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I moved from the US to Vienna, the world's most livable city. Here's what it actually costs me to live here.

Sonya Matejko   

I moved from the US to Vienna, the world's most livable city. Here's what it actually costs me to live here.
  • I moved from the US to Vienna in 2022, and I've loved living here ever since.
  • I live pretty comfortably and spend about 800 euros a week.

Since 2022, I've had the pleasure of living in Vienna, the world's most livable city.

The Austrian city has received this title many times before, and it most recently earned it in July. It makes sense to me — living in Vienna comes with many perks, from its walkability to its vibrant culture.

Though it's one of the cities in Europe with the highest rents, I've found that my cost of living is less than it was when I lived in New York City or my native Florida.

To share a peek into what it can cost to live here, I tracked what a typical week of spending looks like for me. Keep in mind this is just a snapshot and not necessarily the average cost of living for expats in Vienna.

Here's how I spent about 868 euros, or about $940, this week.

I dined out a few times and went grocery shopping twice

Food: 205 euros

I live alone, cook mainly vegetarian meals, and typically have only coffee for breakfast.

During the week, I went grocery shopping twice. On my first trip, I got fresh fruit to make yogurt bowls for lunch, items for a hearty salad that evening, Nespresso pods, snacks, oat milk, sparkling waters, and a bottle of Grüner Veltliner.

My total for this trip was about 57 euros.

A highlight of my haul was the bottle of Grüner Veltliner, a tasty Austrian wine, for only 8.50 euros. In Austria, I can get tasty wine at grocery stores for 7 to 11 euros. My favorite wine in the US was $23 a bottle.

One evening this week, I went out to dinner on a date. Since they graciously covered the bill, I'm unsure what it cost.

The next evening, I went to my new favorite vegetarian restaurant, Wilding, and had a four-course tasting menu with a friend. The filling meal also included an aperitif and a glass of wine. I paid 80 euros, including a tip, which is on the expensive side for a dinner in Vienna.

Though tipping is not required in Austria, the general rule is 10% when possible. In contrast, in the US, it's widely considered a faux pas not to tip, and 15% to 20% is the standard.

Later in the week, I visited the grocery store one more time and spent 20 euros on snacks and ingredients to make a pasta dish, which I ate for multiple dinners.

Beyond that, I ordered delivery one night (23.50 euros for a veggie wrap and fries), got a Negroni while out for a drink (10 euros), and ordered flat whites on two occasions (3 euros each, plus tip). A friend also bought me a croissant, which would've cost me just under 2 euros.

I don't have a car in Vienna, but I don't need one

Transportation: 23 euros

One of my favorite parts of living in Vienna is how easy it is to get around.

I spent most of the week walking everywhere — from the grocery store and yoga classes to the pharmacy and coffee shops. I'll usually choose to walk somewhere if it's 20 minutes or less away and I'm not in a rush.

If I need to get somewhere faster or if the place is further away, I'll take the U-Bahn (subway), tram, or bus.

Luckily, public transit is quite affordable. My Jahreskarte, a card that allows unlimited use of Vienna's transportation system, costs 365 euros a year. It's a far cry from what I'd spend on unlimited transportation in New York City — a MetroCard, used for trains and local buses, costs $132 for just 30 days.

With my card, this week's public transportation cost 7 euros. I also paid 16 euros for an Uber to an event I was running late to.

My rent could be cheaper, but I choose to stay in Airbnbs

Weekly rent: 500 euros

Though Vienna is said to have high rent for Europe, I'd say rent prices are pretty agreeable — especially compared with what I saw in New York City. I've seen nice studios here for under 1,000 euros a month.

Currently, though, I choose to bounce around Airbnbs instead of renting an apartment in the long term.

At first, I did this to explore all the districts. Now that I have a favorite (the 7th), I do it for convenience and to avoid buying items I may one day have to sell or store, like furniture.

I also like having the freedom to move around without being tied to material items.

My current Airbnb — one bedroom and one bath — is under 500 euros a week, less than I paid when living in a two-bedroom apartment with a fake wall and roommate in NYC.

Alas, I'll admit it's not something I'll swing for forever.

I usually do a mix of paid and free activities

Fun: 55 euros

Beyond my food adventures, this was a light activity week for me. This was in part because I knew I'd be traveling soon.

Vienna's location means exploring Europe is easier and cheaper than it was in the US — in May, I'm flying to Naples for under 100 euros. Most flights from NYC to Naples start at about eight times that price.

Otherwise, I spent Saturday at an empowering women's conference, which cost 33 euros to attend, and Sunday reading a new book I bought for 22 euros.

Lastly, I spend some money on my health and my insurance

Health: 85 euros

This week I also did a few workout classes. I went to a cycling class (in English!) that cost me 18 euros.

Then, I used my MyClubs membership (kind of like ClassPass) for two yoga classes. MyClubs is 49 euros for four classes a month, so the classes cost me about 25 euros this week.

In Austria, publicly funded healthcare is available, but people also have the option to purchase private health insurance.

I pay for private health insurance, which is about 169 euros a month, or about 42 euros a week. It's been amazing, and it covers my doctor visits and prescription medications.


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