Berlin is an anomaly – it’s one of the few capitals where the cost of living is lower than the national average, a legacy of the country’s former divide, which still means former East Germany is notably cheaper than western centres like Frankfurt and Munich. But as prices gradually rise in gentrifying Berlin, there are other eastern cities to venture to, including buzzing Leipzig.
The city that kick-started the 1989 protests that led to the country’s reunification has long had a fierce, independent spirit. Over the past few years, it’s also developed quite a reputation for its thriving artist enclaves and offbeat nightlife. Its culture scene is in constant flux, with old industrial buildings, such as former cotton mill the Spinnerei, converted into cutting-edge spaces.
Where to stay
Best for city location: IntercityHotel Leipzig
Best for little luxury: Pentahotel Leipzig
Daily: Budget Basic €55, occasional treat €70
Drink: Beer (half-litre) €2.90
Food: Schnitzel €8
Hostel/budget hotel: €25/€35
Travel: Munich–Berlin: train €55–142; bus €22
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