Germany: The Pros and Cons of Living in Germany

germany: fairytale castles, unspoiled landscapes and stability in the heart of europe

written by tricia a. Michael

what is it really like to live in germany? many people imagine castles on top of hills or dense forests dotted with waterfalls. images often feature snow-capped mountains towering over verdant meadows or steep, vine-covered slopes. This is the idealized version of Germany found on postcards. But what else can you see and do in Germany?

Let’s start with the size. Germany, or Deutschland as it is known there, is somewhat smaller than the state of Montana. Despite its compact size, Germany boasts a wealth of cultural, historical, and natural attractions.

when you think of germany’s cultural and historical sites, perhaps schloss neuschwanstein or the colored ruins of heidelberg castle come to mind. These are some of the most iconic royal structures in Germany. however, germany has many more castles to explore. in fact, it is estimated that germany could be home to around 25,000.

beyond the castles, germany has much more to offer. there are 43 cultural sites on the unesco world heritage list.

The German cultural capitals of Berlin and Munich have world-class museums, beautiful parks and monuments. You’ll also find important sites dedicated to remembering the atrocities of World War II.

the cities of trier, cologne and rothenburg ob der tauber are home to some of the most historic attractions in germany. In Trier, you will find Roman ruins. While in Colonia, you’ll discover a colossal cathedral that took over 600 years to build. And in the state of Bavaria, you can explore the medieval walled city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber and its charming half-timbered buildings.

the natural landscape of germany is incredible. From its windswept northern coast to the majestic Alps in the south, the country has much to offer nature lovers.

In total, there are 16 national parks. The resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen is one of the most beloved places for outdoor enthusiasts. It is nestled in the Alps and is dominated by the Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany.

Beyond its natural beauty and cultural attractions, Germany has a very good standard of living. communities often have car-free, pedestrian malls.

Germans tend to show great respect for the environment. this is also evident in government policy, as well as the penchant for maintaining forests and natural areas.

The country’s water supply is generally crystal clear and the lakes and rivers are pristine. tap water is safe and delicious.

Combine Germany’s quality of life with its historical, cultural and natural attractions, and you have the makings of a beautiful and safe place to call home.

pros and cons of living in germany

I have lived in Germany for about 10 years and have traveled to more than 65 countries. During this time abroad, I have noticed the differences that exist between nations. however, I have come to the simple conclusion that no destination is “perfect”. when it comes down to it, all governments and societies have something to learn from each other.

People have different priorities and expectations about how they want their life abroad to be. That’s why it’s essential for potential expats to find their best fit as they contemplate life in a foreign country.

With those thoughts in mind, here are the pros and cons I’ve found in Germany.


pros: do you appreciate emerald green landscapes? Or maybe you like to walk in virgin forests on a cool day with a blanket of pine needles underfoot? If so, you’ll find that Germany’s cooler and sometimes humid climate is compatible. Germany’s propensity for gray weather means you’ll value days with blue skies even more.

Cons: Humid weather and cloudy skies can make Germany feel gloomy, especially during the winter months. like in portland, seattle or london, you’ll want to make the most of sunny days and indulge in your favorite exhilarating activity. coffee and kuchen anyone?

cost of living

Pros: Food costs in Germany are reasonable. Since the country has a variety of supermarket chains to choose from, food prices are competitive.

The standard value added tax (VAT) of 19% in Germany is lower than its counterparts in the EU, such as France (20%), Spain (21%), Italy (22%), Portugal (23 %) and Greece (24%). .

German roads also differ from much of Europe. the lack of toll roads makes for a smoother driving experience.

Cons: Housing costs can be very high in Germany, especially in major cities like Stuttgart, Munich, and Frankfurt. However, some cities, such as Berlin, have recently aimed to increase rents by enacting rent control measures.

Gasoline, electronics (computers and mobile phones), and cars are more expensive in Germany than in the US. uu.

security and protection

Pros: The Global Peace Index rates 163 nations on their overall level of peace. In 2019, it named Germany the 22nd most peaceful country in the world.

Possession of weapons is allowed, but there is no right to bear arms. According to, Germany has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world, but it also has some of the strictest gun laws in the world. To obtain a gun, Germans must obtain a license, undergo background checks, and take a test.

Disadvantages: Unfortunately, from theft to terrorism, Germany is not immune to crime and other security problems. As a result, it is advisable to exercise common sense.

medical care

Pros: Health care is significantly less than in the US. uu. For example, when I went to the emergency room in Munich, I had to prepay a standard fee of €200 (about $220). you can imagine my surprise several weeks later when this hospital tracked me down to reimburse a portion of that fee. I once had an American er bill that was about 20 times that amount.

prescription drugs cost less than in the us. uu. And, when seeking care, you’ll find that several providers have a strong command of English.

Germany has a universal, multi-payer healthcare system. the country’s system is often recognized as one of the best in the world.

Cons: Some medical professionals, especially in smaller cities, do not speak English.


Advantages: German schoolchildren learn English from a very young age, and as a result, many Germans speak English quite well. you’ll find that fluency in English tends to be higher in larger cities, college towns, and tourist destinations.

If you want to study German, there are numerous language schools to choose from. In addition to private schools, Volkshochschulen (adult education centers) are popular with language learners. When you begin your German studies, you will be pleased to discover that German words are pronounced just as they are written. German nouns are also easy to spot as they are always capitalized.

Cons: German grammar can be challenging. Even Mark Twain noted this when he wrote his humorous essay, The Horrible German Language. German nouns have three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter). there are also four cases (nominative, genitive, dative and accusative). To further confuse matters, some German verbs are cut in two and then placed in different parts of a given sentence.

Like other countries, Germany has different dialects. If you study the standard German dialect (hochdeutsch) and then go to the Bavarian region, for example, you are likely to have difficulty communicating.

activities and recreation

pros: fancy a good wine, food and a little joy? Then you’ll love Germany’s lively festivals, of which Oktoberfest is the most famous. once winter rolls around, you’ll have plenty of cozy Christmas markets to choose from.

Germany has 13 wine regions. This offers wine tasters plenty of opportunities to sample some of their signature wines, including Riesling, Gewürztraminer, or Spätburgender. the mosel, pfalz and baden regions are some of the most famous wine growing areas.

Locally, you’ll also have access to musical and theater performances, yoga and pilates classes, swimming pools, and sports complexes offering activities like tennis.

Finally, as Germany is centrally located and well connected, it makes a great base for exploring the rest of Europe.

Disadvantages: Germany lacks the sun-kissed beaches of its southern European neighbors. However, from picturesque alpine lakes to North Sea beaches, Germany offers swimming opportunities of a different kind.

proximity to the us

Pros: Germany has many well-serviced international airports. Frankfurt, Munich, and Düsseldorf are three of the busiest, but you’ll also find flights from Berlin and Hamburg.

Flying from Frankfurt to New York takes just under nine hours.

disadvantages: none, except the duration of a transatlantic flight.

quality of life

Pros: Germany is a highly developed country that is clean and tidy. things work on time, there is respect for the environment and the country’s infrastructure is good. the cities are generally walkable and you can get around easily using the country’s well-organized public transport network. the country has an educated population.

if you have a dog, your furry friend will approve of moving to germany. the country is so dedicated to dogs that they are often welcome in restaurants and shopping malls. however, they are not allowed in supermarkets or megzgerei (butcher shops).

Cons: Customer service is not as strong as you’d find in the US. uu. however, I think you’ll notice a lower level of customer service in other countries as well.

also, the rules of germany can seem overwhelming at times. However, if you ever have the experience of living in a country where the rules are not enforced, and the result is chaos and discomfort, you will come to appreciate Germany’s sense of order.

Things to do in Germany for $100 or less

by erik s. meyers

I have lived in Germany for 22 years. if in my year abroad in high school and other visits, I have probably spent about 25 years of my life in the country.

It’s an amazing place with so much to see and do…and most of it doesn’t cost a fortune.

I put together 10 tips on what to do in Germany for $100 or less. The first five are things to do no matter where you are in Germany, with some specific examples from around the country. the other five are tips for specific cities or areas.

note: in these times of covid-19 pandemic, not everything is open, so remember to check in advance

5 things to do anywhere in germany

walk through history (free up to $25 per person)

Germany is dotted with ancient towns and cities. Wherever you are, there will be a town, village or city to visit with an ancient medieval center, some even dating back to Roman times.

You can stroll around the city and soak up the atmosphere without spending a dime. Of course, there will also be museums and castles to visit, but the entrance fee is usually less than $25 per ticket, while most churches are free.

my favorite towns and cities for this from north to south are: lübeck, celle, dresden, heidelberg, ladenburg, dinkelsbühl and meersburg.

kick back with coffee and cake (about $15 for two)

Germans, well actually Europeans in general, love to relax with friends and family for hours while eating and drinking. one of the best examples of this tradition, in my opinion, is coffee and cake.

every city will have at least one bakery, if not a café, where you can find a delicious selection of cakes and pastries. if it’s hot, you can sit outside (most cafes have outdoor seating), sip your coffee, enjoy a delicious cake, and watch the world go by.

take a boat ride (varies)

From north to south, there are beautiful rivers, ports or seas to take a boat ride. and there will always be beautiful scenery to see wherever you are.

some of my favorites from north to south are: port of hamburg, river spree (berlin), river rhine (west germany, lake constance (south germany).

In terms of cost, this varies depending on the length of time, one way or round trip, etc. but, for example, a one way ticket on lake constance from the city of constance to the city of lindau on the other side of the lake costs about $25 per person, children pay half price.

enjoy a delicious dinner for two ($100 or less)

Dining out in Germany doesn’t have to be expensive. wherever I’ve been, I’ve been able to find all kinds of restaurants where two people can enjoy a delicious three-course meal for less than $100. this could be typical german food, italian food, greek food.

of course, if you are in a big city and you go to a gourmet restaurant you will pay much more.

hike or nature walk (free)

one of the things i love about living in germany is the hiking and walking trails. no matter where you are, you will find wonderful walking or walking trails that you can enjoy for free. this could be in the woods of the black forest, along one of the many rivers, or if you are adventurous in the mountains.

things to do in specific cities or areas of germany

berlin: visit the german parliament building (free)

the german parliament is located in the old reichstag building in the center of the city. it was transformed and modernized with a huge glass dome and more. with advance registration, you can see the building, walk under the dome for free, and go out on the roof terrace. There’s even a rooftop garden restaurant.

dresden: visit the green vault and the treasury ($17 per person, children under 17 free, free audio guide)

the old town of dresden has many beautiful buildings to visit. A highlight is the Green Vault (Grünes Gewölbe) located in the Dresden Palace. much of old dresden was destroyed during the second world war and has been painstakingly restored.

Tickets can be purchased online in advance, which I recommend.

Lake Constance: Explore Mainau Island ($54 for two adults and any children under 15 if booked in advance)

the island of mainau is a unique natural space located in lake constance, in the extreme south of germany, not far from the border with switzerland.

The region tends to be warmer than the rest of Germany, so all kinds of flowers and plants grow on the island and in the greenhouses, including palm trees. there are numerous trails and paths to explore the 111-acre island. it is worth spending a day there. I recommend buying tickets in advance.

palatinate: do a wine tasting (usually free)

german wine has long been well known and today germany is a wine powerhouse. the best wine region, in my opinion, is the palatinate (in german die pfalz) in southwestern germany.

There are plenty of excellent winemakers where you can do wine tastings.

my favorite is pfeffingen in the city of bad dürkheim (which, by the way, hosts the oldest and largest wine festival in the world, since 1417)

an alternative is bassermann-jordan in the nearby town of deidesheim (this town is known for its gourmet restaurant der schwarze hahn, or the black rooster, a favorite of former german chancellor helmut kohl who came from the region)

heidelberg: old castle tour (adults $11 each)

If you’re American and you travel, chances are you’ve heard of Heidelberg. And if it’s beautiful, the city was not destroyed during the second world war, so you can still explore the medieval streets and alleys. one of the best things to see, with stunning views of the old city, is heidelberg castle. first mentioned in 1225, it was partially destroyed by the French in 1689 during the war of succession.

Content Creator Zaid Butt joined Silsala-e-Azeemia in 2004 as student of spirituality. Mr. Zahid Butt is an IT professional, his expertise include “Web/Graphic Designer, GUI, Visualizer and Web Developer” PH: +92-3217244554

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