Life in Vienna, Austria

Food, (in comparison to prices in the US), is decently priced. We purchase groceries by the day instead of stocking up for the week. Restaurant prices are a little higher than what we were used to in the States but by no means knock us out for the month. Depending on your taste (or distaste) in clothes, know that there are fewer stores with low prices than stores with higher prices tags. If you prefer not to have a car, fear not – Vienna’s public transportation is one of the best. My husband and I each have a “Jahreskarte” (a year pass) that gets on all transportation within city limits. Whether you decide to buy a year pass, a 3-day pass, or just a 1-way pass, always make sure you have it on your person. “Schwartzfahrers” (Black Riders) are people who ride public transportation without buying a ticket and are regularly caught by undercover officers. The fee is much larger than the price of the passes, so always make sure to buy a pass, validate it if necessary, and keep it with you.

While plenty of Viennese speak English, we couldn’t be more thankful for our German classes. We invested in two months of intensive German courses followed by a month of regular classes. We just recently finished up a month of private lessons, and we meet with language partners on a weekly basis. Both classes and language partners are a great way to meet people from all over the world. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and learn more than a few phrases to get around the city. The Austrians will appreciate it, and knowing the language will bring you closer to the culture.

We truly, wholeheartedly love Vienna and its people. It’s a wonderful, beautiful, and safe place to live. Wherever your interests lie – whether it be in sports, gardening, history, culture, food, nature, etc. – Vienna has something for you. The city’s motto wouldn’t be “The City Belongs to You” if it weren’t a true statement.

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  1. I am living in Vienna, love it, and hope to spend the rest of my career here. My parents in the US are not happy about this; they are alone (I’m an only child), and missing their grandkids. Have you any idea of the cost of assisted living facilities for expats?

  2. Glad you love Vienna! We’re of the same opinion – we want to live here forever. Unfortunately at this time, I’m not sure of any expat specific assisted living facilities. Are you able to speak German? If so, I’d do some checking around for the word “Pflegeheim”. That’s the term for an assisted living facility. Again, I’m unsure about cost as well as expat specific facilities, but I have been to a newer model in the last few months and know that these places are well run and very nice. I’m sure your parents would be well taken care of. Sorry I can’t be of a much help!

  3. What a dream come true! I live for conversation and history. I wonder if i could manage a retirement on my US social security checks – not likely I suppose. What does a small apartment go for in the surrounding area?

  4. Vienna is the dream place to retire! As far as apartment prices are concerned, it depends on the district you choose to live in. If you’re more of a city person, studio or 2-person apartments can run surprisingly high (above 1,000 euro/month) as you’re typically paying for the old, famous architecture, nearby public transportation and overall location. The further away from the city you go, the less expensive the apartment (usually). A single friend of ours lives in an inner district and pays 600 a month which is considered a great price.

  5. What are the visa and/or residency requirements for retiring in Austria for the long term for a US citizen? And what about the tax situation for a retiree? And healthcare and insurance? I realize a book could be written to answer all that, but I’m just looking for a general idea of how easy or difficult those things might make retiring there.

  6. As much as I wish I had answers for you, these questions would actually be best answered by an immigration lawyer. My husband and I have been working to get the proper visa – not even a long term one – and that alone is difficult. I know the system has been recently changed which has made things more complicated, even for Austrians (I’m told) who are nearing their own retirement and are still unsure about taxes. Therefore I would highly recommend contacting an immigration lawyer for all of your future retiree needs. I’m sure he/she will be able to help!

  7. Hello Holly,
    I am considering retirement in Vienna. I have been a regular visitor for about 15 years. I have no problem living in areas of the city like the 10th or 11th district. I assume the rents in these districs may be a bit more reasonable.
    What I am wondering about is how Austria taxes US social security, pensions and IRA Required Minimum Distributions. These, along with some dividend income will be my primary source of income.
    Also, my combined social security and pension payments will be around 60,000.00 Euros per year. How comfortable can one live in Vienna on this amount?

    • very comfortable! more than most average people here earn in a year working full time!! Probably twice as much!

  8. Holly, We fell in love with Tyrol in the Alto Adige provence in Italy. We spent 4 wonderful years there. It seems like us many have questions about the taxes on Social Security for Americans. Can the Austrian embassy help?

  9. This agency,, may be able to at least point you in the right direction!

  10. I would like to know about occupation for retire people in Vienna. Is there any occupation after retirement or what do you do after retirement?
    I must do report for my thesis of my study course.Can you give me information or any comment for me, please? Once what do you think about home care for senior? Is it popular for senior people in Vienna?

  11. I am a British Citizen of Indian origin. I am 80 years old and a Chartered
    Engineer by Profession. I am still working in Calcutta as a Consulting

    I am unable to work any more and wish to retire.

    I know Austria since 1970 or so and used to travel from England.

    I have a property in Dist 18, I have two pensions/annuity or income
    from FDI ( Fixed Direct Income ) one from UK and the other from
    India. I have to furnish the flat, buy crockery etc. Please advise.

  12. I am learning colloquial German

  13. I have considered moving to Austria in retirement. I will have some 31, 200 Euros in annual income. Are there districts of Vienna where I could live reasonably and buy health insurance from Austria.

  14. Absolutely great place to migrate, paperwork might be a bit complex but in the end it is definetly worth it!

  15. Can one retire there, coming from the US, and join the Public Health Care System? Or is one excluded from that system when one is no longer emplyed even if one has the means to pay for it?

  16. Where does one start, as far as getting specific answers to questions regarding health insurance, taxes, visas, rent, etc.? Is there a compendium of such information anywhere that someone could direct me to? I speak German fluently and would like to research the possibility of retiring in Austria within the next ten years. Thank you.

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