The 12 Best Places to Live in Berlin
Berlin today is unrecognizable from the city it once was, having undergone huge changes over the past few decades.
Now known as one of the hippest places to live, there is a reason it keeps climbing the list of Europe’s most popular cities. With a rich and complicated past, this vibrant city is a multicultural melting pot – ideal for expats.
The population is diverse, the social scene is thriving, and the rent is affordable compared to other European cities.
If you are an expat looking to relocate to the German capital, you’ll want to know which neighborhood to live in. Check out our ultimate guide to the best places to live in Berlin.
The best neighborhoods in Berlin for culture
This neighborhood is the hipster heaven of Berlin. Friedrichshain is known for trendy cafes, independent boutiques, and eclectic art galleries. The population is a healthy mix of cultures that enjoy the free-spirited vibes of the locale.
At the centre of tension throughout the Cold War, this area survived massive damage during the fall of the Berlin Wall. Despite being refurbished, you can still see bullet holes in some of the original architecture.
Set against the backdrop of the East Side Gallery, you will have the largest surviving part of the Berlin Wall in your back garten should you choose to live here. Berliners can be found spending their lunch hour on the bank of the River Spree or wandering the shops in “Boxi”, aka Boxhagener Platz. In the evenings, families and friends alike head for the electric atmosphere at the Volkspark, where there is an open-air cinema.
You can find an abundance of stylish one-bed studio apartments to rent for just shy of 1,200 euro/month. However, due to the surge in popularity over the last decade, finding an apartment can be extremely competitive.
Mitte is Berlin’s “middle” district and is perfect if you want to be at the heart of local culture. Home to both historical architecture and modern restaurants and bars, this is a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too location.
Join the after-work crowd for a bier at the popular Gendarmenmarkt or climb to the top of the iconic TV Tower for panoramic views of the entire city. Immerse yourself in the city’s art and spend endless days wandering Museum Island. It’s just what it says on the tin – a cluster of museums located on a small ‘island’ that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mitte is well connected by public transport and, due to its popularity, living here will set you back; a high rise one-bed apartment will cost you upwards of 1600/month.
Word of advice? This area, like many, is extremely competitive. If you find a suitable place to live, don’t wait too long to commit or you could miss out on an amazing opportunity.
Berlin is worth exploring at night
The best neighborhoods in Berlin for food
If you are looking for somewhere quiet while remaining central, Charlottenburg is a great district to live in. With elegant style, leafy green spaces and ample transport links, this place is seriously liveable.
This upmarket western suburb is the soul of the food scene in Berlin. Expats will easily find high-quality international cuisine. There are authentic sushi bars, such as Kuchi, that embrace shared benches and low lighting, or cheap and cheerful options such as the delightful Lo Men’s Noodle House. If you want amazing views, Hugos top-floor location looks out over the entire district while you dine on luxurious Mediterranean food. There are endless options for you.
Typical modern and airy apartments average 1200 euro/month for a one-bed and 1600 euro/month for a two-bed.
Prenzlauer Berg is a trendy, bohemian district popular with students, artists, and young families. The neighbourhood is near the inner city and hosts some of Berlin’s best restaurants and bars.
There is a welcoming atmosphere at the local Flohmarkt am Mauerpark – a thriving flea market of multicultural food stalls, beer and music where locals and expats alike bump elbows. Mauerpark also features the best food trucks. The street food scene in Berlin is booming, and here you can find tacos, bratwurst, coffee, you name it!
Prenzlauer Berg has an interesting blend of tree-lined residential streets and buzzing commercial spots to suit diverse backgrounds. It’s also well connected by the U-Bahn (the Berlin subway).
Though popular, apartment prices are mid-range in this area; a one-bed apartment costs around 1200 euro/month.
Top tip – Go in with your friends and snag a three-bed at roughly 1500 euro/month. There is less competition for a three-bad than a one-bed, and you will get better value for money.
The best neighbourhoods in Berlin for green space
Lichtenberg, an eastern suburb, is another excellent option for expats. This district is known to be affordable and is made very accessible by the U-Bahn. Here you can find a modern one-bed apartment for an attractive 1000 euro/month and above.
If you want the city feel but need some nature in your life, this underrated neighbourhood boasts a green oasis: Tierpark.
Tierpark is one of two large parks in the city that are home to the Berlin Zoo. This park is the city’s solution to the fact that the western parks used to be out-of-the-way for some, and so they built the largest zoo in Europe for the eastern locals.
With 160 sprawling green hectares, you will have more green space than you can handle!
Want to escape the hustle of inner-city life? Spandau is a peaceful borough hidden in the north-westerly outskirts of the city.
You can access Spandau with a 30-minute commute by train or bus from central Berlin. Keep in mind that the town is older and more residential than its inner-city counterparts. The wide cobblestone streets contain redbrick buildings, quaint cafes and restaurants, and plenty of green space nearby.
This district is ideal for those who love outdoor activities – cycle the many forest trails or rent a canoe and follow the River Havel. Check out the Spandau Citadel, an impressive medieval fortress that hosts many festivals and events.
Competition for housing is high, but prices are reasonable, and spaces tend to be larger. You can grab a one-bed apartment for upwards of 1100 euro/month.
Lustgarten Park is one of many glorious parks in the capital
The best neighborhoods in Berlin for nightlife
Kreuzberg is the place to find all the action. This neighborhood gives rise to the gritty alternative scene, attracting creative types and digital nomads. Think street art, trendy nightclubs, and pop-up food vendors.
If you want to surround yourself with fellow expats and foreigners, the district is popular for social events. Most nightclubs stay open until the early morning, and unique hangouts are common. Berliners can be found sipping G&Ts in Ora, a pharmacy converted into a chic restaurant/bar, or enjoying unique venues like Madame Claude , the former-brothel-now-bar with upside-down furniture on the ceiling!
Be aware that apartments run a bit smaller in Kreuzberg, and a one-bed will set you back upwards of 1500 euro/month on average.
While this one isn’t technically a neighborhood, the area is so famous for its nightlife that it deserved a mention.
Warschauer Strasse is known as a techno-lover’s paradise. It is the gateway to the infamous Berghain nightclub that the New York Times once dubbed the “best club in the world”. You won’t be bored if you live here – the streets are constantly abuzz with life.
Just to note: This area is not for the faint of heart. This district streams out hardcore partygoers and live-music junkies most nights. The U-Bahn station is known to overflow with passengers at the weekend, and the locale has a grungy, industrial vibe.
If you are thrilled at the thought of endless action, a one-bed apartment rent averages 1400 euro/month.
The best neighborhoods in Berlin for schools
Pankow is a district that has undergone massive gentrification, and now houses a mix of young families and students. The northern location means you can travel by bus, train, and tram, but you will see hordes of cyclists here most times of the day.
Pankow is an exceptionally artsy district and considered very safe, with a low crime rate. The wellness industry is big here, with many organic health shops and vegan cafes to choose from. Co-working spaces are popular, and there are many studios for pastimes such as children’s yoga or painting.
Early schools for younger children are plentiful in the area, and you can access Mauerpark from the south for after-school activities.
As the area is popular for families, you can expect to pay a premium for accommodation. You can find a one-bed apartment to rent in Pankow for around 1100 euro/month or a two-bed for 1500 euro/month.
This culturally diverse neighborhood is popular with families and expats alike. The beauty of Schöneberg is that it’s a leafy green suburb whilst remaining well connected to Mitte by bus, train, and U-Bahn. You can easily get to anywhere in the city from this district.
There are plenty of highly-rated schools scattered throughout this area. When school lets out for the day, kids make their way to the Tempelhofer Feld, which borders the district. This vast park encourages running, cycling, dog-walking, skating and more. There’s also the Schöneberg flea market, which is an ideal way to pass the time with your family at the weekends.
Here you can get a one-bed modern apartment for 1100 euro/month. If you would prefer a house over an apartment, competition is high and you will need to be quick in your decision.
The best neighborhoods in Berlin for cheap property
Less than two decades ago, Neukölln had a reputation as a less-than-desirable neighborhood. Gentrification over the years has transformed the region into a fashionable hotspot, while keeping the low-budget rent. Though outlying, the area has a metropolitan feel, with original stone buildings scattered in between the buzzing shopping districts and charming greenery.
The Turkish community is huge here, and multicultural artists, students and expats follow close behind. During the revamp, there was an explosion of trendsetting dive bars, organic coffee shops and live art installations that attracted an edgier population.
You can nab a one-bed apartment here for a healthy 900 euro/month – or if your timing is right, you might even bag something from the 700-800 euro/month range. Keep in mind that the price of rent compared to that of inner city suburbs means it can take significant time to find an apartment.
Ask any local, and they will tell you that this is the place to live for affordable accommodation. Marzahn-Hellersdorf is a rural district turned industrial apartment haven and is full of students and expats seeking a budget-friendly lifestyle.
This borough is fairly far away from the city centre, located a 60-minute commute away. However, plentiful public transport services the area and you will have everything you need at hand. Affordable bars, restaurants and cafes are plentiful.
High rise residential blocks dot the skyline here, with a view over the bordering woodlands. Competition for apartments is high, but you can uncover a one-bed for 700-800 euro/month with luck!
Finding a place to live in Berlin
The revitalized Berlin is not a secret anymore. The city is thriving with fantastic options for accommodation, but the competition has also never been so high. You will have to move fast to earn your title as one of the trendy locals.
Consider what factors are most important to you when choosing a neighborhood. Perhaps it’s affordability. Or maybe it’s to connect with other expats and live within a diverse community.
If you need help planning that dream move to Berlin, reach out for a free call with the team at Perchpeek, and we can help you start your exciting journey today!