Are you planning to move to Landstuhl? What is it like to live in Germany?
In this Expat Interview, Morgan shares her experience and practical tips for newcomers. You’ll learn useful information to prepare for your new life in Landstuhl, such as the cost of living in Landstuhl, how to find apartments and jobs, and other practical tips.
What is it like to live in Landstuhl?
Landstuhl is a wonderfully diverse and charming spa town in southern Germany. It’s located on the edge of Europe’s single largest forest, the Rhineland Palatinate, and is perfect for Nature lovers.
There are a lot of options for outdoor activities like mountain biking, hiking, swimming, and Nature spas. It’s also great as a home base for expats who prioritize travel due to the excellent road and airport infrastructure. I spend almost every holiday or long weekend traveling to hike in the Alps, eat in Sicily, ride hot air balloons in Turkey or swim on the Atlantic coast in Portugal.
On non-travel weekends it’s less than an hour drive to get to the gorgeous Mosel Valley and do things like hike across the 1200 ft long Geierlay Bridge or go wine tasting. I love that Germany doesn’t have a reputation for tourism like Italy, despite having just as much to do and far fewer crowds.
As Landstuhl is a government hub, you have many schools, restaurants, bars, offices, and businesses in this outsized historic town filled with half-timbered houses and old churches.
The most distinctive aspect of Landstuhl is its 60-year history of being home to the single largest American community abroad due to the American military hospital overlooking the town.
That’s how my family got here over seven years ago, and we’ve decided to stay!
- Expat insurance: Don’t forget to get expat insurance to cover medical and emergency travel-related incidents.
- Money transfer: I use Wise to receive and transfer money abroad. It’s fast, and the fee is low.
- Moving tips: To make your relocation easier, check out Sirelo for free quotes from international moving companies. It will help you select one that fits your budget. Learn more here.
How to prepare for moving to Landstuhl?
If you are an EU resident, there’s nothing special you’ll need to do other than register with the local town hall called a “Rathaus” for your residence permit.
You’ll need proof of housing (usually a form written by your landlord that you have secured a rental contract). If you have children, you will have to enroll them in school as it is illegal to homeschool children in Germany.
If you are not an EU citizen, your first resource is the German Immigration Authority Office (Ausländerbehörde), where you’ll need to apply for both a residence and work permit.
It is different if you are an American moving here associated with the US military. Try this checklist, as it is very helpful to ensure your immigration status is covered under SOFA.
If you are moving here from outside the EU and outside the SOFA system, you can come on a tourist visa, and you’ll have a maximum of 90 days before you must have secured a work visa or student visa. This must come from your employer or school respectively, but only if you come from these places:
- EEA/EU member states the United States of America
- New Zealand
- the Republic of Korea
Citizens from other countries must apply for a work or school visa before entering Germany from their local German consulate.
Practical information for living in Landstuhl
For emergency problems, dial 112 from any phone.
The best hospital is Nardini Klinikum, as many doctors will speak English, and it’s located in Landstuhl, Germany.
Landstuhl is plentiful with shopping and supermarket shopping options, including several discount options. The largest supermarket is Kaufland, and it includes ethnic food options such as a Russian and Turkish section. Edeka is the next largest market, with a full butcher and deli. For a faster experience, you can visit one of the 2 Aldi markets here or here or the Lidl market. A specialty Russian food store named Brandt Market also is available.
For home goods and gardens, the Toom Market is located next to Kaufland and has everything you need to take care of your home or garden.
For a drinks store to buy water, soda, and alcohol, Alldrink is convenient as most people prefer bottled water vs. tap water here.
For cute boutiques, check out the main “Kaiserstrasse” street in the middle of the old town.
The cost of living in Landstuhl Germany
Life in Landstuhl is not cheap. This area has a high cost of living compared to nearby towns as it has excellent public transit options, a cute old town, and a large American expat presence driving up the cost of housing.
|Rental price (one-bedroom flat)||800 euros|
|Gas||Same as heating|
|Water||20 euros per person|
|Prepaid phone plan||15 euros for 2 GB, 200 min|
|Transportation||40 euros per month – Excellent bus, train|
|Average meal/ person||Street food: 6-7 euros for a Döner Meat/potato/salad: 15-20 euros Pizza: 11-14 euros|
|Gym membership||40 for unlimited 24-hour access|
|Total||1250 before eating out|
What salary do you need to live in Landstuhl?
Landstuhl offers an exceptional quality of life if you are into nature, as the opportunities are endless to hike, bike, fish, and swim. However, this is not the place to live if you want to experience museums and fine dining.
If you have roommates, this figure will change as you can save on rent, but it would be best to have a minimum salary of 1500 euros per month. If you enjoy going out to restaurants and other activities, I’d suggest a minimum of 2000 euros.
Where to live in Landstuhl? The best areas to stay
The best area to live is just outside the Old town or “Altstadt” near the Toom shopping plaza. This area has very little traffic compared to the winding old town roads that seem to always be under construction. If you live in the old town, sleeping on Friday and Saturday nights is difficult as the streets are filled with partygoers at the local pubs and strip clubs.
Families tend to locate themselves in one of the two housing-only developments above the town in Melkerei or Atzel. These parts of town have no pubs and are quiet, but they are about a 5-10 min drive from the old town. So it really depends on your situation.
How to find apartments in Landstuhl, Germany?
There are multiple ways to search, but word of mouth is the best for one-bedroom apartments. There is a thriving American expat community located here due to several USA military installations located nearby, including Ramstein Air Force base and the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
One bedroom can be challenging to find because rentals tend to be geared toward wealthy Americans with a healthy housing stipend. Rental apartments will often be listed on https://www.immobilienscout24.de/, posted on paper flyers on bank windows, and often on Facebook groups like Rentals in the KMC. Another good website to check is AHRN.
Transportation in Landstuhl
Landstuhl offers many choices when it comes to transportation. Finding a parking spot is almost always possible as long as you have a modest-sized car. The A6 motorway is located on the northern edge of the town. There is a train station located within the old town with connections all over Europe, including local and regional trains. Also, the bus system is excellent. Information can be found at www.bahn.de
Weather in Landstuhl
The weather is mild and typical of central Europe, with minimal snow in winter and comfortable summers. There is not much standing water, so the summers lack a lot of bugs which is nice. Highs in July – August rarely go over 30 degrees C, and lows in winter rarely dip below 5 degrees C. The air quality is typically very good. Rain should be expected most of the winter and spring. Autumn tends to be dry and warm.
What are the good and bad things about living in Landstuhl?
The location and ease of travel to places all over Europe is the best feature of Landstuhl. I have three airports within a 1.5-hour drive, and the roads are excellent, so it’s really great for expats who want to travel.
In town, I love the availability of places to hike right in town that dates back to ancient Roman and Pagan times. There are sculptures hidden all around the woods from both cultures.
It can be difficult to get through traffic in the middle of the day due to the sheer number of students in Landstuhl, as it’s home to at least seven different schools.
What are the best things to do in Landstuhl?
Go to the Cubo Nature experience spa. It feels secluded and very upscale and offers a beautiful spring-fed natural pool, sauna experience, and spa. They have a cafe serving salads and typical German sausages.
Did you experience any difficulties when you first moved to Landstuhl?
I moved here during the height of covid restrictions, which made it very difficult to meet my neighbors as we were prohibited from having more than one person outside our family visit our home. Honestly, I didn’t deal with it well at first. But I started a hiking Facebook group and started planning adventure trips all over Europe, bringing me closer to people with the same goals.
Is it easy to make new friends in Landstuhl? Where to meet new people in Landstuhl?
It depends. If you make an effort to sweep the street in front of your home between 11 and 1 on Saturday mornings, you’ll find it easy to meet German neighbors. If you want to meet some of the English-speaking expats, you’ll want to join a club like CrossFit or the hiking club. You can, of course, meet a lot of people by going out to bars like Oscars or Red Lion.
Where are your favorite cafes in Landstuhl?
Rhema cafe is my favorite. It’s a wonderful coffee/dessert meeting spot, and they offered their lovely space to the huge Ukrainian refugee effort for both local hosts and the Ukrainian (mostly women and children) refugees that have relocated here. Not only did they allow donations to be dropped off here, but they have a weekly meetup for Ukrainian ladies who want some fellowship.
Where are your favorite restaurants and bars in Landstuhl?
Oscars pub is my favorite bar, and Alom Dee is my favorite restaurant. It serves authentic Thai food filled with flavor, which can be hard for expats in Germany as the food is high quality but very bland. Doner kebap is probably the next best thing to get, and it’s cheap and delicious. My favorite stand is outside the Kaufland in the parking lot.
Tips for finding a job in Landstuhl?
There is a massive shortage of skilled labor, and the population is aging, so if you have any plumbing, contracting, or electrician skills, you should have no problem reaching out to any of the GmbH (businesses) related and starting a part-time job. There is also a new amazon warehouse that is always recruiting.
Additionally, half the population is English only speaking so service jobs are plenty if you can speak English.
What have you learned from living abroad?
I have learned that Americans are rich in money but have no time or involvement in hobbies and crafts compared to Germans. Also, Americans eat really fast.
Tips for living with kids in Landstuhl
Landstuhl is a wonderful place to raise kids. Germany is generally built for kids, but this area has an influx of Turkish, Russian, American, and a sprinkling of NATO-associated kids from all over Europe. It’s great for expat kids here because so many kids are foreigners, so they don’t stick out as much.
The local school even hired a dozen Ukrainian-speaking teachers when the refugee crisis hit so that they could dive into their education and make the transition from war less difficult.
I’m Morgan, a hiking fanatic and the founder of Crave the Planet. My mission is to physically empower & educate 1,000,000+ women to get closer to nature in a fun way — with simple, practical how-to articles, podcast episodes, and videos centered around safely exploring the Great Outdoors with good food and wine.
My 15 years of physical therapy practice have shown me that lifelong and fun exercise is the easiest thing to do to regulate stress, think clearly, feel great and connect to the good life & nature supercharges it all! You can follow me on Instagram and Untold Outdoor Europe FB Group.
The opinions expressed here by Expatolife columnists are their own, not those of Expatolife.