Retiring in Berlin, Germany | Local Spotlight

Retiring in Berlin

Exciting Activities & Youthful Energy will Keep You Busy in Berlin!

By Dejan Badjarnevic - Berlin Resident

Retiring in Berlin will never be boring! Not many places in Europe are as unique as Berlin. With a variety of historical attractions, hundreds of museums and art galleries, basement clubs and beer gardens, the capital of Germany offers something for everyone. 

In Berlin, you can enjoy the city’s diverse art scene, dance the night away at a techno temple and sample cuisine from all over the world. You can also explore colorful neighborhoods like Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain where you can mingle with bohemians, squatters, and punks. However you choose to spend your time, retiring in Berlin promises to be an unforgettable experience.

What I Love about Berlin

What makes Berlin so amazing? Is it the world-famous attractions like the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Wall Memorial, and the Reichstag, or maybe the fact that Berlin is a melting pot of cultures and a city well-known for its diversity?

It’s basically a city where culture vultures and art lovers can spend weeks exploring art galleries and museums, while foodies and folks looking for exciting nightlife can discover Berlin’s youthful energy and visit bars, clubs, late-night food stalls, vintage and record shops.

I also have to point out that although Berlin is not as cheap as it used to be, it still somehow manages to hold on to its original and creative spirit.

Is Berlin Walkable? Is There Good Public Transportation?

Although Berlin is a sprawling city, it is well-connected by its fabulous subway (U Bahn) and the train system that operates above ground and is called the S-Bahn. Retirees can explore many attractions on foot, but be prepared to use the subway to venture outside the city center and discover other vibrant neighborhoods and some of their finest sights.

You can also rent bicycles and explore the city on two wheels. The good news is that Berlin has well-marked bicycle lanes and finding a bike rental is quite easy. You can also take advantage of bike-sharing options like nextbike.

Taxis are not cheap here, but you probably won’t even have to use one to get around. Also, the traffic in the city center can get busy at times, which means it’s faster to use the subway for transportation.

How is the Weather in Berlin?

The best time time of the year in Berlin is from spring to fall. In winter, it’s quite cold and you’ll definitely need some warm clothes from November to March. 

If you are here in summer you'll be happy to hear that it’s rarely unbearably hot here during this time of year. Having an umbrella (Regenschirm) handy is simply a must since it rains quite often here in Berlin.

Fun Fact

Berlin has more canals than Amsterdam or Venice with
over 1700 bridges!

What are the Primary Languages Spoken in Berlin?

The official language in the city is German, but English is widely spoken here in Berlin. If you ask someone on the street for directions or want to order something in a restaurant or a bar, I think that 99% percent of people will be more than happy to answer your question in English.

Is Berlin Dog Friendly?

Retiring in Berlin is a breeze if you want to bring your dogs. In 2001, Berlin was voted as the most dog-friendly city in all of Germany. Dogs are welcome in the parks and on the streets and you will see many locals accompanied by their dogs in the city.

If you have a dog and wish to rent an apartment in Berlin, finding one should be relatively easy. Want to hear more good news? Dogs and other pets are also welcome on public transport in Berlin.

It is also worth mentioning that most establishments in the city including restaurants and bars and dog-friendly. The shop Hauptstadthund is a place where you will find everything for your dog.

Top 5 Things to Do in Berlin

  • Kick-off your Berlin travel itinerary with a visit to the fabulous DDR Museum. Devoted to the history of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, this interactive museum tells the story of East German life during the Cold War. Expect to see a wide range of exhibits including from covert listening devices used by Stasi to an original East German Trabant car.
  • Art lovers should not miss the city’s Museum Island that is nestled right between Kupfergraben and the River Spree. This Unesco World Heritage site is home to world-renowned museums such as the Old National Gallery, the Old Museum, and the New Museum.
  • Berlin is also home to the country’s third-largest palace, the famous Charlottenburg Palace. Open to the public, this baroque-style palace with its outdoor sculptures and charming gardens is a great place to visit. The tours include a visit to the restored rooms where visitors can admire the beauty of crown jewels, royal silver, and porcelain.
  • I also recommend stopping by the East Side Gallery in Berlin that is the longest open-air art gallery in the world. Here, you will see hundreds of murals painted right on the 0.8-mile stretch of the Berlin Wall that crumbled down back in 1989.
  • For a local experience on a Sunday in Berlin, it's best to visit the Mauerpark Flea Market where you will find thousands of stalls selling everything from vintage clothes to delicious street food.

Foods You Must Try While in Berlin

Since people from all over the world call Berlin their home, it comes as no surprise that the mix of different cuisines in the city is simply amazing. Also, the food in Berlin is incredibly affordable. I mean, you can eat street food delicacies like kebabs, fried chicken, vegan falafels, and currywurst for under $5.

Currywurst is probably one of the most popular local foods in the city. There is even a museum dedicated to this humble grilled sausage. What makes this pork sausage topped with curry powder so special? The sauce!

Since Berlin is home to many Turkish people, Döner Kebap is a popular option for eating out in the city. This version of well-marinated grilled meat chicken, lamb or beef served inside fluffy bread is mouthwatering. My favorite places for a Doner Keban are Mustafa’s in Kreuzberg and Imren Grill on Karl Marx Street. 

Retirees with a sweet tooth should try the Apfelstrudel. Served warm, this dish is filled with apples and topped with ingredients like cinnamon, breadcrumbs, sugar, and raisins.

3 Off-the-Radar Places for Food and Drink

  • If you wish to dine with the locals, I recommend stopping by Marubi. They specialize in Japanese cuisine and offer dishes like Clashu ramen, beef tofu rice, and pork gyoza.
  • Foodies who wish to try blood sausages can head out to Blutwurstmanufaktur. This authentic German butcher shop serves the most delicious blood sausages with boiled potatoes and sauerkraut.
  • Wine lovers and retirees should not miss Not Only Riesling, a local wine bar where you can sample some of the finest wines from the region and enjoy a cozy atmosphere.

Fun Fact

It's common for people to take their entire kitchen with them when moving. This includes cabinets and appliances.  

3 Activities that Berlin Locals Love

  • If you wish to discover some of the city’s best-hidden gems, I recommend spending an afternoon at Prinzessinnengärten. Located in Kreuzberg, this urban garden project that is run by local volunteers and consists of an art space, a charming community garden, and a café.
  • While you are in the neighborhood, head out to the indoor market and food hall called Markthalle Neun. Here, you can sample artisan chocolate, eat delicious foods like burgers, or purchase fresh cuts of meats from butcher stalls.
  • In the evening, visit the Ramones Museum that holds an incredible collection of Ramones memorabilia or order a cocktail at the funky rooftop bar atop the Neukölln Arcade mall called the Klunkerkranich.



Cost of Living Rank

184th out of 520

1 Bdr Apartment in City

$1045 per month

1 Bdr Apartment Outside City

$770 per month

Meal for Two, Mid-Range


Bottom Line 

If a quiet, laid-back place isn't for you, then retiring in Berlin could be your paradise. It's the European, City that Never Sleeps! Lots of energy, activities and culture...Berlin will keep you busy and entertained!

If Berlin seems a bit to chaotic and you want to be in Europe, Prague may be a great choice. 

Quick Facts about Retiring in Berlin, Germany






112 ft


Comfortable, partly cloudy summers and long, cold, windy and cloudy winters. Average temps are from 29°F and 77°F

Flight time to U.S.

11-13 hours by plane to New York



Retirement Programs


Retirement Visa

No. Must get a residence visa - More Info

Public Transportation

Amazing public transporation with trains, buses and trams. 

  • Please speak with a legal representative in regards to residency requirements. 
About the Author Guest Blogger

Our guest bloggers are retirees or residents living in cities around the world. They're giving insider perspective to what it's like to live and retire in various places.