If you’re moving to Berlin to study, you may be wondering which neighbourhood would make the best home for a student. With so many hip options available, it may be difficult to choose. As always, start with a list of priorities – what is it that you value the most? Do you prefer to live in a lively central neighbourhood or a quieter residential one? Do you want to be close to your university, or you don’t mind a longer commute if it means more entertainment options?
Get clear on your priorities and then check out our top picks below. We’ve taken into consideration the rental prices, the general vibe, entertainment options, and transport links. Pick your favourite before you start searching for a room to rent.
Wedding is a residential neighbourhood in northwestern Berlin that’s seen a steady rise in student population over the past decade. There are plenty of reasons for it: it’s an up-and-coming neighbourhood with a vibrant international community, yet still quieter and less hyped than some of the vastly popular Berlin neighbourhoods. And it has great connections to the rest of the city – you can get pretty much anywhere on the S and U-Bahn within 15 to 20 minutes. Humboldt University is only 15 minutes away.
We love Wedding because it feels very neighbourhoody – you can expect to make friends with your grocer and to have your favourite local coffee shop. And it will actually feel local – you won’t have to queue among throngs of tourists for a cup of coffee like you do elsewhere. It’s a traditional neighbourhood that hasn’t given in to the hype yet, so it’s both quieter and cheaper.
That doesn’t mean it’s boring, however! Thanks to its diverse immigrant demographic, Wedding boasts some delectable dining options, such as the many Syrian, Lebanese, and Turkish restaurants. Here are our favourite places in the Wedding neighbourhood that we think every student should visit:
- Echo: books, records, café, and music all in one. A definite must-see!
- Sotto: the best vegan and vegetarian pizzas.
- City Kino: for the lovers of independent cinema.
- Freya Fuchs, for Friday after-lecture beers.
- Plötzensee, Wedding’s very own bathing lake, and a well-kept Berlin secret!
This river-side neighbourhood is located just south of Wedding and is just as culturally diverse and homely. As a student, you will surely appreciate the many family-run businesses offering great food at very affordable prices, like the ubiquitous döner kebap places.
The neighbourhood has a distinct artsy vibe and artists are often among its faithful residents. It’s no surprise then that Berlin’s Museum for Contemporary Art is located precisely here, inside the former train station Hamburger Bahnhof. A great place to visit after a morning coffee in one of the riverside cafés, dotted along the Spree.
Moabit has perfect connections to the rest of the city and an almost inexhaustible number of options: buses, tram, U-bahn, S-bahn. Perhaps the most popular option is the Ring-Bahn, which circles the city and gets you anywhere within 20 minutes. Berlin Institute of Technology is 15 minutes away, so if you’re a biology or engineering student, this may be a great option for you.
Our favourite spots in Moabit:
- Ergün’s Fischbude, for delectable yet affordable Turkish fish dishes;
- Blumen Kunst, to treat yourself with some fresh flowers for your new room;
- Zaffke, for the Friday evening drinks;
- Geh Veg, for a weekend brunch with friends.
Yes, Neukölln had to make it on our list. A Berlin neighbourhood that’s seen a major development over the last decade, it’s grown into one of the hippest corners of the city. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but students generally love it. The many unique bars that promise thriving nightlife, the artsy and creative crowd, the neverending buzz… Yet it still somehow manages to preserve its predominantly local flair. Granted, it’s more popular than the previous two neighbourhoods, but Neukölln is still not heavily frequented by tourists.
Much of the life of the neighbourhood happens alongside Landwehr and Neukölln Ship canals, perfect for a leisurely weekend walk or a lazy morning in one of the many waterfront cafés. Neukölln is locally known as Little Istanbul, thanks to the Turkish markets and restaurants that lend it a lively street vibe.
And we can’t talk about Neukölln without mentioning Tempelhof Feld, a large green area surrounding the old Tempelhof airport out of service since 2008. Nowadays it’s a favourite spot with the locals, who flock here to cycle or skate along the runways or to enjoy a relaxing picnic on the vast grassy areas that surround them.
In terms of transport links, Neukölln is serviced by the U-bahn U7, which has become practically synonymous with the neighbourhood – the Germany’s longest underground line has most stops precisely here. The neighbourhood is a popular choice with anyone studying at The Free University of Berlin. Even though it’s longish 45 minutes away, Neukölln is still the closest option.
Places you will love:
- Beusterbar Bar, for a glass of frozé (frozen rosé);
- Dots café, for pancakes that can cure any hangover;
- Klunkerkranich, for music, food, and spectacular views of the city;
- Soultrade Recordstore, for hours of vinyl-browsing fun.
There you have it, our top three neighbourhoods for students in Berlin. If you’re new to the city, check out our other posts about things to do and see, and consult our guide on things you need to know if you’re only just moving to Berlin.