer a plethora of cuisines for diners to enjoy. Food is generally reasonably priced, while drinks are typically more expensive than what some expats may be used to. 

Germany's cities boast exciting nightlife and offer rich arts and culture experiences, but revellers and culture buffs will need to budget carefully to enjoy these without breaking the bank. Budget-conscious expats looking to avoid hefty gym membership fees in Germany can consider joining a local sports team or taking walks or runs to explore their 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 an option well worth considering for expats with children young enough to pick up the language, or those who 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 do tend to come at a steep price, though, and tuition fees vary according to the institution and the child's grade level.


Cost of transport in Germany

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

Trains are often the fastest and most efficient way to get around. Travelling on the InterCity Express trains tends to be pricier, while regular InterCity trains provide a cheaper alternative. Expats who plan on travelling by train should keep an eye out for special offers. The Bahn Card is also a good investment as it's valid for a year and is more economical.

Bus travel tends to be cheaper than travelling by train. If commuters book their tickets in advance, they can get seats at reduced prices.

Generally, expats living in major urban hubs such as Hamburg or Munich won't need to own a car thanks to well-developed public transport networks. For those who choose to drive in Germany, it isn't cheap – especially when it comes to fuel, parking and maintenance.


Cost of healthcare in Germany

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

Expats who are employed in Germany can take advantage of the state health insurance plan, which offers subsidised health insurance. That said, those who are self-employed will 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 as well as the type of cover they need. 


Cost of living in Germany chart

Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Munich in May 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 1,400

One-bedroom apartment outside city centre

EUR 1,100

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 2,500

Three-bedroom apartment outside city centre

EUR 1,800

Food and drink

Milk (1 litre)

EUR 1.32

Eggs (dozen)

EUR 3.41

Loaf of bread (white)

EUR 2

Rice (1kg)

EUR 2.40

Chicken breasts (1kg)

EUR 11

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

EUR 7.85

Utilities

Monthly internet (uncapped ADSL or cable)

EUR 37.41

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

EUR 0.11

Monthly utilities for standard household (electricity, water etc.)

EUR 308

Hourly rate for a domestic cleaner

EUR 18

Eating out and entertainment

Three-course meal for two at mid-range restaurant

EUR 68

Big Mac Meal

EUR 9.75

Cappuccino

EUR 3.62

Coca-Cola (330ml)

EUR 3.27

Beer (local)

EUR 4.50

Transportation

Taxi/km

EUR 2.08

City bus

EUR 3.65

Petrol per litre

EUR 1.92

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