City guide: Living in Munich
In this German city guide on Munich, we set out the essentials for moving to the Bavarian capital Munich and forging a new life in Germany.
Munich is a city of tradition, wealth, and of course beer. Occasionally it's called the Northern Most city of Italy. The first thoughts of Germany typically draw ideas of beer, pretzels, festivals, and lederhosen, although these things are most common to the state of Bavaria, where Munich is the capital.
Not only is Munich popular on the tourist circuit, it is also a popular place for expats from a wide array of industries, including automotives, high-tech technology and electronics, film-making, and finance. It truly is a 'laptops and lederhosen' economy.
Where to live
Munich continues to be ranked as one Europe's most expensive cities, although it's also consistently ranked as having one of the best qualities of life in the entire world. The central location allows for ease of travel and the airport recently placed in the top five world wide, too.
Bavaria is home to the eight most expensive rural and urban municipalities, with Munich being over 100 percent more expensive than the national average. The average rent for a small one-bedroom, unfurnished apartment is between EUR 500 and EUR 700. For a three-bedroom unfurnished apartment the rent averages between EUR 1000 and EUR 1600.
It should also be noted that apartments are listed as ‘warm' or ‘cold' to denote whether utilities and heating are included or not. Oftentimes kitchens are not standard, so it may also be wise to budget for purchasing appliances and cabinetry.
Public transportation is widely used and accessible, so it helps to be close to an S-Bahn or U-Bahn line. Rents are highest in the inner city in areas with each neighbourhood having its own devotees.
Some popular neighbourhoods to live include:
- Schwabing – close to the universities and therefore popular with students and the young.
- Maxvorstadt -– centered around the art museums. It seamlessly melds into Schwabing with many small boutiques and restaurants.
- Isarvorstadt – popular for nightlife as well as the city's gay quarter, including areas like the Glockenbachviertel.
- Haidhausen – a charming location on the Right Bank of the Isar with professionals, easy access to the river, and many diverse restaurants.
- Lehel – posh and expensive with apartments and homes of athletes and the ‘schicki-micki' fashionable set.
- Bogenhausen – Luxurious centrally located villas and the city's old money.
Where to find rentals
While there is a seemingly endless supply of sources of information on accommodation, the Süddeutsche Zeitung and the Münchner Merkur are good starting points for exploring the city's rental market. Immobilien Scout 24 is also a helpful online resource.
Where to arrange a residence permit
For those living in central Munich
Hauptabteilung II, Einwohnerwesen
Ruppertstr. 19, 80337 München
Tel: (089) 233 23087 23131
General opening times:
Tuesday: 10am–12pm and 2pm–6.30pm
For those living in the suburbs
Mariahilfplatz 17, 81541 Munich
General opening times:
Monday to Friday: 8am–12pm
Thursday: 8am–12pm and 2:00pm–5:30pm
Where to register
Einwohnermeldewesen KVR HA II/2
Ruppertstr. 19, 80313 München
Tel: (089) 233-23154 -23155
General opening times:
Tuesday: 10am–12pm and 2pm–6.30pm
Where to arrange a driving licence
Kraftfahrzeugzulassung und Fahrerlaubnisbehörde
Eichstätter Str. 2, 80686 München
(089) 233 96090
General opening times
Monday to Friday: 7am–12pm
Health and recreation opportunities
Munich has a vast array of sports, regardless of the season, for both spectators and those that would like to be active themselves.
In addition to local teams, there is also an extensive network of vereine (associations) or clubs for virtually every imaginable sport. For starters you could consult the expat sports clubs listed under Expatica's groups and clubs.
Munich's golf courses
Anyone interested in golf will find themselves well served by Munich and its surroundings with more than 40 clubs in an around the Bavarian capital. This includes the Munchener Golf Club (08170 450), Margarethenhof Am Tegernsee Golf Club (08022 7506-0) Munchen-Riedhof Golf Club (08171 7065) and Tegernseer G C Bad Wiessee (08022 8769).
It's important to note that golfing in Germany requires a special licence, which may require additional certification.
Swimming in Munich
For those looking to take a dip or to swim for more regular exercise, there are about 17 public swimming pools dotted across Munich. The biggest is Olympia-Schwimmhalle at the Olympiapark. It costs EUR 3.90 and EUR 3.00 for students for 3 hours or a day pass can be purchased for EUR 7.00 and EUR 5.00 for students. A family day ticket can be purchased for those with children 13 and younger for EUR 14.80.
If you are interested in swimming against a rather dramatic backdrop then you should try Müllersches Volksbad (Müller's Public Baths), Rosenheimer Strasse 1. Completely renovated, the baths were designed in the early 1900s. Admission is EUR 3.80 and EUR 3.00 for students. It should also be noted that they have a wonderful sauna.
For a map showing your closest pool visit: www.swm.de.
There are also several popular swimming areas in lakes and rivers in Munich including in the Isar River, which cuts through Munich. For those wanting to swim in lakes there are Feringasee, Fasaneriesee, Feldmochinger See and Lerchenauer See. Apart from taking a dip they also provide great opportunities for picnicking, sunbathing and just hanging out.
Gyms in Munich
The people of Munich are rather fit, despite the carb heavy cuisine and litres of beer. At last count there were more than 90 major gyms spread across the city which means competition among gym operators can be tough. That of course is good news for anyone wanting a membership. The name of the fitness game is negotiation as many gyms will be prepared to do all sorts of deals.
Many of the gyms are parts of chains and offer different services with some of their premises more spacious than others and including extras. When signing up you should ask whether membership entitles you to entry to the company's other gyms which are often also in other cities.
Some of the most popular gyms in Munich are:
- Body Up Diva Hauptbahnhof (Women), (089) 55 02 222
- CBC Colosseum Body Care, (089) 550 549 0
- ELIXIA Lenbach, (089) 55 02 82 82
- Fit AS Sport & Gesundheitsstudio, (089) 55 30 87
- Fitness Oase, (089) 53 95 17 / 18
- Kieser Training, (089) 76 70 20 20
- Munich Health, (089) 26 39 22
- My Sport Lady Fitness & Wellness, (089) 201 42 48
- Stefan Sport Center, (089) 40 40 46
- Unsöld's Fitness für Frauen, (089) 29 16 07 94
Germany is slowly making progress with its supermarkets stocking a selection of products from all around the world as well as independent stores stocking a range of products from various countries. If you're not able to find certain products it may be worth looking at a specialty store. Here is a small list of stores throughout the city.
Karstadt at Hauptbahnhof
Bahnhofplatz 7, 80335 Munich
(089) 55 120
Rosenheimer Str. 34, 81669 Munich
(089) 448 52 51
British All Sorts
Rosenheimerstr. 161, 81671 Munich
(089) 23 54 92 75
Pomeroy & Winterbottom
Reichenbachstr. 38, 80469 Munich
(089) 20 16 901
Adolf Kolpingstr 10, 80336 Munich.
(089) 55 45 22
Friedenstr. 12 , 81671 Munich
(089) 67 80 59 90
Mercado de México
Schulstraße 38, 80634 Munich
Landwehrstr. 46, 80336 München
(089) 53 54 87
Marienplatz, Fünf Höfe, Karlsplatz, Salvatorplatz
Words' Worth Books
The Munich Readery
Emily Rasch / Expatica
Emily Rasch is an American expat from Ohio who loves to travel and writes at her blog Servus Munchen.
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