Living in Germany: A guide For digital Nomads

As Europe’s economic powerhouse, Germany has become one of the most desirable destinations for expats, freelancers, and digital nomads. Whether you’re working out of a shared co-working office or embarking on an entrepreneurial adventure, you’ll find plenty of opportunities while living in Germany.

This culturally rich country has something for every type of traveller. You can live high in the snow-capped Bavarian Alps, on the port-side harbor in Hamburg, or in the buzzing center of Berlin. With amazing, hearty food, plenty of affordable beer, and rich culture, Germany is calling your name.

I spent the summer months living in Munich as a digital nomad, and in this guide, I’ll cover what life in Germany is like, and what to expect when moving to a new country. You’ll also learn about the cost of living in Germany, as well as a few cultural differences you might encounter.

Table of Contents
Cost of Living in Germany
Daily Life When Living in Germany
Cultural Differences to be aware of in Germany
Transportation in Germany
Where to live in Germany
Accommodation options in Germany
Visa situation for Americans, Canadians and UK Citizens
Pros and Cons of Living in Germany
Final Thoughts
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Cost of Living in Germany

Although Germany is considered one of the greatest economic powers in Europe, living in Germany doesn’t have to be expensive. especially compared to other European countries, Germany is relatively affordable. here are a few sample costs that you can expect to pay in some of Germany’s greatest cities.

Cost of accommodation in Germany

The cost of your apartment or condo in Germany will depend on several factors. For one, some cities are a lot more expensive than others. If you plan to live in Munich, you can expect your rent to be higher than if you live in Berlin, for example.

Another aspect to consider is where you live within the city. Although living in the inner city center might bring you closer to the main attractions, it will unavoidably be a lot more expensive than if you lived in the suburbs or outskirts.

If you want to save money, sharing an apartment or condo or house is an exceptional option. Not only will you save on accommodation costs, but you’ll have pals and roommates you can explore the city with.

Generally speaking, you can expect to pay the following accommodation costs when living in Germany:

Private 50sq meter apartment or condo in Berlin center: 650€  

Private 50sq meter apartment or condo in Cologne center: 800€  

Private 50sq meter apartment or condo in Munich center: 1100€  

Room in shared apartment or condo in Berlin: 400€  

Room in shared apartment or condo in Cologne: 450€  

Room in shared apartment or condo in Munich: 500€  

Cost of Food and drink in Germany

The cost of food and drink in Germany will mainly depend on what and where you eat. If you know where to look, you can fill up on some of your favorite German dishes for under 10€ ($11) a meal. On average, restaurant prices remain consistent, no matter what city you’re living in.

Meal in an economical restaurant: 8€ ($8.85)

Three-course meal in a mid-range restaurant: 30€ ($33.20)

Bottle of beer in a restaurant: 3€ ($3.30)

Glass of white wine in a restaurant: 5€ ($5.50)

Bottle of water in a restaurant: 2.50€ ($2.75)

Cooking at home is an exceptional option for saving money while living in Germany. Food in supermarkets or grocery stores is far more affordable than dining out in a restaurant. Not to mention, meats, cheeses, and fresh produce are typically more affordable in Germany than in the us or UK!

Cost of transportation in Germany

Thanks to the efficient public transportation system, getting around Germany is fast, pain-free, and in lots of cities, affordable. Whether you’re bar hopping between different neighborhoods or traversing cross-country around Germany, taking the train, bus, or subway is an exceptional option.

One-way bus/subway ticket in Berlin: 2.80€ ($3.10)

One-way bus/subway ticket in Cologne: 2.50€ ($2.75) 

One-way bus/subway ticket in Munich: 2.70€ ($3)

Train ticket from Berlin to Munich: 80€ ($88.50)

10-minute taxi ride: 10€ ($11)

Daily Life When Living in Germany

Living in Germany is an exciting opportunity for lots of digital nomads. Whether you’re exploring the country by train or sipping ice-cold lager in a beer garden, Germany presents lots of new experiences for travelers.

To help you adjust to your new home in Germany, keep the following in mind to make your transition an easy one.

Cash is Mandatory

Whether you’re dining in a restaurant or shopping in a market, you must always carry Euros in cash. While a lot of department stores and large-scale restaurants accept credit scores cards, it’s not guaranteed. In fact, I’ve even been stuck in a grocery store that only took German bank credit scores cards!

For this reason, it’s important always to have cash at hand.

Additionally, sales tax is normally included in the price you see on the label or menu. Unlike America, where the sales tax is added after, you can always expect to pay the price you see.

Relaxing on Sundays

When in Germany, make sure you do all your shopping during the week or on Saturday. once Sunday rolls around, markets, stores, and even family-owned restaurants close their doors for the day. That’s because Sunday is reserved for kicking back and spending time with family and pals instead of shopping or running errands.

Although a lot of restaurants and cafes stay open on Sunday, especially in the big vacationer neighborhoods, everything else is normally closed. You’ll also notice the cities feel a lot emptier during the day, as a lot of people stay in their apartments or houses on Sundays.

Public transportation is based on The honor System

When you take the train or subway in Germany, you probably won’t see any safety turnstiles or places to scan your ticket before entering. That’s because a lot of trains, buses, and trams are based on the honor system. While you are expected to get and validate your ticket, there’s no mechanical system that checks before you hop on board.

However, there may be disguised workers that will ask to see your ticket every once in a while. If you’re caught without one, you’ll be slapped with a large fine.

Recycling is a very severe Matter

As one of the most environment-friendly countries in the world, Germany has a complex but efficient recycling system. Not only do you need to separate trash from plastics, but you also need to sort your glass into brown, green, and clear containers.

Along the same lines, Germany also adds a “pfand” or deposit to plastic and glass items. If you bring the empty bottle back to the grocery store, you’ll get that money back. On average, the pfand is between .08€ to .25€ per item.

Work-Life balance is a lot more Flexible

Unlike other companies in the Western world, Germany services place a strong emphasis on work-life balance for employees.

Not only do a lot of employees get a minimum of 24 holiday days off, but they also tend to work fewer hours during the day. On the other hand, German employees need to be a lot more productive during the workday. Although they may work fewer hours than their American or UK counterparts, they still have the same amount of work to complete.

You also might find that lots of German employees do not work after leaving the office. While other cultures tend to answer emails at night, or even on weekends, this is relatively unheard of in Germany.

Check out these other digital Nomad destinations:

Living in Rome – A guide For digital Nomads

Guide to moving to Italy

Living in Munich – A guide for digital Nomads

Cost Of Living in Thailand – A guide for digital Nomads

Cultural Differences to be aware of in Germany

Although moving to a new country can be exciting, you don’t want to be completely taken aback by the German lifestyle. once you step to Germany, you might encounter a few cultural differences from what you are used to in your home country.

Communication style is Different

To say it frankly, Germans can be very direct communicators. Unlike other western cultures where it’s common to be passive and polite, Germans are known for being practical, honest, and straightforward.

For this reason, Germans often come across as disrespectful or negative to outsiders. However, this is rarely a malicious attitude and can be mostly blamed on the difference in cultures between Germany and other countries.

On the other hand, this indicates that lots of Germans are very true to their word. If a German makes plans with you, you can normally count on them to show up (and of course, to be on time).

Customer fulfillment isn’t a top Priority

If you expect that the customer is always right, then you might be in for a culture shock while living in Germany. Waitstaff, customer service agents, and service personnel normally favor process over customer satisfaction. That means, as a client or customer, there’s far less leniency in getting what you want.

Along the same lines, don’t expect your waiter or bartender to be over-friendly. While they must always be polite, it’s not common for them to make small talk or go out of their way to enhance your experience.Remember your “Du” and “Sie”

The German language consists of a formal and informal way of speaking to others. “Sie” is used in a formal setting, for elders and acquaintances, while “du” is used with friends, family, or other close relationships.

If you’re learning German or speaking to others in a workplace, remember that there are stark differences depending on who you’re addressing.

Transportation in Germany

The German transportation system is not just efficient and timely, but also easy to navigate.

Germany is home to several international airports, including Frankfurt, Cologne, Berlin, and Munich. If you plan on traveling outside the country, then flying out of one of Germany’s airports is an exceptional option.

However, if you plan to travel domestically, or to cities in neighboring countries, then taking the train can be much easier and faster than flying. Long-distance high-speed trains and regional trains are the preferred transportation options for locals and travelers. They’re normally on time, and are clean and comfortable for traveling around Germany.

If you’re on a budget, traveling by bus is another option. FlixBus and BlaBlaBus are two domestic and international bus companies with hundreds of routes around Europe. Tickets can be booked last minute and are typically much more affordable than flying or taking the train. The only downside is, your travel time might be two or three times longer!

Once you’re in the city of your choice, you’ll have several options for getting around. The underground metro, or U-Bahn, can be found in a lot of major cities in Germany. other cities might have a bus or tram system as well.

If money isn’t a big concern, then you can also take taxis or ride shares around Germany. FreeNow (formerly MyTaxi) and Uber are just two companies that operate in major German cities.

Your last option for getting around Germany is by car. Not only will you have the freedom to explore the country at your own pace, but you’ll also be able to speed down the world-famous autobahn! keep in mind that a lot of automobiles are manual transmission. An automatic transmission is rare, and normally costs a lot more than renting a manual car.

Where to live in Germany

Before you step to Germany, one of your first steps will be deciding where to live. depending on your budget and lifestyle, there are several terrific and exciting cities in Germany to choose from.


As the most progressive and diverse city in Germany, Berlin is a amazing option for digital nomads and travelers. along with Berlin’s lively and arguably complex history, it remains one of the most popular destinations for expats and foreigners. In fact, a lot more people speak English in Berlin than any other city in Germany.

It’s also considered one of Germany’s newest cities. considering that Germany’s reunification in 1989, Berlin is slowly transforming to become one of the trendiest and a lot of economical towns around. You’ll find world-class museums and busy restaurants amid historical relics like Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate, and the Berlin Wall. There are many things to do here, you’ll never be bored.

Not only will you find a large range of co-working spaces and start-ups, but you’ll also be immersed in one of the most creative cities in the world. Berlin is known for attracting artists, musicians, hipsters, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between. This is a very special city.

Best of all, Berlin is one of the least expensive places to live in Germany. flats are far a lot more affordable than a lot of major cities in the country, which makes it the optimal destination for digital nomads.

So, if you’re trying to find a creative, international city with a touch of alternative edginess, look no additionally than Berlin!

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