Before you move to Munich, you should be aware of what pros and cons living in this city brings. Munich was ranked at the top of the list as one of the most liveable cities on the planet. But is it really so? Does Bavarian capital deliver what it promises? Let’s find out the pros and cons of living in Munich.
The main pros of living in Munich are:
- High quality of life
- Very low unemployment rate
- High salaries
- Proximity to nature, like lakes and the alps
- Proximity to other countries
- Excellent public transportation
- A lot of greenery in the city
- Plenty of free time options from festivals to museums
The main cons of living in Munich are:
- High cost of living
- High taxes
- Difficult dialect
- Dark and cold winters
- Tourist crowds
- Shops close too early
- Housing issues
- Remote location
- Making friends can be difficult
Read on to learn more about the cons of living in Munich. PS: Munich has much more pros than cons; it’s a fantastic city. However, everyone already knows about the benefits of living in Germany & Munich, so we decided to uncover some dark sides to prepare new immigrants and expats.
You can also read another article on the downsides of living in Berlin.
1. High cost of living
Bavaria and Baden Württemberg are two neighboring states and are the most prosperous in Germany, meaning they are also the most expensive to live in. Many Munich residents report that the cost of living is too high for this city’s earnings potential.
Salaries aren’t significantly higher than in cities like Hamburg or Frankfurt, but the cost of living is.
Generally, a good salary for a single in Munich is between €2,500 and €3,500 net. That’s about €60,000 before taxes. In fact, the average wage in Munich is €59,707. Hence, you just need to make an average to cover all the main expenses.
In 2023, the monthly living expenses in the Bavarian capital look as follows:
- Family of four needs about €4,776
- A single person needs about €2,842
As a single, you are looking at a budget of about €2,500 per month, so you can live a pretty comfortable life. Here is an overview of the cost of living per month for people with different income levels in Munich in 2023:
|Students||Employees with a net salary of €2,500||Employees with a net salary of €5,000|
|Rent||550€ – room in a shared apartment||1,200€ – 60 m², 1 bedroom apartment||2,000€ – 100 m², 2-3 bedroom apartment|
|Utilities||Included in the room price||250€||350€|
|Mobile||9€ – 1GB mobile data||20€ – 5GB data volume||40€ – 10 GB data volume|
|Health Insurance||100€ – Student rate||Included in the gross salary||400€ – Private health insurance|
|Groceries||200€ – Shopping at a discounter||300€ – Shopping at discounters and good supermarkets||500€ – Shopping mainly at good supermarkets|
|Transport||32€ – Semester ticket||55,20€ – IsarCard, monthly ticket,|
|200€ – private car|
Here are some general examples of prices in Munich:
- Utilities: starting from €100 depending on the size of your home
- Internet: from €40
- Mobile plan: from €10 to €40, O2 is one of the cheapest
- Gym: €25 – the cheapest, €50 – average
- Meal in the typical restaurant: €20
- Cappucino: €3.30 – 4
- Beer: €4
- Cocktail: €8-10
The most expensive part of living in Munich is housing. You need to earn a good salary to rent a decent apartment there. Besides, be prepared to spend a solid amount of time and effort to find an apartment since the competition is fierce.
That said, Munich’s high cost of living is a comparative thing. It might be the most expensive place in Germany, but it’s still more affordable than London or any major city in the US. When you move to Munich and get a local job, you will have enough money to cover all the main expenses.
The only thing that might be out of your budget is buying a home here. The average price of an apartment is €9,362 in 2023.
2. High taxes
Although taxes are high in all of Germany, we have to mention it here. You need to be mindful that the salary mentioned in your employment contract won’t be paid out in full. Germans pay a lot of taxes and contribute to social security.
While healthcare isn’t directly a tax, you will pay 14,6% of your gross salary for health insurance. This adds up to about 40% – 45% of your gross income. This means you will get a fraction of your monthly salary on hand, especially as a single (not married) taxpayer.
Fortunately, a minor income up to €10,632 per year is tax-free, but you probably earn more as a worker living in Munich.
In 2023, the following income tax rates apply:
|Taxable income range for single taxpayers (€)||Tax rate (%)|
|From 0 to 10,632||0|
|From 10,632 to 61,971||14 to 42|
|From 61,971 to 277,825||42|
Below, you can see how much money you have with an annual salary of €100,000 as a single with no children. Keep in mind that income of €100k is very rare in Germany.
Consequently, you are only left with about €56,000 while earning €100,000 gross! That’s only about €4,600 per month. As you can see, you must be a really good earner to have a comfortable life in Munich, especially as a family.
To learn about salaries in Munich, read our dedicated article.
3. Difficult dialect
If you didn’t know, Germany is multicultural and multilingual, with dozens of dialects spread across the country.
You might speak German, but Munich isn’t exactly Germany, it’s Bavaria; hence, people there speak the Bavarian dialect (bayerisch). It will take months or even years for you to learn new words and understand the locals. Yet, most foreigners don’t get bothered by it and never learn it.
Here are some examples of regular German vs Bavarian:
- Servus – Hallo – Hello
- Pfia Gohd – Auf Wiedersehen – Goodbye
- Obacht – Achtung – Attention
- Gfraid mi – Freut mich – Glad
- Spezl – Freund – Friend
- Hock di her da! – Setz dich zu uns – Sit down with us
- Wea ko, tea ko – Wer kann, der kann – Who can, who can
- Bressiad’s da? – Hast du es eilig – Are you rushing?
- Erdapfel – Kartoffel – Potato
As you can see, the Bavarian dialect is pretty different and unique in its nature. It definitely will take some time and effort to get used to.
4. Dark and cold winters
Bavaria overall is a colder region during the winter compared to other places in Germany. It also gets some snow, so prepare your clothes accordingly.
Despite this fact, winters can be pretty uncomfortable in Munich. It’s often grey and dark outside. This weather can be very demotivating and even depressing for some people.
5. Tourist crowds
Munich is a popular place among tourists from all over the world. Don’t forget that it’s home to the world’s biggest beer festival. This event alone attracts millions of visitors each year.
That said, be prepared to see tourists strolling in the city year-round and significantly more frequently in September from October to the summer season. Moreover, Christmas is also a popular time to visit Germany and the famous Munich Christmas market.
6. Shops close too early
Bavaria is a very unique region where everything shouts down in the afternoon. Hence, don’t expect banks to work past 4 pm while supermarkets, even large chains like Aldi and Rewe, close at 8 pm. In Germany, shops are closed on Sundays all day, so don’t even plan to buy something on this day.
In addition, banks, offices, doctor practices, and some other organizations also have a break during lunch for a couple of hours. So, in reality, you have to make a very precise plan if you need to get something done.
Consequently, living in Munich requires some additional planning when it comes to shopping and all other things. Keep in mind many clothing stores stop working between 6 and 8 pm.
The people of Munich are known to be more conservative, less accepting, and even grumpy. This city and the surrounding area are home to some of the wealthiest individuals in Germany, so don’t be surprised people aren’t extremely friendly there.
Yet, regular, simple, hard-working people and students are still very friendly and open-minded to strangers. They will invite you to have a pint of beer and listen to some Folk music.
Generally, Bavarians love festivals and beer events; they will use any occasion to sit in a circle of friends with a good old Weizen and laugh.
Munich’s atmosphere and high housing prices play a role in the society that has formed in the city over time.
Also read Pros and cons of living in Germany.
Put simply, Bavarian food isn’t for everyone. It’s based on heavy, fatty, non-vegetarian items like roast pork, pork knuckle, and various sausages. People here love potatoes, bread, cabbage, dumplings, and other carbs.
Besides, German food lacks variety. If you are a vegetarian from Asia or Southern Europe, you certainly will notice it.
Fortunately, there are plenty of restaurants with international cuisine, yet prices can be pretty high. If you prefer to cook, you can find many ingredients for foreign dishes in most supermarkets.
9. Housing issues
Housing was always rough in Munich. Nowadays, getting an apartment has become even more challenging. There is much more demand than the offer. Homes are built very slowly, while people continually move into the city.
Besides, rent and home prices are the highest in the country, where you can easily pay €1,500 for a one-bedroom flat. If you’re looking for furnished apartments, expect to pay about 20% more. Most apartments are rented unfurnished.
Because the demand greatly exceeds the supply, tenants must fight for each apartment. The landlord or agency they are working with requires a CV, pay slips, work contract, references from previous landlords and employer, and much more.
In the end, finding an apartment can be a nightmare for an unprepared foreigner.
10. Remote location
When you look at the map of Europe, Munich is certainly in a central location. Yet, comparing the distance to other cities in Germany, it’s a pretty remote place.
You need around 6 hours to reach Berlin, over 8 hours to Hamburg, and 4 hours to Frankfurt. If your job or personal situation requires regular commutes, or you want to travel, Munich isn’t the best city to live in.
11. Making friends can be difficult
Generally, Germans aren’t the easiest people to make friends with. Add to it Munich’s conservatism, and you will get a pretty desperate situation when it comes to social life.
In fact, Germany is ranked as one of the worst countries in the world regarding meeting people and building friendships as an expat.
For that reason, many foreigners surround themselves with other foreigners or people from their native country. It’s just easier.
If you are a student, you have better chances of meeting and befriending locals. However, someone in their thirties will have a tough time.