Cost of Living in Austria

Expats moving to Austria will find the high cost of living a small price to pay for the much higher quality of life their move will afford them. Vienna, Austria's capital, especially offers expats an excellent quality of life, which comes at an especially high cost.

While expats from the UK or France will find the cost of living in Austria to be cheap, it is generally more expensive than other major European countries such as the Netherlands and Spain.

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

That said, 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 for purchasing housing is astronomical, and sending children to international schools can monopolise a fair chunk of an expat's salary.

Expats moving to Austria will find the high cost of living a small price to pay for the much higher quality of life their move will afford them. 

While expats from the UK or France may find the cost of living in Austria to be cheaper, it is generally more expensive than other major European countries such as the Netherlands and Spain.

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

Regarding other costs, transport in Austria is moderately affordable. Food costs in Austria are high, especially during winter when fresh fruits and vegetables are scarcer. The price for purchasing housing is astronomical, and sending children to international schools can monopolise a fair chunk of an expat's salary.


Cost of accommodation in Austria

Most expats prefer to rent 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 of rent. If using an estate agent, the bill may also amount to two to three months of rent.

Utilities are fairly reasonable: the cost of electricity and gas (water is generally included in rent) is generally around EUR 200 a month for a 100-square-metre apartment.


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 an underground metro, tramlines, buses and even suburban railways, while smaller towns may only have one or two modes of transit available. Public transport in Austria moderate by European standards. A single journey on the metro in Vienna is EUR 2.20 and an unlimited monthly pass for all modes of transit is EUR 45.70.

Cycling is also popular in Austria, and many cities have incorporated bike lines into their city planning. It's also possible to rent a bicycle for EUR 2 per hour in major urban centres.

Austrians love automobiles, and expats who choose to live outside of the city may opt to buy a car. Note that parking is at a premium, both in terms of availability and price. It's also necessary to purchase either a digital or a sticker Vignette, which is a toll that provides access to Austria's highways. Owning and driving a car is expensive, and in many cases, it's more of a headache than a help.


Cost of food and entertainment in Austria

Austria has some of the highest food costs in Europe. Therefore buying in bulk can minimise expenditure, and shopping at grocery stores and then cooking at home can help those who are looking to reduce costs. Penny Markt and Zielpunkt are the most reasonably priced supermarkets, 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.

Alcohol, on the other hand, is fairly reasonably priced and cheap tickets for most types of entertainment are also available. 


Cost of education in Austria

Expat residents can send their children to Austrian public schools for free. However, the curriculum is taught in German, and if a child isn't fluent then this course of action is not recommended.

There are many international schools in the larger Austrian cities, but these can be expensive, costing as much as EUR 20,000 a year for high school students. Tuition fees vary depending on the school and the age of the child. Expats moving to Austria with kids should try and negotiate an education allowance as part of their job contract.


Cost of living chart for Austria

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below is based on prices in Vienna and shows average prices for March 2018.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 780

One bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 575

Three bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 1,685

Three bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 1,100

Food and drink

Milk (1 litre)

EUR 1.05

Cheese (1kg)

EUR 10.70

Dozen Eggs

EUR 3

White Bread 

EUR 1.90

Rice (1kg)

EUR 1.60

Packet of cigarettes (Marlboro)

EUR 5

Public transportation

City centre bus/train fare

EUR 2.20

Taxi rate per km

EUR 1.60

Petrol/gasoline per litre

EUR 1.20

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

EUR 7

Coca Cola (330 ml)   

EUR 2.60

Cappuccino

EUR 3.15

Bottle of domestic beer

EUR 3.60

Three course meal at a mid-range restaurant

EUR 23

Utilities

Internet (average per month)

EUR 26

Mobile call rate (mobile to mobile per minute)

EUR 0.08

Electricity, water, heating and garbage costs (average per month for standard household)

EUR 177

Hourly rate for domestic help

EUR 15