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Which areas in Munich are most popular with foreigners?

Munich isn't only one of Germany's most picturesque cities - it's a magnet for foreigners looking to start a new life. Here's a guide to some of the areas the international community loves the most.

A man rides over a bridge on the Isar in Munich
A man rides over a bridge on the Isar in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

In the long list of German cities, Munich has long been a favourite destination for foreigners. 

The Bavarian capital is known for its sprawling parks and beer gardens, pristine Altstadt and access to the great outdoors, not to mention its charming cafes and high-end shopping districts. So it’s no wonder that more than a quarter (26 percent) of the some 1.4 million people living in Munich have moved there from abroad.

If you’re looking to start a life in Munich – either with a family, as an international student or in a new career – you may be wondering where you can best tap into this multicultural community. 

To help you get started, here are some of the areas that are most popular with foreigners, from hip suburbs to sleepy residential districts. 


If access to world-class universities, galleries and cultural facilities is your priority, look no further than Maxvorstadt – the buzzing intellectual heart of Munich.

Located just outside the Altstadt in the northwest of the city, residents here are just a stone’s throw from the idyllic Englischer Garten, so you’ll have plenty of green space for jogging, cycling and picnics with friends. 

Better still, many of Munich’s top attractions are located in Maxvorstadt itself. This is the district where all three of the major universities – Ludwig Maximilians University, Kunstakademie and the Technical University – are based.

READ ALSO: ‘World’s largest village’: How foreigners in Germany feel about Munich

Munich's Englischer Garten in the sun.

Munich’s Englischer Garten in the sun. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jacqueline Melcher

Art fans will be spoilt for choice in the arts district known as Kunstreal, where you can visit all three of the major galleries (or Pinakotheken), from the modern to the old. And while it may not quite have the thriving nightlife you find in other parts of the city, it is home to some of Munich’s prettiest beer gardens and historic breweries such as the Löwenbraukeller and Augustinerkeller. 

Finding a place to live in Maxvorstadt does come with a steep price tag, so if you’re on a tight budget, it may not be the place for you. That said, it does have one of the highest concentrations of foreigners in Munich, so internationals are bound to feel right at home. 


Up to the north of the city, running along the west of the Englisher Garten and up to the Olympiapark, is Munich’s bustling bohemian district of Schwabing.

Due to its proximity to the universities, this area has long been a popular choice for students and academics, not to mention artists and other creatives who are captivated by its array of independent galleries, trendy cafes and boutique shops.

It’s also known for its charming historic buildings and airy Altbau apartments, so if you dream of living somewhere pristine and picturesque, Schwabing could be the perfect choice. However, it’s worth mentioning that the area’s popularity and high-end apartments have led prices to spike in recent years. 

With so many creative types, international students and young professionals drawn to the area, however, it’s the perfect place to meet fascinating people from all over the world.

Ludwigsvorstadt & Isarvorstadt

Centrally located just south of Munich’s charming Altstadt, Ludwigvorstadt-Isarvorstadt is the place to be if you want to be immersed in the action. 

On a night out, this is one of the top places to go to find world-class restaurants and bustling bars, not to mention Glochenbachviertal, where the majority of Munich’s vibrant gay bars and clubs are located. 

Munich city centre at night.

Munich city centre at night. Photo: picture alliance / Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa | Jan Woitas

With new office buildings and hip co-working spaces springing up all the time, it’s a great area for young expats who want to live close to work but also in one of the most lively parts of the city. And with the Isar river running along the eastern border of the district, you’ll have a perfect route for your morning or evening run or cycle. 

One other major benefit of living in Ludwigsvorstadt is that the area is also home to Munich Hauptbahnhof, so it’s the perfect launchpad for jetting off around Germany or even Austria or Italy. What’s more, the district is known for its multiculturality, and has even been nicknamed ‘Little Istanbul’ due to its prominent Turkish community. 

READ ALSO: REVEALED: 10 of the best hiking day trips from Munich


With rental prices shooting up in Munich over the past decades, suburbs like Berg-am-Laim are becoming the go-to choice for internationals who don’t have a banker’s salary. 

This relaxed neighbourhood is a working class area with affordable housing and plenty of green spaces, making it a great choice for someone looking for a more laid-back option that’s still only 15-20 minutes by train from the centre.

Less than a decade ago, Berg-am-Laim was home to some of Munich’s most off-beat clubs and nightlife, but in recent years, these have closed down to make way for more residential housing. 

With its array of international schools, it’s also ideal for families who want their children to learn in a more multicultural environment. It also happens to be the number one choice for many internationals moving to Munich these days, so anyone craving a strong sense of community is bound to feel right at home there. 


A little more removed from the centre in the southern part of Munich is the quiet, family-friendly district of Giesing. 

Here, you can find much more affordable housing than in the hip central districts, but also a sense of local community and enough shops, bars and cafes to keep you entertained.

READ ALSO: It’s not impossible: How to find housing in Munich

With plenty of local schools, parks and playgrounds on offer, Giesing has become something of an enclave for young families and particularly internationals in recent years, so it’s a great place to make friends and build a sense of community.

Despite its quiet, residential feel, you’re also no more than a 20 minute bike ride or 15 minute train journey away from most of the action as well, so you won’t be entirely cut off from the world-class cultural attractions and colourful nightlife that Munich has to offer. 

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For members


9 essential apps for foreign residents living in Berlin

From getting around to finding the best events in your 'Kiez', here are some of the most useful apps to have as an international resident in the German capital.

9 essential apps for foreign residents living in Berlin

Keeping tabs on transport connections with the BVG app

If you use public transport in the capital, “Ersatzverkehr” (replacement transport) is a word you’ll quickly get used to. To know which U-Bahn and S-Bahn trains and trams are running (and more often which aren’t) this is the app to have.

It maps out all the routes and timetables to get you to your destination the fastest and less cumbersome way possible – and generally plans your journey much more accurately than Google Maps.

Knowing what’s going on right by you with the Kiez-App

Many people who don’t live in Berlin often find the capital to be too big and overwhelming. But Berliners themselves are used to this and have found a solution: most of them simply stay put predominantly in their Kiez, which reduces the size of the city many times over.

This is exactly where the Kiez-App comes in: users receive local news and information about their own district. A section also lets people promote their own activities and initiatives, and find others who want to take part in them. A similar and notable alternative is the Nebenan (next door) app, which also has a marketplace of things your neighbours want to buy, sell or simply give away. 

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Der Kiez

Finding the best bike routes (and do some sightseeing) with komoot

With the “komoot Bike Berlin” app, cycling fans can explore the capital – or neighbouring Brandenburg – along suggested tours and even create their own. Navigation, including audio function, along the cycle routes is done using GPS. In addition to the route, the app also spotlights interesting attractions in the vicinity so that spontaneous sightseeing is possible.

The one downside is high battery consumption, as GPS has to stay switched on for the entire duration of the journey. Once recorded, however, the bike tours can be called up again and again in offline mode.

READ ALSO: 10 things to consider for a bike trip in Germany

Learning about Berlin’s extensive history with the BerlinHistory app

One of the most fascinating aspects of living in the capital is that there’s literally history everywhere. With the BerlinHistory app, you’ll figure out just what that ornate building you’re walking past once was. Various types of historical documents can be accessed via the app at countless locations around the capital – from photos to audios to historical maps.

A view of Museum Island and the TV tower in Berlin.

A view of Museum Island and the TV tower in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jörg Carstensen

Being where the music is playing with RA Advisor

Berlin is known for its buzzing and eclectic nightlife, but sometimes there’s so much going on that it can be hard to know where to start. Created by cult music magazine Resident Advisor, RA helps you keep track of all the great festivals, dance music events, club nights and parties going on in the capital, with personalised alerts so that you don’t miss out on any of the fun. For general evening events or meeting like-minded people, the app is also a great resource to see what’s going on near you, whether an expats’ gathering at a Kneipe or board games night. 

Meeting other families with kids with Mello

Berlin is known as a singles’ city, with a slew of parties lasting into the wee hours of the night. But for people with kids in the city, it can be more challenging to meet other families, especially international ones, for activities while the sun is still shining (at least hypothetically in Berlin). This app allows parents to connect with fellow parents to arrange play dates, or simply playground meetups right in their neighbourhood, and see what kid-friendly events are going on around them. 

Staying safe in the event of an emergency with NINA

Some dangerous situations, such as the spread of smoke or severe weather, are something you definitely want to know about – and preferably as quickly as possible. The NINA app provides users with up-to-the-minute alerts on whatever the situation is, from minor inconveniences to urgent matters.

German warning alert apps

German warning alert apps, including NINA, WetterWarn and KatWarn. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Oliver Berg

For example, if a World War II bomb is found in Berlin – as they often are – you’ll know right away if and when your neighbourhood is being evacuated, and if a heavy thunderstorm is coming, NINA will tell you that it’s better to stay at home.

Saving cash (and the environment) with Too Good To Go

If you want to do something against food waste and also save some money, “Too good to go” is the way to go. Various restaurants and bakeries in and around the capital are offering their leftover food here at a special price. The app sorts by location or pick-up time. During the day, portions can be reserved and paid for via the app – and each offer shows the time at which the food will be ready for collection.

In Berlin participants range from the swanky 25 hours hotel near Ku’Damm to discount supermarket Netto. 

Exploring meatless options with Vegan Guide Berlin

Berlin is so vegan-friendly that even a Starbucks barista might ask customers if they want their coffee with “Kuhmilch” (cow milk) rather than a vegan alternative. But since people are so spoiled for meatless choices in the capital, this app helps non meat-eaters track down the true creme de la creme (provided it’s vegan, of course). 

Vegan Guide has links to hundreds of restaurants, fast food outlets and ice cream parlours, more than 100 cafes that offer beverages with soy milk, more than 200 bakeries, and a further 100 supermarkets, pharmacies and even a “butcher’s shop” that stocks vegan products – so whatever you’re in the mood for, it won’t be too hard to track down. 

READ ALSO: The Local’s meaty vegan guide to Berlin