You can no longer get along in Berlin without a decent amount of money. At 2000 EUR/month you are doing ok, I guess. Make sure you come with some kind of cushion for emergencies.
Some example realistic costs:
-Rent and utilities (warm, in a shared flat in Kreuzberg): €750
-A transit pass: €49/month for all of Germany (Deutschlandsticket!) or get a bike
-Mobile phone and Internet: €60
-Health insurance: depends, try to come on a European Medical Card initially
-€40/ day if you like to go out to restaurants and to bars; €15-20/ day if you are eating at home
-€66 for a M-membership with a fitness app like Urban Sports Club
It’s of course easy to spend much more.
You can keep down costs by:
-shopping for groceries at the Turkish-German-owned supermarkets on Kottbusser Damm. They have very good fruit and veg. Shopping at Rewe, a German chain, is more expensive and the produce is inferior. Lidl, Aldi, or Netto are also cheaper, but not always wonderful in terms of quality.
-use a student card to get cheaper tickets to museums, the opera, concerts and cinema. Or get a Classic Card for classical concert tickets if you are under 30.
-you can drink beer in public in Germany. This isn’t as louche as it sounds! A favourite student activity is buying beer at a Getränkmarkt (a wholesale drinks shop. They are found all over. A beer can cost a little over 1-2 Euro) and you can drink it on a bridge (such as Admiralbrücke in Kreuzberg) where there’s quite an indie scene. Drinking at the tables in front of corner shops (Späti) is also a Berlin pastime and cheaper than bars (2 EUR for a beer, compared to a bar where a beer costs about 4 EUR).
-Drink beer or sekt at bars, not cocktails and liquor. Beer is always cheap.
-Note that street food though not very healthy is very cheap: especially Currywurst and Doner.
-Note that in many clubs and bars you will be charged a Pfand, or deposit on your glasses. This can get expensive, so bring your glasses back to collect your cash.
-For under €25 you can still have a great night out: drinking 2 bought beers outside along the canal (€4), going for Falafel (€6), going to a outdoor cinema (€10), drinking a beer in a cool bar (€4).
-You could on the other hand spend more than €3o0 for a great night out: aperitif at a terrace in Mitte (cocktail: €12), good seats at the opera or Berlin Philharmonic (€98; or else get cheaper seats for €47), a great meal at a Michelin restaurant (three courses plus wine: €200; or just order a main à la carte and a glass of wine for €100), slip home to change and then another drink at a cool bar (€12), then clubbing in a big industrial space (€15 entry, plus €4 per beer, €7-10 per cocktail).
Here’s the index to the Moving to Berlin Guide, click on what you want to read next!
This is an independent guide to Berlin, with no ghostwritten content and no sponsored links or tips, from The Needle.
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(the author asserts his right to copyright, revised 07/2023)