Living in Vienna: Top 8 Pros and Cons

Do the pros of living in Vienna outweigh the cons? Learn about Viennna's internationality, living expenses, work opportunities and quality of life.


4 minute read
20 Mar 2024

Living in Vienna, you'll have the opportunity to earn the highest salaries in Austria, use an excellent public transportation system, and find your international community. But living in Vienna, you'll also have to deal with higher living expenses, depressing winters and higher taxes.

So is Vienna a good place to live? To help you decide if living in Vienna as an expat is worth it, we've gathered the top 10 pros and cons of living in Austria's capital.

Pros and cons of living in Vienna

Pros of living in ViennaCons of living in Vienna
Excellent and accessible healthcareRent in Vienna is high
Highest salaries in AustriaHigh living expenses
One of the safest cities in the worldStores have short opening hours
Multicultural cityMaking local friends can be hard
Extensive public transport systemEnglish-speaking jobs are mostly in hospitality
Excellent international connectivityCash is king
High social securityHigh taxes
Excellent quality of lifeWinters can be depressing

Pros of living in Vienna

Excellent and accessible healthcare

The Austrian healthcare system is one of the best in the world because it is accessible and affordable. You can also feel safe knowing that there's a hospital or medical centre in most neighbourhoods in Vienna. To access Austria's healthcare system, you need health insurance, which is mandatory for all residents in Austria.

Highest salaries in Austria

With an average gross salary of €51,218 per year (or €4,268 monthly), people working in Vienna have the highest salaries in Austria. This can be attributed to several factors, such as market competition, bigger job opportunities, Vienna's strong economy, and higher living costs.

Extensive public transport system

Vienna has one of the best public transport infrastructures in the world. You can get to any point in the city and at any time of day with only public transportation. You'll also be saving money by using the metro, bus or tram, as public transport in Vienna is affordable. The transport company offers a variety of subscriptions you can choose from to suit your commuting needs.

Vienna is one of the safest cities in the world

With a safety index of 72, Vienna is the 11th safest capital in Europe. The city has a low percent crime rate of 27%, mostly driven by pickpockets near the tourist parts of the capital. You can check out our guide to areas to avoid in Vienna to find out in which parts of the city you should be more cautious.

Vienna is a multicultural city

Over 32.2% of Vienna's residents are foreigners. The city is diverse, with people from around the world calling it their home and forming international communities. You can meet people online (e.g. Internationals in Wien) or in person (e.g. signing up for a language course).

Excellent international connectivity

One of the biggest advantages of living in Vienna is its location. The city is located in the North-eastern part of Austria, so you can easily visit any nearby countries. A train ride between Vienna and Bratislava is only 1 hour. You need 2 hours to get to Budapest and 4 hours to reach Prague.

High social security

Viennese residents have a high standard of social security, with comprehensive welfare systems and social benefits. Vienna's commitment to social well-being contributes to its reputation as a city with a high standard of living.

Excellent quality of life

Ranked as the most livable city in the world, Vienna provides a high quality of life, a thriving urban environment, and a strong educational system. Vienna’s excellent infrastructure, accessibility to healthcare services, and high safety levels have put it at the top of The Economist’s list for the second year in a row.

With a rich cultural heritage, Vienna immerses you in a world of art, music, and history, while its abundant parks offer tranquil green spaces. As the sun sets, the city comes alive with its dynamic nightlife, catering to diverse tastes and preferences.

Cons of living in Vienna

Rent in Vienna is high

One of the biggest cons of living in Vienna is the high accommodation costs compared to other Austrian cities. Renting in Vienna will take up nearly 50% of your monthly budget, with the average rent being €590 for a room and €1,200 for an apartment.

Vienna has high living expenses

Vienna's cost of living is relatively high, which is to be expected for a capital. While living expenses might look grim compared to other Austrian cities, Vienna's cost of living is cheaper than other Western European capitals. You can comfortably live in Vienna with a monthly budget between €1,600 and €2,000, which covers your rent, groceries, public transport, healthcare and leisure.

Finding English-speaking jobs can be a difficulty

If you have a basic knowledge of German, you won’t have any issues finding a job as Vienna has a thriving economy. But if you rely only on your English skills, the available job opportunities become limited. You’ll mostly find jobs in the hospitality sector, which is developed in the city. So why not take the opportunity to learn German?

Stores have shorter opening hours

It may not surprise some, but it's worth noting that most stores in Vienna close earlier and aren't open every day of the week. For instance, supermarkets are open between 8 AM and 8 PM on weekdays and until 6 PM on Saturdays. Other stores follow the same or shorter schedule and are also closed on Sundays.

Making local friends can be hard

While there are plenty of international communities you can join, creating strong connections with Viennese natives might be more difficult. Austrians, in general, are known to be more reserved, which can make them seem unapproachable. But they’re not trying to be rude, and this is useful to keep in mind when approaching them.

Cash is king

Cash payments continue to dominate in Vienna, even in a world of contactless and mobile payments. While bank payments are growing in popularity, some establishments in Vienna can’t pay by card/phone. So make sure that you always have emergency cash with you when you’re going out.

State taxes are high

Living in Vienna (or any Austrian city), you’ll have to pay pretty high taxes, resulting in a lower net salary than in countries like The Netherlands. But the upside is that your state contributions, including social security, cover your and your direct family’s basic needs.

Winters can be depressing

The city experiences freezing temperatures and snowfall in winter, while summers can be uncomfortably hot. For some people, this can be considered a drawback of living in Vienna.

In summary, living in Vienna as an expat has its ups and downs, from great public transportation and high salaries to higher living costs and taxes. By weighing these pros and cons, you can decide if Vienna is the right fit for you.

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