Cost of Living in Cologne, Germany

Cost of living in Cologne: let’s analyze costs of food, real estate, entertainment and transport in Cologne, Germany

Are you considering moving to Cologne, Germany? Check below the data for the cost of living in Cologne, one of the most dynamic cities in the western part of Germany.
cost of living in cologne köln

Cost of Living in Cologne, Germany

Cologne is one of the largest cities in Germany, and the biggest in the North Rhine-Westphalia region. The city is also one of the favorite among expats, for its entertainment options, quality of life, transport infrastructure and geographic location.

As a large city of a wealthy country, the economy of Cologne is highly diversified. Some of the main economic sectors in the city are media and insurance. Despite not attracting as much corporate headquarters as Frankfurt or Munich, the city is still the main hub for some of the main German companies.

Some of the companies headquartered in Cologne are RTL Television and Deutschlandradio. Lufthansa, Germany’s flag carrier airline also has its corporate headquarters in Cologne.

Cologne has a relatively high cost of living, and comparable to other major cities in Western Europe. However, real estate prices are considerably lower in Cologne than other German cities like Frankfurt, Munich or Düsseldorf.

Let’s check some data for the cost of living in Cologne, Germany below:

The currency in Germany is the Euro. The conversion rate to the USD is 1 dollar to 0.94 EUR as of April 17, 2024.

If you want to suggest your own values based on your experiences in this city, click on edit and insert the values. Upon moderation they will be calculated to make part of the average prices displayed below.

Food Price [EDIT]
1 liter of milk 0.92 USD
1 loaf of bread 1.40 USD
1 kg of tomatoes 3.80 USD
1 kg of chicken 3.70 USD
1 single meal cheap restaurant 8.00 USD
1 single meal high-end restaurant 27.00 USD
1 cappuccino or latte 2.50 USD
1 big pizza delivery 13.00 USD
Real Estate Price [EDIT]
1 bedroom flat (40 m2) rent per month 520.00 USD
1 bedroom flat (40 m2) utilities per month 160.00 USD
2 bedroom flat (80 m2) rent per month 1,050.00 USD
2 bedroom flat (80 m2) utilities per month 240.00 USD
Price per square meter (city center) 4,585.00 USD
Transport Price [EDIT]
1 single ride public transport 3.45 USD
Monthly public transport ticket 99.00 USD
1 km taxi or similar transport app 2.30 USD
1 liter of gasoline (1/4 gallon) 166.00 USD
Toyota Corolla (new) basic version 26,600.00 USD
Salaries Price [EDIT]
Minimum Salary 1,851.00 USD
Average Salary (net) 2,600.00 USD
Extras Price [EDIT]
1 ticket to the movies (adult price) 12.00 USD
High speed internet per month 23.00 USD
1 month gym subscription 40.00 USD

Cost of Living for Students in Cologne, Germany

Despite having an extremely high cost of living in general, being a student in Germany has huge advantages. Firstly, in many cases, you are not required to pay for tuition fees in many German higher education institutions. This fact alone makes of Germany far more attractive than the UK in terms of cost of living. Secondly, it is possible to get a resident permit for up to 18 months following the end of your education, and you can search for jobs during this period.

Cologne is one of the best cities for foreign students to study in Germany. It has a higher than average number of higher education institutions in Germany. The cost of living for students in Cologne is also affordable, considering other cities in its region.

Here are some of the main higher education institutions in Cologne:

University of Cologne

TH Köln

Cologne Business School

Getting a Job in Cologne

Despite not being the as attractive in terms of jobs as Berlin or Frankfurt, there is a sizable among of employment opportunities for expats in the city. While some of them will not require a good command of German language, most of them do.

Wages in Cologne are high and competitive, as expats employed in Cologne usually have a good purchasing power.

Here are some websites for job hunting in Cologne:

indeed Deutschland

Quality of Life in Cologne

Like most cities in Germany, Cologne enjoys good standards of living. The city of Cologne is among the top cities in Germany when it comes to cultural activities and events, including its famous Carnival.

Cologne also enjoys a prestigious geographic position in Western Europe. It is just a few hours ride from countries like Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands and France. The Cologne Bonn Airport is one of the busiest in Germany and has direct flights to most European capitals.

English is widely spoken in Cologne. You can expect most locals younger than 30 to have a decent command of the English language.

If you are visiting Cologne soon you may want to check some of our other Germany guides. Check the where to stay in Cologne and our article on the  best places to places to stay in Frankfurt. You can also check the cost of living in Munich or Frankfurt. If you are traveling around the North Rhine Westphalia region, you can also check the best places to stay in Düsseldorf.

Other Resources for Expats and Travelers

Salaries Worldwide: check our articles on wages worldwide and understand better the economics of the countries you may be considering to move or invest.

Retire Abroad: check our retirement guides and maximize your retirement income and quality of life.

Jetradar: compare and find the cheapest air fares worldwide.