I’ve been living for almost nine years in Germany and moved quite a lot around. I’ve used to live in Darmstadt, Coburg, Augsburg, Hanau, Bremen, Aachen and now in Karlsruhe. And I’m regularly travelling around, so I really know well the whole country, its people and climate, its nature and economy. In my opinion the best place to live in Germany is the area between Frankfurt am Main and Freiburg – more or less the so called Oberrhein (Upper Rhine River Valley). There many factors why I like the area most:
1. The warmest and sunniest area in Germany. As a Bulgarian, I’m used to a continental climate, which means a real cold winter with snow and a real warm summer with many days above 30°C. So I do not like to live in areas with a lot of rain, wind and clouds where you see the sun only once per month in winter. In the north part of Germany it is normally quite cloudy and windy in winter, because of the ocean and the plains. I can’t remember a single day with no wind in Bremen. And not to mention the rains in Aachen. It is always raining there. Aachen comes from an old German word for water. Locals say that there are two seasons in Aachen – warm rain and sold rain. The real problem is that the cold rain is about 8 months. Sometimes I’ve been on a small hill or on a bridge there and I’ve seen cloud beneath. That’s so beautiful and gives you the feeling to be part of the water. And everything is so green. But when there is a thunderstorm and you’re inside and the thunders are coming from all directions it can be really scary. And such storms are coming so fast there. Ok, in Freiburg rains a lot as well, but it is fast gone and the sun is back. And it is so warm there. I can’t forget a CS meeting last winter – in Basel was about 5°C and in Freiburg, only about 50 km to the north, was 15°C. I’ve experienced such extremes between Stuttgart and Karlsruhe as well.
2. Great nature. There are many nice mountains. And I need mountains in order to feel happy. That’s pretty normal, when you assume that the first thing I’ve seen in my first 19 years when waking up every morning, was the Vitosha Mountain next to Sofia. Not only Black Forest with its snowy winters and high peaks, but also the lovely Bergstr and Weinstr are nice places to live. Together with Kraichgau and Kaiserstuhl they form unique cultural landscapes of outstanding beauty. And of course the great Rhine River with its old alluvial forests. And all those cute little villages and cities.
3. Lifestyle. People are mostly easy-going and love to stay for hours in the cafes outside. It’s almost a Italian and French Mediterranean atmosphere. People like to joke and to have fun.
4. Many possibilities. It is one of the richest areas in Germany, so you have quite a lot of possibilities to find the job you like, the university you like or the cultural event you want to visit. It’s easy to travel from here. And that’s not only because it is near to France and Switzerland. It is a big transport hub and you are fast everywhere in Germany and Europe.
5. Has a big concentration of middle-sized cities. Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Wiesbaden, Mainz, Heidelberg, Mannheim, Karlsruhe and Freiburg are big enough, but not too big, so you can combine the advantages of the big and small cities. This is especially nice for young people who like nature and silence. If you live in a city smaller than 300 000 inhabitants in Germany, it can start to be boring for you very fast, because of the typical calm German lifestyle. Sometimes you will have definitely the feeling that nothing is going on and the time is staying. That’s not bad actually, we need it, but not constantly and not when you are in the early 20s.