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, in particular offers expats an excellent quality of life, which comes at an especially high cost. Vienna ranked 54th out 209 cities in Mercer's cost of living survey for 2020. 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.

However, 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.

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 of rent. If using a real-estate agent, the bill may amount to an additional two to three months of rent.

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, and many cities have incorporated bike lanes into their city planning.

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. Owning and driving a car is expensive, and in many cases, it's more of a headache than a help.

Cost of groceries in Austria

Austria has some of the highest food costs in Europe. Buying in bulk can minimise expenditure, and shopping at grocery stores and cooking at home is a good alternative to eating out, cutting down costs.

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 February 2021.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 880

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 630

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 1,500

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 1,200

Food and drink

Milk (1 litre)

EUR 1.10

Cheese (1kg)

EUR 10

Dozen eggs


Loaf of white bread 

EUR 1.60

Rice (1kg)

EUR 1.65

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

EUR 5.50


City centre bus/train fare

EUR 2.40

Taxi rate per km

EUR 1.40

Petrol/gasoline per litre

EUR 1.20

Eating out

Big Mac Meal


Coca-Cola (330 ml)   

EUR 2.70


EUR 3.40

Bottle of domestic beer

EUR 3.90

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant

EUR 50


Internet (uncapped ADSL per month)

EUR 34

Mobile call rate (mobile-to-mobile per minute)

EUR 0.06

Utilities (average per month for a standard household)

EUR 193

Hourly rate for domestic help

EUR 15

Expat Health Insurance

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