German town

Where to live in Germany

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Moving to Germany? Find out which German city will give you a quality of life that’s rated amongst the best in the world.

People living in Germany enjoy the highest quality of life not just in Europe but in the entire world. In the Mercer Quality of Life Survey 2018, an annual survey covering 231 cities worldwide, seven German cities were ranked in the world’s top 30 for quality of living – and three of those (Munich, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt) were in the top 10. German cities scored even higher in terms of infrastructure – quality of public transportation, traffic congestion and airport effectiveness – with four in the top 10 places. According to Slagin Parakatil, Senior Researcher at Mercer, this is partly 'due to their first-class airport facilities, international and local connectivity, and a high standard of public services'.

So if you're moving to Germany, pick your next hometown from this guide to Germany’s best cities to live in, provided by LoanLink, a mortgage broker that specializes in helping non-native property buyers.

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Laid back Berlin comes in at number 13. Much of Berlin was destroyed in the Second World War, and later, after the reunification of East and West Germany, there has been much rebuilding. The city is very green, with parks, forests, lakes and rivers covering an amazing third of the city. The districts within it are varied, each with their own distinct atmosphere. Charlottenburg is an upmarket – somewhat sedate - area in the west of the city with beautiful 19th-century townhouses but there are students here too. Kreuzberg, traditionally a major centre for the city’s Turkish and alternative residents is a fashionable, multi-cultural area. Traditional working class Wedding is up and coming. Prenzlauer Berg has up and come – a gentrified area that still attracts artists and students. Expensive Wilmersdorf, with its beautiful 19th-century buildings, borders Berlin’s most prestigious area: Grunewald.

Where to live in Germany


Ranked 6th in the world for quality of life and infrastructure, Düsseldorf is a beautiful cosmopolitan city straddling the Rhine river, and home to banks, industry, media companies, multi-national HQs, museums, restaurants and markets – and great international schools. There are 50 ‘stadtteile’ (districts) across the city: Stadmitte is mix of cultures with rich and poor side by side. Houses are rare, apartments expensive but for some it’s the place to be. Pempelfort, with its diverse cultural scene, and up-and-coming Hafen are both popular with singles and younger people. Bilk is a densely populated area filled with foreigners and students who enjoy its thriving nightlife and lots of green open spaces. Close to the river, Oberkassel is perhaps the most attractive part of the city with its art nouveau architecture – with prices to match. Niederkasse is a sought-after area – and home to over a quarter of the city’s Japanese population.


Germany’s financial capital, Frankfurt, may look a little like Manhattan with its skyscraper skyline and, similarly, most of the 600,000 people who work here chose to commute in from the suburbs rather than live right in the centre. This is partly because of the cost, partly because of availability. There are new-builds in Reidberg, the West and East Harbour, Rebstockpark and Friedberger Warte, while older mansions (and consulates) fill leafy Westend, Holzhausen Quarter, Poets' Quarter (Dichterviertel), and the Diplomatenvierte. Singles enjoy the restaurants and bars in Sachsenhausen and parts of Nordend. Lots of executives live in towns in the Vordertaunus, a wooded area 45 minutes north-west of Frankfurt. Frankfurt is ranked 7th in the world for quality of life, and joint 2nd with Munich for infrastructure.


Hamburg – or to give its full name – the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany with 1.8 million inhabitants. The metropolitan area is home to 5.1 million people. Hamburg is also one of Germany’s 16 states of the federation and is ranked 19th best for quality of life and 9th for the high quality of the city’s infrastructure. Although it’s a vast city, people have more living space than all the other major cities in the world, there are loads of green open spaces and many rivers and canals crossed by over 2,000 bridges (more than Venice and Amsterdam combined!). Altona is a popular residential district, with beautiful old architecture, restored old factories and large, expensive villas with river views. Eimsbüttal is upmarket and trendy, and where you’ll find the University. Wandsbek, in the far north-east of the city, has the highest number of residents and is a mainly suburban area divided into precincts and quarters. Hamburg Nord is traditionally working class with a few wealthy enclaves. Bergedof, to the south of the city, was once an independent town and still has its own castle which is today used as a museum.


Munich may be ranked very high in the Mercer Quality of Life Survey - 3rd in quality of life and joint 2nd for infrastructure – but you do pay for it: Munich is the most expensive city in Germany and the 49th most expensive city in Europe, according to the Cost of Living Index.. Close to the universities, Schwabing is popular with students and young people. The area segues into the Maxvorstadt with its trendy shops and cafes. Isarvorstadt is the city’s gay area with lots of nightclubs. Haidhausen, on the right bank of the river Isar, is popular with professionals. Lehel and Bogenhausen are both extremely expensive: the former consists mainly of apartments lived in by the city’s stylish ‘in-crowd’; the latter are grand villas lived in by the city’s old money.

Where to live in Germany


Nürnberg (or Nuremburg in English), in a beautiful city in the state of Bavaria (the second largest after Munich) situated on the Pegnitz river and Rhine-Main-Danube canal. It’s got a high percentage of foreigners living there, a reputation for being urban yet relaxed – and ranked 23rd in the world for quality of life. There are apartments in stunning art nouveau buildings and converted factory loft spaces. Moegeldorf, Rehof, Laufamholz and Zerzabelshof are among the most desirable areas in the city.


It might come as a surprise to discover that Stuttgart, despite its strong association with the automobile industry, is set out across a number of hills, valleys and parks. Some of the city’s most desirable homes are on the steep hillside and have awesome views. Accommodation in the very heart of the city is limited but Stuttgart-West is an attractive area not far from the city centre with shops, markets, cafes, theatres and parks all within easy walking distance. Stuttgart-Ost and Stuttgart-Süd are also very central. Killesberg and Dogerloch are fairly exclusive areas. Sindelfingen, Böblingen or Vaihingen are all further out but you’ll stand more chance of finding accommodation with a garden if that’s important to you. Stuttgart is ranked 28th place in the world for quality of life.



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3 Comments To This Article

  • Kim posted:

    on 12th May 2015, 14:37:37 - Reply

    I produce and host a show called It's Rainmaking Time! and am coming to Cologne in June. I would like to contact you directly. I am in the media. Kind Regards,

    Kim Greenhouse
  • Juan posted:

    on 2nd February 2015, 17:23:25 - Reply

    Thanks for your comment, I am thinking to move to Koln on July and I had many doubts about to choose the "right" city... Your post help me a little bit to continue with my idea.

  • Peter posted:

    on 20th January 2015, 14:09:04 - Reply

    I add Cologne (Koln) to the list.
    Conveniently located in North Rhine-Westfalia it's a great choice! Dusseldorf is a 20 minute car ride away.
    Plenty of jobs, the clubs/bars/nightlife is great, by far friendliest people in Germany and a cultural hotspot: From roman times up to contemporary art.
    And if you work in the media industry (like me), and especially television, there is no other choice than Cologne. Period.

    One thing about the Berlin hype in recent years: Let's get this straight, Berlin is a great city, but apart from some areas that really look urban and like big city live Berlin in general is just a bunch of small cities glued together so you get your 4 million inhabitants in Berlin metropolitan area.
    Culturally its top notch, but honestly it is hardly anything there I couldn't find in Cologne.
    Plus Cologne is embedded in a 10 million people metropolitan area (Rhein-Ruhr), wich is located right next to two other metropolitan areas (7.5 million inhabitants in Randstad region in Holland, and 5 million in Rhein-Main region). And it's a breeze to go to all these regions as there are so many connections.
    I mean, take 2 hours of travel time from Cologne and you could party in Amsterdam, buy Diamonds in Antwerps, see Europe's biggest Harbour in Rotterdam, drink Coffee in Paris, watch the EU Parliament in Brussels. And if you go on a plane at one of the several airports in or around Cologne you can be in 45 minutes in London for example.
    Berlin in contrast: 2 hours: Maybe Dresden and Leipzig wich are bloated with Nazis and Hamburg wich is really nice, though. As for planes: Berlin has shit connections and you have to change planes pretty often for a lot of destinations even in Europe.
    Other than that it's just woods and forest around Berlin.