Saunders 1865 | Moving to Vienna

Moving to Vienna

Are you moving to Vienna? Vienna, which is by far the biggest city in Austria, is the capital and one of the nine states.  It is the economic, political and cultural centre, and is known as the City of Music dating back to Viennese Classicism.  The two Houses of Parliament conduct their sittings in the Austrian Parliament Building.

Our free, in-depth Moving to Vienna report includes info on:

• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city

Putting Vienna on the Map

Vienna is located in the north-east of Austria, this landlocked country that is bordered by 8 countries: Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.  The city lies on the banks of the Danube in the Vienna basin on the eastern slopes of the Alps, where western and eastern Europe meet.  It is the most popular tourist destination in Austria and was voted the most popular city for expats in 2016.

Urban sprawl has shifted from the south to the north and affects smaller municipalities more than 12.5 miles from the city centre, rather than the city itself.

Vienna has a well-developed and efficient public transport system.  All corners of the city can be reached quickly by a network of buses, trains, trams and underground trains.

  • The new station was commissioned in 2014 with direct connections to 12 S-Bahn lines, one underground line, three tram lines, two bus lines and regional buses. It takes five minutes to reach St Stephen’s Square station and 12 minutes to the Vienna International Centre.
  • Wiener Linien operates five underground trains, 29 tram lines, and a total of 127 bus lines, which include the 24 night lines. These lines are in operation between 0.30am and 5am.  The underground is operational throughout the night on weekends and public holidays.  The fleet includes over 500 tramcars and 450 buses.  The trams are the slowest way to travel, but are fun for short hops.
  • There are a number of car-share hubs throughout the city that offer car-hire at low rates.
  • City Bike Vienna is a growing public rental system allowing the public to travel by bicycle at no or a low cost. There are 121 terminals with 1,500 bikes available.  The city is relatively flat, with a complex series of bike lanes running through the streets.
  • Many people combine using the U-Bahn to the city and walking through the cobblestone streets thereafter.
  • For a flat, very low fee the Jahreskarte ticket allows you to travel the city, alternating between subways, trams and buses, all day long.
  • Vienna International Airport is a quick 16-minute ride from the city by the City Airport Train, with trains leaving every half-hour. There are a number of buses available, all the car rental agencies are here, as are plenty of taxis.
The Areas

Over 50% of Vienna is dedicated to state housing, which makes the rental market competitive and small.  Typically, the renter pays 2 months’ rent upfront for an apartment, known as a Wohnung.  Most apartments are unfurnished and it is quite common that they do not have kitchens.  The washing machine will often be in the bathroom, and many buildings provide drying rooms.

Vienna is split into 23 districts. Each one has a name but is better known by its number.  Numerically, the districts start at the centre at number one and move further out as their numbers increase.  Districts 1 – 9 are the inner city, densely populated with the advantages that residents have great amenities virtually on their doorstep.


Favoured by young professionals, this is the city’s most expensive area.  Amongst the array of architectural structures dating back centuries, you will find a very exclusive regeneration project of luxury apartment buildings hidden behind the original historic façade of the building.  Rentals are like hen’s teeth in this area, the cobbled streets, restaurants, bars and green areas prove more and more popular.  Expect to pay a steep price.


Once a multicultural area of immigrants, it is a lot cheaper than District One.  The properties are small, some revamped, while others are in their original condition.  The Prater, a well maintained, picturesque park which was once a royal hunting ground is located on this island wedged between the Donakanal and the Danube.


These three urban areas are located south of District 1.  With greater housing options and the proximity to public transport, they are popular with expats.  The famous Naschmarkt, a massive food market, is based in District 4, while District 3 has a number of historic sites including the art gallery at Belvedere Castle, with its beautiful gardens.


Two central areas popular with the more affluent expats and locals, Josefstadt is close to Parliament and City Hall and has a bohemian atmosphere.  Both areas appeal to academics and students as they are close to the University of Vienna.


As depicted by their numbers, these areas are out in the family-centric suburbs.  Lots of expats live here as this is where all the most popular international schools and nurseries are based, with more single-family houses, as opposed to apartments.  A car may be essential.  The beautiful parks and gardens, such as Polzeinsdorfer and Turkenschanz, make perfect locations for a family day out.

Areas for really low rentals are the 20th, 15th, 16th, 5th and 10th.  They are multicultural, excellent for students on a budget, and have easy access to the city’s green areas.

Who Lives and Works in Vienna

With a population of 1,773,000 people, nearly 40% of them have migrant backgrounds, mainly from the eastern bloc countries.  The entire metropolitan area is home to around 2,600,000 people and accounts for more than 20% of the country’s population.

As the capital of Austria, Vienna is the economic hub of the country and produces in excess of 50% of capital goods and nearly half of its consumer goods.  Manufacturing of machinery, electrical goods, metal products and chemicals are the leading industries, followed by oil processing, cement and brickworks.  Speciality Viennese goods include watches, jewellery, linen, silk, velvet, musical and scientific instruments, and furniture.  Banking in Vienna, which falls under the service area, makes up half of the country’s employment in this sector.  Public employees, civil servants and other white-collar workers are areas showing employment growth.

The bi-annual Vienna trade fair plays an important role in the economy, attracting visitors from all over the world every year.  British, American, German, Japanese and eastern European countries base their trading operations here, with around 10% of exports going into eastern Europe.  Global organisations with headquarters in Vienna look like a game of scrabble: OPEC, UN, OSCE, UNIDO, CTBTO, FRA are all here, amongst others.

The Best Bits

Vienna is remarkably safe for a city of its size, it has a wide range of accommodation in all price brackets, and has been voted the best city for expats.

  • Some of the world’s best museums, theatres and historical monuments are here.
  • The fabulous, spacious green areas include the former royal hunting and riding ground, Prater Park. Features include fairgrounds, racetracks, a stadium and numerous restaurants.
  • Boulderbar is the country’s biggest indoor climbing facility. The climbing routes are well prepared and at least one wall of rocks or boulders is changed weekly.
  • Möbelbörse is a great revamped furniture store. They will buy your old furniture, restore it and sell it in their shop.  Their prices are very reasonable.  Maybe akin to an up-market thrift shop?
  • Augarten is one of the city’s premier parks, with walkways set out in tidy patterns around the Baroque gardens. Abandoned war bunkers lay strewn around the place, overlooking the “garden of lust”.  Bunkerei is a restaurant housed in a restored WW2 bunker.
  • Another elegant park is Volksgarten. Laid out in a formal French style, geometric flowerbeds surround the lovely rose garden, and the park is dotted with fountains and monuments.  Theseus Temple, a replica of a Greek temple, is the focal point.
  • The Gothic St Stephens Cathedral is home to a king’s ransom of art and is the country’s most important religious building.
  • The zoo sells elephant manure by the bucket load, to be used in gardens and plant pots.
  • As Vienna is essentially closed on Sundays, many families take off to the forests and vineyards surrounding the city.
  • Vienna & Diplomatic is an online shop catering to expats and diplomats, who must apply for membership in advance. They supply upmarket goods such as cosmetics, perfumes, wine, spirits and electronics at special prices.
  • The 19th-century Ringstrasse is lined with palaces, monuments and parks, showcasing the former Danube monarchy. Some of the city’s most famous sights, including the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Imperial Palace are here.
  • Vienna’s Christmas Markets sell mulled wine, delicacies and traditional goods.
  • Famous shopping miles, Mariahilfer Strabe and Landstraßer Hauptstraße house exclusive and expensive, and fun and cheap, shopping outlets.
  • A sculpture called Reason to Believe depicts a businessman carrying a briefcase standing on a ledge at the top of a building in the city centre.
  • Interconnected secret underground passageways, with access through government buildings, were built by the monarchy as escape routes. Some are still in use now.
  • It is illegal to name a street after a living person. The person must be dead and should have been dead for year.
Bringing the Kids

Vienna is an ideal city in which to raise a family, with good education and a wide choice of schools to choose from.

  • There are 17 universities in Vienna, a handful of which are private institutions. EU students in a public university pay a nominal fee of under €30 per semester.  Non-EU students will pay the nominal fee plus a set fee per semester.
  • State schools are free of fees but are taught exclusively in German.
  • Public bilingual schools are generally free and are a good choice for parents who want their children to learn German and interact with local students. These schools are part of the state system, so follow either the national curriculum or an IB curriculum.  They uphold high standards, and the popular ones may have waiting lists.
  • There are seven international schools in Vienna. Favoured by many expat families the standard of education is high, as are the costs.  Places are limited so early enrolment is essential.
Relocating to Vienna

Undoubtedly one of the best expat destinations, this beautiful, historic city is choc-full of monuments, palaces and parks.  Accommodation and areas are varied to suit either singles or families, the education system is good, the crime rate is extremely low and the standard of living is very high.  A surfeit of culture, a passion for music, and good family values make this the ideal city for those who value the good things in life.    The language issue may be daunting, but your move can be managed by an expert relocation agent, who will guide you through the complex documents required by Austria while helping find accommodation in an area close to the best school for your children.


Beautiful Houses
City Centre
Family friendly
Good Schools
Great Transport
Green space
Museums & Galleries
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Average Monthly Rent - Vienna
Apartment (1 bedroom) in city centre €800.21
Apartment (1 bedroom) outside of centre €598.54
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in city centre €1,621.21
Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside of centre €1,129.55
Contact us for a free initial consultation about your specific situation.
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