Berlin Life Hacks

Are you new to Berlin and want to know what’s going to make your life in the Hauptstadt easier? Here are our top recommendations, aka “Berlin life hacks”.

Consider this your ultimate reference guide to life in Berlin and bookmark this page, as it’s updated often.

When I first moved to Berlin, it was hard to find practical information to help me go about daily life. This “Berlin Life Hacks” page (not to mention this entire site) is a godsend and the most useful Berlin guide I’ve found to date. Thank you Cheryl!

- Patrick D.

Hotels In Berlin

Are you considering a move to Berlin and want to scout out the city before you take the big plunge? Perhaps you live in Berlin and have family coming in for vacation and have no room in your WG or flat. Maybe you’re tired of being confined to the four walls of your apartment and you’re seeking a Berlin staycation.

Whatever your situation, consider booking a hotel, hostel, or private flat with booking.com. – Find a place to sleep.

Guided Tours Of Berlin

If you’re new to Berlin and want to really experience the city, we recommend taking a tour with Get Your Guide.

From walking tours, to museum passes, to cruises along the Spree, there are plenty of unique experiences to partake in. – See what there is to do in Berlin.

Getting Food In Berlin

Looking for groceries to get delivered directly to your door? Do it with REWE, Edeka, Amazon Fresh, and Bringmeister.

If you want healthy chef-prepared meals delivered to your home, try freshweek.

Gorillas and Flink will get groceries to you in 10 minutes or less (not all areas of Berlin are on their service map yet).

For regular food delivery, use Wolt or Lieferando. Ubereats is also another option.

Getting Around Berlin

If you take public transit a lot, buy a BVG subscription for as little as €63 monthly. Otherwise, download the BVG app and buy a ticket whenever you need one.

If you want to take a taxi, download the FREE NOW app. Bolt and Uber are often cheaper and offer frequent discounts. Berlkönig is another popular service as it’s cheaper than taxis, operating much like Uber pool.

You can rent scooters from Uber and Bolt too. Other popular companies are Tier, Lime, and Voi.

Rent an electric bike on a month-to-month basis with Swapfiets.

You can rent a car using car-sharing apps like SHARE NOW and WeShare.

Getting A Bank Account In Berlin

There are plenty of banks in Berlin who you can open an account with, like Sparkasse, PostbankCommerzbankDeutsche Bank, and Volksbank.

There are also other banks, ones without physical branches who take a more modern approach to banking. Try N26DKB, Vivid, and ING.

 

 

Sending And Receiving Money Outside Of Germany

Use Wise to send money from your German bank account to people in other countries. Or send money from your home country to Germany. It’s convenient, cheap, and fast. Wise also offers plenty of other features like credit cards, borderless bank accounts, and more. – Sign up today.

Filing Taxes In Germany

We’ve had good experiences with SteuerGo, taxfix, and Wundertax.

If you’re a freelancer needing to keep track of income and expenses, as well as filing taxes, we recommend Sorted and Accountable.

Get A Therapist In Berlin

As an English English-speaking person, it can be hard to find a therapist in Berlin that not only speaks English but is also covered by health insurance.

If you have the cash (many therapists also offer discounts if you’re experiencing financial issues), find therapists through It’s Complicated, Stillpoint Spaces, or Mittelweg 50.

Public Health Insurance Companies In Germany

Most people in Germany opt for public health insurance. Popular companies include TK, AOK, and SBK.

Private Health Insurance In Germany

For those who would like to get private insurance, especially suitable for freelancers or younger people not intending to stay in Germany beyond a few years, consider ottonova.

They are Germany’s first digital health insurance and almost everything can be done online or within their app. Considering the country’s preference for faxing, printing, and mailing, this in itself is a miracle.

Getting Medical Help & Finding A Doctor In Berlin

You can easily find a doctor and make an appointment using Doctolib.

We also recommend the TeleClinic app. While our founder was in quarantine with Covid, she did a video consultation with a doctor in Hamburg and was able to get both a prescription and doctors note through the app.

Getting Medicine In Berlin When Drugstores Are Closed Or You’re In Quarantine

It’s Sunday and all of the Apothekes are closed. Maybe you’re in quarantine due to the lingering pandemic. Don’t fret and order what you need from First-A or MAYD.

Lawyers And Legal Help In Berlin

Are you paying too much for rent? Were you illegally fired from your job? Talk to a lawyer (in English too!) and find out your rights with Conny. First consultations are free and you only pay lawyer fees if you win your case. Get legal help.

Flat Cleaning Services In Berlin

If you need your flat cleaned because you’re moving in or moving out, or if you want to employ someone on a regular basis, try Sunshine Cleaning or Spic and Span.

When You Don’t Speak German Yet 

If you need to call someone, like a dentist or doctor, or even your bank, and you don’t speak German, it’s always stressful. Maybe you ask friends or colleagues to help. Well, stop bothering them and hire a local German speaker to make the call with you. Try BookaLocal to start making calls in German.

We also recommend reading about why it’s so great to learn German in Berlin.

 

Use A VPN To Watch American Netflix

Our top recommendations include TunnelBear and Surfshark.

Handy People In Berlin

Do you need picture frames hung in your flat? Someone to help install new lighting or build a bookcase?

Get in touch with Driller Queens for help around your home. We’ve also used Handyman In Berlin and been really happy with their work.

Co-Tasker has an app where you can book movers, someone to do kitchen assembly, and even painters to prepare your flat for final inspection before moving out.

Locksmiths In Berlin 

A good locksmith (Schlüsseldienst) is hard to find. If you’ve lost your keys, had them stolen, or got locked out of your flat, call on one to help you out.

We’ve had a positive experience with Christoph Albert Schlüsseldienst. They have fixed prices, speak English, can come within a few hours, and offer payment with card or via Paypal. 

Giving Away and Getting Rid Of Stuff In Berlin

Berliners switch flats a lot. Others don’t stay in the city for that long. How do you get rid of your household items?

If you want to give something away, see Free Your Stuff Berlin. If you want to sell something, try Sell Your Stuff Berlin.

If you need to have a bulky item transported for proper disposal, like an old mattress, schedule a pick-up with BSR. You can also visit any BSR in the city to dispose of old things like TV’s, phones, laptops, and more.

Borrowing (And Not Buying) Stuff In Berlin

Borrow stuff from your neighbors, or other Berliners around the city, on platforms like Nebenan.de and Fairleihen.

Moving House In Berlin

Moving to a new place is never fun. One of Berlin’s favorite and most popular movers is Mark With A Van. We also recommend Schwester Esther.

In need of moving boxes? Don’t buy them! Moving boxes are expensive and harmful to the environment. Rent reusable boxes from Boxie24. They’ll deliver and pick up boxes from you. Best of all the boxes are weather protected and won’t get damaged if you’re moving in bad weather. Renting boxes is also way cheaper than buying them.

For more information on moving house in Berlin, read our guide.

 

Dealing With Your Mail In Berlin

Many German companies, landlords, and government authorities like the Bürgeramt or Ausländerbehörde send out communications via post. Make life easier and sign up for E-POST to send and receive mail online. Sign up for E-POST.

If you’re moving to another flat in Berlin or will be out of the city for a while, you can also take advantage of mail forwarding services to make sure you don’t miss any important documents. Get my mail forwarded.

Curious about how mail forwarding works in Germany? Read our guide.

When You Need A North American Phone Number

iPlum offers various features, but our founder uses them to retain a virtual Canadian phone number (they also offer US numbers). As she still has financial interests in Canada and places like her bank and Paypal require a local phone number, as well as 2FA, iPlum allows her to keep a Canadian number on her German phone.

Sign-up for iPlum now.

When You Need A Canadian Address

Our founder keeps a virtual Canadian address with Your Canadian Address. They receive mail from Cheryl’s banks and other financial institutions, scan copies, and email it to her.

NoteAt no cost to you, we may receive a small commission via some of the affiliate links listed here. All funds are applied to our web hosting fees, paying new writers, etc.

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