14 Cheapest Places to Live in Germany

Updated On May 12, 2024

German locals already know that Germany offers many benefits, including some affordable spots to live throughout the country.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD Better Life Index ranks Germany high in quality of life and well-being.

A better quality of life with public transportation, healthcare, top-notch education, and working conditions often means a higher cost of living.

Where do you go to find the most affordable spots in Germany?

If you know where to look, Germany offers some budget-friendly cities to call home, including the following 14 cheapest places to live in Germany.


1. Chemnitz

Located on the far eastern side of Germany, in Saxony, Chemnitz offers a relatively low cost of living.

Come to Chemnitz if you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path lifestyle.

Older established Germans and young adult students live in this affordable town that some say feels far away from a large city.

Some even call it boring.

Others caution against racism in the Saxony region.

The city is near Erzgebirge, where many enjoy outdoor activities like hiking.

Chemnitz offers a fantastic light-rail system.

An hour on a train ride takes you to Dresden or Leipzig for entertainment options.


2. Dresden

Dresden offers architecture, museums, and historical sites.

The city also provides green spaces and an overall affordable high quality of life.

Some refer to the region as Silicon Saxony because many of the 300 microelectronic companies in north Dresden.

Find lower housing costs than in larger cities, especially on the outskirts, without sacrificing public transportation and other aspects of city living.

Dresden offers a rich cultural heritage and a vibrant nightlife.

Just make sure to prepare for the extreme cold winters.


3. Magdeburg

Magdeburg has an industrial past with an emerging future focused on students.

The city historically experienced devastation and destruction three times and was rebuilt.

The city is the capital of Saxony-Anhalt.

Locals enjoy the scenic beaches along the Elbe River and a central connection location to Autobahn 2 and 14.

Many residents enjoy the cultural aspects of museums and university-focused lifestyles.

Rent inexpensive flats in the northwest section of town, in Neu-Olvenstedt.


4. Passau

Enjoy affordable, small-town living in a German town big on quality of life in Passau.

This southern city borders Austria and boasts of the central attraction: The convergence of the Danube, Ilz, and Inn Rivers, which gives it the nickname “The City of Three Rivers.”

Residents also enjoy a low crime rate and convenient public transportation.

Find affordable housing within the city, or venture outward to one of its suburbs for even more houses for your money.

Halle (Saale)
Halle (Saale)

5. Halle (Saale)

Halle, also called Halle an der Saale, is considered one of the cheapest cities in Germany to call home.

This river city stands out as the largest town in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt in the southern part of the state, on the right bank of the Saale River.

The city offers inexpensive housing, excellent transportation, affordable food, healthcare, and entertainment.

Located in the Saxony-Anhalt region, Halle (Saale) offers a central spot in the country.

Other aspects locals and visitors enjoy include:

  • a landmark Gothic bell tower
  • a display of modern and classical art in a restored Renaissance castle
  • The Zoological Garden, with a section on mountain animals

6. Bielefeld

Enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in the budget-friendly city of Bielefeld, considered one of the most affordable cities in Germany.

Located in the northwestern section of Germany and the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, locals enjoy the Hermannsweg hiking trail, which runs along the Teutoburg Forest.

Bielefeld also touts plenty of green spaces with beautiful parks and nature reserves.

Young adults especially find Bielefeld a great place to attend a university and to get established in a neighborhood.

The city has excellent public transportation, making it easy to get around locally and to travel to nearby towns.


7. Leipzig

The Nomad Guide ranks living costs in Leipzig at more than 25% less than in Berlin or Munich.

Find Leipzig listed as a Gamma world city, which is a city that links smaller regions or countries into the world system.

The city is located in the eastern part of the country and transformed itself after communist rule ended.

Even so, you will still find elements that point to its history.

As part of its rich cultural heritage, locals enjoy an active music scene with a full spectrum of genres from classical to alternative electro.

Its opera house and zoo help make the area one of the most livable cities.


8. Aachen

Find Aachen, one of the most productive economic cities in Europe, near the western side of Germany, near the border of Belgium.

Locals earn more and pay less than almost anywhere else in the country.

The small size helps keep its cost of living much lower than the rest of Germany.

The Middle Ages helped shape this city, leaving historical landmarks like the towering cathedral, cobblestone streets, and ornate fountains still in place today.

Residents of Aachen enjoy a reliable and affordable bus and taxi system.

Located near the Belgium border, Aachen presents beautiful countryside views with many parks and a hiking area.

The city also sits atop the largest thermal hot springs in Europe.


9. Braunschweig

Braunschweig, also called Brunswick, offers a sweet, charming, and affordable city in the Lower Saxony region.

Locals find the landscaped beauty near the Harz mountains refreshing and relaxing.

The city offers a medium-sized population to combine the best of city living with a budget-friendly way of life.

University students and technical workers dwell side-by-side in this safe environment.

Many see no need for public transportation in this city just north of the middle of the country.

Locals easily bike or walk around.


10. Krefeld

Located in the north Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany, Krefeld offers affordable living in a moderate-sized city near Dusseldorf.

Historically, the city is known for manufacturing silks and velvets.

Today, it is known as a service hub and a steel and machinery production center.

Many describe the city as not the lowest crime area or even the best place to live.

However, if you look, there are parts of the city to live safely.

Find low-rent options in apartment living in the heart of the city, or venture to the outskirts of town for affordable housing.

Frankfort an der Oder
Frankfort an der Oder

11. Frankfort an der Oder

Located on the border of Poland, Frankfurt an der Oder offers affordable living compared to larger German towns.

The rest of the world may refer to the city as simply Frankfort.

However, locals often refer to it with its full name to distinguish it from the larger city, Frankfort am Main.

This financial capital of Germany resembles Manhattan, with skyscrapers filled with many commuters.

The city sits on the banks of the Oder River and near the border of Poland.

According to the Economist Annual Ranking worldwide, the city ranks 7th for quality of life.

Frankfort Oder represents Germany as its top-ranking city in the listing.


12. Erfurt

Enjoy budget-friendly living in a conveniently located central Europe region.

Erfurt, the capital and largest city in Thuringia, southwest of Leipzig and Berlin and northeast of Frankfurt, offers a charming and affordable place to live.

Enjoy the warm hospitality of locals along with its lively markets and charm.

Locals enjoy the valley of the River Gera north of the Thuringian Forest in the middle of a line of the six largest cities in the region with its Medieval charm.

The city touts its heritage with Erfurt Cathedral, Saint Severus Church, and Petersberg Citadel.

It also houses a Gothic Cathedral, where Martin Luther received ordination.


13. Brandenburg

Located just west of Berlin, this town surprisingly offers a lower living cost when compared to West or East Berlin.

The city is known for its religious buildings, which sit along one of the vast wetland areas in Europe.

Find more than 3,000 lakes and a natural landscape that remains intact and preserved.

The name Brandenburg derives from a West Slavic meaning, defensive forest.

In 1990, the city became one of five new states of the Federal Republic of Germany.


14. Potsdam

Live affordably without missing out on big-city benefits.

Located southwest of Berlin, find cheap housing nearby in the capital city of Brandenburg.

Potsdam offers affordable living, especially for students or those interested in research science.

While attending the university, find student housing far cheaper than nearby Berlin.

The smaller city remains much more laid back than its nearby metropolis of Berlin, with everything you need within walking distance.

Additionally, the city offers a rich cultural experience with friendly locals and diverse accommodation options in a beautiful setting of natural landscapes.

Germany Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Germany Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Safe to Live in a Cheap City in Germany?

Official reports consider Germany a safe country, citing low crime rates compared to several other countries.

Munich, Stuttgart, and Dusseldorf are known for their low crime rates.

How Much Salary do I need to Live Comfortably in Germany?

The latest data from the Federal Statistics Office states that the average household spends €2,623 a month, allocating €966 for housing, energy, and maintenance.

Most Germans spend approximately €402 on groceries, €322 on transportation, and €255 on entertainment or leisure every month.

A good salary in Germany falls between €64,000 to €81,000.

What Factors Should I Consider When Choosing An Affordable City in Germany to Live?

Housing costs tend to pose the top consideration when moving to an affordable city in Germany.

Additionally, consider quality of life factors such as the cost of groceries, public transportation, and crime safety statistics.

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