Munich is the third largest city in Germany after Berlin and Hamburg. It is the capital of Bavaria, the country’s second largest state and has a population of about 1.5 million people. The city and its greater metropolitan area is a great option for any expat thinking of moving to Germany. The city has a rich history almost a millennium old. Munich is globally recognized as a centre of business, art, tourism, technology, culture, finance and education. Numerous multinational companies call Munich home and the city is home to over half a million foreign nationals which is good news for any expat moving to Munich.
Is Munich a good place to live? Anyone living in Munich will tell you that they enjoy an exceptionally high standard and quality of living. The education, transportation, health and sports facilities in Munich are way above par. There is also plenty of employment and relative safety. The short answer is yes, Munich is a good place to live.
In 2018, Monocle’s Quality of Life Survey rated Munich as the world’s most livable city and I would be hard pressed to disagree. Munich is a city of tradition, wealth culture and of course, beer. For such a large city, there are virtually no dangerous neighbourhoods to avoid. The sheer amount of tourists and expats inhabiting the city make cultural diversity quite astounding. Things just work here and there is something for everyone in Munich. Moving to Munich will reveal more about the city than I can possibly manage to disclose.
Is Munich a good place to live?
In most major cities comparable to Munich you will find many areas exemplifying the city’s level of inequality. On the contrary, Munich has basically no bad neighbourhoods. Most areas are hospitable and just depends on if you can afford it. However, no areas are the same and if pressed to rank them there would be bad and good neighbourhoods. Therefore, based on a variety of criteria, the good neighbourhoods in Munich are Schwabing, Haidhausen, Maxvorstadt, Altstadt, Bogenhausen, Isarvorstadt, Lethel, Gern, Au, Sölln, Neuhausen, Grünwald. Bad neighbourhoods include Am Hart, Hasenbergl, Neuperlach, Hadern, Aubing, Allach and areas around Munich Central Station.
Despite a moderate increase in Munich’s crime rate in the past five years, Munich deserves credit as one of the safest cities in the world. The city has a safety index of about 85% which is quite rare for a city of its size and population. About 80% of the residents of Munich claim feeling safe when walking alone at night. The most common crimes you will find in Munich include theft of unattended goods and people insulting others which is not surprising considering you are in the beer capital of the world. This is good news for expats thinking of moving to Germany.
Munich has long been a leading centre of education particularly for scientific research. There are excellent institutions of learning at all levels of education. The most popular primary and secondary schools include Grundschule Flurstraße, Maria-Theresia-Gymnasium, Isar Realschule München, Bavarian International School and Munich International School. There are world-class colleges and universities in Munich including Ludwig Maximilian University, Bundeswehr University Munich, Munich School of Philosophy, The Ukrainian Free University and the Technical University of Munich. There are also plenty of research institutions in Munich, the most significant one being the Max Planck Society which has its administrative headquarters and other subsidiary institutes in the city. The Fraunhofer Society, European Southern Observatory, Botanische Staatssammlung München and The German Aerospace Center are other noteworthy research institutions in the city.
Munich has one of the most extensive public transportation systems in the world including an underground railway (U-Bahn), trams, buses and high-speed railway system (S-Bahn). Munich’s main railway station (München Hauptbahnhof) is situated in the city centre and serves about 450,000 passengers every day. The station serves both the underground metro and the Inter-City highspeed trains. The other train stations are München Ost and München-Pasing. Munich is a crucial part of the country’s famous motorway system with roads connecting the city with other German destinations with some extending to Austria and Italy. Munich International Airport is the second largest airport in the country and serves 46 million passengers annually from all over the world. Munich is a cycling friendly city and there is a bike system in the city.
Munich’s social life is always active. There are museums, theatres, markets, famous festivals and sporting events all over the city to attend and meet up with like-minded people. The city also has a thriving nightlife.
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Is Munich a good place to work?
Munich has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world. Despite being the second largest city in Germany with a population in the millions, Munich only has an unemployment rate of 3.0%. Over 62% of Munich’s population is employed in full time jobs. Munich has the strongest economy of any city in the country and is the economic centre of the entire South of the country. Munich has consistently topped rankings for economic prospects among German cities in the past.
Munich is a global city home the headquarters of many multinational companies. The presence of such companies means there are plenty of employment opportunities in Munich across all industries. There are also scores of Small and Medium Enterprises, startup companies, small and medium-sized partnerships and sole proprietorships. The average annual salary in Munich is about €57,180 which is much higher than the German average annual salary of €37,000. Common jobs in the city include software engineer, programmer, mechanical engineer and project manager.
The main industry employing residents in Munich is the manufacturing industry. There are many engineering and technology companies in Munich including Siemens AG, Osram, Microsoft, Infineon Technologies, Arri, MTU Aero Engines, Bavaria Motor Works (BMW), MAN AG, Linde and Rohde & Schwarz. Munich deserves credit for being a significant financial centre is not only the country but also entire Europe. There are many banks and insurance companies with their headquarters in the city such as Allianz, HypoVereinsbank (UniCredit Bank Aktiengesellschaft), Bayerische Landesbank and Munich Reinsurance. Another noteworthy industry in Munich is the media industry. Munich is the largest publishing city in the whole of Europe. The headquarters of companies like Süddeutsche Zeitung (the largest daily newspaper in the country), ARD (the largest public broadcasting network in the country), Bavaria Film Studios and the German Branch of Random House are all located in the country.
As far as individual employers go, the stand out employer in Munich is BMW which employs about 34,500 people, more than thrice the second largest employer, The Technical University of Munich. The other large employers in Munich include Stadtwerke München, MAN SE, Siemens, Allianz, Linde AG, Munich Airport, Munich Re and Stadtsparkasse München respectively.
Is Munich a good place to buy a house?
Munich is the most expensive place to buy or rent a house when living in Germany. The reason for the high prices is the exceedingly high demand. The real estate market in Munich, it seems is always booming and it has been, especially in the past few years. The market has seen tremendous growth due to several factors among them UK’s exit from the European Union. Interest rates in the country are very low so the amount of mortgage purchases has been on the uptake in the past decade. The price of real estate can be as high as €2500 per square meter in the city centre. The country’s thriving economy and burgeoning population will ensure that demand, and subsequently prices, remain high for the foreseeable future.
The more affluent neighborhoods in Munich are Schwabing, Haidhausen, Maxvorstadt, Altstadt, Bogenhausen, Isarvorstadt, Lethel, Gern, Au, Sölln, Neuhausen, Grünwald. Less affluent neighborhoods include Am Hart, Hasenbergl, Neuperlach, Hadern, Aubing, Allach and areas around Munich Central Station.
The average monthly rent for an unfurnished one bedroom apartment is €700. The average rent for a two bedroom apartment is €1000 a month. The average rent. The average rent for a three bedroom apartment is €1500 a month. The average monthly rent for a four bedroom apartment is €1850 and the average rent for a five bedroom apartment is €2100.
The average buying price of a one bedroom apartment in Munich is €150,000. The average price of an apartment with two bedrooms is €195,000. The average price of an apartment with triple bedrooms is €247,500. The average price of a four bedroom apartment is €285,000. The average price of an apartment with five bedrooms is €350,000.
Is Munich a good place to invest in property?
As of 2018, Munich was one of the best cities in the world in which to buy a property. As previously mentioned, the demand for housing in Munich has been increasing steadily for the past ten years and the prices right along with it. The Munich property market had a total turnover of €12 billion in 2017. The property market is estimated to be worth about €68B and the largest in Europe. Munich’s residential property demand is evidenced by the fact that about 6600 furnished apartments have been constructed every year since 2011.
The office property market has experienced more vigorous growth than its residential counterpart. Office properties will cost you an average of €2240 per square meter. More office space continues to be constructed in Munich with no sign of slowing down. With such high demand, investors can expect to earn high returns from their property will relatively little risk. However, no investment is foolproof so investors should ensure they have insurance for their properties. There are rarely such good investment opportunities as Munich’s current property market. Therefore, Munich is a good place to invest in property and will remain so in the next few years.
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Is Munich a good place to raise a family?
Munich is a great place to raise a family for many reasons. Many of the city’s residents will be a testament to that. The educational institutions in the city are world class. If you want to raise a family in Munich, you will never complain about the state of the schools or teachers and you will have a wide variety of schools to choose from. Moreover, your children will barely have to go anyway to pursue a degree since Munich has so many universities and research institutes that are world leaders in their field. Another factor is that there is great diversity in the city. Your children will be exposed to so many cultures due to a large number of tourists, expats and immigrants present in the city. The city is very tolerable and is a great environment in which to raise children. Munich has an 85% safety index which means that your children’s safety is almost assured. Unlike most cities of its stature, Munich is very safe and you do not have to worry about your kids going outside to play or being out at night. The only attribute of Munich that makes it a bad place to raise a family is the high cost of living but if you can afford it, it is an excellent place to raise a family.
Is Munich a good place to retire?
As stated earlier, Munich has been termed ‘the most livable city in the world’ and can be a suitable retirement location. Munich has attributes, unlike most typical big cities that are not great retirement locations. For starters, the city has enormous green public spaces where retirees can go for quiet peaceful walks and participate in other social activities. Munich is also a very safe city which draws many retirees to it. There are plenty of amenities and spaces where retirees can maintain their health and the quality of life, in general, is just amazing in Munich. The air pollution is low and the people are quite friendly. On the contrary, the cost of living in Munich is very high which can be unsettling for many retirees. If you can afford it, Munich is a great place to retire.
Is Munich a good place to visit?
Munich is a blend of incredibly beautiful scenery and mighty constructions that take your breath away. The city receives millions of tourists who are a testament to the city’s attractions. You would need at least a year to visit all the amazing sights in Bavaria’s capital to get an appropriate degree of appreciation for the city’s magnificence. There are places that you must visit and things you must do if you ever visit Munich. These places and activities include:
Alte Pinakothek is one of the oldest art galleries on the planet and dates all the way back to the early 19th century. It has a Neo-Renaissance design not typical of museums in the country. The gallery was started by King Ludwig I to shelter the Wittelsbash breathtaking art collection. You will find pieces from great masters of the past including Leonardo da Vinci, Van Dyk and Rembrandt.
The Munich Residenz is a 14th-century castle that stands at the Northern part of Munich. The castle has over 130 rooms, a banquet hall, ten courtyards and is quite simply, humongous. Moreover, it has an almost priceless collection of art in an in-house gallery.
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Munich’s town hall is a landmark of the city and can often be seen on Munich postcards. The tower’s bay has statues of the first four Bavarian kings. The Neues Rathaus is a Gothic tower with high pinnacles and tiny trefoil arches. It stands over 100m tall and has more than 400 rooms. If you climb up high into the building on a sunny summer day you can see the Alps from the town hall. It will also be very exciting to hear the chime of the Glockenspiel that has been active since the 1600s.
The Englisher Garten is one of the oldest urban parks in the world. Larger than New York’s famed Central Park, the park has existed for centuries and begins on the left banks of River Isar and goes on for miles. It spans 370 hectares and contains waterways, a lot of lawns and even a lake.
The country’s most famous patron of the arts, King Ludwig I, also loved 19th century contemporary art pieces and erected a structure in which to accumulate them. The museum houses over 400 paintings from the 19th century all showcasing the century’s seminal influences. You will find pieces from artists like Monet, Delacroix, Karl Fried Schinkel, Degas and Renoir. You can see the paints in whatever order you like, be it by movement or by period.
The Marienplatz stands right in front of the town hall and is a very popular tourist attraction. Many people come to the Marienplatz to do their shopping and sightseeing among other things. The city centre square was built in the 12th century and is named after a Marian Column erected in the 17th century as a testament to the withdrawal of Swedish troops from the city during the 30 years’ war. The square’s busiest time of the year is during Christmas.
St Peter’s Church
St. Peter’s Church in Munich oldest church and is almost a millennium old. It was raved by a fire in the 14th century and has since then undergone many reconstructions with influences from different centuries etched into the church’s architecture. St. Peter’s church lies on a hill and if you can take the 299 steps to the top of the hill you can witness Munich’s picturesque landscape with the aid of a telescope. The church’s age and unique blend of styles make it quite a sight to behold.
If you are a fan of art, you should spare an entire day for the sole purpose of visiting Deutsches Museum. The museum holds pieces form a wide spectrum of disciplines ranging from nanotechnology to hydraulic engineering. The museum’s exhibits are fun and interactive. Deutsches Museum is located on an island on the Isar River and is the best place to really appreciate the country’s ascent from the dark ages. There is even a fun where you can leave your children as you take in the sights.
Pinakothek der Moderne
The Pinakothek der Modern is a modern art museum housing some of the most celebrated pieces of the past century. The exhibitions are divided into categories including industrial design, photography, architecture and drawings. There are also exhibits categorized by style e.g. Expressionist, Pot-impressionist and others. Some of the artists whose works you will find in the museum include Picasso, Braque, Polke, Magritte, and David Hockney.
The former art academy is now a museum housing numerous prestigious contemporary art pieces. You will find art from great contemporary artists like Jenny Holzer and Andy Wahrol. The museum also holds pieces from Munich artists including landscape artists, Gothic painters and portrait painters. The museum gets its name from the portrait painter who commissioned the building’s construction in the19th century.
To call this church’s design extravagant would be an understatement. The church is named after its extraordinary designers, the Asam brothers. One of the brothers was a painter and the other a sculptor and they showcased their full gambit of abilities in this church’s design. The freedom the two brothers took with the church’s interior decoration will just take your breath away. Asam church has glowing frescos on the ceiling and the Baroque style stucco’s workmanship is exquisite. The church is squeezed between two buildings a short distance from the southern tip of old Munich.
What sets the Frauenkirche apart from other churches in Munich is its sheer scale. The 600 year old church features a pair of towers that are adorned with semi-spherical domes and is a signature Munich Landmark. No building in Munich can be built higher than the Frauenkirche which peaks at 109 meters. Unlike most Gothic churches, the Frauenkirche’s design is very discreet. The church’s glass windows are from Medieval times and houses a tomb monument to Louis IV. The most interesting thing about the Frauenkirche is a shoe-shaped impression at the entrance. The myth about the impression is that it was left by the devil himself.
The church was designed by Italian architects and you will just have to stand and gawk at the church’s yellow façade, niches, reliefs, columns and pilasters. The 17th century church has a fascinating story. The Theatine Church’s altar is embellished with paintings of 18th century evangelists and a crypt (resting place for some members of the Wittelbach family.
Bavarian National Museum
Imagine entering a building with 40 rooms each with decorative art pieces sourced from the antiquity to the early 1900s. That is what it feels like to walk into the Bavarian National Museum. There are all sorts of art pieces including weapons, armor, furniture, time pieces, paintings and faience. The museum was commissioned in 1885 and was purposely built to house pieces from that era. The highlights of the museum include the Bollert collection, Gothic art and Renaissance sculptures.
The museum showcases BMW’s past and is nicknamed ‘The Salad Bowl’ because of its exterior shape. The BMW Museum was finished in 1973 and is located right in front of the BMW headquarters. There are cool, humongous showrooms in the museum where you can see the company’s technological progress through the years. You will find vintage cars, engines, motorbikes and aircraft in the museum’s showrooms that will blow you away. There is a special BMW rumoured to have been owned by famous Rock n Roll star Elvis Presley in the museum you just have to see.
The BMW Welt is a stylish exhibition that showcases BMW’s best current innovations in engineering. It would be accurate to say that the BMW Welt might just be the most magnificent car showroom on the planet. It is a glorious wonder that entrance into the showroom is free. Not only can you admire the latest BMW models, but you can also take a test drive. If one of the cars is too good to say no to you can place an order and it can be delivered to you anywhere in the world. You can also purchase BMW accessories or take home some souvenirs from the BMW Welt.
If the Glyptothek were located anywhere else in the world it would probably be the prominent museum in that area which is a testament to the cultural richness of Munich. The museum’s construction was finished in 1830 making the Glyptothek the oldest museum in the country. The museum was commissioned by King Ludwig I and was his repository for Neoclassical art. The sculptures within the Glyptothek span more than 1000 years and showcase all manners of styles. There are also busts of famous Roman emperors and statesmen.
Olympia Park has stood since Munich hosted the Olympics in 1972 and is a hive of activity. You can partake in zip lining, play water sports and go skiing. There are stalls open throughout the day where you can buy food and snacks. Despite the park having a grim past, there is plenty of fun to be had at the park. Football fans will particularly like the stadium which was the venue for 1974 World Cup victory.
Another attraction that football fans must visit is Bayern Munich’s famed futuristic stadium. Seeing the stadium from the outside at night on game days is a particularly breathtaking experience. The stadium has 2874 light producing panels which light up with Bayern Munich’s colours whenever they play. The stadium offers an hour-long all-access tour which includes visiting the club’s museum, locker rooms, player’s tunnel and interview room. The tour also includes the club’s trophies, pictures and statues of the club’s famous players.
Munich National Theater
The Munich National Theater is home to the Bavarian State Ballet, Bavarian State Orchestra and the Bavarian State Opera. It is one of the best opera houses on the continent and fans can get opera tickets to see a show at the theatre. Those who cannot acquire tickets can still get a tour of the building. The theatre is famous for being the venue where Richard Wagner debuted some of his pieces.
There is nothing more traditional of Bavaria than beer and the Hofbräuhaus is just the place to visit for that in Munich. There are numerous authentic Bavarian breweries in the area where you can enjoy as much beer as you can handle in a carefree environment. Even the famous classical composer, Mozart, was supposedly a regular here. The Hofbräuhaus is a must visit the site if you are in Munich.
Formerly located at the Marienplatz, Munich’s food market is a popular tourist site where you can buy indigenous Bavarian food. Residents and tourists alike can do their grocery shopping at the market and even visit a stall where they can enjoy some mouth-watering gourmet food.
The zoo covers 40 hectares and is located on the right banks of Isar River. The zoo was completed in 1911 and was one of the first zoos not to lock up their animals in cages and instead build deep trenches around them. There are about 760 species on display at the park. The park also has breeding programs for endangered animals like elephants and gorillas. The zoo also contains two petting zoos and is quite interactive.
If there is a perfect time to visit Munich it would be during Oktoberfest. The biggest beer festival in the world runs for about 17 days every year and attracts about 7 million beer lovers from all over the world. The festival dates back to 1810 and includes many fun activities such as fair rides.
Munich Vs Berlin
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.