Explore the local food scene and discover where to buy all your favorite foods with our guide to supermarkets and grocery stores in Austria.
Sandwiched between the culinary heavyweights of Italy and Germany, Austria’s local cuisine is often overlooked. However, you shouldn’t let that stop you from tucking into all that great Austrian food – and there’s no better place to start than your local supermarket. As any expat will tell you, grocery shopping soon becomes an everyday highlight when living abroad, and the supermarkets in Austria are no exception.
If you’re new in town, it can be difficult to know which supermarkets stock your favorite foods and how the food shopping process works. To help you out, our guide to supermarkets and grocery stores in Austria includes information on the following:
- Grocery shopping in Austria
- Supermarkets in Austria
- Things you need to know about Austrian supermarkets
- Food delivery services in Austria
- Ethnic grocery stores in Austria
- Food shopping at Austrian markets
- Specialty stores in Austria
- Convenience stores
- Liquor stores in Austria
- Buying groceries from your home country
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Grocery shopping in Austria
Whether you’re a new arrival in Vienna, Salzburg, or any of Austria’s many other charming towns and cities, the local supermarket is probably the first place you visit. However, before you’ve even grabbed your shopping cart, you’ll probably notice that grocery shopping in Austria is not quite the same experience as it was back home. But don’t let that put you off, because there are plenty of delicacies to be found in those aisles.
If you’re simply not the supermarket shopping type, you’ll be pleased to know that Austria does offer some alternatives. There are daily markets in many towns and cities, where you’ll be able to pick up fresh local produce, meat, and dairy products. Alternatively, you can sign up for a meal-kit delivery service and have fresh ingredients and recipes delivered straight to your door. And if you don’t feel like cooking at all, you’ll find a surprisingly wide range of great restaurants in most Austrian cities.
Supermarkets in Austria
The first thing you’ll notice about Austrian supermarkets is that they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. From US-style, out-of-town, hypermarkets to small neighborhood grocery stores, you’ll find there’s something for everyone. However, if you’re new to the country, it’s important to know where to head to pick up your family’s favorite groceries.
If you’re living in a big city like Vienna or Graz, you’ll probably find a lot of smaller supermarkets in central areas. These sell everything you need in terms of food and drink, but not a great deal else. In more suburban areas and smaller towns, you’ll likely find larger supermarkets. These are located on the edge of towns and are easily accessed by car and, typically, local public transport. These larger stores sell everything from fresh fruit and meat to electronics and children’s toys.
Generally speaking, Austrian supermarkets aren’t the cheapest in Europe, particularly in most touristy, city center areas. However, if you know where to shop, you’ll soon find grocery shopping in Austria much more affordable. Austrian supermarkets are generally well-stocked with good ranges of fresh and dried groceries. You can also buy alcohol in Austrian supermarkets, and most have an in-store bakery for all those local delicacies.
Austrian supermarket chains
There are a number of supermarket chains operating across Austria. Most of these are available nationwide, however, some regional disparities exist. Therefore, you may not have the entire selection of supermarkets to choose from in your local area. Some of the largest supermarket chains in Austria include:
- Spar: With over 1,500 stores across the country, Dutch company Spar is Austria’s largest supermarket chain. Of these stores, hypermarket-style Interspar is the largest, followed by Eurospar supermarkets.
- Merkur: Specializing in larger-format stores, the German retailer has around 130 hypermarkets across the country. They stock a wide array of products, including an own-brand range of budget groceries.
- MPreis: Based in and around the Tyrol region in western Austria, there are over 200 MPreis stores selling household staples and regional favorites.
- Billa: With around 1,000 supermarkets across the country, you’re sure to spot a Billa store when grocery shopping in Austria. It’s owned by the same parent company as Merkur.
- Unimarkt: A franchised co-operative of supermarkets, there are over 100 Unimarkt stores across much of Austria. Low-cost items are available under their own-brand, Jeden Tag.
- Nah & Frisch: Part of the same family as Unimarkt, Nah & Frisch has over 400 smaller stores across Austria, so you’ll never be far away from your nearest shop.
In addition to these supermarkets, you’ll find a number of independent stores and smaller, often regional, retailers operating across Austria.
Discount supermarket chains in Austria
As in most European countries, discount retailers are incredibly popular in Austria. These stores offer a no-frills shopping experience, with cheaper groceries but less choice. Leading discount supermarkets in Austria include:
- Lidl: The German discounter has over 200 stores across Austria. Stores sell a narrow range of food and non-food items for affordable prices.
- Hofer: The local name for the German discount supermarket, Aldi, Hofer has around 450 stores throughout the country, making it Austria’s largest discount grocery store.
- Penny Markt: Another German-owned discount retailer operating in Austria, Penny Markt has over 200 stores in the country.
Austrian specialty, health, and organic supermarkets
Sometimes, the regular supermarkets just don’t stock what you’re looking for. Thankfully, you have a few options in Austria if you’re looking for a more niche shopping experience. Whether you’re looking for health food stores or organic food markets, these are some of Austria’s specialty stores:
- Spar Gourmet: Part of the extended Spar family, the Gourmet stores are usually found in central areas, stocking high-quality products for convenient shopping.
- Denn’s Biomarkt: Austria’s leading organic supermarket has stores throughout the country, including several in Vienna alone.
- Basic: Also known as Basic Bio, this German chain of organic and green-minded supermarkets has locations in Salzburg and Vienna. It specializes in providing packaging-free options.
Supermarket opening times in Austria
Unlike in some other countries, Austrian supermarkets have resisted the urge to open 24-hours a day. However, supermarket opening hours are something of a patchwork quilt throughout the country. Most open around 08:00 and close at 20:00. However, some stores in larger cities will open later, until 22:00 or even 23:00 in more central areas.
Be aware that Austrian supermarkets typically remain closed on Sundays. You’ll still be able to find some smaller marts open, such as those connected to fuel stations or public transit hubs. However, it will pay to arrange your grocery shopping ahead of time or treat yourself to a meal out on Sunday.
Things you need to know about Austrian supermarkets
If you’ve recently arrived in Austria, there are a few things to keep in mind before you go wild in the aisles of your local supermarket. These include:
- Bring some coins: If you’re planning to buy a lot, you’ll probably want to use a shopping cart. If you do, bring some €1 or €2 coins as a deposit. You’ll get them back once you’ve finished.
- And some bags: As in many other European countries, the locals bring their own reusable, heavy-duty shopping bags. If you forget, you should be able to pick some up in-store, but try to remember yours.
- Watch those opening hours: Supermarkets in Austria close on Sunday, so plan your shopping accordingly. Small stores in train and fuel stations remain open, however.
- And those prices: Austrian grocery stores have a reputation for being expensive, but that isn’t always the case. Know where to shop, and you’ll soon find reasonably-priced food.
- There’s no medicine: You won’t find painkillers and other basic medicines on the shelves of supermarkets in Austria. Find your nearest pharmacy, instead.
Food delivery services in Austria
If you’re unable to visit your local supermarket, or simply prefer the convenience of having food delivered to your door, you have plenty of options in your new home. Firstly, many of the supermarket chains in Austria offer delivery services, letting you shop online and choose a delivery slot. Alternatively, you can pick up your groceries from a designated collection point at a time that suits you.
That’s not all. There are other Austrian delivery options. These include food boxes from local producers and meal-kit recipe boxes. Both of these are delivered straight to your door and contain seasonally fresh ingredients, letting you create meals at home. Meal-kit providers in Austria include:
If sweating away in your kitchen sounds too much like hard work, fear not. Austria has you covered with a whole host of other options. From chic brasseries to cozy cafes, you’ll find plenty of dining options in Austrian towns and cities. If you’re staying in, there are also a few delivery platforms operating across the country, including:
These platforms will connect you with your favorite neighborhood takeouts and restaurants. Whether you’re feasting with the family or eating with friends, all you have to do is sit back and wait for your delivery to arrive.
Ethnic grocery stores in Austria
Thanks to its increasingly multicultural society, Austria has a decent selection of ethnic supermarkets and grocery stores, should you wish to mix up your weekly shop. These stores stock a much wider range of foreign food products, particularly from Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines. You’ll find more of these stores in larger cities such as Vienna and Graz.
Generally speaking, these ethnic grocery stores are cheaper than regular supermarkets for certain items, such as spices, certain dried goods, and other foreign ingredients. Larger supermarkets in Austria will stock a small selection of groceries from around the world, but these are usually more expensive and you’re often limited with your choice.
Food shopping at Austrian markets
Don’t feel like heading down the aisle at your local Austrian supermarket? Then why not check out your nearest food market, instead? Many large towns and cities have daily markets where you can pick up a range of goods, from fresh produce and meat to gifts and chocolate. With so many local options, they are a great way to live sustainably in Austria. For many expats, there’s something quite magical about wandering through an Austrian market, gazing at all the flavors from home and abroad. You’ll soon find yourself hooked!
For the biggest and best markets, you won’t want to miss the outdoor shopping in Vienna. From the cozy Kutschkermarkt to the world-famous bustle of Naschmarkt, you definitely have some options. However, outside the capital, you’ll also find plenty of daily and weekly food markets to explore. You can check local websites and forums to find your nearest food or farmer’s market if you’re unsure.
Specialty stores in Austria
For many expats, one of the best things about living in Europe is all the excellent local specialty stores that soon become a part of everyday life. Wherever you’re living in Austria, you’ll quickly find a surprising range of stores, including butcher (Metzger/Fleischer), bakery (Bäckerei), and more. You’ll find the best range in larger towns and cities, however, you’ll be surprised by the local choice in many areas.
Life sometimes comes at you fast, and if you’re in a hurry and need to grab a quick bite or last-minute dinner ingredients, you’ll probably need to visit your local convenience store. Many of these are independently owned and operated, serving the local neighborhood or town. However, these are some of the nationwide chains you might see:
You’ll also find these convenience stores at train stations and fuel stations, should you need to pick something up last minute before heading home.
Liquor stores in Austria
Unlike in some other European countries, you can meet all your alcohol needs at the supermarket in Austria. You’ll find plenty of spirits, beers, and wines, including plenty of delicious local options you might not have heard of. Prices can vary considerably between stores and brands, but as a general rule, the local tipple is usually cheapest.
The legal age to buy alcohol in Austria is set at a regional level. Typically it’s set at 18 for spirits and 16 for most other drinks, including beer and wine. However, check online for the law where you live, because you don’t want to accidentally break the law.
You might want to check out some of the many online alcohol stores operating in Austria. These are often more specialized than high street outlets, and can be a great place to get bargains delivered straight to your door. Online alcohol retailers in Austria include:
Buying groceries from your home country
Missing your food favorites from home? Many supermarkets in Austria are well-stocked when it comes to foreign foods. In larger stores, you may even find a small world foods section, with products from France, Italy, the UK, and beyond. In cities, you’ll also find international grocery stores. However, if these aren’t convenient, a growing number of online grocery stores can deliver your favorite foods from home directly to your front door in Austria. Explore our directory listings to find out more.