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The city has a large variety of accommodation and deciding between the areas and suburbs in Munich is one of the biggest challenges expats will face.
The neighbourhood expats choose to live in will depend on factors such as their budget, proximity to their workplace and good schools, as well as the availability of amenities.
Naturally, housing becomes more affordable away from the city centre. Central Munich is home to numerous shops, museums, parks and theatres, so it offers limited scope in terms of housing. Given that it's a hub for business and cultural activity, if expats do find a suitable home in the city centre they should expect to pay a high price for it.
City living in Munich
Haidhausen is a trendy area that's popular with a younger crowd. The area is close to the city centre but its buildings have a rural character. Weisenburger Platz and Pariser Platz are mainstays of local pub culture. Expats who enjoy an active lifestyle will be able to jog, cycle or stroll along the Isar River which cuts through the area. It's well served by public transport, making it easy to get around Munich.
This is a highly desirable neighbourhood in Munich due to its location close to the city centre. Residents have access to great shopping facilities and lots of social amenities such as nightclubs, bars and sports centres. The U-Bahn connections close to the area make it easy to get around, and residents have little need for a car. The demand for rental property in Maxvorstadt is high and therefore housing prices have been driven up, making the area only affordable for a select few. The types of expats that live here tend to be single executives earning good salaries.
This is a chic residential area of Munich located close to the city centre. Properties here are small but luxurious and most come in the form of high-quality, modern apartments. Public transport connections are excellent, which makes travelling really easy, and residents have access to a wide variety of facilities and amenities. Neuhausen is close to the Nymphenburg Palace and its grounds, which is a paradise for dog walkers, runners and recreational cyclists. It's popular with wealthy professionals and young expats with substantial disposable incomes.
Family-friendly suburbs in Munich
Property in Bogenhausen is more affordable than in areas closer to the city centre. But its housing is still of an excellent standard and expats benefit from being a little bit removed from the bustle of city life. Expats living in Bogenhausen can enjoy the tranquillity that comes from living close to the Isar River and the English garden. The area is well-connected thanks to the U-Bahn and S-Bahn, and residents are just a short commute from the city. The area is popular with family-oriented expats.
Giesing is located on the edge of the city centre and along the Isar River. It's a cosmopolitan area that's home to several established immigrant communities. Accommodation here is generally affordable and more spacious than properties in other areas close to the city centre. It doesn't boast much in terms of nightlife, but it is home to good restaurants and a handful of decent bars. Public transport connections to the area are good and the journey into Munich’s city centre takes around 20 minutes. This is a great area for expats looking to save money and interact with locals.
Berg am Laim
Berg am Laim is a southeastern suburb that's close to Bogenhausen and Haidhausen. The area is pleasantly quiet and great for families with young children. It has several leafy parks and properties are relatively spacious. It's also close to various good international and bilingual schools. It has its fair share of restaurants and shops, with the U-Bahn station providing easy access to the city centre.
This suburban area is about 40 minutes away from Munich’s centre and is a great option for expats looking for quieter surroundings. Its main square has a large concentration of shops and restaurants, which reduces the need for travelling into the city centre. It's also home to a large student population that attends the University of Applied Sciences. Properties here are generally affordable, houses are large and they often come with decent sized gardens. It's close to a number of good bilingual schools, so it's popular with families.
Situated to the south of Munich, Neuperlach is a pleasant area popular with expat families looking to save money during their stay. The houses are large and comfortable, although some of the architecture is a bit dated. The community is well served by supermarkets, small shops and a few restaurants and bars. There are several U-Bahn stations and bus lines, which make commuting into the city quite straightforward.
►For more on finding the perfect property, see Accommodation in Munich
"The areas of Munich with (seemingly) the most restaurants and pubs are Schwabing and Glockenbach, both of which are also very central. I live in an area called the Au, which is also very central, right near the Isar, the main river. The Au is quieter than Glockenbach, but only a 10-minute walk away."
Read more of Phil's (a New Zealand expat) thoughts on expat life in Munich.
Are you an expat living in Munich?
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