Cost of living in Vienna

Since the Euro was introduced in 2001, basic living costs (like food) have steadily risen in line with the rest of the EU. despite this, Vienna still sits in the middle of the range, with your average monthly expenditure as a student sitting at between €800 and €1100. This accounts for such costs as food, entertainment, transport, accommodation, clothing and insurance and is a pretty good estimate for any visiting students.

Housing and food costs

We’ve already done quite a comprehensive overview of the rental prices in Vienna, so check that out! In general, rent will cost you anywhere from 350€ and 700€ a month, unless you can afford to go above the usual student budget.

Food is the other big player in your monthly expenses. As with all Western countries, it’s much cheaper to cook from home than to eat most of your meals in cafés or restaurants. To give you an idea of the day-to-day prices when you’re out and about in town, here are some averages:

  • Basic lunch menu, €10-13

  • Fast food menu, €8

  • A regular beer, €3-5

  • Coffee/tea, €3-4

  • Cinema ticket, €10

  • Sandwich, €3-5

With supermarkets, however, you can prepare a week’s meals in advance and save yourself plenty of money. For €5 you could make a whole bunch of sandwiches, or buy enough coffee to last you several weeks. Hofer is a common, budget supermarket which is beloved by students! For fresh fruit and vegetables, you should look at markets like Karmelitermarkt, Viktor Adler Markt or Brunnenmarkt. Their produce can almost always be found cheaper than those in the supermarkets, and are well worth the effort.

Transportation costs

Vienna has an excellent public transport system, and you can use a single pass to get on the bus, train, metro and tram. Whether you choose to opt for a long-term pass or rely on your bike to get around - paying only for single journeys on public transport - is up to you.

Of course you can get paper tickets, but a smarter way to purchase is through the Wiener Linien ticket app or mobile ticket shop. Since most people are rarely far from their smartphones, you can have your ticket with you all the time.

Annual passes

These can be bought online or at the ticket office of the central train station. In comparison to many major European cities, it actually offers quite good value for money at €1 per day - of course, you have to pay the €365 upfront so it’s not a small investment. You can use them throughout Zone 100, the main and central part of the city.

This is a good move if you regularly use public transport and can afford it, but if you’re a student, check out semester passes.

Semester passes

These last a single semester at school or university. You’ll need your student ID card (or an authorization card issued by the Wiener Linien, the company which runs the transport system) in order to buy your ticket. The great news is that they only cost €75 per semester, an absolute steal compared to the regular annual pass. Remember that you’ll need to get monthly or weekly passes in the summer, but this will still work out as value-for-money.

Weekly and monthly passes

A weekly pass is lasts one calendar week, from 12:00am (midnight) on Monday until 9am the following Monday. The monthly pass (€48.20) is valid from the 1st of the month to the 2nd of the following month. It’s a simple system, and helps avoid any confusion.

If you misplace your ticket, simply print it out again and carry on travelling! The price is still okay, though of course buying 12 single-month passes will cost an awful lot more than one annual pass.

Short-term passes and single tickets

These are usually used for visitors or locals who rarely frequent public transport. You can get single-journey tickets (Einzelfahrschein), or unlimited travel for 24, 48 or 72 hours. Naturally, these are more expensive (per journey) than longer-term tickets.

  • Single - 2.20€

  • 24hr - 7.60€

  • 48hr - 13.30€

  • 72hr - 16.50€

A short-term pass is good for unlimited travel by tram, bus and rail inside Vienna’s core zone for as long as the ticket is valid. Prior to use, you must validate your pass by punching it in a ticket validating machine - these are conveniently located in underground stations as well as on buses and trams.

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