Ask an Expat: Living in Vienna, Austria

What is it like to move to and live in Vienna? To start a new life in a foreign country?

In this Ask an Expat series I interview people living all over the world, but outside of their home country. I try to help paint an honest picture of the ups and downs of life abroad, share tips for other (future) expats and share information about what to see and do in the city, town or country the expat now calls home.

Expat Life in Vienna, Austria

life in Vienna

Mike Clegg has been one of my favorite photographers on Instagram for quite a while now. So when he approached me to be interviewed about his life in Vienna as an expat, I felt honored.

It was great to get to know more about the guy behind the camera and his interesting life abroad, and I am happy I can share that interview about life in Vienna with you here.

Also Read: Why Moving Abroad is Such a Valuable Experience

Name: Mike Clegg
Age: 32
Hometown: London, England

His story:

“A couple of years ago I lived and work full time in London. I then met my girlfriend who is from Canada and who was in London on a two-year visa.

Once her visa expired we decided to both move to Canada. I had a one year working visa for this.

During my time in Canada, I worked part-time for a company similar to what I was doing in England. Unfortunately, the job didn’t really work out so I left and then did freelance photography, working on various projects and with different clients.

Then, similar to my girlfriend’s visa problem in London, my visa ended and couldn’t easily be renewed. And that is how, eventually, we decided to give life in Vienna a try.”

Why Did You Move to Vienna?

“My girlfriend is a teacher and got a job at an international school here.

Me being European made it easy for me to also live in Vienna, so it seemed like a sensible choice.”

What Do You Like About Living in Vienna?

“Vienna feels extremely safe, clean and well organized.

There’s also lots to do in the city throughout the year. For example ice skating in the winter, film festivals, hiking trails, lots of outdoor swimming pools, festivals and various other events.

Of course there are the well-known things too like amazing palaces, gardens, churches and other tourist attractions.

And as well as plenty of things to do in the city, it’s also easy to get the train or bus to neighboring cities and countries.

I’ve been to Prague about four times because it’s only a 4-5 hour bus ride and it’s also cheap. And that’s just one example of a big range of places which are easily accessible.”

What Do You Dislike About Living in Vienna?

“One of the main things I dislike about life in Vienna is that you can’t always use your bank cards. In restaurants for example, and it’s caught me out a few times, meaning I’ve had to go and get cash out after eating my dinner.

Moving to Vienna was also quite difficult in the sense of getting an apartment, phone, and bankcard.

If you are thinking of moving to Vienna the first thing you need to do is get your address registered with a Meldezettel office. Once you have that done, things generally fall into place.

In terms of apartment hunting, it really wasn’t easy and can be quite expensive. We expected to find a place within two weeks, but it took over a month and we looked at a lot of places. You often get unfurnished apartments and have to pay quite a few fees upfront.”

What Is Your Favorite Thing to Do in Vienna?

living in Vienna

“Walking around Vienna’s Innere Stadt (the Old Town) is pretty amazing.

Many of the palaces and landmarks can be found around this area and it’s really beautiful. At Christmas even more so when there are Christmas Markets everywhere combined with beautiful decorations along many of the streets.”

What Is Your Favorite Place to Hang out in Vienna?

“Actually, some of the nicest places in Vienna are coffee shops.

One in particular I’m a big fan of is Cafe Central which I’ve been to many times now. It has true Viennese style and is a wonderful place for anyone visiting Vienna.”

What Is the Expat / International Community like in Vienna?

“Most expats in Vienna I know are from the school that I was working for, which had people from all around the world. I found everyone there extremely friendly and most people are well traveled and have similar interests in respect to a love of travel.

There are groups on Facebook such as Vienna Expats and this awesome group on Meetup.com; Internationals in Wien, which are a great way of meeting expats in Vienna and a good opportunity to join fun events.”

Any Tips for Moving to / Living in Vienna?

“Unless you find a place to live before you move, I think it’s worth staying in an Airbnb for about a month, whilst you find somewhere and sort out the paperwork. It definitely takes longer than you think.

And another tip: when looking for a phone you can often get a sim only deal which is a lot cheaper than a contract. It may require you manually topping up your phone every month but for me, I get 6GB of data, 1,000 text messages and 1,000 minutes for €20 with A1, whilst a contract with A1 is a lot more and has a large activation fee.”

Any Resources You Found Useful During the Process of Moving to And/Or Building a New Life in Vienna?

We found our apartment on Willhaben.at. We were lucky and managed to get it directly from the leaving tenants, therefore saving money on fees and we also bought some of their furniture.

Although we were definitely lucky, there will be other deals like this. Also on that website you can buy and sell furniture and other products.

For help and advice about Austria, the rules of the country and other tips the Expat Center is very helpful (also called the Vienna Business Agency).

If you’re looking for English and American products head to Bobby’s Foodstore on Schleifmühlgasse 8, 1040.”

Is There Something You Just Have to See or Do When You Are in Vienna?

“One of the things I highly recommend is to go up Stephansdom which has some of the best views of the city.

In the summer swim in the Alte Donau or take a walk around the Vineyards in Kahlenberg.

And definitely go to a heuriger (an Austrian establishment where wine from the latest harvest is served) for dinner. That is a true Viennese experience!”

Mike, an expat in ViennaAbout Mike – Expat in Vienna

Mike is a travel photographer and blogger originally from London, but in recent years he has lived in Toronto and now he is enjoying expat life in Vienna.

He spends most of his time traveling, taking photographs and sharing his pictures and experiences with online communities.

Visit his website Travelanddestinations.com for more information and check out his article about why Vienna is such a great place to live.

About Vienna

Vienna, Austria

Vienna is the capital of Austria. It lies in the country’s east on the Danube River and is Austria’s cultural, economic, and political center.

The city’s artistic and intellectual legacy was shaped by residents including Mozart, Beethoven, and Sigmund Freud.

As the former home of the Habsburg court and its various empires, the city, with famous imperial palaces, still has the trappings of the imperial capital it once was.

Vienna’s historic city center is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Tip: if you are looking to explore Vienna, try the Big Bus sightseeing tourAsk an Expat: Living in Vienna, Austria!

Also Read: How to Find the Cheapest Flights

Like this article about expat life in Vienna? Pin it!

Interview with an expat about what Vienna is really like. Are you thinking about moving to Vienna? Check out this interview to find out all you need to know about life in Vienna. Plus travel tips for Vienna from an insider.

Most pictures used in this article are taken by Mike Clegg

This blog about expat life in Vienna contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using these links we receive a small fee so that we can buy ourselves a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine). Thanks!

Sanne Wesselman

Author: Sanne Wesselman
A traveler, wanderer, digital nomad, and entrepreneur. Owner of marketing company A to Z Marketing.
I spend most of my time living and working abroad and use this website to share "the good, the bad and the ugly" of traveling and living abroad. Visit the About Me page for more info.

22 thoughts on “Ask an Expat: Living in Vienna, Austria”

  1. Vienna is great! Thanks for such a nice interview! There are many of us who just love Indian food and Vienna has some great Indian restaurants!! Best Indian food is at the Naschmarkt!! Cash only! Enjoy Vienna and Indian – spicy is good!!

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  2. Such a nice interview! I also follow Mike after discovering his awesome photos in my favorite city in the world, guess where – Vienna. What he says there are all true! I like his tips, too! I use A1 there the first time as well as it is really way better than getting a contract package.

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  3. I lived in Vienna for about a year back in the early 90s and absolutely loved it. Been back a few times since, mainly at Christmas. Café Central hasn’t changed, but one of my favourite evening hangouts was Santo Spirito in the streets behind the Dom. Back then, you had to know where it was – there was no sign – and they played classical music at high volume. It attracted an eclectic crowd; “bohemian” is probably the word.

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  4. Vienna is one of my favorite places! I’m actually moving from Los Angeles to London in August. The tip about staying in an airbnb first before moving into an apartment is wonderful! I didn’t even think about doing that and was just going to stay in a hotel or something.

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  5. Love this city and I have been told that it’s wonderful to live there too! This made me want to get there one day, and I will get…:-D thanks for sharing it

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  6. We also got two year visas in the UK like your girlfriend. We now have to decide what to do next but there are lots of other visas available. Also, I feel your pain. It can be confusing when some countries use mainly card everywhere like Sweden and other countries prefer cash or have cash only. places

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  7. It was so nice to hear about Vienna from the outsider’s mouth 🙂 Such a fresh and interesting perspective! I love this city, the architecture is just amazing.

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  8. What a great idea for an article, gets a lot more in depth than visiting a place briefly. It really brings to light some of the challenging parts of a city, but at the same time makes the good parts seem even better. Vienna is a gorgeous city!

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  9. I was in Vienna last year and I loved everything about the architecture. But going for a few days is completely different than being an expat in Vienna and Mike has helped to reduce fears of people moving to Vienna for the first time. Like Mike mentioned, sometimes things take more time than we would have anticipated.

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  10. All about Vienna! Loved the article till the last word. Precise and very informative. A beautiful place like Vienna definitely needs to be listed out.

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  11. I distantly remember Vienna from a school trip, so too many years ago. I recall it was expensive, adult in a gentlemanly way, so really not interesting for a teenager. But at least we were not in school and I was eating Mozartkugeln all the time 😀

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  12. That is a lovely interview. There is so much that you get to know about Vienna from it, which can be great travel tips for people visiting too. Glad you have shared this…will be useful to anyone heading there.

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  13. Nice series – I always wonder how it’s like being an expat in various parts of the world. It sounds like Vienna is not too difficult of a place to adjust as an expat which is great. I would love the hiking in that country and also the city views/architecture.

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  14. I always enjoy reading about towns when people are actually living there. You get a whole different view of a city when you spend more time there than travelers.Vienna has always been on my list to visit, so it’s good to know about the bank card issues.

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  15. Pretty cool, I actually hated Vienna haha. Not too much adventure going on there which is my whole reason for traveling. Nonetheless, it is definitely safe and organized!

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  16. How interesting! I’ve often though how wonderful it would be to live in another country – especially in Europe because you could get to the rest of Europe so easily BUT I’ve heard it can be difficult to deal with the boring side of life like apartments, etc. Not something to undertake lightly especially with kids in tow – you have to consider schools, too.

    Reply
  17. I lived in Bratislava a few years ago and went to Vienna several times on day trips. Really liked the city, but it got a bit boring after some time. Everything just looked too nice and it missed the contrasts that can be found in a city like Bratislava. 🙂

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  18. I stayed in Vienna for just three days and two nights about two years ago and I so so so wanted to stay. One weekend is definitely not long enough. I really envy those who really get to know the city like this. Beautiful life!

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  19. Very interesting perspective after visiting Vienna for the first time last year. It sounds incredibly difficult to get an apartment there! But definitely can see how it would be an awesome city to hang out for a few years.

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  20. I agree..some of the best places to eat in Vienna are the coffee shops, specially the old, historic ones. Just loved the atmosphere in those. And of course, the desserts to die for!

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  21. I love Vienna, but haven’t been there for many years. I was so interesting to read about it from the perspective of an expat. He’s sort of both an insider and an outsider. It definitely made me want to get back to Vienna.

    Reply

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