Relocation

Location Guide: Berlin

Welcome to Berlin, Germany

Whether you like history, culture, nightlife, or even all of the above, Berlin has everything you need. The city is a great place to live and work, and the extensive and inexpensive transportation network makes it easy to get around this sprawling metropolis. 

In addition to popular destinations such as the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, the remaining stretches of the Berlin Wall and the Wall Victims Memorial, the city boasts contemporary skyscrapers, and many art and history museums, renowned universities, research institutes, orchestras and celebrities, as well as host of many sporting events. Its urban settings and historical legacy have made it a popular location for international film productions too.

Germany were recently the winners of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, so you can expect the folks in Berlin to be in high spirits for the next while!

Working in Berlin

Berlin, 33rd in the worlds most expensive cities has a national minimum wage of 6.53 EURO – 13.00 EURO per hour, depending on which sector one works in, income tax of 19% and a 26% social security tax (retirement + unemployment). Most employers prioritise flexible working hours and cater to the family life of their employees without compromising productivity, the government offers free schooling, healthy services, reasonably priced childcare and a safe & healthy standard of living. 

Fast-growing sectors are communications, life sciences, mobility and services with information and communication technologies, media and music, advertising and design, biotechnology and environmental services, transportation and medical engineering. Bayer Health Care and Berlin Chemie are major pharmaceutical companies headquartered in the city. Siemens, a Fortune Global 500 company and one of the 30 German DAX companies has it’s headquarters in Berlin. Many German and international companies have business or service centres in the heart of Berlin.

Living in Berlin

Berlin is reasonably affordable to live in, being around 30% less expensive than Hamburg, and close to 40% less expensive than London. Naturally living costs are higher closer to the centre of the city, but a reasonable national minimum wage and excellent transport links make living on the outskirts of the city a good choice. Summers are warm with average high temperatures of 22–25 °C and lows of 12–14 °C and Winters are relatively cold with average high temperatures of 3 °C and lows of −2 to 0 °C. Strangely, Berlin’s built-up area in the city centre creates a microclimate, with heat stored by the city’s buildings. Temperatures can be up to 4 °C higher in the city than in the surrounding areas, making the heart of the city just that little bit warmer in the depths of Winter!

Berlin is renowned for it’s extremely high quality of living, ranked 14th in the 2014 list of Monocle’s Most Liveable Cities. It’s transportation network is the envy of many other cities, with a comprehensive network of trains, trams, buses and boats criss crossing the city and providing easy and affordable travel.

Berlin is a massive city with a wealth of attractions to suit all tastes. At the eastern end of Unter den Linden, you can find Museum Island, a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site. It is home to five of Berlin’s most important museums, the highest being the Neues Museum and the Pergamonmuseum, which is one of the world’s largest major archaeological museums.

For a little bit of greenery amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, Grunewald is Berlin’s largest forested area, to the south-west of Charlottenburg and easily accessible via S-bahn. Pack a picnic and head down, you can venture through the woods by foot, bicycle or on horseback.

Berlin is also excellent for shopping, dining, and having a few drinks. It’s urban spaces are packed with people and exciting things to see and do.

Restaurants

Berlin has a thriving international centre, with people from over 180 countries making their home in the city. This means that there is nearly every type of cuisine that you could possibly imagine to be found within the city. There really is something for everyone, depending on what kind of mood you’re in. Italian, French, Mediterranean, and Latin American cuisines are well represented, and naturally traditional German cuisine is served in many fantastic restaurants all over the city.

For a taste of German cuisine with a twist, try Bieberbau, located off the beaten path slightly, in a more residential area. it is a quiet, quirky restaurant with a small but fantastic menu.

Heising is a wonderfully romantic French dining spot, owned by Mr and Mrs Heising, who will greet you warmly at the door upon your arrival. The food is incredible and the setting is delightful.

For a unique street food experience, check out Mustafas Gemuse Kebap, a street side stand with often lengthy queues, the unique food is freshly made and absolutely delicious, but expect to stand in line for close to an hour around dinner time. Make the most of the wait by making some friends in the line.

For an incredible burger at a bargain price, Burgermeister is well worth sampling. A small restaurant above a U-Bahn station, Burgermeister has a unique look, a friendly atmosphere, and a wide range of unique burgers to sample. A burger, a beer and a side of fries kept us filled all day and only cost 9 euro.

Bars

The city is well known for having some legendary watering holes, and there are plenty to cover every mood, whether it’s a quiet drink after work, or the first stop in a long, adventure filled night out.

Weinerei has a unique approach to drinking, operating an honours system. For an initial €2, you rent a glass and can drink as much wine as you like. Once you’ve had your fill, you choose to leave as much or as little as you like in the tips jar. It’s a novel concept and fosters a friendly atmosphere and good will amongst the punters.

Bei Schlawincen is a rowdy place, open 24 hours a day, priding itself on serving “real Berliners”, the perfect spot for a not so quiet drink any time, any day.

For a perfect beer garden to relax during one of Berlin’s many balmy summer’s days, Prater Garten is a spacious outdoor bar with home brewed beer, and a range of craft beers from around Germany.

Clubs

Berlin’s reputation as a fantastic city for trendy night spots tends to precede it, but it more than lives up to it’s reputation. There are amazing clubs across the city, varying in size and theme.

Soju Bar is a classy, neon drenched and distinctly Asian club, with an eclectic range of music and drinks on offer.

Berghain is a massive club in a refurbished power station, with an international reputation. Sometimes hard to get into, the sprawling venue is always backed to the rafters.

For a club with a bit more glamour, Cookies is the place to be. Playing a mix of music across all genres and several floors, with a restaurant upstairs, it caters to everyone’s tastes.

The Average Cost of Living in Berlin

Restaurants

Average

Meal at an inexpensive restaurant

€7.91

Meal for 2 with 3 courses, mid range restaurant

€31.12

Combo meal at McDonalds, etc.

€6.67

Drinks

                                             Average

Domestic Beer (0.5 litre draught)

                                            €4.25

Imported Beer (0.33 litre bottle) 

                                            €5.50

Wine (10 cl glass, depending on brand)

                                            €6.00

Cappuccino 

                                            €3.05

Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle)

                                            €1.98

Water (0.33 litre bottle)

                                            €2.08

Transport

                                                                                        Average

One way ticket 

                                                                                        €2.26

Monthly Pass

                                                                                        €75.40

Taxi Start 

                                                                                        €3.00

Taxi 1km 

                                                                                        €1.79

Gasoline (1 litre)

                                                                                        €1.53

Monthly Rent and Living Costs

Average

Apartment (1 bedroom) in city centre

€511.67

Apartment (1 bedroom) outside city centre

€450.00

Apartment (3 bedrooms) in city centre

€1,350.00

Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside city centre

€1,200.00

Utilities (electricity, heating, water etc.

for small apartment)

€177.00

1 minute of prepaid mobile tariff local

(no discounts or plans)

€0.09

Internet (6 Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)

€22.85

Sports and Leisure

                                                           Average

Fitness club/gym, monthly fee

                                                           €28.54

Tennis court rent (1 hour)

                                                           €14.80

Adult cinema ticket

                                                           €9.00

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