What are the pros and cons of living in Berlin?
A complete look at the positives and negatives of living in Berlin, as seen through the eyes of one expatriate. The expense of living, the ease of finding an apartment to rent, establishing friends and dating in the area, finding employment, and whether or not the city is welcoming to families with children and dogs.
Are you considering making Berlin your new home and want to find out more about life in the city? Wonder no more! As foreign residents who have called Berlin home for the last three years (and counting), we are going to spill the beans!
Even while it’s not hard to fall in love with Berlin’s free-spirit mindset and its one-of-a-kind ambiance, there are a few drawbacks to living in the city that you should be aware of.
Moving to a new country is a significant choice in life. If you haven’t done enough study or planning, it has the potential to either make or ruin you (and your money account).
But there is no need to be concerned since that is where we come in. We are going to talk about our own experiences on what it’s like to live in Berlin.
You got it correctly! We are considering all of the benefits and drawbacks of becoming expatriates in Berlin. The cost of living, the convenience of finding an apartment to rent, establishing friends and dating in the city, finding employment, and whether or not the city is welcoming to families and dogs are all important considerations.
Living in Berlin: The Pros and Cons
Better Tenant Protections and Lower Rents in Berlin are Both Positives
The days are long gone when it was possible to rent a 2-room flat in Berlin for less than €600 per month. The annual rate of inflation in this area has resulted in a significant rise in the typical cost of renting an apartment here.
However, as compared to other major cities in Germany or other European capitals, rental costs in Berlin are much lower (for now).
Another advantage is that if you are a renter in Berlin, you are protected by a comprehensive set of laws.
From the amount that your rent may legally rise by, to the maximum rate that a landlord can charge you, to whether or not you will receive your security deposit returned when you move out.
And what about the finest part? To be able to enforce tenant laws in Berlin, it is not necessary to have prior knowledge of all of the applicable legislation. You may join tenant organizations for a low monthly fee, giving you access to economical legal assistance whenever it’s required.
To speak for ourselves, we are members of the Berliner Mieterverein (Berlin Tenant Association). A little charge of 9 Euros per month is required. But my goodness gracious, that was money well spent! Especially if you are an international tenant looking for a place to live in Germany.
Expats who are unfamiliar with the rules that protect tenants are vulnerable to being taken advantage of by many landlords. Because of this, and the fact that speaking German may be challenging at times, the vast majority of expats will just let the landlord get away with it.
But if you join any tenant organization in Germany that has a good reputation, you will be able to acquire answers to all of your tenant-related issues once and for all!
As a member, you will also get legal counsel if it is necessary. If you want to rent in Berlin for a period of two years or more, then it is definitely money well spent.
The argument in favor: Every Berlin District Boasts Its Own Distinct Personality
There is a possibility that Berlin is not the most attractive city in Europe. However, where it falls short in sophistication, it more than makes up for in character.
We really like that the city is made up of such a diverse assortment of districts and that each area has its own set of qualities. From the fashionable, “hipster,” and trendy neighborhoods to the more tranquil and family-friendly suburbs, as well as everything in between!
If you are considering moving to Berlin but are not acquainted with the city, our guide to the neighborhoods of Berlin might be of assistance to you.
Con: At Times, Berlin Can Have An Unsafe And Unclean Feeling To It
The crime rate in Berlin is quite low, making it a relatively secure place to call home. But we won’t sugarcoat the truth: certain areas and streets are unkempt and even give off an air of danger.
The city of Berlin is home to one of the highest unemployment rates in all of Germany. It is thus more likely to come across homeless persons in this city in comparison to other German cities.
When compared to London and Paris, Berlin is a more alternative and gritty city overall. But those who are prepared to put in the effort to get to know Berlin will fall in love with the city’s mentality, and not necessarily its physical beauty.
Pro: It is much simpler to get jobs in Berlin that need just English language skills
Okay… Let us clarify. Finding employment in Berlin that need merely the ability to speak English is not an easy task. However, in comparison to other cities in Germany, this one is unquestionably more simpler.
This is due to the fact that Berlin is a magnet for numerous companies. Most of which are in desperate need of qualified individuals, particularly if you work in the information technology (IT) field.
Therefore, if you are a software engineer, a programmer, a web or app developer, or if you have expertise in e-commerce and biotech, you should have no trouble finding a position in Berlin that requires simply English-speaking skills.
After having spent the last three years calling Berlin home, we are able to confirm that this is really the case.
Not only is the cost of living in Berlin cheaper when compared to that of other large cities in Germany, but Berlin also has a higher standard of life. However, in comparison to other capital cities in western Europe, the cost of living there is one of the lowest.
The monthly rent for an apartment, the cost of health insurance, and the cost of energy are the three largest expenses associated with living in Berlin. Other costs, such as groceries, public transportation, entertainment, and eating out, are often not prohibitively expensive in large cities throughout Europe.
Living in Berlin has many advantages, and this is one of the most significant ones. However, how much of a decrease in price can we expect?
Have a look at our guide to the cost of living in Berlin. We have compiled a list of all of the regular costs that are associated with making your home in the capital city of Germany.
Con: Lower Average Salaries in Berlin
The lower cost of living in Berlin is accompanied with lower average income, though, so there is a trade-off involved.
According to Statista, the typical incomes in Berlin are ten to twenty percent lower when compared to those in other important cities in Germany such as Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Munich, and Stuttgart.
It might be challenging to find work in Berlin that provide high salaries. Unless, of course, you’re working in information technology. If this is not the case, you should anticipate earning a lower salary for jobs that are comparable elsewhere in Germany.
But there’s no need to be concerned about it since, as we’ve said before, the reduced cost of living in Berlin more than makes up for it.
Con: Finding a Good Apartment to Rent in Berlin Can Be Difficult
It’s a well-known fact that finding a good flat to rent in Berlin may be challenging.
Not only is the supply of rental apartments in Berlin insufficient to meet the ever-increasing demand for places to live in the city, but there are also not enough rental flats available.
But navigating all of the paperwork and documentation you’ll need to even begin the application process for renting a property may be a significant obstacle in and of itself.
You should also be aware that you will need to do all of this in German. Particularly if you want to improve your chances of finding a rental flat in Berlin.
We are aware of what you are considering… If landlords are going to go to this much trouble, they may as well require prospective tenants to provide a sample of unicorn blood with their rental application, right?
We share in your suffering! Due to the fact that we are expats who have rented apartments in Berlin on two separate occasions, we are well aware of how difficult the process can be.
Because of this, we have decided to write in-depth guides in which we share our insights and recommendations with other expats who are coming to Berlin.
From how to rent apartments in Berlin (including a list of documents that are required and websites that you should look at), to advice on how to avoid falling victim to Berlin apartment scams, to information on how to avoid getting culture shock when renting for the first time in Germany, this guide covers it all.
Con: Strong German language skills are required for most non-IT jobs.
But what if you’re not in the IT field? Is it still feasible to locate employment in Berlin that needs English?
Of course, it’s conceivable. However, as you can expect, they’re in great demand. Working conditions are often poor, and pay are cheap.
Without German proficiency, it’s difficult to get a corporate position in Berlin. To be considered for most roles, you must be able to communicate in both English and German.
It takes a long time to become proficient in a language. If you’re thinking about relocating to Berlin, we suggest that you begin studying German as soon as possible.
It will not just make it simpler to get work in Berlin. It will, however, assist you in settling into your new life in Germany.
Get a jump start with our list of 22 free online German learning resources. We’ve also given our own experiences and honest opinions on the effectiveness of Duolingo, Busuu, and Lingoda for learning German.
Pro: Berlin is a popular destination for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and creatives.
One of the main reasons we like living in Berlin is because of this.
Many creatives, freelancers, and entrepreneurs flock to the city. Follow your passion and make your ideas a reality, from entertainers and artists to digital nomads, freelancers, and visionaries.
Berlin is an immensely fascinating and inspirational place to live in, as digital nomads and freelancers ourselves.
Following your aspirations is never an easy road. Along the process, there are many ups and downs. However, being surrounded by a large creative community who are all doing the same thing makes all the difference.
Another lovely aspect of Berlin is that, when feasible, residents encourage creatives and small company owners rather than huge, established corporations.
Con: Starting off as a freelancer or creative in Berlin might be difficult.
It is difficult to relocate overseas. It’s much more difficult if you’re a freelancer or a creative.
This is true even in a creative city like Berlin, and it is one of the major drawbacks of relocating here.
You’ll have to find out how to traverse the ocean of bureaucracy that is usual in Germany as a new expat. However, do everything in a foreign tongue!
Everything from filling out a rental application to signing up for energy, gas, or internet, to converting your international driver’s license and paying your taxes in Germany.
Pro: Berlin Encourages Work-Life Balance Life
In Berlin, work-life balance is ingrained in the culture. One of the numerous reasons why expats fell in love with the city is because of this.
In a culture where burnouts are worn like badges of merit, how many major cities throughout the globe can you identify where this is feasible and not looked upon?
Berlin, as you may have guessed, is not your typical capital city. There is no financial area in Berlin, and seeing individuals dressed in business clothes is unusual.
Working part-time to spend more time with your family (or yourself) is the standard, not the exception. It’s also not unheard of to leave your work in order to fully enjoy the summer.
Con: Berlin Isn’t Germany’s Economic Powerhouse
Berlin prides itself on being a ‘poor but glamorous’ city. Many people who like the hustle and strong energy of London may find Berlin to be a little lethargic.
It’s unusual for a capital city to be the country’s economic engine. However, because to the events of World War II and the Berlin Wall, Berlin is an exception.
Berlin has had a tumultuous history. However, we believe that these problems have fashioned Berlin into the remarkable city that it is.
Con: To really appreciate Berlin life, you must learn German.
Berlin is a multicultural city. But it doesn’t imply you can skip German entirely and get away with only English.
People in Berlin and the rest of Germany are not as welcoming of English speakers as they are in the Netherlands. Of sure, the natives can communicate in English. However, being able to talk and being willing to speak are two very different things.
One of the drawbacks of living in Berlin is this. Especially considering (we won’t lie) learning German is difficult.
However, putting out the effort to learn the language will allow you to really appreciate Berlin living. Whether it’s finding work, integrating into the city, or establishing German friends, it’s all part of the process.
We are not proficient in German. Our German language proficiency is barely A2/B1. However, we’ve discovered that when we make an attempt to speak German, even if it’s not flawless, the locals are more welcoming and kind.
In Berlin, no experience is too taboo or alternative.
If your life philosophy is to try everything at least once, you’re on the right track. The Berlin lifestyle will suit you well.
In Berlin, no experience is too unconventional or controversial. It doesn’t matter how strange or exotic it is in other nations.
Yes, public nudity (also known as ‘FKK’ or ‘freikörperkultur’) is rather common here. In Berlin, it’s not uncommon to see individuals sunning or swimming naked in parks and lakes.
Con: It’s difficult to make friends and date in Berlin.
In Berlin, meeting new people is a breeze. But forming a deeper, more meaningful friendship is a whole other thing.
Establishing a meaningful relationship and making friends (particularly with Germans) are two issues that many expatriates face when they move to Berlin.
Maybe it’s simply a peculiarity of the large metropolis. Or the fact that Berlin is a transitory city with too many diversions for individuals to build meaningful bonds.
Con: Berliners aren’t known for being very friendly.
Berlin is a lot of things. However, being recognized for kindness is seldom one of them.
Berliners’ rough and abrasive manner of speaking is so well-known that it has its own name: Berliner Schnauze (i.e the Berlin snout).
Of course, this does not apply to the whole Berlin population. However, if you’ve ever dealt with customer service here, you’ll likely understand what we’re talking about.
Berliners are kind and genuine.
The good news is that many Berliners have a warm and loving personality underneath their chilly exterior. To warm up to you, they just need more time and a shared subject. Bonus points if you try to communicate in German.
Finally, know that if a Berliner regards you as a friend or wants to pursue a serious love connection with you, they mean it.
Pro: Berlin’s Nonconformist Culture
This is the main advantage of living in Berlin, in our opinion. Berlin’s nonconformist, free-to-be-whoever-you-want-to-be culture.
It’s difficult to convey until you’ve been through it. However, as travel bloggers, we’ve been to numerous destinations throughout the globe and haven’t seen anything like this.
Berlin is undoubtedly one of the world’s most LGBT-friendly cities. However, it is also a city where no one cares what clothing or brands you wear, what you do for a living, or how much money you earn.
Living in a place where these material and superficial things do not determine who you are as a person is really freeing.
Cons: Nonconformity does not imply a reduction in bureaucracy.
Berlin may be the most ‘un-German’ city in Germany. However, you won’t be free of paperwork, bureaucracy, or delayed digitization in Germany.
You’ll still need to go through the same schelp as if you were relocating to another German city.
For example, the struggle to get Anmeldung in Germany or the payment of German TV tax (when you don’t possess a television). Dealing with erratic and sluggish internet connections.
Because many establishments do not accept credit cards, I’m paying cash. And breathlessly awaiting the arrival of snail mail since e-mails aren’t considered ‘formal’ enough.
Yes, things in Germany are still quite old school, which is a cultural shock for many. However, it is a tiny price to pay for the freedom that Berlin provides.
When it comes to digitization and technology, Germany is behind the curve. But it doesn’t imply you can’t live a contemporary life in Berlin despite these drawbacks.
More and more digital firms are entering the market, such as N26, Revolut, bunq (digital banking), and Ostrom (energy supplier). They’re also quite expat-friendly.
Pro: Berlin is a welcoming city for families.
Berlin is a family-friendly city in addition to having a good work-life balance. There are several green spaces, parks, and playgrounds for children. However, having children in Berlin comes with financial and social benefits (and the rest of Germany).
Both maternity and paternity leave are recognized in this country. And each parent may take up to three years of parental leave per kid until that youngster turns three.
As a result, dads in Germany are often seen actively participating in child rearing. What a fantastic idea!
In Berlin, there aren’t enough kindergartens (or Kitas).
One of the major disadvantages of having children in Berlin is the difficulty in locating a kindergarten place for your child. Particularly if you need bilingual kitas.
Many expats advise that as soon as you find out you’re pregnant, you should start searching for and applying for kitas! Say what?!
Pro: Berlin Is A Popular Study Abroad Destination
True, all public colleges and universities in Germany are free! Yes, this includes globally renowned German institutions such as the Freie Universität Berlin (Free University of Berlin).
This seems to be insane and unreal. Especially when compared to places like the United States, where it’s common to take years to pay off your student debt.
This also applies to international students! Germany has a long history of giving free university education to everyone who meets the prerequisites.
I’m not sure what one of the main advantages of living in Berlin (or Germany) is.
Con: German language skills are required in many university or college programs.
The disadvantage is that most programs offered by Germany’s free public colleges and universities need an appropriate level of German language abilities.
If your children grew raised here and speak the language, this shouldn’t be a major deal. If you want to study in Berlin, you need start studying German right away.
With Lingoda, you can study German from anywhere in the globe. They provide German language classes based on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference).
This means they follow the same curriculum as conventional language schools and provide you with official language certifications upon completion.
The only difference is that everything is done over the internet! As a result, you can study a language whenever and wherever you choose.
Advantage: Berlin Is A Dog-Friendly City
We’re not qualified to provide any advice about having human kids in Berlin. However, we can tell you everything about having dogs as pets!
Franky is the newest addition to the Nomad And In Love gang. He’s a North Macedonian refugee who loves his new life in Berlin.
What’s not to like about this? On public transportation and regional trains, dogs are permitted. There are several dog-friendly cafés and restaurants, as well as dog parks where you may meet other dog enthusiasts and owners.
Cons: Difficulty and a lot of dog laws to learn Renting a Pet-Friendly Apartment
Although Berlin is a dog-friendly city, it does have certain drawbacks. The major disadvantage is that renting an apartment with dogs is almost difficult.
Landlords cannot legally prohibit renters from keeping dogs. However, due to the strong demand for homes in Berlin, most landlords will simply disregard your rental application if you state that you have pets.
Another thing to keep in mind while having a dog in Berlin is that there are dog regulations in place. And yes, there is a dog tax and necessary dog liability insurance, as well as a specific license required to walk your dog off-leash!
Are you considering getting a dog in Berlin? Follow us on social media or sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on upcoming dog-owning guides in Germany.
Pro: There is a sizable international expat community in Berlin.
Berlin, in case you hadn’t noticed, has a sizable multinational community. Moreover, a third of Berlin’s population is from outside Germany, according to the city’s official website.
This is a feature of Berlin that many foreigners like. It may not be as diverse as London or Paris. However, there is a rather broad mix here, with people of all origins, backgrounds, and perspectives.
Nightclubs Are Known for Their Prolonged Lineups and Strict Admission Policies
If you want to have a good time at some of Berlin’s most renowned nightclubs, you need to be prepared to stand in absurdly lengthy lines and comply with stringent entry requirements.
It is not unheard of for people to have to wait anywhere from four to seven hours (since COVID) simply to TRY to get into Berghain.
We have made TWO attempts to get admission to the infamously exclusive club. After waiting for more than four hours (twice! ), while standing in the freezing cold in the thick of winter, neither effort was successful.
We tried every possible solution listed in the manual. Dress in a relaxed manner. Dress in nothing but black. Don’t seem intoxicated or wasted. Be careful not to laugh, giggle, or talk excessively. Look emo. Give the impression that you are ready to cut your own wrists. However, it was still unable to complete the assignment.
I suppose we shouldn’t feel too sorry for ourselves. Elon Musk didn’t get into Berghain either.
As a non-smoker who lives in Berlin, there is one more disadvantage you should be aware of. There are hardly any pubs in this area that are smoke-free. Con: The winters in Berlin are dreary and chilly.
If the summers in Berlin are so amazing, then the winters in Berlin can only be defined as the complete antithesis of that.
After the excitement of the Berlin Christmas markets, you will have to suffer through three months of having a very limited list of things to do throughout the winter.
There are times when the weather in Berlin may be rather chilly. The appearance of snow is unusual yet eagerly anticipated. However, what really brings you down is the cloudy weather and the absence of bright sunlight. Con: Some of Berlin’s Train Stations Have a Questionable and Unsafe Atmosphere
However, there are certain drawbacks to using Berlin’s public transportation. There are certain railway stations that give off a sketchy and hazardous vibe. Especially if it’s the middle of the night and you’re a lady traveling by herself.
In Germany, there is not a single railway station that has any kind of barrier or turnstile. Therefore, regardless of whether or not they have a ticket, absolutely anybody may step onboard the train with you.
But there is no need to be concerned. It is not necessarily dangerous just because it has a shady vibe about it.
Berlin has a relatively low overall crime rate. Additionally, there are a lot of good Samaritans in this area, which means that if assistance is required, a kind stranger will always be there to provide it.
There are people in Berlin who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The first two years that we were here, we weren’t really aware of it very much at all. However, by the third year, your vitamin D levels have been depleted, and you will begin to see the effects of this.
Living in Berlin has a number of benefits, one of the most significant of which being the convenience of traveling to warmer climates during the winter months.
Berlin is a city that may be found right in the middle of Europe. Therefore, it is not difficult to go to a different nation in only a few hours.
You could schedule a fast weekend trip to Prague, take a train for five hours to go to Amsterdam to view the world-famous Dutch windmills in Kinderdijk, or take a flight for three hours to get to Crete’s most stunning beaches. All of these options are feasible.
Nightlife in Berlin is considered to be among the best in the world.
The nightlife and music scene in Berlin are well-known for being some of the best in the world. You name anything, Berlin has everything. If you can conceive it, Berlin has it.
The majority of people are familiar with Berlin’s well-known techno culture. But you may not be aware that there is a growing international music scene in the city as well.
In Berlin, tango dancing was just as authentic as it would be in Buenos Aires. When you dance salsa as they do in Cuba, you’ll work up a good sweat. You’ll feel as if you’re in the Dominican Republic when you dance to the sensual sounds of bachata music. You may perhaps get your groove on to the seductive African sounds of kizomba music and imagine that you’re in Angola.
Pro: Berlin Is A Friendly Place To Ride Your Bike
The city of Berlin is particularly accommodating to cyclists. The vast majority of Berlin is covered by a network of dedicated bike lanes. When there isn’t any, cycling on the road is quite safe to do. The vast majority of automobiles are courteous to bicycles and almost always make room for them.
Cycling in Berlin has a number of additional positive aspects. Not only is it one of the most cost-effective methods of getting to the city, but it’s also one of the most convenient. Cycling is not only better for the environment, but it also allows you to reach your location much more quickly than utilizing public transportation would.
Before you get on your bike, you should make sure that you are aware with all of the regulations of the road pertaining to riding in Germany. You won’t have to pay any penalties, which will save you money, and it will keep you safe while you’re driving.
One of the advantages of living in Berlin is the presence of designated bicycle lanes.
Berlin’s urban core has a network of dedicated bike lanes.
Theft of Bicycles Is Common in Berlin, Which Is a Con
The theft of bicycles is a widespread problem throughout Europe, and Berlin is not an exception.
The Berliner Zeitung reports that annually, more than 28,000 bicycles are taken from their owners in the city of Berlin. That equates to an average of 77 bicycles being taken without permission each and every single day. Yikes!
Buying a bike in Berlin isn’t inexpensive either. A simple but high-quality city bike that has gears may set you back anywhere from 230 to 600 euros (at the very least).
And let’s not forget about the other extra charges, such as purchasing at least two locks of good quality, the price of repairing and maintaining the bike, and purchasing insurance against bike theft.
It won’t take long for the fees to build up. Because of this, we make use of a monthly bike-sharing firm known as Swapfiets. We receive a high-quality, 7-speed city bike that we retain as if it were our own and it only costs us €19.50 per month to rent it.
Not only do Swapfiets bikes seldom get stolen. However, this monthly payment takes care of any and all maintenance and repair expenses. If anything on your bike breaks or stops functioning, Swapfiets will fix it within 48 hours or offer you a free exchange for another bike if they have one available.
In this comprehensive review of Swapfiets, we have outlined both the positive and negative aspects of the product. Use our guide to Berlin Bike Sharing if you’re unsure whether or not the bike lifestyle is right for you before making a long-term commitment to the lifestyle.
The Summers in Berlin Are Unforgettable Pro
Summers in Berlin are memorable. At this time of year, the city truly comes to life with a plethora of events and opportunities to participate in all over the city.
Swimming on one of Berlin’s numerous lakes, attending an outdoor festival or dance event, going to a movie in the park (known as a “freiluftkino”) on the weekend, or even just relaxing in the park with a couple of drinks are all options. In Berlin, even in the summer, there is never a dull moment.
The Public Transportation System in Berlin Is User-Friendly and Reasonably Priced
The city of Berlin is quite walkable, and there is a wide variety of transportation alternatives available. You may use traditional public transportation, such as trains and buses, utilize bike-sharing, hire electric scooters, or jump on an Uber or Bolt. Other options include these.
Another advantage is that it is not prohibitively expensive to purchase. In Berlin, a monthly ticket for the public transportation system is €86, which is less than half the price of what it would be in London.
The city of Berlin offers visitors a diverse selection of dining options.
Foodies will have a great time in Berlin due to the city’s wide selection of eateries serving a variety of cuisines. In addition, there are always new hip and happening hangouts sprouting up all throughout the city.
We are thrilled that there is something available for every customer’s price range. From eateries offering meals for less than €5 to the most upscale and pricey dining experiences available at restaurants with Michelin stars.
Additionally, there is a strong vegan community in Berlin. Not only is there a vast selection of vegan restaurants and cafés in the city of Berlin, but there are also several vegan-friendly grocery stores. However, even places that don’t provide vegan food often have vegan choices available.
Even Berlin’s signature currywurst, also known as curry sausage, is available in a version that is suitable for vegans. That ought to speak volumes.
Con: Hot and Spicy Foods Have Been “Germanized”
While the fact that there is such a wide variety of eateries in Berlin is undoubtedly beneficial. The disadvantage is that not all establishments serving historically spicy cuisines, such as those serving Indian, Mexican, or even Asian food, adhere to the standards of authenticity.
The majority of restaurants have a tendency to “Germanize” their food by toning down the level of spice in order to appeal to German taste buds.
Numerous Parks and Lakes Scattered Throughout Berlin and Its Surrounding Areas
The nightlife scene in Berlin is famous all around the globe. However, were you aware that it is also considered to be one of the greenest cities in all of Europe? The city of Berlin is almost entirely made up of green spaces, such as parks, woods, canals, rivers, and lakes.
You may reach the biggest forest on the west side of Berlin by taking a rail journey or a bicycle ride that lasts between 30 and 50 minutes. And if you’re up for some swimming or stand-up paddling (SUP), Berlin alone has more than 50 lakes, as well as three rivers, eight canals, and other waterways that you can explore.
The one and only difficult part? Choosing between different destinations, of course!
But don’t worry; our guide to outdoor activities in Berlin for those who like being in the great outdoors will help you out.
Con: There are few opportunities for mountain hiking in Berlin
Hiking opportunities abound in and around Berlin, and there are several trails to choose from. If, on the other hand, you were hoping to go on mountain treks, you’re out of luck.
The city of Berlin is not very hilly. There are some rolling hills, but no mountains in the area. Teufelsberg, which sits at an elevation of 120 meters above mean sea level, is not even a natural feature; rather, it is the result of human construction.
But there is no need to panic, mountain people. For some mountain trekking, you could always take a weekend vacation from Berlin to either the Saxon Switzerland National Park or the Harz National Park. Both of these parks are in Germany.
The city of Berlin places a significant emphasis on eco-friendly and sustainable ways of living.
Living in Berlin has a lot of benefits, but this is another one of our favorites. In the city, there is a significant emphasis placed on being more eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable.
From the construction of more cycling lanes and roads that are reserved only for bicycle traffic to the use of less plastic and the establishment of establishments with no trash collection, there are many ways to encourage more people to ride.
In addition, residents of Berlin and Germany are obliged by law to segregate their trash into its many components before disposing of it.
In general, seasonal food rather than fruits and vegetables imported from other countries is sold in supermarkets across Germany.
We won’t tell you a fib; it may be difficult to be unable to prepare your go-to recipe with asparagus when winter rolls around. However, we believe that making this very little sacrifice in order to save the environment is worthwhile.
Con: Recycling in Berlin Requires Some Climbing of the Learning Curve
Speaking from our own experience as foreigners who had never studied German before to moving to Berlin, we had no prior knowledge of the language. In Germany, learning how to properly separate and sort waste may be a challenging and time-consuming endeavor at first.
To begin, there are at least six distinct containers in which you are required to place your garbage once it has been separated. In addition to the typical plastic, paper, organic waste, and other types of garbage, there are also designated containers for colorful glass and white glass.
Also, make sure you don’t overlook the fact that used batteries and outdated electrical equipment need to be recycled. These garbage cans are not allowed in your housing complex for whatever reason.
To recycle these items, however, you may take them to the grocery shop (like Edeke or Rewe) or pharmacy (like DM or Rossman) that is located closest to you.
Second, every single sign and piece of directional phrasing is written in German. Obviously, you always have the option of attempting to decode the pictograms. However, if you come from a nation in where recycling is not the standard practice. You can get the impression that you’re trying to decode hieroglyphs instead.
I’m sure that as expats, you’ve also made the error of wasting money because you didn’t understand what the “pfand” sign meant, right?
Arguments in Favor of Berlin’s High Quality of Life
Taking into account all of these positives and negatives, we believe that the quality of life in Berlin is rather high.
The cost of living is relatively cheap, the lifestyle is less stressful and calmer, the city has a nice blend of urban and natural settings, and it is an excellent place whether you are single and seeking to start a family or are looking to create a family and are looking to start a family.
It’s possible that it doesn’t have the same high-energy, busy atmosphere that cities like London or New York have. However, we like Berlin precisely because of its one-of-a-kind qualities and characteristics.
Should I Consider Relocating to Berlin?
If you’ve read this far, you’ve undoubtedly contemplated whether or not you should relocate to Berlin at some point.
In the end, the choice is entirely yours to make. Moving to a new country is a significant choice. Berlin is no exception to the rule that every city has both positive and negative aspects to it.
The most important piece of advice that we can provide to you is to take a close look at the drawbacks of living in Berlin and to ask yourself whether you will be able to tolerate them after the honeymoon phase is over.
We’ve spoken to expats who like Berlin as well as others who despise living there. On the other hand, few individuals have a neutral attitude about the city.
Living conditions in the nation’s capital are not always ideal. Especially if you are unable to adapt to the many cultural shocks and difficulties that you may face while living in the city.
But for those who have traveled all the way to Berlin with their minds and hearts wide open. You will be rewarded with some of the greatest life-altering events that are possible for you to have in your lifetime.
After all, Berlin is not only a location; rather, it refers to a certain frame of mind.
That was one absurdly lengthy article, so in order to summarize it all, here it is in a nutshell:
The advantages and disadvantages of making your home in Berlin, Germany
The cost of living is quite cheap, but incomes are also on the low end.
Rental costs are quite cheap for a metropolis located in Europe, although they are on the rise.
It is notoriously difficult to find a suitable flat to rent in Berlin.
An interesting and varied assortment of neighborhoods in Berlin, each with a lot of personalities.
Some areas are more unkempt than others, and residents sometimes report feeling uncomfortable there.
It’s not hard to locate work that requires English proficiency but only in specialized fields like information technology.
There is a sizable population of artists, businesspeople, and independent workers in Berlin.
A large group of people living abroad in Berlin.
Both families and their canine companions are welcome in Berlin.
Berlin’s public colleges and universities don’t charge tuition, however, the majority of courses are only offered in German.
The culture in Berlin is non-conformist and encourages people to be themselves.
The cost of using public transportation is reasonable, and cycling is encouraged throughout the city.
The summer is great, but the winter is miserable.
If you want to get the most out of your time spent in Berlin, you should make an effort to learn some German.
The ‘Germanization’ of spicy cuisines is a disadvantage.
While the variety of eateries in Berlin is a plus, The disadvantage is that certain historically hot meals, such as Indian, Mexican, and even Asian cuisines, are not necessarily genuine.
To appeal to the German palate, most restaurants ‘Germanize’ their food by reducing the heat.
Pro: There are several parks and lakes in and around Berlin.
The nightlife in Berlin is world-famous. But did you know it’s also one of Europe’s most environmentally friendly cities? Green parks, woods, canals, rivers, and lakes make up about half of Berlin.
near Berlin, a view of a lake surrounded by woods
In the Berlin-Brandenburg area, there are over 3,000 lakes to discover.
The biggest woodland on Berlin’s west side is accessible by bicycle or rail in 30 to 50 minutes. There are three rivers, eight canals, and more than 50 lakes in Berlin alone to explore whether you like swimming or stand-up paddling (SUP).
What’s the only component that’s a little tricky? Of course, choose a destination!
But don’t worry: we’ve got you covered with our Berlin Outdoor Things To Do guide for nature lovers.
The availability of mountain hiking in Berlin is limited.
In and around Berlin, there are several hiking opportunities. Mountain hikes, on the other hand, are not available.
The city of Berlin is quite flat. There are no mountains or hills in this area. At 120 meters above sea level, Berlin’s highest point (Teufelsberg) is a man-made structure.
Mountain lovers need not worry. You may always go mountain hiking on a weekend vacation from Berlin to the Saxon Switzerland National Park or the Harz National Park.
Pro: Berlin places a strong emphasis on living in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.
Another of our favorite advantages of living in Berlin is the opportunity to travel. In the city, there is a strong emphasis on becoming more environmentally conscious.
From more dedicated cycling routes and bicycle-only roads to the use of less plastic and zero-waste retailers, there are many things that can be done to promote riding. Furthermore, all residents of Berlin and Germany are obligated by law to sort and segregate their trash.
Seasonal food is also sold more often in German supermarkets than imported fruits and vegetables.
It’s true that being unable to prepare your favorite asparagus recipe during the winter months might be inconvenient. However, we believe that the minimal cost of environmental protection is justified.
Recycling in Berlin Has A Learning Curve
As expats who didn’t speak a word of German before moving to Berlin, we can attest to this. In Germany, there is a learning curve to sorting and separating rubbish.
To begin with, you must split your garbage into at least six distinct containers. There are containers for white glass and colored glass, as well as the normal plastic, paper, organic debris, and miscellaneous rubbish.
Also, remember to discard obsolete electrical gadgets and batteries. These containers aren’t likely to be found in your building. However, you may recycle them at your local supermarket (such as Edeke or Rewe) or pharmacy (DM or Rossman).
Second, every sign and instruction is in German. Of course, you may always attempt to figure out the pictograms. However, if you are from a nation where recycling is not the standard, you may find this to be a challenge. Instead, it might seem like you’re reading hieroglyphs.
I’m sure you’ve thrown money away as foreigners because you didn’t understand what the ‘pfand’ sign meant, right?
Pro: Berlin’s high standard of living
We believe that the quality of life in Berlin is excellent, despite all of the disadvantages.
The cost of living is cheap, the lifestyle is less hectic and more relaxing, the city offers a wonderful balance of urban and natural environments, and it’s a terrific place to live in whether you’re single or trying to establish a family.
It may lack London’s or New York’s high-energy, busy feel. However, Berlin is distinctive in its own right, and we adore it for it.
Is it a good idea for me to relocate to Berlin?
If you’ve read this far, you’ve undoubtedly considered moving to Berlin.
It is ultimately your choice. It is a major choice to relocate to another country. Berlin is no exception.
The most important piece of advise we can provide you is to consider the drawbacks of Berlin and decide if you can live with them when the honeymoon phase has passed.
We’ve encountered both positive and negative expats in Berlin. However, few people have a negative opinion of the city.
It might be difficult to live in the German capital. Especially if you can’t cope with some of the city’s cultural shocks and problems.
Those who have come to Berlin with an open heart and mind, however. Some of the greatest life-changing events await you.
Berlin is a mental state of mind, after all.
Now, because that was such a big article, here’s a brief summary:
- Berlin’s Benefits and Drawbacks
- Poor living costs but low pay
- For a European metropolis, rental costs are modest, yet rising quickly.
- Apartment rental in Berlin is notoriously difficult.
- Berlin has an interesting variety of neighborhoods.
- Some areas are more filthy than others, making them feel uncomfortable.
- English-speaking employment are plentiful, but only in particular fields, such as information technology.
- Creatives, entrepreneurs, and freelancers abound in Berlin.
- Berlin has a large expat population.
- Dogs and families are welcome in Berlin.
- In Berlin, public universities and colleges are free, however most programs need German proficiency.
- Berlin’s free-spirited, nonconformist culture
- The city is bike-friendly, and public transportation is cheap.
- Summer is wonderful, but winter is bleak.
- To fully make the most of your time in Berlin, you’ll need some German language abilities.