6 Cheapest Cities to Live in Germany

鶹 can be affordable, but as a student, every cent matters. Your choice of where to live can have a big impact on your expenses. If you’re looking to save money while studying, it’s essential to consider the city you’ll be living in.

For example, Munich, known for its high costs, makes it challenging to save, regardless of how careful you are with your budget. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the top budget-friendly cities in Germany for students (plus, we’ve compared each of them with the cost of living in one of the most expensive cities in Germany, i.e., Munich, so it’s easier to see the bigger picture).

Here are 6 of the cheapest cities to live in Germany:

  • Halle (Saale)
  • Magdeburg
  • Leipzig
  • Potsdam
  • Erfurt
  • Bielefeld

Halle (Saale)

Halle is a city with a charming town center, green spaces, and historical architecture in its narrow streets. The River Saale flows through the town, offering pleasant spots to relax. What makes Halle even more appealing is its affordability, with low rent prices, and its proximity to the city of Leipzig, making it an excellent choice for students.

Halle’s relatively small size makes it easy to get around, and cycling is a convenient way to explore the city. During the summer, the city comes alive with street life. The lively Ulrichstrasse, lined with pubs, is a popular destination. In the Paulusviertel neighborhood, you’ll find cozy bars with a homely atmosphere, perfect for hanging out with fellow students.

Peissnitz Island, just a short walk from Universitätsplatz, is a highlight of Halle. This extensive park, where the Saale and Saline rivers meet, spans several kilometers and serves as a favorite gathering place for students. It’s an ideal spot for sports, studying, barbecues, and socializing. Many young people gather here on the lawns in the evenings.

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Living Expenses* Cost Comparison to Munich
Accommodation 350.00€ – 500.00€ per month +217.7% higher price in Munich
Utilities 104.62€ – 510.00€ per month +123.9% higher price in Munich
Restaurants 10.00€ – 20.00€ per meal +25.0% higher price in Munich
Transportation 30.00€ – 60.00€ for a monthly pass 0.0% (same price)
Sports and Leisure 20.00€ – 30.00€ monthly fee +73.3% higher price in Munich

*Source: Numbeo

Magdeburg

Magdeburg
Magdeburg Cathedral

Magdeburg, located on the banks of the Elbe River, is known as the green capital of Saxony-Anhalt. This city holds a strong appeal for students because of its welcoming atmosphere and affordable rental prices.

During the day, the busiest part of Magdeburg is “Breiter Weg,” a central street that connects Hasselbachplatz and Universitätsplatz. These plazas are popular and bustling, featuring numerous shops, shopping centers, doctor’s offices, and the Theater Magdeburg.

Magdeburg hosts a variety of large events and festivals regularly. The “Stadtfest Magdeburg” is a significant festival that occurs annually during Pentecost, offering music and concerts at various venues throughout the city for all ages to enjoy.

Another highlight is the Magdeburg Christmas market, held every December on the Alter Markt. Here, vendors set up festive wooden stalls adorned with Christmas colors and lights, offering delights like “Glühwein” (spiced mulled wine) and other winter treats—a must-visit for a cozy holiday experience.

Living Expenses Cost Comparison to Munich
Accommodation 450.00€ – 655.00€ per month +142.2% higher price in Munich
Utilities 250.00€ – 719.23€ per month -10.8% lower price in Munich
Restaurants 7.00€ – 18.00€ per meal +30.4% higher price in Munich
Transportation 49.00 – 50.00€ for a monthly pass -1.0% lower price in Munich
Sports and Leisure 10.00€ – 25.00€ monthly fee +95.1% higher price in Munich

 

Leipzig

leipzig
Leipzig, Germany

Leipzig, located in the state of Saxony, is a city known for hosting international trade fairs. It has prestigious institutions, and an abundance of lakes in the surrounding area, making it an appealing destination for students. Leipzig’s dynamic atmosphere makes it a highly attractive city for young people.

Cultural life in Leipzig mainly takes place downtown, in the Plagwitz district, and in the Südvorstadt district along Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse all the way to the Connewitz district. Lots of students live in this area.

In the summertime, you can relax outside on warm evenings at one of the many bars and pubs in Barfussgässchen. There are also a number of popular, trendy clubs and cafés on Gottschedstrasse in the Schauspielviertel.

If you like literature, Leipzig is the right place for you. The city regularly hosts the prestigious Leipzig Book Fair, and is also known as the “Book City”. Numerous publishing companies have their headquarters in Leipzig. At the German National Library, you’ll find every piece of media ever printed in Germany since 1913.

Living Expenses Cost Comparison to Munich
Accommodation 450.00€ – 910.00€ per month +85.2% higher price in Munich
Utilities 200.00€ – 362.04€ per month +22.2% higher price in Munich
Restaurants 6.00€ – 20.00€ per meal +50.0% higher price in Munich
Transportation 49.00€ – 50.00€ for a monthly pass 0.0% (same price)
Sports and Leisure 20.00€ – 34.00€ monthly fee +61.7% higher price in Munich

 

Potsdam

potsdam
New Palace in Potsdam, Germany

 

Potsdam is a fantastic place to live and study. It’s unique because it’s actually situated on an island, offering a peaceful setting for focused studying. Potsdam is often ranked as one of Germany’s best cities for leisure and nature, making it an ideal place for students.

With a population of around 180,000, Potsdam has a lively atmosphere, and 14% of the residents are students. This means there’s a thriving student scene with plenty of parties and events. Besides CBS, Potsdam is home to several universities, including the University of Potsdam (the largest with 20,000 students), the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences (around 4,000 students), and the Babelsberg Film University (1,000 students).

You’ll also find other institutions like the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI), the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences for Sport and Management, and the Clara Hoffbauer University of Applied Sciences.

The CBS campus in Potsdam is right in the middle of the famous Babelsberg film studios, often referred to as the “Hollywood of Germany.” These studios have a rich history but are also incredibly modern and successful. Many films and TV series, including “Babylon Berlin,” have been filmed here, along with some Hollywood productions.

Living Expenses Cost Comparison to Munich
Accommodation 525.00€ – 800.00€ per month +107.8% higher price in Munich
Utilities 250.00€ – 485.71€ per month -11.1% lower price in Munich
Restaurants 8.00€ – 15.00€ per meal +25.0% higher price in Munich
Transportation 44.80€ – 49.00€ for a monthly pass +4.5% higher price in Munich
Sports and Leisure 25.00€ – 49.00€ monthly fee +17.1% higher price in Munich

 

Erfurt

Erfurt, Germany

Erfurt, in the heart of Thuringia, Germany, is a great place to study. It’s easy to get around the state, and Erfurt itself is a charming medieval city with a rich history. Life in Erfurt is peaceful and friendly, especially for the roughly 10,000 students at the local universities. You’ll often bump into familiar faces on campus or in the city center.

Most places are within walking distance, making it simple to make plans with friends. There are plenty of student activities, and many happen downtown. You can find information on events in the “t.akt” cultural magazine. Erfurt offers various music venues and clubs, and you might even catch a performance by the famous musician Clueso.

You can relax at student cafes, enjoy beer gardens in the summer, and have brunch with friends on weekends. The weekly market on the cathedral square is a vibrant spot, and Sunday evenings are perfect for watching “Tatort” (Crime Scene) at a pub with friends.

Living Expenses Cost Comparison to Munich
Accommodation 600.00€ – 800.00€ per month +101.4% higher price in Munich
Utilities 250.00€ – 719.23€ per month +18.5% higher price in Munich
Restaurants 6.50€ -15.00€ per meal +66.7% higher price in Munich
Transportation 49.00€ – 65.00€ for a monthly pass 0.0% (same price)
Sports and Leisure 19.00€ – 25.00€ monthly fee +91.1% higher price in Munich

 

Bielefeld

bielefeld
Sparrenberg Castle, Bielefeld, Germany

If you love both city life and the countryside, Bielefeld is the ideal place for you. In this town, everything is conveniently close, so you can easily get around on a bicycle, and as a student, you can ride the tram for free.

The cost of renting a place in Bielefeld is quite reasonable. You can choose to live in a shared flat or a student residence hall. Bielefeld also offers plenty of cultural activities and events. You can join the vibrant Carnival parade called the “Carnival der Kulturen,” where music and colors fill the streets.

During the summer, there’s an outdoor movie event in Ravensberger Park with the latest movies and classics. The city has many museums, theaters, and choirs to explore. When the sun is shining, students often hang out in places like Bürgerpark (Oetkerpark) or take walks along Sparrenburg promenade or Nordpark.

On warm summer nights, you’ll find people relaxing at Siegfriedplatz or at various cafes in Bielefeld’s west side or downtown until the early hours. There’s no shortage of cafes in Bielefeld, offering affordable options to suit every style, whether you prefer a trendy spot, a classic coffeehouse, or something with a more laid-back student vibe.

Living Expenses Cost Comparison to Munich
Accommodation 300.00€ – 600.00€ per month +205.9% higher price in Munich
Utilities 300.00€ per month -1.3% lower price in Munich
Restaurants 9.50€ -14.00€ per meal +36.4% higher price in Munich
Transportation 49.00€ for a monthly pass 0.0% (same price)
Sports and Leisure 25.00€ – 39.99€ monthly fee +36.8% higher price in Munich

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