Expats moving to the country will find the high cost of living in Austria is a small price to pay for the excellent quality of life their move will afford them. Vienna, in particular, offers expats a superb quality of life but comes at an especially high cost.

Vienna ranked 25th out of 227 cities in Mercer's cost of living survey for 2023. While the city remains less expensive than other major European cities such as Zurich, Copenhagen and London, the cost of living in Vienna is well above that of places like Brussels and Berlin.

That said, the cost of living in Austria naturally varies according to location (urban centres are more expensive than rural villages) and personal choice – factors that can certainly influence one's bank balance at the end of the month.

Expats should note that food costs in Austria are high, especially during winter when fresh fruits and vegetables are more likely to be scarce. The price of purchasing housing is astronomical. Sending children to international schools can also take a fair chunk of an expat's salary.


Cost of accommodation in Austria

Most expats prefer to rent accommodation in Austria, especially as purchasing property in Austria is unaffordable for most.

When initially signing a lease, expats should also anticipate paying at least the equivalent of two months' rent as a refundable deposit in addition to the first month's rent. If using a real estate agent, the bill may amount to an additional two to three months' rent. In most cases, expats will also be responsible for their monthly utility bills, which can stack up during the winter months. 


Cost of transportation in Austria

The majority of Austrian cities and towns are well connected by an efficient and reliable public transport system. Larger metropolises feature underground metro trains, tramlines, buses and even suburban railways, while smaller towns may only have one or two modes of transit.

Public transport in Austria is moderately priced by European standards. Cycling is also popular in Austria. Many cities have incorporated bike lanes into their city planning.

Austrians love automobiles. Expats who choose to live outside the city may opt to buy a car. Note that parking is at a premium, both in terms of availability and price. Owning and driving a car is expensive, and in many cases, it's more of a headache than a convenience.


Cost of healthcare in Austria

Healthcare in Austria is among the best in the world, and expats will be eligible to access free basic healthcare. Under Austria's tax-funded health insurance scheme, expats can be treated at public hospitals, access specialist consultations and receive basic dental care and medication. 

Most people living in Austria do not procure private health insurance, but some expats may have this cost covered by their employer. This gives them access to shorter waiting times and more healthcare services. 


Cost of entertainment and eating out in Austria

With a sharp focus on family life and a generous annual leave allotment, expats moving to Austria will have more opportunities to enjoy the country's lifestyle offerings. While eating out and visiting Austria's many trendy markets may be a fun pastime, it's not cheap, and most residents do it only occasionally. The culinary scene is also home to many international restaurants serving delicious fare for a pretty penny. 

Austria is also known as the birthplace of classical music, but experiencing one of the country's enchanting music venues is also quite pricey. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce these costs, such as purchasing early-bird tickets or cheaper seats that may have restricted views. The country also has plenty of green spaces and hiking and mountain biking trails that can be explored at little to no cost. 


Cost of groceries in Austria

Austria has some of the highest food costs in Europe. Buying in bulk can minimise expenditure. Shopping at grocery stores and cooking at home is a cost-effective alternative to eating out.

Penny Markt is probably the most reasonably priced supermarket chain, though at the sacrifice of the quality and selection of the goods available. Spar Gourmet and Merkur are high-end, and everything else falls somewhere in between. Fruits and vegetables can be expensive and hard to find out of season.


Cost of education in Austria

Expat residents can send their children to Austrian public schools for free. However, the curriculum is taught in German. If an expat child doesn't already speak some German, this can be a difficult option.

There are many international schools in the larger Austrian cities, but these can be expensive. Tuition fees vary depending on the school and the age of the child.


Cost of living chart for Austria

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below is based on average prices in Vienna for July 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 870

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 660

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 1,500

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 1,100

Food and drink

Milk (1 litre)

EUR 1.38

Cheese (1kg)

EUR 12.08

Dozen eggs

EUR 3.94

Loaf of white bread 

EUR 2.19

Rice (1kg)

EUR 2.04

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

EUR 6

Transportation

City centre bus/train fare

EUR 2.40

Taxi rate per km

EUR 1.60

Petrol/gasoline per litre

EUR 1.68

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

EUR 9

Coca-Cola (330 ml)   

EUR 2.44

Cappuccino

EUR 3.45

Bottle of domestic beer

EUR 4.25

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant

EUR 60

Utilities

Internet (uncapped ADSL per month)

EUR 31

Mobile phone monthly plan with calls and data

EUR 22.15

Utilities (average per month for a standard household)

EUR 242

Hourly rate for domestic help

EUR 15

Expat Health Insurance

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