5 best German cities for expats (that aren’t Berlin or Munich)

5 best German cities for expats (that aren’t Berlin or Munich)

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With more than 79 large cities to choose from, Germany has a lot to offer those intrepid expats who dare to venture a little off the beaten track. Online mortgage broker LoanLink give us their pick of the five best “alternative” expat cities in Germany. 

Everyone knows that Berlin is super-cool and Munich is drop-dead gorgeous. Hamburg is a feel-good haven by the docks and Frankfurt is a glittering metropolis of finance and fun.

But what about mixing it up and venturing somewhat further afield? Those brave enough to swim against the tide will discover some pretty spectacular gems - and cheaper house prices too! 

Spoiler alert: you won’t find Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt or Hamburg on this list.

1. Aachen

Expats love historic Aachen. They regularly vote it the best expat city in Germany, joining a long line of fans that stretches all the way back to the first century AD, when Roman troops used to bathe in the city’s mineral springs.

Nowadays, Aachen is a lively student city with plenty of bars, clubs, restaurants and cafes, as well as a unique cosmopolitan atmosphere, created by its location on the border triangle between Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.  

2. Freiburg

You couldn’t possibly fail to like the sunniest, warmest city in Germany. As well as one of the oldest German cities, it’s also one of the friendliest, with a plethora of cafes, breweries and restaurants staffed by cheerful, welcoming locals.

Perched at the foot of the Black Forest, surrounded by vineyards, Freiburg is a charming tangle of picture-perfect gabled buildings and winding alleyways. Pair with a weekly farmers’ market and a jam-packed lineup of street parties and festivals, and you’ve got a winning combination.

3. Karlsruhe

The most picturesque hub of science and technology you’re ever likely to see, Karlsruhe is a laid-back gem of a city. It was designed from scratch in the 18th century, according to the wishes of Margrave Karl-Wilhelm, who created a radial fan of streets emanating from a grand baroque palace smack in the middle.

These days, it’s a relaxed city of students and working professionals, who combine to keep the beer cheap and the cultural attractions ten-a-penny. 

4. Bremen

“Do you know what,” said the donkey, “I am going to Bremen, and shall become a town musician there.” It’s not just a mention in the Brothers Grimm that makes Bremen a fairytale come true: a tumble of cobblestoned alleyways, top-notch local beers, and some pretty darn friendly locals make this charmingly compact city one of the best in Germany.

It may be small, but this state capital is outward-looking and thrumming with industrial activity. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the statue of the Town Musicians and rub the donkey’s front legs for good luck! 

5. Potsdam

When life elsewhere starts to lose its sheen, why not escape to Potsdam, the capital and crown jewel of the federal state of Brandenburg? This vibrant and green city was once the seat of the old Kings of Prussia, and is nowadays famous for its splendid, UNESCO-protected palaces, parks and gardens.

The historic town centre is littered with museums, cinemas and independent boutiques, while the hustle and bustle of Berlin is just an S-Bahn ride away.  

Are you considering moving to a new German city? LoanLink is Germany’s online mortgage broker. They have transformed the traditional process of buying a house, bringing it into the 21st century, to help expats get the best possible mortgage rates. Check here to see what customers say about LoanLink.

Başar  Caniperk


Başar Caniperk

Co-Founder and Managing Director at LoanLink, a mortgage broker dedicated to serve Expats and foreign investors with best financial advise on buying properties in Germany.

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