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The Best Cities in Germany for Expats: Over vs. Underrated

Expatrio 2024-02-19
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Germany is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. Germany has something to offer everyone, whether you are looking for big-city excitement or a more relaxed small-town atmosphere. In this article, we will take a look at the best cities in Germany for expats. We will focus on both big cities such as Berlin and Munich as well as underrated towns, such as Dusseldorf and Bonn. Each city has its own unique set of benefits that make it perfect for internationals!

What factors should you consider when choosing the best city?

When choosing the best city in Germany to live in, there are a few factors you will want to consider. Some of these include:

  • Public transportation system: Does the city have a good public transportation system? This factor is important, especially if you do not have a car.
  • International community: Is the city home to a large international community? If you do not speak German, this is one of the main aspects you should consider.
  • Family friendliness: Is the city family-friendly? This is only important if you have children or are looking to start a family.
  • Access to airport: Is it easy to fly in and out of the city? If you frequently travel for work or to visit your family, you should consider this factor.
  • Food: Does the city have a variety of restaurants with good food? This is important, especially if you are a foodie! Do not forget to check out the beer scene, too!

Public Transportation System

One of the most critical aspects for expats when choosing a city to live in is the public transportation system. Good public transportation system makes it easy to get around the city and explore all that it has to offer. Germany has an excellent public transportation system that makes it easy for internationals to get around the city they live in.

International Community

Another vital factor for expats is the international community in a city. This aspect can be measured by looking at the number of English-speaking people, international schools, and restaurants serving foreign cuisine. Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, and Dusseldorf have large expat communities. It is then uncomplicated for newcomers to find friends and settle in properly.

Family Friendliness

Many internationals with families choose to live in smaller cities, like Bonn or Heidelberg, because they are more family-friendly and have a slower pace of life. These cities offer excellent public transportation systems, plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, and international communities. They also have international schools, so expats can enroll their children in a school where they can learn the language and culture of their new home.

Airport Access

Some expats work in different cities or even countries, so access to an airport is a significant factor when choosing where to live. Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt have large international airports easily accessible by public transportation. This way, internationals can travel for work or pleasure without dealing with long drives between cities.

Food and Drink Scene

The food scene in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, and Dusseldorf is excellent. Most large cities have an abundance of international restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world. In addition to this, there are many German restaurants serving traditional dishes such as schnitzel, sausages, and potato dumplings. The beer scene is also excellent in most German cities, with many breweries and pubs serving a variety of local and international beers.

Now that we have discussed some of the factors to consider when choosing the best city in Germany for you to live in, let's look at the best cities for expats!


The Best Big Cities in Germany for Expats




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. There is something for everyone there, whether you want to go clubbing or take a walk through the park with your children! The city has a great public transportation system and an international community that will surely make you feel at home. You can also fly out from its international airport, Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), whenever you want! If you're just starting out, Berlin might be good for you as it's home to many startups. Job opportunities are everywhere and the market is also suited for those who do not speak German fluently.




Munich is another great city for expats. It has everything Berlin has to offer, but it's smaller and has a higher cost of living. Living in Munich means you have access to the big city and nature simultaneously. In Munich, there are several opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature on the banks of the Isar River. The international airport in the city provides easy access from anywhere else in Germany or abroad. You will also find a large number of international restaurants in Munich, as well as an excellent beer scene! It's a popular expat city for its high quality of life and work-life balance. It's also worth noting that Munich is one of the most expensive cities in the country.




Hamburg is an excellent option for internationals. It's not as big and hectic as Berlin or Munich, but there are still plenty of things to do there! You can stroll through the historic district in Altona, visit museums like Miniatur Wunderland or Kunsthalle Hamburg Museum of Fine Arts on Stadthausbrücke Street, and many more exciting activities, like going out on River Elbe in a boat tour. Hamburg Airport also offers many direct flights to other European cities, making it easy to travel when needed. 

The Best Underrated Cities in Germany for Expats




Dusseldorf is one of the best-underrated cities in Germany for expats. It has a great public transportation system and a strong international community. You can also fly out from its international airport, which is literally less than 10 minutes away from the city center. Dusseldorf is not necessarily a large city, but it's home to a variety of international restaurants, and its beer scene is excellent! Just don't mention it to the neighboring city of Cologne (unless you want an ultimate beer smackdown). The city is underrated because it's not as famous as Berlin or Munich, but it has just as much to offer. If you're a huge fan of Asian food, you'll love Dusseldorf. The city has a large Japanese community, and you can find delicious and authentic Japanese restaurants all over!




Leipzig is another great option to live in if you're looking for a more relaxed vibe. The city has an excellent public transportation system and is home to a large international community. You can also fly out from its airport. Leipzig is known for its music scene, and you'll find many bars and clubs here that offer live music. The food scene is also excellent, with various international restaurants to choose from. It's not especially popular among expats yet, but it has already been dubbed as "the next Berlin."




Bremen is a charming small city in the north of Germany. It is known for its architecture and has many historical buildings worth visiting. The city is home to a fairly large international community, and you can fly out internationally from its airport. Bremen is also known for its seafood, so you can enjoy some fresh and delicious food while you're there!




Aachen is another beautiful city located on the western edge of Germany. It's known for its architecture, and the historic city center is worth a visit! The food scene here is also great because of the many international restaurants in Aachen. You can choose to fly out from its nearby international airport or take a train to other countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium due to their proximity.

As you can see, many cities in Germany would be perfect for expats. The most important thing is to choose the one best suiting your needs and interests! We hope this article has helped make your decision easier by providing some light on some of Germany's best cities for internationals.

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