Are you relocating to Munich? Germany’s third-largest city is an international hub where many huge companies (like BMW, Allianz, Siemens, Audi, and Flixbus) are based. The city’s strong economy attracts many foreigners who come to live and work in Munich.
But business is not the only reason people move to Munich! The city offers many opportunities for those who love nature, sports, and of course, beer. It’s hard not to fall in love with the place – who wouldn’t want to live in a big, cosmopolitan city like Munich?
Why Move to Munich?
There are many good reasons to move to Munich. The first one being that the city has the third-highest quality of life in the entire world, according to the Mercer Quality of Life Survey.
And even though Munich is big, there is enough nature for you to relax and ground yourself – including forests, water, and parks. The city is also very safe for its size. In fact, Munich is the safest city in Germany when considering cities with more than 200,000 citizens.
As if that weren’t enough, Munich is situated in a very special location; you’re close to the Alps and Italy, and not very far from Stuttgart, Lake Constance, or Switzerland. Best of all, the city is very well-connected so you can easily get where you want to go by bus, train, or plane.
Lastly, despite being considered the most expensive city in Germany, Munich is still a lot cheaper than other big cities like New York, Rome, Mumbai, Miami, Seoul, San Francisco, or Zurich. It occupies only the 72nd position in Mercer’s cost of living world ranking.
Should You Move There?
While we can’t answer this question for you, we can tell you what you should be asking yourself. You need to think about the reasons why you’re considering moving to Germany and be honest about them. After you reflect on these reasons, you will want to check to make sure the city you’re considering (Munich, in this case) offers the things you need and want in a city.
If you already have a job offer or you’re relocating to Germany with your company or in a group, the decision-making process might be a lot easier. While you may still be able to consider other big cities, like Berlin or even some of the smaller ones around Munich, you know roughly where you need to be in order to be close enough to your job.
Everything You Need to Know Before Moving to Munich
If you’re still unsure whether you should move to the capital of Bavaria or any other city in Germany, you should start by learning everything you can about the location. That’s why we created this list – to help you consider all the pros and cons of living in Munich.
1. You Will Need to Plan Before Relocating
This is the absolute first thing you need: a plan. It doesn’t matter where you’re relocating to, however, you must know that moving to Germany requires you to take extra precautions with all of the documents, the visa, and everything else you need to arrange.
In addition to thinking about your Visa, you will also need to prove to German authorities that you have enough resources to support yourself – and your family if that’s the case – during your entire stay. As soon as you get there, you’ll also have to deal with a lot of bureaucracy, and all of this costs money and time. So make sure you’re prepared and you have everything you need.
2. You Must Get German Health Insurance
If you’re moving to Germany, you should know that health insurance is mandatory, and we are not talking about your travel insurance. You need to choose a health insurance provider that complies with German law, or opt for the public option. You should do it within your first few weeks in the country. If you don’t get valid health insurance, you won’t get your residence permit.
3. You Will Need to Register Your Address ASAP
Registering in a city is an important step for those relocating to Germany. If you don’t register your address, you’re not going to be able to get your residency. So if you’re moving to Munich, you must register in the Citizens Office in Munich, and you need to do it within two weeks of your arrival. You can find the Bürgerbüro – the German name for Citizens Office – in six different locations in the city. Book an appointment at the one that is most convenient for you.
You can find more information about the offices’ locations in Munich and download the registration form at Muenchen.de’s website.
4. You Need to Open a Bank Account
Opening a German bank account with sufficient funds to prove you can support yourself and your family is also important for those who want to become German residents.
5. You Must Understand the Cost of Living in Munich
The cost of living in Munich is not high… but it’s not low, either. Among the 209 different countries evaluated in Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey, Munich holds the 72nd position. Does that mean Munich is inexpensive? Well, not exactly. Munich is actually considered the most expensive city in Germany.
Compared to Berlin, Munich is way more expensive; on average, the cost of living in Munich is 26% more expensive than in Berlin. However, Germany has, in general, a low cost of living, especially in Berlin. So, this might not be a fair comparison.
On the other hand, if you compare Munich’s cost of living to a city like New York, you will see that rent in NYC is almost 99% higher than in the capital of Bavaria, and the overall average cost of living is 49% higher in New York.
In the meantime, when we compare Munich to London, you’ll find out that the cost of living in London is, on average, 22% more expensive than in Munich.
Therefore, living in Munich is not extremely cheap, but it’s also not expensive. It all depends on where you’re coming from and what your standards are.
PS: Learn more about the cost of living in Germany here.
6. You Need to Choose the Best Neighborhood for You
Before you look for an apartment, you might want to narrow down your search and consider the best neighbourhoods to live in. Munich is a big city, so there are many options for you to choose from. When looking for a neighbourhood, think about what you need and what each specific Viertel (neighbourhood) has to offer. Then, start looking for your new home within the areas you have selected.
7. House Hunting Might Be Daunting
People from all over the world are moving to Munich; in fact, the number of inhabitants in Munich is currently more than 1.5 million people, and more than 440,000 of them are not German. Therefore, you can expect the housing market to be a bit challenging since there’s so much competition. Owners can also be picky when choosing a tenant.
So, if you find an apartment you like, try to contact the landlord as soon as possible and schedule a visit. Be ready to answer a lot of questions when applying for an apartment and to show a very specific list of documents, and proof of work if you have it.
If you don’t know how to navigate this market and want professional help, contact us. We are experts in relocations and can help you find housing stress-free.
8. Pay Attention When Moving Your Belongings – and Pets
Moving your belongings overseas is a complicated task, and you will need to comply with the various import procedures. Once you’ve selected what you’re going to bring with you to Munich, the best option is to hire professional help with experience in international move management. These services usually involve picking up your belongings at your home and delivering your items to your new home in Germany. Importantly, they also take care of all of the customs and import formalities when exporting from your home country, any ports, and storage on the way, and import into Germany.
Regarding your pets, they must have an identification microchip or a clearly readable tattoo to be allowed to enter Munich. You also need to bring their up-to-date International Health Certificate, Rabies Vaccination Certificate, and EU Health Certificate with you.
9. Munich is Pet-Friendly
If you are moving with your pet, you will be more than happy to know that Munich is very pet-friendly. Most of the city’s restaurants, shopping malls, and stores allow you to bring your pets. So, you can rest assured that you can take your pet with you almost everywhere you go!
10. Munich Has a Rich Culture and Plenty of Activities for Everyone
Bavaria is not just big on beer and pretzels; it is so much more than that! Even though Munich is the home of Oktoberfest – it happens right in the middle of the Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt district, at Theresienwiese – it’s also known for its many multicultural activities.
There’s something for everyone, from salsa lessons to cooking classes. And the best part is, you can enjoy most of it without even speaking German. The city is also full of museums, galleries, palaces, parks, and theatres to visit. In fact, there are more than 140 museums and theatres in Munich. And if you’re into sports, there are several running groups for all kinds of runners, as well as sports lessons and gardens to take a walk or go for a hike.
11. Traffic Might Get Bad – and Parking Spaces Are Hard to Find
Germans love cars, so if you’re taking your car with you or buying one in Germany, be prepared for the traffic. The rush hours are the worst, so if you can avoid driving from 8 to 10 in the morning and 5 to 7 in the evening, you should be ok.
Even if you don’t get stuck in traffic, you might still find it difficult to find a place to park your car – especially if you want to park it on the street near the city centre. If this is important to you, there’s a variety of private parking spaces or you can rent a garage.
12. Public Transportation is Great
If you don’t want the hassle of having to find a parking space or you don’t want or can’t have a car, you will have no problems getting around in the city. In general, public transportation in Germany is great, and the same applies to Munich. It’s organized, efficient, and clean. You can find buses, trains, trams, and metros that will take you basically everywhere.
13. You’ll Have Plenty of Food Options
If you’re looking for a place with lots of food options and different types of cuisines, you will love Munich. The expat community is big and, therefore, you can find all kinds of food, from Brazilian to Asian. This is one of the best things about Munich; living in the Bavarian capital allows you to travel the world without even leaving your neighbourhood.
14. The Weather Might be a Challenge
If you’re not used to cold weather, you might be scared to learn that Munich has an average temperature of -3°C (or 27°F) during the Winter. While temperatures tend to go a few degrees below zero during the night, Munich can have really cold temperatures during the day, too – even though this is not extremely common. In February 2012, for instance, the temperature once got down to -22 °C (-8 °F).
On the other hand, the weather can be quite pleasant in the summertime, with temperatures around 28/32 °C (82/90 °F). However, you will notice that there’s more rain in the summer than in the rest of the year.
15. You Can Travel Easily
While the weather in Munich might be a little challenging, you can still travel to amazing places in a matter of hours. Munich is close to Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic. It’s possible to go and spend a weekend skiing in the alps or take a quick trip to Lake Constance. In addition to that, Munich has a well-connected airport that allows you to travel to many places within Europe in just a few hours.
16. It Can Feel Like You’re in a Small City
Even though Munich’s population is 1.5 million, the small cobblestone streets and alleys, tiny and locally-owned shops, and the cosiness of the city might make you feel like you’re in a small city. The architecture is beautiful, and you won’t find any huge skyscrapers in the city centre. This makes it look like you’ve stepped into the past.
17. Munich Has Great Universities
If you’re a student or you’ve been thinking about doing a Master’s program or taking some courses, you’ll be happy to know that Munich has some really great universities. In fact, The Technical University of Munich is one of the best-ranked German universities.
The best part about the universities in Munich is that most of them are well-connected to companies which allow their students to have real-world experience while still pursuing their degree.
18. The Quality of Life is Amazing
Munich was ranked 3rd in the world in Mercer’s Quality of Life Survey in 2018, which says a lot. The reports released by Munich police also show that Bavaria’s capital is the safest major city in Germany.
Munich also offers great public transportation, a wide range of delicious restaurants and cafes, history and culture, as well as beautiful parks like the English Garden where you can go running, biking, hiking, or just sit and have a nice picnic.
19. You Can Survive with English
There’s nothing to worry about if you don’t speak German. As a cosmopolitan city that is the home of many expats, most people speak very good English. However, if you want to experience Munich and Germany to their fullest, it might be fun to learn the language, especially if you’re planning to live in Germany permanently.
Legal disclaimer: According to the German Rechtsberatungsgesetz – Legal Advice Act – this article does not constitute formal legal advice and should not be considered case-specific advice. It does not replace speaking with our team members or obtaining professional legal advice. Further disclaimer details are incorporated in our Terms & Conditions of Use.
If you need to relocate your company’s employees or are looking for case-specific information, contact us here. Our team of international relocation experts will be pleased to support you.