Wondering where to live in Berlin? Consider Berlin’s outlying suburbs. These commuter towns are hidden gems that can provide an easier pace of life than Berlin might offer.
If you’re looking for homes to rent in Berlin, you’ll find plenty of distinct suburbs to match any lifestyle. Those looking for larger housing, cheaper rents or quieter areas will find Berlin’s outlying towns offer great accommodation alternatives compared to where to stay in Berlin’s central neighbourhoods.
Berlin has an excellent transport network and people commute into the city from dozens or even hundreds of kilometres away. During the Cold War, this area was all part of East Germany, but has benefited from Berlin’s renaissance.
The small towns and charming villages that surround Berlin give you an alternative to the dense housing of Germany’s capital city. If you’re looking for more space, perhaps a garden, a spare room for visitors or a place for your growing family to enjoy, read below about where to stay in Berlin’s outer neighbourhoods. Before signing a contact, however, make sure you understand renting conditions and tenants’ rights; read about renting in Berlin.
Where to live near Berlin: Great for nightlife and culture
A tourist destination and the capital of Brandenburg on Berlin’s border, Potsdam is home to several palaces, including Sansouci. The historic town centre dissolves into fairly typical suburbs as you go further out. Potsdam has many businesses, including a major film studio and 30 research facilities, and is also home to the Berlin Brandenberg International School (classes in English and German).
Potsdam neighbourhood at a glance:
- Location: at the south-west edge of Berlin’s city boundaries.
- Housing costs: moderate, from EUR 400 per month for a 2-bedroom apartment, although some period and deluxe properties are very expensive.
- Commuting options: easy access to central Berlin as Potsdam is part of the U-Bahn network. There are also regular buses.
- Cars: older town houses have very limited parking but most single-family homes have parking.
- Recreation: museums, cinemas and many events in the city. The palace gardens are extensive and typically free to visit.
- Shopping: small, independent boutiques in the city centre and a mall at the train station. Big box stores are located further out.
- Neighbourhood: older town houses in the centre, and single-family homes with gardens farther out.
A pretty town outside Berlin, Oranienburg’s pleasant streets make it easy to forget that the town was home to both Nazi and Soviet concentration camps. Tourists visit the memorials and the 350-year-old palace, while locals enjoy a pleasant and relaxed lifestyle.
Oranienburg at a glance:
- Location: 25km north of Berlin.
- Housing costs: moderate, from EUR 600 per month for a 3-bedroom house with garden.
- Commuting options: express trains to Berlin Mitte take 25 minutes. Easy car access to north Berlin by motorway.
- Cars: most homes have parking and there is easy motorway access.
- Recreation: the former Prussian palace is a cultural centre, hosting music and theatrical events, and also has a large open park.
- Shopping: boutiques in the city centre, with supermarkets and larger shops further out of town.
- Neighbourhood: many pleasant single-family homes with gardens.
Where to live near Berlin: Great for students and tight budgets
On the outskirts of Berlin, Teltow has followed the city through its trials and tribulations, serving as a border between West Berlin and East Germany. The old town is now a heritage site, and new developments continue to spring up to provide affordable housing for workers flocking to Berlin. Its location provides easy access to higher education colleges in both Berlin and Potsdam.
Teltow at a glance:
- Location: just outside Berlin’s south-west boundaries, near Potsdam.
- Housing costs: moderate, from EUR 400 per month for a 3-bedroom apartment.
- Commuting options: on the S-Bahn network. Trains take around 30 minutes to Berlin Mitte, buses typically 45–60 minutes.
- Cars: parking can be difficult unless you have a designated space. Traffic often congested.
- Recreation: limited in the town, although there are parks, river walks and other green areas. Easy access to both Berlin and Potsdam.
- Shopping: some small shops in the town. A car is useful to get to larger malls and supermarkets further out.
- Neighbourhood: Primarily high-rise apartment blocks and terraced houses.
Rathenow is a small, pleasant town west of Berlin, with low housing costs and a convivial atmosphere. The town was established 800 years ago, and now has a population of 25,000. There are direct trains to Berlin Mitte and good road connections.
Rathenow at a glance:
- Location: 50km west of Berlin.
- Housing costs: cheap, from EUR 200 per month for a 2-bedroom apartment or EUR 400 for a 3-bedroom house.
- Commuting options: direct trains to Berlin Mitte take 50 minutes. Good road connections to west Berlin.
- Cars: parking is easy and traffic is generally light.
- Recreation: large parks and green areas surrounding the town. Little nightlife.
- Shopping: limited. Some small shops and supermarkets.
- Neighbourhood: small town atmosphere, mostly single-family homes with gardens.
Where to live near Berlin: Great for peace and quiet
Developed as a commuter town for Berlin in the early 20th century, Hohen Neuendorf retains its quiet, tranquil setting and easy access to the city centre. Most of the housing is, therefore, relatively new, and the monuments date from the 20th century. This is not an old town, but a pleasant one.
Hohen Neuendorf at a glance:
- Location: just outside Berlin’s city limits to the north.
- Housing costs: moderate, from EUR 500 for a 3-bedroom apartment.
- Commuting options: part of the S-Bahn network. Trains to Berlin Mitte take 30 minutes, buses somewhat longer.
- Cars: parking is limited and the town is part of Berlin’s traffic snarls.
- Recreation: small parks in the town itself and larger ones outside. Also sports such as golf, cycling and hiking. Some cultural events.
- Shopping: easy access to Berlin’s major shopping districts, limited shopping in the town.
- Neighbourhood: family houses and apartment blocks.
A mix of historic buildings and GDR concrete pre-fabs, the city centre has a Medieval wall and several museums. It’s an attractive town with quiet streets and pleasant neighbourhoods. The total population is around 35,000.
Bernau at a glance:
- Location: 13km north-east of Berlin.
- Housing costs: more expensive, from EUR 750 for a 3-bedroom house.
- Commuting options: part of the S-Bahn network. Direct trains take 20 minutes to Berlin Mitte, and buses are also available.
- Cars: parking is limited in some city centre areas but most houses have adequate parking.
- Recreation: a large park spans much of the town centre. Little nightlife.
- Shopping: the centre is home to small boutiques and chain stores. Larger shops typically require a car for easy access.
- Neighbourhood: Residential streets with plenty of green areas.
Where to live near Berlin: Great for being active
Developed as a resort in the early 20th century, Wandlitz retains much of its charm. A small town with around 20,000 inhabitants, it’s set between two lakes and in a nature reserve, making it an ideal choice for those who love the outdoors.
Wandlitz at a glance:
- Location: 25km north of Berlin.
- Housing costs: moderate, from EUR 550 per month for a 3-bedroom house.
- Commuting options: buses and a direct train line connect Wandlitz with north Berlin. By car, the journey is typically 40 minutes in light traffic.
- Cars: parking is easy and most family homes have a garage.
- Recreation: the nearby lakes and nature reserve are popular with both locals and visitors.
- Shopping: a mix of small businesses and chain stores. Larger shops usually require access to a car and are out of town.
- Neighbourhood: mostly quiet residential streets.
Authentic small-town German life within commuting distance of Berlin. Strausberg was founded in the 13th century and is just 30km from the Polish border. It’s a long, thin town lying along the S-Bahn lines and the lake. Sporting facilities abound, including amateur golf, watersports and cycling, as well as professional sports teams.
Strausberg at a glance:
- Location: 25km east of Berlin.
- Housing costs: cheap, from EUR 350 per month for a 3-bedroom apartment.
- Commuting options: part of the S-Bahn network. Trains to Berlin Mitte take around 50 minutes. Driving to Berlin takes from 30 minutes, depending on the destination and traffic.
- Cars: most homes have parking and driving around the town is easy.
- Recreation: proud of its sporting traditions, which include football, gliding and flying, swimming, cycling and hiking. Some cultural activities and museums.
- Shopping: Primarily small and independent shops, some chain stores. Large stores scattered, so a car is useful.
- Neighbourhood: Primarily quiet residential streets with some historic buildings in the old town.
Where to live near Berlin: Great for families
Family homes with gardens make up much of the housing in and around Zeuthen, and the rents are typically affordable. A short commute to Berlin Mitte and easy access to Schönefeld airport make Zeuthen a popular suburb, particularly for workers who have to travel and also want to spend time at home.
Zeuthen at a glance:
- Location: 10km south-east of Berlin.
- Housing costs: moderate, EUR 400–700 per month for a 3-bedroom house or apartment.
- Commuting options: part of the S-Bahn network. Trains to Berlin take from 20 minutes. Buses also common, particularly to Schönefeld area.
- Cars: traffic to Berlin typically dense and snarled. Many homes have parking, although apartment buildings may not.
- Recreation: easy access to the nearby Zeuthener See and green areas, but other entertainment is limited.
- Shopping: small shops clustered around the station, plus some larger stores further out.
- Neighbourhood: A quiet suburb with easy access to Berlin.
Once home to the world’s first radio station, Nauen is now a quiet satellite in Berlin’s orbit. The old town is said to be one of the most beautiful in Brandenburg, and signs of progress show in the wind turbines scattered around the town’s edge. With larger gardens and quiet streets, it’s a popular choice for families.
Nauen at a glance:
- Location: 25km west of Berlin.
- Housing costs: cheap, from EUR 350 per month for a 3-bedroom house.
- Commuting options: direct trains take around 30 minutes and bus services connect to west Berlin. A 20-minute car journey will take you to west Berlin, and it’s 40 minutes or more to the city centre.
- Cars: most homes have parking and parking is easy.
- Recreation: easy access to nearby lakes, rivers and wildlife areas. Nightlife and cultural events limited.
- Shopping: limited. A few, typically small and independent shops in the town centre.
- Neighbourhood: low-density housing, often with medium to large gardens.
- Guide to renting in Germany and tenant rights
- German housing terms for finding a flat
- City Guide: Living in Berlin
- 10 things to do before moving out of your German apartment
- Guide to buying German property and German mortgages
Photo credits: Privat-Fotografie (Potsdam), Avda (Oranienburg), Lienhard Schulz (Teltow), Clemensfranz (Rathenow), Ingrid Strauch (Hohen Neuendorf), Benutzer:Lewa (Bernau), Angela M. Arnold (Wandlitz), Christian Liebscher (Strausberg), Clemensfranz (Zeuthen), Clemensfranz (Nauen).