The cost of living in Germany is generally high, but on par with other Western European countries. Munich is Germany's most expensive city, ranking 72nd out of 209 cities in Mercer's 2020 Cost of Living Survey. This makes it cheaper than London and Paris, but more expensive than Madrid and Brussels.

Accommodation prices range depending on the neighbourhood and the size and type (flat-share, apartment or house). Private healthcare is also quite expensive, as are school fees for international schools. Items such as clothing and cellular phones aren’t cheap either.

Taxes in Germany are also high, but expenses for expats are likely to be offset by higher salaries.

Cost of accommodation in Germany

The cost of accommodation in Germany is generally quite high, but property prices vary depending on the area.

Germany is a country of renters and few people buy property. For instance, only around a tenth of people living in Berlin own their homes. While there are no major restrictions on non-Germans buying property, most expats also rent rather than buy homes in Germany.

The kinds of accommodation and their prices vary widely in most cities. Rent in major cities such as Berlin and Munich tends to be high – it's common for it to take up half of a person's monthly salary. Expat accommodation tends to be fairly expensive as it's typically furnished or partly furnished.

Cost of education in Germany

Schooling and education in Germany are of an excellent standard. Public schools don't charge fees and are an option well worth considering for expats with children young enough to pick up the language, or those who plan on moving for the long term.

But most expats send their children to international schools in Germany owing to the language barrier and to continue in the curriculum from their home country. These do tend to come at a hefty price though, and tuition fees vary according to the institution and the child's grade level.

Cost of transport in Germany

There are many options when it comes to transport in Germany, but not all of them are cheap.

Trains are often the fastest and most efficient way to get around. Travelling on the InterCity Express trains tends to be more expensive, while regular InterCity trains provide a cheaper alternative. Expats who plan on travelling by train should keep an eye out for special offers. The Bahn Card is also a good investment as it's valid for a year and often gives discounts.

Bus travel tends to be cheaper than travelling by train. If commuters book their tickets in advance they can get seats at reduced prices.

Generally, expats living in major urban hubs such as Hamburg or Munich won't need to own a car thanks to well-developed public transport networks. For those that do choose to drive in Germany, it isn't cheap – especially when it comes to fuel, parking and maintenance.

Cost of health insurance in Germany

If expats fall ill during their stay, they can rest assured that they will be in good hands thanks to high-quality local hospitals. It is, however, compulsory to have some form of health insurance in Germany.

Expats who are employed in Germany can take advantage of the state health insurance plan, which offers subsidised health insurance. That said, those who are self employed will need to purchase private health insurance which can cost a great deal.

International health insurance premiums vary according to the age and health of the individual as well as the type of cover they need. 

Cost of living in Germany chart

Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Munich in March 2021.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 1,000 - 1,500

One-bedroom apartment outside city centre

EUR 750 - 1,200

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 1,900 - 3,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside city centre

EUR 1,300 - 2,200

Food and drink

Milk (1 litre)


Eggs (dozen)

EUR 2.65

Loaf of bread (white)

EUR 1.70

Rice (1kg)

EUR 1.95

Chicken breasts (1kg)

EUR 7.20

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)



Monthly internet (uncapped ADSL or cable)

EUR 35

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

EUR 0.10

Monthly utilities for standard household (electricity, water etc.)

EUR 270

Hourly rate for a domestic cleaner

EUR 15

Eating out and entertainment

Three-course meal for two at mid-range restaurant

EUR 60

Big Mac Meal

EUR 8.25


EUR 3.20

Coca-Cola (330ml)

EUR 2.85

Beer (local)





City bus

EUR 3.30

Petrol per litre

EUR 1.30