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Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a landlocked East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe, and an increasingly popular expat destination. Newcomers to Austria will discover a country of picturesque historical little villages and modern cities.
The capital, Vienna, is home to a quarter of the country’s population, and with a rich history, breathtaking architecture and an abundance of things to see and do, it's no wonder the city is so popular with both Austrians and foreigners. Besides expats, the city also lures plenty of travellers, and the city's high quality of life and its location at the heart of Europe have ensured Vienna is a regular host city for international conferences of all kinds.
While charming, Austria also holds its own in the commercial and industrial sectors, and expats should be prepared to work hard while not forgetting to enjoy the many splendours this country has to offer. Expats looking for a job in Austria have a good chance of finding employment in understaffed industries such as project management, engineering, research, finance and logistics.
Austria boasts efficient and well-maintained public transport facilities. Trains are the easiest means of travel between cities, while buses connect many of the smaller towns to the main rail network. This integrated transport system is the easiest way to get around Austria and ensures that expats have access to easy and affordable travel. Cars are also popular and Austria’s road network is extensive, connecting the country to all of its neighbours. High-speed motorways are also easily accessible.
Healthcare in Austria is of an excellent standard, and the system is funded by a number of compulsory public insurance schemes and covers the entire population. Expats that are EU citizens can get access to treatment provided that they have a European Health Insurance Card, while those from outside of the EU should arrange for temporary health insurance until they are officially registered and covered by the Austrian public health system.
Austria may be relatively small and landlocked but it is the heart of Europe. With impressive Baroque architecture, awe-inspiring churches and captivating cultural events, Austria will easily nestle its way into the hearts of expats who choose to make it their home.
Population: About 8.9 million
Capital city: Vienna (also largest city)
Neighbouring countries: Austria is a landlocked country which shares borders with Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west; Germany and Czech Republic to the north; Hungary and Slovakia to the east and Slovenia and Italy to the south.
Geography: Austria is a predominantly mountainous country with the Alps running across the country. The River Danube, with its source in Germany, flows through Austria.
Political system: Federal parliamentary republic
Major religions: Catholicism
Main languages: German is the official language of Austria but English is spoken in the major cities.
Money: The Euro (EUR) is divided into 100 cents. Banking systems are sophisticated, ATMs are readily available and credit cards are accepted in most places.
Tipping: A service charge of 5 to 10 percent is expected at restaurants. Taxi drivers should be tipped as well.
Time: GMT+1 (GMT+2 from the last week of March to the last week of October)
Electricity: 230V, 50Hz. Plugs have two round pins, sometimes with grounding clips on either side.
Internet domain: .at
International dialling code: +43
Emergency contacts: 112
Transport and driving: Like most of Europe, Austrians drive on the right-hand side of the road. The standard of road infrastructure in Austria is excellent but new arrivals may need to adjust to driving in winter when snow can make mountain passes difficult to navigate. Public transport throughout Austria is also very good, so those without a car shouldn't struggle.
►Learn more about Work Permits for Austria
►Read our Doing Business in Austria page to learn more about the country's work culture
"Quality of life is top – I like that it is safe, clean, and not too crowded here. Vienna is the perfect balance between a large sophisticated city and a small town." Find out why Michael Guitterez speaks so highly of expat life in Vienna in his expat interview.
"I like the locals. I find them warm and helpful. Of course it depends on whether you can speak German or not. But they will usually try to help if you are learning and want to communicate with them." Read more about an Irish expat's experiences of Austrian locals in this interview.
Are you an expat living in Austria?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Austria. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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