As you would expect in any European capital city, the cost of living in Berlin is fairly high. Berlin was ranked 37th out of 227 cities surveyed in the 2023 Mercer Cost of Living Survey. According to the survey, the cost of living in Berlin is about the same as in Munich (38th) but more expensive than in some European cities such as Madrid and Stockholm.

Regardless, if you're an expat, you'll find that certain things, such as the cost of rental accommodation, are just a fraction of what you'd pay in other European cities, such as London or Copenhagen.

Health insurance is an expense that no one moving to Germany can avoid, so you are advised to negotiate for a provision for this within your employment contracts wherever possible.

While expat parents moving to Berlin will have a wide variety of choices when it comes to schooling, the cost of international school fees is steep.

Cost of accommodation in Berlin

As in much of Germany, Berlin residents tend to rent rather than buy property. If you move to the city, you'll also generally rent accommodation in Berlin, owing to the short-term nature of your assignments.

Rent in Berlin is generally lower than in other German cities, even more so if you opt for accommodation further away from the city centre.

Cost of transport in Berlin

Berlin has an excellent public transport network, and it is generally more affordable than transportation in Frankfurt and Munich. Having a car in Berlin is unnecessary, and most expats prefer to use buses, trams and the metro.

If you plan on utilizing public transport to commute to and from work daily, you can save money by investing in a travel pass. This is valid on all modes of public transportation.

Cycling is popular with the local population in Berlin. It is by far the most cost-effective way to get around the city. Berlin's infrastructure also caters well for cyclists, with plenty of dedicated lanes and storage facilities for bicycles scattered throughout the city.

Cost of groceries in Berlin

Despite being Germany's capital city, Berlin is surprisingly affordable. Groceries in Berlin are less pricey than in other parts of the country as well as in other parts of Europe such as the Netherlands, France and Belgium. You can further reduce your grocery basket costs by shopping at discount stores like Aldi, Penny and Lidl.

Health-conscious expats willing to shell out a bit more for organic or biofood can visit more premium supermarkets such as EDEKA and Rewe. These stores usually sell more speciality items and a wider range of products.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Berlin

Naturally, the cost of entertainment and eating out will vary according to your tastes and preferences. But if you're moving to Germany, you'll find there are opportunities to either save or splurge according to most budgets.

When it comes to food, Berlin has everything from upscale bistros to street food stalls, so you're sure to find good quality food to satisfy any craving and fit any budget. While entrance to Berlin's top nightclubs comes with a small fee, the city has many bars and eateries with live music at no extra cost.

There are many free pursuits to enjoy, too, such as savouring a summer's day in the park, visiting local markets or going for a cycle. So even if you want to save while living in Berlin, you can do so without missing out on social life.

Cost of education in Berlin

While Berlin has a fair few international schools, you'll find that tuition fees are particularly high. If you're not lucky enough to be given an allowance for your children's school fees, you should investigate the prospect of bilingual schools in Berlin.

These are public schools where children are taught in both German and another language. Bilingual schools in Germany operate at little to no cost, which makes them far more affordable than international options.

Cost of healthcare in Berlin

Berlin is home to some excellent hospitals, and you can be assured that you'll be well taken care of in the city. Everyone in Germany must have some form of health insurance though, so this is something that you must factor in if you're moving to Berlin.

If you're employed by a company operating in Germany, you can take advantage of the state health insurance plan, which is well subsidized. Those earning above a certain income bracket will not qualify for public health insurance. In this case, private insurance becomes compulsory, and you're advised to try to negotiate a healthcare allowance within your contract of employment.

Freelancers and those who are self-employed will also need to purchase private health insurance, which is significantly more expensive. Private insurance varies according to the age and health of a person, as well as the type of cover required.

Cost of living in Berlin 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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