Are you thinking of moving to Berlin? Great. That means you probably already know it is one of the coolest and most vibrant cities in the world. The rest is all detail, but to be fair, a pretty important part of the detail is figuring out the cost of living in Berlin.
Let’s start with the good news first. Berlin is a lot cheaper than most other places in Europe and is one of the reasons it has become such a magnet for writers, musicians and other artists who can live cheaply while devoting themselves to their art. The bad news is that prices have been going up quite a lot lately.
Before we get to the detailed analyse and cost-of-living comparison there are a few obvious points to make. The first of these is that these numbers are hugely variable. Take rent. Choose a big apartment on Kollwitzstrasse and you will pay way more than if you get a quiet little spot on a backroad a bit further out. Want to eat organic vegetables all the time and your food will cost more than if you pop into the local Aldi.
One of the best sources of information on how much it costs to live in various cities is Numbeo.com which collects information and prices from its users. According to its calculations living in Berlin is almost half as expensive as London (strictly speaking 40% cheaper than in London). In other words you can comfortably have the same lifestyle in Berlin for about €2,760 (about £2,200) as it would cost you £4,000 in London. Let’s look at some of the specifics.
In London a big mug of draft beer would cost you £3.62 at a bar or restaurant. In Berlin you’d pay about 1/3 less or £2.45. A reasonably cheap meal would be about £11 in Britain and about £5 in Berlin. For most groceries the difference is less stark with bread and similar items costing roughly the same. Alcohol bought in stores in Germany is stupidly cheap (they tax it a lot less). So whereas a bottle of beer in a supermarket would cost about £1.50 on average in London, a similar bottle of very nice German lager will be about 60p. In other words you can get almost 3 bottles of German beer for the price of 1 bottle in Britain.
The other massive difference in costs comes from renting an apartment. Berlin still has loads of space and cheap neighbourhoods. Whereas an apartment in London will set you back about £1,500, one in Berlin would be less than £500.
In terms of the detailed costs here are some indicative costs of things in Berlin:
- Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 6.45 €
- Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) 2.95 €
- Cappuccino (regular) 2.19 €
- Basic (Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment 164.78 €
- 1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans) 0.09 €
- Internet (6 Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) 21.05 €
- Apartment Rent (1 bedroom) in City Centre 545.16 €