5 Cheapest Cities to Live in Germany - Study in Germany for Free (2022)

The cost of living in Germany is quite affordable. But to you as a student every single cent matters and it is normal if you aim to save as much as you can.

To a large extent, the place you choose to reside in Germany will indicate a large part of your spendings, thus it must be a priority in your financial strategy. Said otherwise, if you live in Munich, which is one of the most expensive areas in Germany, you will hardly save any money and the cost of living will be high no matter how much you try to keep control over it.

If you’re a student who’s looking forward to studying in Germany and wants to know where you can find the cheapest cities in Germany, below we’ve made a list of the top five cheapest German cities.

Note that most articles on this topic aim to focus on one single factor like for example rent prices, but that is insufficient and surely not an accurate description of what the cost of living in that particular area is.

To get this list we’ve taken into account the cost for several items and services, particularly rent, food, and utilities.

Below is given the list of the top five cheapest cities in Germany and a table per each one to compare prices with those in Berlin.

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Bielefeld

The city of Bielefield is located in the northeast region of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and has a population of around 350,000 citizens. Living here comes at an affordable price.

Rent is the highest of your financial concerns, but in this city is not of a big deal. In the present, a one-bedroom apartment in the monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center costs €460 on average. With a bit of luck, you can find something in downtown areas with €400 per month. Normally, in peripheral areas, you can easily find such apartments at a rent price ranging between €200 and €450.

In Bielefeld, there are many good restaurants around where you can have a meal at an affordable price. On average, a meal for a single person in an inexpensive restaurant will cost you €10 whereas for two the bill can climb up to €50. If you decide to have a beer or a cup of cappuccino you will have to add €3.50, respectively €2.70 to your pay.

Items or ServicesBielefeldBerlinBielfeld vs Berlin
One-bedroom apartment (City Center)€466€860-46%
One-bedroom apartment (Periphery)€400€650-39%
Utilities€200€245-18%
Local Transport Ticket€2.70€2.80-4%
Taxi Fare (1km)€2€20
Restaurant Meal (1 person)€10€8+25%
Fitness Membership€30€25+19%

Frankfurt (Oder)

The city of Frankfurt lies in the banks of the Oder’s river and its located in East Germany near the Polish border. According to the most up-to-date demographic records, more than 60,000 people live in an area of around 150 kilometres square.

The cost of living in Frankfurt (Oder) is very affordable. Renting a one-bedroom apartment around city center will cost you on average €460 per month, while in peripheral areas will cost you €325. The rent for a three-bedroom apartment in the city center costs on average €1,250. Other sites in the periphery of Frankfurt (Oder) offer various three-bedroom apartments for an affordable cost ranging from €400 to €1,400. All that being said, rent prices in Berlin are higher by 40% compared to Frankfurt (Oder).

Utilities will have a significant impact on your monthly spendings. On average, you’re going to pay around €410 for utilities each month in Frankfurt (Oder). If you manage to save electricity, water use and other utilities you can reduce its cost to around €225.

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Frankfurt is especially good for its cheap restaurant. In an inexpensive restaurant, you can have a meal for a single person at a price of €8 on average. And if you decide to have a beer with your friends, which is inevitable while in Germany, then you will have to pay on average €3.10 for a domestic beer and €2.85 for an imported beer.

Items or ServicesFrankfurt(Oder)BerlinFrankfurt(Oder) vs Berlin
One-bedroom apartment (City Center)€466€864-46%
One-bedroom apartment (Periphery)€327€650-50%
Utilities€410€245+67%
Local Transport Ticket€1.70€2.80-39%
Taxi Fare (1km)€62€+200%
Restaurant Meal (1 person)€8€80
Fitness Membership€25€250

Halle

Located in the central part of Germany, Halle is home to around 240,000 residents and it covers an area of 135 kilometres square. Aside from being a city which will astonish you with its unique Renessaince view the cost of living in this area is quite affordable.

In this wonderful city, you can rent a one-bedroom apartment in downtown areas for €350 per month on average. The rent for the same apartment in suburban areas is around €200. Larger apartments are more expensive; a three-bedroom apartment in the city center has a monthly rent of €710 on average, whereas in the periphery a monthly rent of €470 on average. The rent price for such apartment in Berlin is higher by 130%.

Utility bills range somewhere between €85 and €340. That said, you will have to pay on average €195 for monthly utilities.

All over the place, there are many good restaurants where you can have a delicious meal, all at a reasonable price. If you decide to have a meal for a single person in an inexpensive restaurant, then you will pay on average €10. In addition, you can drink a cup of cappuccino for €2.70 on average or a bottle of beer for €3.50.

Items or ServicesHalleBerlinHalle vs Berlin
One-bedroom apartment (City Center)€355€865-59%
One-bedroom apartment (Periphery)€305€650-53%
Utilities€195€245-21%
Local Transport Ticket€2.30€2.80-18%
Taxi Fare (1km)€2€20
Restaurant Meal (1 person)€10€8+25%
Fitness Membership€27€25+9%

Krefeld

Krefeld is a city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia near the city of Dusseldorf. Based on some approximate demographic records, Krefeld has a population of 230,000, spread across an area of 137 kilometres square.

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Krefeld is an affordable place to live in Germany. If you rent a one-bedroom in the city center you can have it with €450 per month on average. The cost of renting such apartment is relatively smaller if you look at the periphery of the city. On average, the monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment located outside the center of Krefeld is €400.

If you need more space and you want to rent a larger apartment, then get ready to pay more. The averaged rent cost of a three-bedroom apartment in the center of Krefeld is around €760, ranging between €400 and €1,100.

The monthly cost of utilities will account for €170 on average. With a bit of management in the place, you can save a lot of money at this point. The range of utility costs in Krefeld ranges between €50 and €250.

Items or ServicesKrefeldBerlinKrefeld vs Berlin
One-bedroom apartment (City Center)€450€860-47%
One-bedroom apartment (Periphery)€400€650-39%
Utilities€170€245-30%
Local Transport Ticket€2.70€2.80-4%
Taxi Fare (1km)€2€20
Restaurant Meal (1 person)€10€8+25%
Fitness Membership€26€25+4%

Passau

Passau is a small city located in southern Germany near the border with Austria. The city is often referred to as “The city of Three Rivers” because Danube, Inn and Ilz pass through its land. The most up-to-date records show that more than 50,000 people reside in this area.

Life is very affordable in this city. Rent, food, utilities all come at a relatively small price compared to most big cities in Germany. You can find a one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Passau for about €600 on average, while outside the center the cost is low around €340. The average monthly rent for three-bedroom apartments are higher; €1,050 in the city center and €700 in peripheral areas.

The cost of utilities in this part of Germany is very low. In Passau you will pay on average €75 for your monthly utility spendings. However, note that the cost of your utilities can easily increase up to €250.

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If you enjoy eating outside, then Passau is a place to be because your wallet will still remain loaded. The cost of a meal for one person in an inexpensive restaurant will cost you on average €7. The same meal would cost you 12% more in Berlin. If you stop by a local bar you can have a beer for €2.80 or a bottle of water 0.33l for €1.25 or a cappuccino for €2.20.

Items or ServicesPassauBerlinPassau vs Berlin
One-bedroom apartment (City Center)€600€865-31%
One-bedroom apartment (Periphery)€340€650-48%
Utilities€76€245-69%
Local Transport Ticket€2€2.80-28%
Taxi Fare (1km)€4€2+100%
Restaurant Meal (1 person)€78€-12%
Fitness Membership€23€25-7%

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FAQs

What is the cheapest city in Germany for international students? ›

That's right—you may find Hamburg to be the cheapest city in Germany for international students.

Which German city has cheapest rent? ›

Berlin nevertheless remains one of the cheapest of the large cities in Germany. Only Düsseldorf, at €10.81 per square metre on average, is lower. Cologne is the third least expensive place to rent with an average of €11.58 per square metre, according to asking prices for existing properties.

Which German city is best for foreigners? ›

The Best Big Cities in Germany for Expats
  • Berlin. Berlin is an obvious choice because it is the largest city in Germany. It is also one of the best cities for expats for many reasons. ...
  • Munich. Munich is another great city for expats. ...
  • Hamburg. Hamburg is an excellent option for internationals.

Which city in Germany has more job opportunities? ›

The German capital Berlin is home to big and globally recognized companies which are amongst the biggest employers in the globe. Berlin is an endless pool of job opportunities and career pathways, thus the number of expats coming to seek jobs in this city has been ever-growing.

Which is the most English speaking city in Germany? ›

Berliners and Düsseldorfers speak the best English

Unsurprisingly, Berlin ranked highest overall with a score of 65,51. Expat-friendly Bavaria (65,09), Hamburg (64,72) and North-Rhine Westphalia (64,63) also ranked highly.

Where is the cheapest safest place to live? ›

America's Safest (and Most Affordable) Places to Live
  • Aurora, Illinois. ...
  • Killeen, Texas. ...
  • Lubbock, Texas. ...
  • Boise, Idaho. Metro area: Boise City-Nampa. ...
  • Edmond, Oklahoma. Metro area: Oklahoma City. ...
  • Fort Wayne, Indiana. Metro area: Fort Wayne. ...
  • El Paso, Texas. Metro area: El Paso. ...
  • Brownsville, Texas. Metro area: Brownsville-Harlingen.
24 Apr 2019

Which is the best place to study in Germany? ›

Studying in Germany is a wonderful experience for international students. This Western European country is magnificent in its landscapes and academic life.
...
Here are the best cities in Germany for international students:
  • Munich.
  • Berlin.
  • Stuttgart.
  • Frankfurt.
  • Dresden.
  • Aachen.
  • Bonn.
  • Hamburg.

How many hours is a student allowed to work in Germany? ›

Working in Germany during your studies

You can work up to 20 hours per week while studying. If you exceed this, you'll be required to pay into the German social security system, and there could be a negative impact on your studies.

Where do students live in Germany? ›

German university students tend to stay close to home when attending university, and many live in their parents' home. The rest usually live in cheap apartments where the bathroom is shared. Only a small minority of students actually live in student dorms.

Which German city is most international? ›

Frankfurt am Main is Germany's most international city and a major European hub thanks to its huge international airport. It is also the economic centre of Germany (and Europe for that matter), which is reflected in its towering skyscrapers; a feature that you'll find nowhere else in the country.

Where do international students live in Germany? ›

Student Residences (Halls of Residence)

Student residences in Germany (also known as residence halls) are among the most affordable housing options for students. In fact, approximately 40% of all international students in Germany live in student halls of residence.

Which is the best city to live in Germany? ›

Best places to live in Germany
  • Munich. The capital of Germany's largest state, Bavaria, the southern German city of Munich, is often seen as the pinnacle of German culture and the German international identity. ...
  • Berlin. ...
  • Frankfurt. ...
  • Cologne. ...
  • Hamburg. ...
  • Dusseldorf. ...
  • Bonn. ...
  • Stuttgart.
18 Mar 2022

Which country in Europe has the lowest cost of living? ›

5. Which country has the lowest cost of living in Europe? A: Ukraine has the lowest cost of living in the EU region where you can find a one-bedroom apartment near city center at $200-300. Utilities, groceries, and other basic amenities are also cheaper compared to other European countries.

How much is the rent in Germany? ›

What is the average cost of rent in Germany? Average rent costs in Germany range from €300 to €800 per calendar month for a room in shared accommodation and from €500 to €1,346 for a one-bedroom flat. The overall average rental price is €750 for a one-bedroom apartment.

Where is the cheapest place to live in Germany? ›

Top 5 Cheapest Cities to live in Germany
  • #1 Bielefeld City Germany.
  • #2 Frankfurt (Oder) City Germany.
  • #3 Halle City Germany.
  • #5 Passau City Germany.

Which city has highest salary in Germany? ›

Frankfurt am Main accounts for the largest average gross salary at €66,529, followed by Stuttgart (€66,174) and Munich (€65,164).

Which work is best in Germany? ›

Top 10 Highest Paid Professions in Germany 2022 - 23
  • Researchers in Biotechnology and Neuroscience. ...
  • Surgeons and doctors. ...
  • Judges. ...
  • Bank managers. ...
  • Director of Finance. ...
  • Tourism and hospitality professionals. ...
  • Engineering professions. ...
  • Sales managers.
3 Aug 2022

What is the safest city in Germany? ›

Munich. Munich is probably the safest city to live in Germany. A survey conducted in 2020 found that the crime rate in Munich is pretty low compared to Berlin because out of 100,000, only 6,469 people experienced any criminal activity.

Which German city has the most immigrants? ›

The German city which has most immigrants is Frankfurt.

It is continental Europe's largest financial center and has a population of approximately 2.5 million in the city and surrounding urban area.

Is Munich a cheap city? ›

Munich is one of the most expensive cities in Germany.

Is Hamburg a cheap city? ›

Yes, Hamburg is one of the most expensive cities in Germany when it comes to living costs. But: it is still far from being the most expensive city in Germany.

Is rent cheap in Germany? ›

Renting is far from cheap in Germany - but buying a house is even more expensive! Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the prices of apartments and houses continue to rise, so much so that, according to a new study, renting actually works out cheaper in most German cities.

Is Berlin expensive for students? ›

Cities like Berlin and Munich, for example, are slightly more expensive if we compare them with the rest of Germany. In addition to low living costs, most universities do not charge tuition fees as they are state-run. Students will, however, be required to pay enrollment and administration fees each semester.

How much is a meal in Munich? ›

Prices in restaurants in Munich.
Meal in a cheap restaurant15 EUR (10.00-25)
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course60 EUR (40-100)
McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal)9.00 EUR (8.00-10.00)
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught)4.00 EUR (3.00-5.00)
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)4.00 EUR (3.70-5.00)
5 more rows

How much money do I need to live in Munich? ›

Compared to other German cities, however, living in Munich is relatively expensive. As a rule, you can expect to spend 1,000 Euros a month. Most of this will be for rent.

Do I need cash in Munich? ›

13. Carry cash. While major supermarket chains and shopping outlets are likely to accept your credit card, most restaurants and stores in Munich will only accept cash or EC-cards (like debit cards). Make sure you have enough euros with you for everyday use.

Which Is Better Berlin or Hamburg? ›

If you're looking for history, culture and fine dining experiences, then Berlin is, in our opinion, the best German city to visit. However, if you're looking for a more laid back, raw travelling experience or only have a day to spare, then head north to Hamburg.

How much salary is good in Hamburg? ›

In Hamburg, the gross monthly salary between 5,000 EUR and 6,000 EUR is considered good. It translates to a net income of about 3,000 EUR and 3,500 EUR per month. The average gross wage in Hamburg in 2020 was 4,966 EUR and is the highest in the country.

Do people speak English in Hamburg? ›

Hamburg – Second largest city in Germany. English reported to be very widely spoken inside the main city and around the harbor, especially among professionals and younger people. In places like fast food restaurants, taxis, bus drivers, English may be less common.

How many hours is a student allowed to work in Germany? ›

Working in Germany during your studies

You can work up to 20 hours per week while studying. If you exceed this, you'll be required to pay into the German social security system, and there could be a negative impact on your studies.

How much can I earn in Germany as a student? ›

You may earn up to 450 euros per month. With a minimum wage of 9.50 euros per hour (as of Jan. 2021), you have to work a maximum of around eleven hours per week or around 47 hours per month for this amount. As a full-time student, you do not have to pay taxes or social security contributions on this amount.

Is it easy to get a job in Germany? ›

Germany has the largest economy in Europe and the fifth-largest in the world, so there are plenty of jobs in Germany for foreigners with specialist skills, although casual work is also fairly easy to come by.

How much can a part time job earn in Germany? ›

The average part-time salary in Germany is 22,856 EUR per year or 11.72 EUR per hour. The typical hourly wage for part-time jobs in Germany is 12 EUR.

Can I work in Germany on student visa? ›

Student jobs and internships

Students from abroad can also work in Germany alongside their studies. Students from EU/EEA countries are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week during the semester, just like German students are. There is no limit to how much they can earn during semester breaks.

How can students make money in Germany? ›

Taxes. Students can hold a minijob and earn up to 450 EUR per month without having to pay taxes. If you regularly earn more than 450 EUR, you will need a tax number, and a certain amount will be taken from your wages every month. Students can get this money back at the end of the year by submitting a tax return .

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