Originally published at: Berlin For Digital Nomads: The Definitive Guide 2021
If you want to explore Europe and still work remotely, consider Berlin. It’s one of the most popular capital cities in the continent. It’s vibrant, relatively cheap, connected to the rest of Europe with a good transportation system, and much more. It’s a place where you can work and have fun at the same time!
According to the latest statistics, 55 percent of Berlin’s population is younger than 45 years of age. With 3.77 million residents, it’s the largest city in Germany. People from over 190 nations prefer to live in Berlin and this number is rising. As a city offering an easy and fun-filled life for digital nomads, the city is definitely going to keep its popularity. Let’s explore Berlin together!
Places To Live in Berlin
Berlin is a big city, with different places with different vibes. There are 12 districts with their own characteristics, but they have one thing in common: the Berlin lifestyle. Below we’ve listed some districts which you can choose as your new home. Keep in mind that Berlin is a big city and be prepared to do some traveling to get around…
With unique coffee houses, restaurants, and hipster places Kreuzberg is the favourite of many young expats living in Germany. The impact of the Turkish community adds to the diverse cultural life in the district. If you want to experience an alternative and hipster way of life, no doubt you’ll love to live in Kreuzberg.
If you like the city life and would love to live right in the middle of the hustle and bustle, Charlottenburg is the place. A base for delicious restaurants, stylish boutiques, and bookstores, Charlottenburg can offer you a good experience as a digital nomad.
Mitte is known as the center and heart of Berlin. With a distinctive character, it’s home to many art galleries, shops, sights, and attractions. It’s located right next to the biggest park in the city – Tiergarten. If you like to live in the city center, go for Mitte.
This neighborhood welcomes foreigners from all around the world. It’s multicultural and home to many different lifestyles. Thanks to this, it’s also a good place for cheap street food. If you’re looking for a more modest place to live, you can check out Neükölln.
Accommodation in Berlin
We know from experience that it might be a bit difficult to get long-term accommodation in Berlin. The city is increasingly seeing an influx of expats and families that are relocating to Berlin. In many hotspots around the city, rents are increasing steadily. The city is growing, so it might be hard to pin down an apartment to live in.
Many landlords in Berlin require proof of a full-time paying job and a history of payment from other rental establishments before letting you into their property doesn’t help the situation much. Some of them will even request that you have a good credit rating to ensure that you can pay for your continued stay.
It might be quite a while before you become eligible for long-term accommodation as a digital nomad in Berlin. To save money, you can live in a hostel or co-living space for a while.
Places To Work in Berlin
We know how important internet connection is for you. Luckily, the internet connectivity in Berlin is fast, with a download speed of over 20 Mbps. Although, there are laws that bind Wifi network providers to be responsible for any illegal activity taking place on their network. The Storerhaftung law has brought about a limit on the availability of open wireless networks in many of the city’s shops and cafes. However, many working spaces in Berlin will suit your purposes, schedule, and budget.
Coworking in Berlin
There are about 70 coworking spaces in Berlin. So it’s no coincidence that this city is ranked as a place every digital nomad should visit. A lot of coworking spaces are popping up around the city which will make your search an easy one. You can find a coworking space with WeWork, or check out other coworking spaces like AhoyBerlin, Tuesday Coworking, Space Shack, or Raumstation. Also don’t miss out on our tips on How To Choose a Coworking Space.
Below is a list of places where you can work with other digital nomads.
- St Oberholz
- Space Shark
- Tuesday Coworking
For a fee, you can join these coworking communities and use their space to do some work remotely, network, and socialize at the same time.
Places To Meet
Berlin is a developed city with lots of amenities which makes it digital nomad friendly. You can meet fellow nomads online, meet them in several places, and get an opportunity to network.
Networking in Berlin
The experience in a new city could be a little frightening, especially if you’re all alone. The coworking spaces we’ve mentioned above are great places to mingle and make new friends. But there are other groups and places where you can meet other digital nomads like yourself.
This is an example of a meet-up group where, once a month, freelancers, remote workers, and digital nomads gather to socialize.
Facebook is everywhere, so count on it to socialize and meet new friends. You can join groups on the platform and meet up with people in reality after a little bit of socializing online.
Digital Banking in Germany
As a digital nomad who is not looking for permanent residence, it will be wiser to use a digital bank account rather than opening a local bank account. Digital banking puts your finances in your possession without any hassle. If you don’t have a universal debit card from your bank, you can use digital banks to take care of your financial needs.
Luckily, there are a variety of digital banking services in Germany. The presence of finance apps like N26 has brought open banking to Germany. You can sign up for a free account in seconds and request a debit card that can be used locally, in ATMs, and in some shops.
Some of these digital banks come with free conversion rates and features that could help you keep your finances in check during your stay in Berlin.
However, make sure you’ve some cash with you as some places don’t agree to receive payments from digital banks.
In theory, you can go anywhere on foot in Berlin. But if you’re in a hurry you can make use of transportation options. Uber is available in Berlin. You can pick your location on the app and wait for your ride.
If you have an international driver’s license, you can even rent a car or scooter. If you don’t have one, check out the electric bikes and scooters that do not require having a license to drive.
There are ride-sharing services present in Berlin if you don’t want to use the regular commute channels. It might take a while to get a ride, but it’s fun and costs less.
In Berlin, public transport can take you anywhere. Trains, trams, buses, the S-Bahn, and U-Bahn are readily available.
Tip: Tickets need to be validated before using public transport. You can validate your ticket using the stamp machines at the stations or when you get on. If you skip validating your tickets and get caught, the fine is €60.
Food and Groceries
The quality of life in Berlin is very good. Food and groceries are generally very affordable. The cost of food is largely going to depend on what you like to eat and what kinds of restaurants you prefer. On average, a stomach-filling lunch or dinner will cost you around €10. No matter what part of Berlin you reside in, the price of food and groceries relatively remains the same.
Eating out could be fun and a great way to explore the local cuisine. Cooking your food with groceries is cheaper when compared to eating out in restaurants. There are various supermarkets and grocery stores with fresher products and sold at a lower price than the stores in the US and UK.
There are countless laundry services in Berlin. You can visit Yelp or Google to see which laundromat is closest to you, check out reviews, and find out which laundry service suits you best. Most of them speak English and will be happy to offer you coffee to pass the time as you do your laundry.
The laundry service in Berlin is not cheap, but it’s fair compared to some other parts of Europe.
Leisure and Lifestyle
The nightlife in Berlin is exciting and popular for its ever-changing clubbing scene. Especially in summer when the weather is beautiful, not wet, dark, and grumpy.
Nightlife in Berlin
There are many clubs in Berlin. Most of them are located in Mitte, Friedrichshain, and Kreuzberg. The city is safe to walk at night. But still, it’s wise to watch out due to the rising population and the influx of different kinds of people.
As much as it’s famous for nightlife, Berlin is also famous for There are parks and outdoor gardens where you can pass the time and appreciate the beauty of nature. If you would love something more energetic, you can visit the beaches to swim, go cycling or kayaking.
On cold days, when the weather isn’t great, there are many museums to be visited in Berlin. But, you can always sit back in your apartment, watch a movie and socialize with fellow nomads.
Cost of Living in Berlin
The cost of living in Berlin is not too high when compared to other capital cities in Europe.
- Cost of Accommodation in Berlin – A studio apartment in the center will cost around €900 per month. If this is above your budget, consider shared apartments.
- Cost of Food and Drink in Berlin – Dinner in inexpensive restaurant costs around €10. Cappuccino is €3 and a bottled coke is €1.93. One kg of beef is around €12 in a supermarket.
- Cost of Transportation in Berlin – The standard fare for a short bus trip is €2.9, and the monthly pass is €81. If you want to rent a car, the cheapest option will be around €20. Consider renting bikes too!
The Not-So-Great Parts of Living in Berlin
Berlin is great in many aspects but there are of course some cons as you can expect anywhere around the world:
- English is not frequently spoken outside the main districts,
- German communication style might be different from what you’re normally used,
- On some services, customer satisfaction is nonexistent,
- The difference in culture is evident and can be unsettling at first.
Visa and Entry Requirements
What type of visa do you need to live in Germany? If your stay period is no longer than 90 days, and you’re a citizen of Canada, the United States, or the United Kingdom, you don’t need to obtain a visa. Berlin is located within the Schengen area, so it’s easy to travel from Berlin to other European countries located within the Schengen area.
If you’re a freelancer, you can also consider German Freelancer Visa which grants residency for from six months to three years.
When you’re looking for an apartment, don’t forget to ask if the rent covers the internet. If it isn’t, please note that you might need to pay a €30 internet fee per month. As this is costly, looking for a place with an internet connection will be a better solution.
The Wifi speed in Berlin could range from 18 Mbps to 30 Mbps.
Quick Tips For Digital Nomads Working In Berlin
There are a few things you should take note, to make your stay in Berlin easy.
- If you stay for longer than three months in Berlin as a digital nomad, you’re no longer considered a tourist. You might become eligible for taxes, depending on your visa and the kind of job you do.
- If you want to rent an apartment in Berlin, don’t let your broker charge you for placement services. For a long time now, there are no commission fees for tenants anymore.
- If your stay in Berlin will be prolonged, there are two flea markets for bikes every month. One is in Kreuzberg, and the other in Moabit. You could get a bike for an easier commute.
What Type Of Digital Nomad Is Berlin For?
Berlin is a place for all types of digital nomads. It’s home to many different cultures and offers varied lifestyles. With a young population, it’s always alive and promises many opportunities for every digital nomad.