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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


Living in Germany: Skilled worker shortage getting worse, Bundestag dome mix-up and beer culture

In this week's roundup we talk about the growing issue of Germany's worker shortage, an embarrassing political mix-up involving the Bundestag dome and the significance of German beer culture.

Living in Germany: Skilled worker shortage getting worse, Bundestag dome mix-up and beer culture

Living in Germany is our weekly look at some of the news and talking points in Germany that you might not have heard about. Members can receive it directly to their inbox on Saturday.

Skilled worker shortage in Germany laid bare in new report

We published a story this week on a survey that shone a light on Germany’s recruitment problems. The latest ifo Business Survey, which keeps in touch with around 9,000 companies throughout Germany, found that the need for skilled workers is going up. According to the survey results, 43.1 percent of firms reported suffering from a shortage of qualified workers in July, up from 42.2 percent in April 2023. The situation will only get worse in future. The main issue is demographics – many people are leaving or are due to leave the workforce to retire – but not enough people are joining it. The Institute for Employment Research (IAB) calculated that the labour market is at risk of losing seven million people in Germany to retirement by 2035. 

To combat this, the German government has been working on an overhaul of immigration laws to make it easier for people to come to the country and work, as The Local has extensively reported on. Experts say the focus has to be on nations from outside of Europe because nearby countries, like Spain, Italy and France, are facing similar demographic issues. Meanwhile, in countries where traditionally people have moved to Germany for work – such as Poland and the Czech Republic – the labour market situation has improved, making emigration less of an attractive option. But Germany can’t just rely on immigration; more has to be done to get residents into the workforce. One way of doing that is to make work more attractive, whether it’s offering better pay or more perks.. A new initiative testing out a four-day work week in Germany could offer up a solution. Whatever the case, Germany will need to take action now to prevent a crisis in the future.

Tweet of the week

The opposition Christian Democrats (CDU) were left red-faced this week after they accidentally used an image of the Georgian palace instead of the German Bundestag in their new logo. The party then released a tweet poking fun at themselves, saying: “We had a lot of domes to choose from and have now picked the only right one.” 

Where is this?


Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Karmann

Perhaps you recognise the architecture in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg in this photo. And if you look closely, you’ll spot workers trying to salvage a 100-year-old poplar tree that fell into the Pegnitz river on Wednesday night. No one was injured and there was no damage to the surrounding buildings including the Maximillian Bridge. The tree was a popular Nuremberg landmark. According to the city, these types of poplars can live for around 100 to 120 years. As they age, they become brittle and can break during storms.

Did you know?

Germans love their beer – and rightly so because it is delicious. But did you know how embedded beer culture is in Germany? Christina Schönberger, a brewing engineer at Nuremberg-based BarthHaas, a Hops supplier to brewers, told the Germany in Focus podcast recently that beer has been “an integral part of German culture for many centuries”. But she pointed out that there have been big changes over the years brought about by different influences. 

Germany still has many family-owned mid-size breweries in operation, as well as larger companies. “A big part of the family-owned companies date back to the 18-and-1900s where the possibility was given to basically, in an industrial fashion, produce bottom fermented beers (such as pilsner and lager)  – that’s when a lot of breweries opened up,” said Schönberger. “We also still have a couple of breweries that go back to the 10th, 11th or 12th centuries from monasteries where there were a lot of monks involved in brewing in a religious context.”

Schönberger said it’s only in the last 200-300 years that wheat beers emerged into the culture. There have been “a lot of influences throughout the centuries that brought beer to the level of cultural importance that it has today,” she said. Meanwhile, beer experts are noticing a change in trends, with more Germans drinking alcohol-free beer. “I think it’s very good because alcohol is actually the only part of beer that doesn’t make beer a super healthy drink,” said Schönberger.