20 things you should know before moving to Munich

20 things you should know before moving to Munich, by Packing my Suitcase.

There are far way more than 20 things you should know before moving to Munich, but this little list will certainly give you an idea of how is life in the capital of Bavaria. From practical to cultural, I tried to put together the most useful information you will need, in order to know what to expect and to begin imagining how your life will be around here.

Finding where to live can be a hassle

It’s not a myth, finding an apartment/house to live in Munich is a hassle, especially for foreigners, and for those with pets and/or children. Landlords know that the demand is high, so they get to be picky with the people they choose to live in their property.

As I said, the demand is high, and not everyone is lucky enough to find a place within Munich, especially if it is for a good price. Many people will end up living in nearby towns, which offer easy access to the center city by car or with the S-Bahn (suburban trains).

The most popular websites to find a place to rent/buy a property are:

Immobilien Scout 24 / ImmoWelt

Rent is expensive

Not only it is hard to find a place you like and are accepted by the landlord, but there is also the money issue. Expect to pay 1,500€ for an 80sqm apartment near the center of Munich, not to mention you will need to pay 3 months rent in advance, and in some cases a commission to the landlord/real estate agent.

Public transportation is easy and awesome, but not cheap!

20 things you should know before moving to Munich, by Packing my Suitcase.

The busses, trams, trains and metro of Munich are highly efficient, clean, and well organized. They are almost never late, and when they are the MVG (Munich’s public transportation company) always makes sure to let people know the reason of the delay.

As all good things come with a price, Munich’s public transportation is not cheap. A day ticket for the inner city costs around 6,20€ per person, while for the entire network costs 12€. If you are a frequent traveler, there are monthly/weekly passes, which are the best options to save money with transportation. These passes are called IsaCard and they may cost around 74€ per month for 4 zones. Not cheap, I know, but worth every penny.

For more information about the tickets and prices, take a look here.

Parking can be challenging

What a surprise! In a European city where finding a place to live is hard, imagine parking. Especially in the center city, finding parking is very difficult, but for those wanting to pay extra, there are many private parking spots. Otherwise, parking on the streets cost a couple of Euros, and on Sundays is for free.

For those who own a car in Munich and have no private garage, parking on the streets will be your only alternative. In this case, you can apply for a card called Parkausweis für Bewohner, which allows you to park on the streets around your house for an annual fee. Or, you can also look for garages for sale/rent!

Munich during summer and winter are two completely different cities

20 things you should know before moving to Munich, by Packing my Suitcase.

I think this item might be applied to many cities around the world, but it is important to know about it anyways. During winter Munich is grey, dark, quiet, cold, there aren’t many people around, and not many outdoor activities apart from the amazing Christmas Markets in December.

While during summer, the city wakes up: it’s colourful, noisy, bikes and people are everywhere, there are endless outdoor activities, and sunlight! It’s like living in a totally different town, it’s surprisingly fun and beautiful. It certainly makes worth the while waiting for summer!

It’s pet friendly

I have previously mentioned how it is like to have a dog in Munich, and of course, one of the items was how pet friendly this town is. Restaurants, stores, shopping malls, all of them welcome dogs. On the public transportation every person has the right to bring a dog for free. The only places where pets are not allowed are: some bakeries, hospitals, pharmacies, supermarkets, and kids’ playgrounds.

Traffic can be very bad

Even though Munich offers a great public transportation system, many people still prefer driving their cars. After all, Germans love cars! For this and other reasons, sometimes traffic is inevitable, especially during the hush hours (in the morning between 8 and 10 and in the afternoon, between 5 and 7).

The good thing about it is that at the same time, the traffic is very organized, so it flows, even if slowly. Whenever there is an accident, the radio announces it, the police arrive immediately, and soon traffic will flow normally again.

Bikes are a very popular mean of transportation

20 things you should know before moving to Munich, by Packing my Suitcase.

Nothing like Copenhagen or Amsterdam, but still, many people choose bikes as their mean of transportation. The city has a great infrastructure for cycling, and it is a very easy way to reach your destination. Riding a bike or not, beware of the rules and be careful when walking on the sidewalks where there are bike lanes, as well as when driving.

Food from everywhere

It’s not all about the local German food, Munich offers a great food and drink scene. There are restaurants serving food from everywhere in the world, for everyone’s taste, from Ethiopian to Brazilian, from Italian to Asian. Also, drinking does not only include beer. Whichever your taste is, Munich has a little bit of everything for you.

Can be very cold and very hot

Temperatures in Munich can reach -25°C during winter, while during summer it might get to 40°C. Of course, these are the extremes, but in over 3 years living around here, I have experienced both. The thing is, there is heating everywhere, but air conditioning is something rare in this town, but the good – or bad – news is that it is only hot in Munich for around 3 weeks around the year altogether.

First is Bavarian, then German

Munich is the capital of Bavaria, that being said, ask any Münchener/Bavarian and he/she will confirm this: “I’m first Bavarian, then German”. That’s probably one of the reasons why Germans from other states don’t like the Bavarians so much. Is it true? My German husband likes to think so, they are simply proud of their region. After all, Bavaria used to be independent.

The top 10 most expensive neighbourhoods to live are…

Building at the Altstadt neighbourhood.
Building at the Altstadt neighbourhood.

If you are still deciding in which Viertel – neighborhood – you want to live or are still looking for an apartment in Munich, it is better if you take into consideration that these are the most expensive areas to live in town:

  1. Altstadt-Lehel
  2. Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt
  3. Maxvorstadt
  4. Alt-Bogenhausen
  5. Schwabing
  6. Nymphenburg
  7. Schwabing West
  8. Au-Haidhausen
  9. Neuhausen
  10. Harlaching

You can see more information here.

It is possible to get around with English

Of course, not everyone speaks English in Munich, but you would be surprised by how many people do. Also, many restaurants have their menus in English too. So, if you don’t speak a word of German and is moving to town, English will be very handy at first. But don’t stick to English forever, learn German!

Everyone loves a Biergarten

Biergarten is not a place to go once in a while, it is to go as much as you can and find any excuse to go again. Especially in sunny days, people get off work earlier just to meet up with friends/co-workers for a beer at a Biergarten. Someone will hardly say no if you invite them to go with you.

The city is very green

Hofgarten
Hofgarten

In probably every neighborhood of Munich you will find a park, a big one, or a tiny one. Either way, green is everywhere in the city, and you are always able to be in touch with nature. The Englisher Garten, the Olympic Park, and the Nymphenburg Park are the most famous ones.

You will end up learning a bit of Bavarian too

In your process of learning German, chances are you are also going to learn some Bavarian words and expressions too. Even though in Munich the dialect isn’t so present as in the countryside, people still use Bavarian in their daily conversations, with words like:

Servus = hi or bye

Minga = Munich

And the famous expression “Schau ma mal”: let’s see what happens.

Barbecue is all you will do during summer

20 things you should know before moving to Munich, by Packing my Suitcase.

The Germans in general are crazy about Grillen – making barbecue, in German – and in Munich, you will do it a lot during summer. Even if you are not a fan of, get sot get used to it and go with the flow, it is the most popular activity in town during the warm season. In the parks, in their gardens, sooner or later you will be invited to one.

There are cinemas with original versions

Yes, yes! There are cinemas that offer both the original versions and the German version, and others offer or one or the other. I know movies play a big role in everyone’s life, being able to go to the cinema and understand the movie is something that keeps us sane when living in another country. So, my favourite places to watch original versions here in Munich are:

Museum Lichtspiele / Cinema

The city is packed during Oktoberfest

Around 6 million people visit the Oktoberfest each year, Munich has 1,5 million inhabitants – and not all of them go to the festival – so, you might imagine that most of them come from outside town. This all means that the city is packed at this time of the year: there is more traffic, hotels are fully booked, people rent out their apartments to the tourists, the public transportation is full most of the time, especially the metro lines that give access to the event, and even the streets seems to be dirty, with lots of beer bottles laying around!

The good news: it’s only for 2 weeks, then everything comes back to normal again!

It’s safe

Of course people can get robbed anywhere in the world, so it is always good to watch out for your belongings. However, if there is something you shouldn’t worry about when moving to Munich, is insecurity. The city is the 3rd safest one in Germany, and among the biggest towns, it is the safest. Amen.

 This list will keep growing over the years…

 

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20 things you should know before moving to Munich, by Packing my Suitcase.

About Allane

A Brazilian living in Germany. Married to W. mommy to a baby girl and a Golden Retriever. Traveler, writer, aspiring photographer, diver, wine appreciator, Formula 1 fan, avid reader of historical and young adult fictions books. City girl, nature lover, believer of a better world, one little change at a time.

  • Rent wise…nothing bets Athens! I believe that rents here even in the city center are very very cheap (especially nowadays)! Traffic wise I believe that all big cities are the same! I’ve visited Munich and I loved the fact that there are so many green and open spaces!! Nice to read about your insights about living there!

    • Yes, rent here in Munich is terrible… but I have lived in Geneva before, and it was worse than here haha 😀
      Happy you enjoyed reading this post, once in a while I share a little bit of my life here in Germany 😀
      I can imagine how it must be in Athens… I hope things get better!!

  • It was definitely a shock how much more expensive Munich felt after Frankfurt – but totally worth it. And I feel totally “in the know” now that you’ve explained the whole Bavarian First thing to me. I kind of love it – Moscovite/New Yorker First, and all 😉

    • hahaha really? That bad?
      I know that Berlin is waaaay cheaper than Munich, but I didnt know Frankfurt was so cheap in comparison to Munich. That’s good to know.
      hahaha exactly, the Bavarians are very proud of being Bavarians 😀

  • Places People Stories

    Great post, Allane. 🙂 It seems very similar to Oslo. The rent there is really expencive as well! The public transport the same. Parking hard. And in the summer it is barbecue all the time 😉

    • Thank you dear!!
      Ohh really? hahaha that’s so funny.
      I knew about the expensive part, but had no idea about the barbecue part 😀

  • Ohhh soo happy to know you agree with what I said! Your opinion really matters, since you are form Munich 😀
    I love it when snows here in Munich, it gives a purpose to the cold winter!!
    I do speak German 😀 I’m don’t like writing as I make lots of mistakes, but I do understand and speak it.
    I took some intensive courses as soon as I moved here in 2012 😀

  • It really depends on the winter. Last winter we had a loooot of snow, but the previous 2 years almost nothing 🙁 It’s hard to tell unfortunately.

  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    So many of these comments are the same for London too so I could definitely relate to the traffic / expensive accommodation / parking problems! Lol. But it’s really interesting to hear that people think of themselves as Bavarian first rather than German! When I went to Munich a couple of years ago, I found most people were able to communicate with us in English though I did try my best with a bit of German!

    • Yesss, I guess these problems are pretty much the same for big cities… but I’m sure in London is way worse than Munich. I thought I should mention it because many people have no idea that this also happens here 😀
      I also found it very interesting how proud they are of being Bavarians. After a while living here is almost impossible not to notice it.
      Awnnn how nice of you to have tried to speak German 😀

  • Yess, living in Europe is very exciting. The best part is being able to travel so much around within máx 3-hour flights 😀
    I hope you get to visit Germany some time soon!!

  • Really?? That’s awesome!
    I’m happy to know that!!
    I love living here, and it’s hard to think about living in another place. 😀

  • hahaha thank you, it does make sense what you say. I probably should add that!!
    Thank you so much for your comment! 😀

  • Yesss there is!! And I am veeery happy about it, I only like to watch the OV’s 😀

  • Gin

    All in all, Munich is not that bad, right ? 🙂

  • Happy to know that you liked the post!
    And I hope you will enjoy Munich 😀

  • Yaaaaaaay soo happy to know that!!!
    Of course, I will give you all the tips you need 😀 and also be your guide too 😀

  • Mabel Kwong

    Lovely post on the ins and outs of Munich! Rent everywhere seems to be expensive these days, especially if you want to live in a location that is near the city, shops and public transport – I suppose you pay for a small space, pay for convenience.

    Sorry to hear that the weather can get very cold in winter! I would much rather sit in the shade in 40’C and eat an ice-cream to cool off 😀 Great BBQ shot and love how the steam is wafting off the meat 😉

    • Yes, I think you are right Mabel, rent seems to be expensive everywhere 🙁 especially in big cities. We certainly pay more for the convenience than for the place itself.

      hahaah I like the cold, but I don’t like that it’s so dark during winter. Sometimes the darkness lasts for over a month… no sun a all 🙁

      • Mabel Kwong

        Oh no, darkness and cloud for a whole month. If you can, you should travel to a warmer place that month and that will warm you up 😀

        • hahaha yess, that’s what I try to do every year 😀
          January and February are the coldest!

  • Really? That’s cool!! In Brazil most of them are, and here in Germany too 🙁
    I always prefer the original version.

  • Thinking of moving to Munich? I wish 😀
    I hope all is fine with you in the US, I’m loving your photos on facebook!
    I will catch up with your blog soon, now that I’m finally catching up with my life after the holidays 🙂

  • Hi Carlos! Munich is then I great match for what you’re looking for 🙂
    I wish you the best of luck with your decision and later with your move!

  • Shubhanshu Kumar

    I’m a student and planning to move to Munich in a coming year or two for further studies. The university website also states that the rent is pretty high, I hope I’d get my way through.
    Do drop your suggestions about this.

    • Hey, how awesome.. I hope everything works out for you. Yes, finding a place to live in Munich isn’t the easiest task for anyone. Do try to get into Facebook groups and get help from the University towards finding a place 🙂

      Good luck!