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9 essential apps for foreign residents living in Berlin

Rachel Stern
Rachel Stern - [email protected]
9 essential apps for foreign residents living in Berlin
Berlin city skyline with the iconic Television Tower at Alexander Platz and the River Spree. Also visible is the town hall "Rotes Rathaus". Photo: Getty Images

From getting around to finding the best events in your 'Kiez', here are some of the most useful apps to have as an international resident in the German capital.


Keeping tabs on transport connections with the BVG app

If you use public transport in the capital, "Ersatzverkehr" (replacement transport) is a word you'll quickly get used to. To know which U-Bahn and S-Bahn trains and trams are running (and more often which aren't) this is the app to have.

It maps out all the routes and timetables to get you to your destination the fastest and less cumbersome way possible - and generally plans your journey much more accurately than Google Maps.

Knowing what’s going on right by you with the Kiez-App

Many people who don't live in Berlin often find the capital to be too big and overwhelming. But Berliners themselves are used to this and have found a solution: most of them simply stay put predominantly in their Kiez, which reduces the size of the city many times over.

This is exactly where the Kiez-App comes in: users receive local news and information about their own district. A section also lets people promote their own activities and initiatives, and find others who want to take part in them. A similar and notable alternative is the Nebenan (next door) app, which also has a marketplace of things your neighbours want to buy, sell or simply give away. 

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Der Kiez


Finding the best bike routes (and do some sightseeing) with komoot

With the "komoot Bike Berlin" app, cycling fans can explore the capital - or neighbouring Brandenburg - along suggested tours and even create their own. Navigation, including audio function, along the cycle routes is done using GPS. In addition to the route, the app also spotlights interesting attractions in the vicinity so that spontaneous sightseeing is possible.

The one downside is high battery consumption, as GPS has to stay switched on for the entire duration of the journey. Once recorded, however, the bike tours can be called up again and again in offline mode.

READ ALSO: 10 things to consider for a bike trip in Germany

Learning about Berlin’s extensive history with the BerlinHistory app

One of the most fascinating aspects of living in the capital is that there's literally history everywhere. With the BerlinHistory app, you'll figure out just what that ornate building you're walking past once was. Various types of historical documents can be accessed via the app at countless locations around the capital - from photos to audios to historical maps.

A view of Museum Island and the TV tower in Berlin.

A view of Museum Island and the TV tower in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jörg Carstensen

Being where the music is playing with RA Advisor

Berlin is known for its buzzing and eclectic nightlife, but sometimes there's so much going on that it can be hard to know where to start. Created by cult music magazine Resident Advisor, RA helps you keep track of all the great festivals, dance music events, club nights and parties going on in the capital, with personalised alerts so that you don’t miss out on any of the fun. For general evening events or meeting like-minded people, the app is also a great resource to see what’s going on near you, whether an expats' gathering at a Kneipe or board games night. 


Meeting other families with kids with Mello

Berlin is known as a singles' city, with a slew of parties lasting into the wee hours of the night. But for people with kids in the city, it can be more challenging to meet other families, especially international ones, for activities while the sun is still shining (at least hypothetically in Berlin). This app allows parents to connect with fellow parents to arrange play dates, or simply playground meetups right in their neighbourhood, and see what kid-friendly events are going on around them. 

Staying safe in the event of an emergency with NINA

Some dangerous situations, such as the spread of smoke or severe weather, are something you definitely want to know about - and preferably as quickly as possible. The NINA app provides users with up-to-the-minute alerts on whatever the situation is, from minor inconveniences to urgent matters.

German warning alert apps

German warning alert apps, including NINA, WetterWarn and KatWarn. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Oliver Berg

For example, if a World War II bomb is found in Berlin - as they often are - you'll know right away if and when your neighbourhood is being evacuated, and if a heavy thunderstorm is coming, NINA will tell you that it's better to stay at home.

Saving cash (and the environment) with Too Good To Go

If you want to do something against food waste and also save some money, "Too good to go" is the way to go. Various restaurants and bakeries in and around the capital are offering their leftover food here at a special price. The app sorts by location or pick-up time. During the day, portions can be reserved and paid for via the app - and each offer shows the time at which the food will be ready for collection.


In Berlin participants range from the swanky 25 hours hotel near Ku’Damm to discount supermarket Netto. 

Exploring meatless options with Vegan Guide Berlin

Berlin is so vegan-friendly that even a Starbucks barista might ask customers if they want their coffee with “Kuhmilch” (cow milk) rather than a vegan alternative. But since people are so spoiled for meatless choices in the capital, this app helps non meat-eaters track down the true creme de la creme (provided it's vegan, of course). 

Vegan Guide has links to hundreds of restaurants, fast food outlets and ice cream parlours, more than 100 cafes that offer beverages with soy milk, more than 200 bakeries, and a further 100 supermarkets, pharmacies and even a “butcher's shop” that stocks vegan products - so whatever you're in the mood for, it won't be too hard to track down. 

READ ALSO: The Local's meaty vegan guide to Berlin


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