From healthcare and housing to food and everyday items, we provide a general overview of the cost of living in Austria.
Balancing your budget is important, no matter what country you call home. Therefore, it pays to do a little research on the short- and long-term costs associated with living abroad. And while the crisp mountain air, high culture, and stunning vista of Austria are highly appealing to expats, many worry about the price of practical things such as rent and electricity bills.
To help give you an idea of the cost of living in Austria, this handy guide outlines the following:
- The general cost of living in Austria
- Wages and salary in Austria
- Housing costs in Austria
- Cost of domestic bills in Austria
- Healthcare costs in Austria
- Childcare costs in Austria
- Study costs in Austria
- The cost of food and drink in Austria
- Transport costs in Austria
- Leisure activities in Austria
- Taxation and social security in Austria
- Assistance with living costs in Austria
The general cost of living in Austria
The good news is that the standard of living in Austria is very high. In fact, in 2019, Austria ranked second place globally for the highest quality of life. Meanwhile, Vienna won the title of the world’s most liveable city for a decade. That said, while the standard of living is high, the cost of living in Austria is also high when compared to other European countries.
How much disposable income you will need to live comfortably will depend on the size of your household, where you live, whether you have children, and so on. Fortunately, many companies take the cost of living in Austria into account when offering salaries, particularly to expats. That said, in 2018, around 10% of the Austrian population were living in relative income poverty. This proportion increases within the migrant community where foreign-born Austrians are 2.4 times as likely to be at risk of poverty.
Wages and salary in Austria
Interestingly, there is no nationwide minimum wage in Austria. Instead, wages are determined by negotiated collective agreements. Generally speaking, however, the average monthly salary ranges from €1,700 to €2,200. This is about on par with most of Western Europe and is reasonable considering the cost of living in Austria.
Housing costs in Austria
Rental costs in Austria
Rental costs vary greatly throughout Austria, depending on the location. Naturally, big cities often have higher rents than smaller cities and towns. The rent for a one-bedroom apartment or a studio, for example, may run anywhere between €300 and €900 depending on the location and on whether or not the unit is furnished.
The good news, however, is that due to the Austrian government’s commitment to social and affordable housing, most people spend less of their monthly income on rent than in many other countries. For more in-depth information, read our guides to renting in Austria and where to live in Austria.
Property prices in Austria
Property prices in Austria range significantly depending on location, size, amenities, and more. In Vienna alone, the price of a property can range from an average of €5,359 per square meter to a whopping €14,069 per square meter for those who want to live in the First District – or Innere Stadt. If you are looking at a 100-square-foot house, that is the difference between a house worth about €500,000 and a house worth €1.5 million – all within the same city. For more information, you can read our Guide to buying real estate in Austria.
Cost of domestic bills in Austria
Utility bills in Austria
Utility bills in Austria vary depending on what kind of unit you live in – a house or an apartment – as well as its size and any special amenities. If you bundle your utilities, such as electricity and gas, some providers will give you a discount. On the whole, though, most standard households pay between €150 and €250 in utility costs. You can read more about this in our Guide to setting up utilities in Austria.
Telecommunications in Austria
Telecommunications in Austria are extensive, high-quality, and competitive. Therefore, you will likely be able to find good internet, television, and landline deals, if you wish. Bundling one or more of these services will often get you an even better deal, so be sure to do your research.
Getting a phone and/or SIM card is also straightforward; you can even sign up for pay-as-you-go plans at the airport. Getting a recurring phone plan, however, may require you to already have an Austrian bank account set up.
Healthcare costs in Austria
Fortunately for expats, healthcare in Austria is universal, affordable, and accessible. Most people have public healthcare, which is funded by monthly contributions by employees and employers. With this monthly payment, you gain access to preventative treatment, acute care, subsidized medication, and much more.
That said, some people also take out private health insurance, either as a supplement to or a replacement of public insurance. Private insurance gives you access to shorter wait-times, nicer accommodation in hospitals, and a wider list of specialists.
Private health insurance can be costly, however, with some private insurance companies charging several hundred euros a month. Of course, it is important to shop around and make sure you find the right policy to meet your individual needs.
Childcare costs in Austria
Although pre-school, which starts at age five, is mandatory and free in Austria, childcare and early education costs before this are the responsibility of the parents. Various day-care options are available, although costs can vary. Fortunately, parents can apply for a childcare allowance to offset some of the costs, if they wish.
Some families also choose to employ nannies or to convince grandparents to watch over their children. Others, meanwhile, may seek an international au pair who may care for and teach their children a new language, in exchange for room and board, and a small weekly allowance.
Study costs in Austria
Public education costs in Austria are very reasonable. In fact, public schools are free all the way through to secondary school, although the vast majority are taught in German. Public German-English bilingual schools are also available, however, spots are very limited. As a result, many expats choose to send their children to international schools which are, on the whole, fairly pricey.
The cost of food and drink in Austria
Groceries in Austria
Unfortunately, buying groceries in Austria is a more expensive endeavor than in many other countries. This is especially true of fresh fruits and vegetables in the winter, which are scarce and pricey. That said, there are many different supermarkets, some of which offer lower prices, so be sure to shop around for your favorite grocery store.
To give you an idea of grocery costs, here are some average prices for common goods:
- 1 gallon of milk – €4.30
- A loaf of bread – €1.8
- 12 eggs – €3
- 1 pound of local cheese – €5.80
- 1 pound of chicken breast – €5.50
Restaurants in Austria
Generally speaking, restaurants in Austria aren’t very cheap. That said, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant can set you back between €12 and €14, while a three-course feast at a mid-range restaurant can run between €50 and €70. These numbers will vary, of course, depending on whether you are in a major city or a sleepier town.
Of course, if you are looking to delve into some hearty Austrian cuisine, you might be tempted to whip up some of your own delicious dishes in the comfort of your own kitchen instead. And if you need some inspiration, these top 10 Austrian foods with recipes will make your mouth water.
Beer, wine, and spirits in Austria
While the cost of alcohol in Austria is on the high side for Europe, it is very affordable when compared to North America. A serving of beer or wine in a restaurant, for example, may cost you anywhere between €3 and €8 depending on the establishment. Meanwhile, a pack of (multiple) beers from the local supermarket will cost you €4 to €8. A reasonably nice bottle of wine would cost around €8 to €10 in a supermarket.
Spirits are comparatively priced with other countries, with a cocktail costing anywhere between €10 and €15 in a restaurant. Buying spirits in a store will likely set you back between €20 and €40 for a popular brand.
Coffee in Austria
Cozy coffee shops abound in Austria, with the price of a cup ranging from €2 to €5, depending on the type and size of beverage and whether you are in a major city or a small town. They all taste great, though! You can read more about this in our Complete guide to Austrian drinks.
Transport costs in Austria
Public transport in Austria
Luckily, Austrian public transport is highly efficient. A one-way ticket in most cities is €2.40 but, of course, for longer trips, especially between cities, the cost gets much higher. A trip from Vienna to Salzburg, for example, usually costs around €22 one-way. And if this is a regular trip for you, these costs soon add up. Fortunately, though, there are monthly and yearly public transit cards that make regular travel quite affordable.
Private transport in Austria
Between bicycles, walking, and public transit, there isn’t a huge need for private transport in Austria. However, taxis and rideshares are available if you want or need them. Taxis operate via a meter and costs start at €3.80 during the day and €4.30 at night. Uber is also widely available in the country. If you are looking to drive yourself around, keep in mind that petrol costs around €1.45 per liter. The costs of buying a new car in Austria will vary, but you can expect to pay around €21,000 for a small to a mid-sized car. For more information, check out our Guide to driving in Austria.
Leisure activities in Austria
Clothing in Austria
If you are looking to update your wardrobe, you will probably notice that the price of clothes and shoes in Austria is a bit higher than in other countries. A pair of jeans can cost you between €75 and €100 plus, depending on the store and style, while a pair of running shoes can cost around €80. And if you are looking to buy designer or brand-name items, you can expect to spend several hundred euros.
Sports in Austria
If you are looking to join a gym, average rates in Austria vary depending on the size and amenities of the gym. On the whole, though, you can expect to pay between €25 and €60 per month. If an artsy night out is more your scene, you have plenty of options. Catching the latest movie with a friend after an informal dinner might cost a total of around €40. On the other end of the scale, however, watching the opera from the comfy seats or attending a very popular concert might set you back a few hundred euros.
Taxation and social security in Austria
Thanks to its robust social insurance system, taxes are fairly sizeable in Austria. You can expect to pay VAT (20%) on goods you buy at a store as well as up to 55% on your yearly taxable income, depending on your tax bracket.
If you are employed, a monthly contribution to social insurance (18.12% in 2020) will be deducted from every paycheck. Your employer will provide a similar payment on your behalf; this was 21.32% in 2020. Similarly, 1.53% of your pay goes into a pension fund. It might seem like a lot – and it is – but the benefits of these investments are significant.
Assistance with living costs in Austria
Aside from subsidized housing and childcare allowance, there are plenty of ways to get assistance with your living costs in Austria. Those struggling to pay tuition can apply for a study allowance while parents of multiple children can apply for a family allowance. For more information about eligibility, applying, and other types of available assistance, you can visit this government website.