- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Austria Guide (PDF)
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 are enchanted by a country of picturesque historical little villages and modern cities, and they often elect to put down permanent roots.
Living in Austria as an expat
It is no wonder that so many expats are choosing to settle in Austria. Brimming with charm but also boasting efficiency and excellent service delivery, Austria and specifically Vienna has on several occasions been named the most liveable place in the world. The country also holds its own in the commercial and industrial sectors. 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.
Getting around in Austria is simple and straightforward, with efficient and well-maintained public transport facilities throughout the country. Trains are the easiest means of travel between cities, while buses connect many of the smaller towns to the main rail network. Cars are also popular and Austria’s road network is extensive.
Healthcare in Austria is of an excellent standard, too. EU citizens can get access to treatment provided that they have a European Health Insurance Card. 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.
Cost of living in Austria
It's a well-known fact that Austria is one of the more expensive cities in Europe, though the quality of life here more than makes up for it. Expats worried about the cost of living can manage their expenses by living in more outlying areas instead of cities like Vienna, and shopping at local cost-effective grocery stores rather than the upmarket stores that import products.
Families and children in Austria
The capital, Vienna, is home to a quarter of the country’s population, and most expats settle here. With a rich history, breathtaking architecture and an abundance of things to see and do, the city draws in droves of expat families each year. The city's high safety rating, wonderful quality of life, excellent location at the heart of Europe, as well as its host of excellent schools make it the perfect place to raise children.
Climate in Austria
The weather in Austria is marked by a moderate climate and four fairly distinct seasons. Expats moving to this central European nation should plan to bring clothing to suit sunny summer days, warm apparel for winter, and plenty of lightweight layers for the months in between.
Austria may be relatively small and landlocked, but it has oodles of charm. With impressive Baroque architecture, awe-inspiring churches and captivating cultural events, Austria will almost certainly steal the hearts of anyone who settles here.
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 predominantly mountainous 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 15 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. 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.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global Health Insurance
With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider. Cigna is currently offering a 10% discount for seniors (over 60) on their Silver package.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.