Join now
Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Munich: A Great Quality of Life, but It Takes a While to Adjust

A great place when it comes to secure jobs, expats in Munich have to face some administrative challenges first — and may struggle to find friends.

Munich comes 38th out of 49 in the Expat City Ranking 2023. Compared to Hamburg, Berlin, and Frankfurt, the Bavarian capital is the German city with the best Quality of Life and the best conditions for Working Abroad (both 11th). However, Munich offers an equally difficult start for expats, ranking second to last — after Berlin — in the Expat Essentials Index (48th). And it's also not an easy place to get used to. Overall, 67% are happy with their life in Munich (vs. 72% globally).

Apart from a bottom 10 ranking for the cost of public transportation (46th) and the missing culinary variety and dining options (42nd), Munich has many merits in terms of Quality of Life (11th). Almost all respondents (95%) appreciate the infrastructure for cars (vs. 75% globally), and 96% find it easy and safe to get around on foot and/or by bike (vs. 77% globally). The city also ranks among the top 10 for the availability of green goods and services (10th), for its urban environment (8th), and for Safety & Security (6th).

And while it doesn’t make it into the top 10 in this subcategory, expats rate Munich much more favorably in terms of Healthcare (14th) than the other German cities. “I enjoy the security, the beautiful city, the great public transport, the great healthcare and that it’s an excellent place for practicing sports,” says an Ecuadorian expat.

Munich also shines in the Working Abroad Index (11th). It places 1st worldwide for job security and 3rd for the local job market. A Hungarian expat confirms: “I appreciate the job stability, the work-life balance and the transport infrastructure here.” While 79% are happy with their working hours (vs. 64% globally), many do not see a purpose in their job, though — the city ranks among the bottom 5 for this factor (45th). And when it comes to Personal Finance (31st), Munich performs worse than Berlin, Hamburg, or Frankfurt.

Yet, reaching the point where you can enjoy life there is a long struggle — as is the case for all German cities that make it into the ranking. Munich comes in second to last in the Expat Essentials Index (48th), with only Berlin performing even worse. Getting high-speed internet at home is a real challenge (48th), as is trying to pay without cash (47th). A US expat says: “There is very little technology integrated in places where it could be very useful, like medical services or admin services. It’s honestly hard to believe how outdated many systems are. Housing in Munich is a nightmare, especially as a foreigner.

While Admin Topics (37th) cause slightly fewer headaches than in the other German cities, Munich places second to last for Housing (48th), right after Dublin. A shocking 82% rate the affordability of housing negatively (vs. 42% globally), and 73% say it's hard to find (vs. 31% globally). Plus, 58% say that it's hard to learn German (vs. 38% globally).  

Further Reading