12 Best Places to Live in Austria for the Highest Quality of Life

by Jem
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Austria is more than a country; it’s a tapestry of culture, history, and natural beauty. From the alpine vistas to the vibrant cityscapes, Austria offers a diverse range of lifestyles and landscapes. However, with its rich variety, choosing the ideal place to call home can be a challenge. To assist you, I’ve compiled this guide on the best places to live in Austria.

I’ve traveled across Austria extensively and can vouch for its breathtaking diversity. From the baroque streets of Vienna to the serene beauty of the Salzkammergut region, and from the youthful buzz of Graz to the alpine charm of Innsbruck, Austria’s variety is unparalleled. Whether you’re captivated by the historic splendor, the allure of the Alps, or the lively culture of its cities, there’s a spot in Austria that feels tailor-made for you.

But where to begin? The perfect place varies for everyone. Some may prioritize cultural richness, others seek outdoor adventures, and for many, a balance between urban convenience and natural tranquility is key.

Join me as I navigate through the best cities to live in, based on what you cherish most. As someone who has experienced Austria’s multifaceted charm, I’m here to guide you through the best places to live in Austria. I’ve delved into research, analyzed data, and gathered insights from locals to compile a list that suits various lifestyles and budgets. Let’s explore!

The top places to live in Austria for all

The Best Places to Live in Austria

Eager to explore the most beautiful places to live in Austria? Nestled in the heart of Europe, Austria offers a diverse array of choices. Continue reading to unveil the top places to call home in this picturesque country.

Searching for the ideal spot in Austria? Whether you’re dreaming of urban excitement or serene countryside, Austria caters to a wide range of preferences.

  • Best for cultural richness: Vienna
  • Best for innovation and youth: Graz
  • Best for music and history: Salzburg
  • Best for outdoor activities: Innsbruck
  • Best for contemporary arts: Linz
  • Best for festivals and lakeside living: Bregenz
  • Best for affordability and leisure: Klagenfurt
  • Best for scenic beauty and tranquility: Hallstatt
  • Best for Alpine charm: Alpbach
  • Best for nature lovers and active lifestyles: Zell am See
  • Best for medieval history and nature: Feldkirch
  • Best for sunny climate and mountain views: Lienz

Here are all the prime locations in Austria you need to consider:

1. Vienna

A city where history meets modernity, Vienna is not just Austria’s capital but also a hub of culture, art, and innovation. Strolling through the streets, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world where classical architecture blends seamlessly with contemporary design.

Vienna is celebrated for its high quality of life, making it one of the best places to live in Austria. From the world-class Vienna State Opera to the bustling Naschmarkt, there’s an endless array of cultural and culinary delights to explore. Families appreciate the excellent schools and abundant green spaces like the Prater, a large public park.

The city’s efficient public transportation system makes navigating a breeze, connecting quaint neighborhoods and vibrant districts. Whether you’re in the historic center or the trendy districts of Neubau and Mariahilf, Vienna’s charm and warmth are ever-present.

Indeed, Vienna stands out as the best city to live in Austria for those seeking a blend of tradition and innovation, all within a welcoming community. Its blend of cultural richness and modern amenities makes it a top choice for expatriates and locals alike.

Austria's capital and a center of innovation, culture, and the arts is Vienna, a city where history and contemporary collide.
Austria’s capital and a center of innovation, culture, and the arts is Vienna, a city where history and contemporary collide.

2. Graz

A vibrant tapestry of old-world charm and modern innovation, Graz stands as Austria’s second-largest city. It’s a place where Renaissance courtyards meet avant-garde architecture, creating a uniquely eclectic cityscape.

This dynamic city is known for its youthful energy, fueled by its universities and a thriving arts scene. Cafes, galleries, and boutiques line its historic streets, offering a lifestyle that’s both laid-back and stimulating. Graz’s culinary scene is a delightful journey of tastes, with farmers’ markets like Kaiser-Josef-Platz offering fresh, local produce daily.

Its commitment to sustainability and green living makes Graz one of the coolest places to live in Austria. The city’s extensive network of bike paths and public parks, like the sprawling Stadtpark, offer residents a green oasis in the urban landscape.

Graz’s blend of history, culture, and innovation indeed places it among Europe’s best cities to live. It’s a city that offers something for everyone, whether you’re an art enthusiast, a student, or a family looking for a vibrant community.

Graz, the second-biggest city in Austria, is a dynamic jigsaw puzzle of modern innovation mixed with old-world beauty.
Graz, the second-biggest city in Austria, is a dynamic jigsaw puzzle of modern innovation mixed with old-world beauty.

3. Salzburg

Nestled by the Salzach River, with the Alps as its backdrop, Salzburg is a symphony of culture, history, and natural beauty. This city, the birthplace of Mozart, resonates with music and architectural splendor.

Salzburg’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a treasure trove of baroque architecture. Wandering through its cobbled streets, you’ll encounter famous historic landmarks like the Hohensalzburg Fortress and the Salzburg Cathedral. The city’s love for music is palpable, with festivals and concerts filling the calendar.

For those who appreciate a blend of nature and urban life, Salzburg offers the perfect balance. The Mirabell Gardens provide a serene escape, while nearby mountains beckon outdoor enthusiasts. Cafes and bistros dot the riverbank, offering picturesque dining experiences.

As one of the best places in Austria to live in, Salzburg appeals to those who cherish a rich cultural life amidst stunning natural surroundings. It’s a nice city to live in Austria’s landscape, offering a peaceful yet vibrant lifestyle that’s hard to resist.

A pleasant place to live in Austria, Salzburg is a symphony of culture, history, and scenic beauty.
A pleasant place to live in Austria, Salzburg is a symphony of culture, history, and scenic beauty.

4. Innsbruck

Surrounded by majestic mountains, Innsbruck is a city that seamlessly blends alpine charm with urban lifestyle. It’s a place where you can hit the ski slopes in the morning and explore historic streets by the afternoon.

This city, cradled in the heart of the Austrian Alps, is known for its outdoor sports scene. In winter, it transforms into a skiing paradise, while summers are perfect for hiking and mountain biking. The Nordkette cable car offers a gateway to the mountains right from the city center.

Innsbruck’s architectural marvels, like the Golden Roof and Ambras Castle, tell stories of its imperial past. The vibrant student population, thanks to the University of Innsbruck, adds a youthful energy to the city’s cafes and bars.

For those pondering where to live in Austria, Innsbruck presents a unique choice. It’s the best place to live in Austria for adventure enthusiasts and culture lovers alike. The city’s blend of natural beauty and rich history creates an unparalleled unique experience.

Encircled by magnificent mountains, Innsbruck is a city that skillfully combines urban living with alpine beauty.
Encircled by magnificent mountains, Innsbruck is a city that skillfully combines urban living with alpine beauty.

5. Linz

In the heart of Upper Austria lies Linz, a city where innovation and culture converge. Renowned as a UNESCO City of Media Arts, Linz is a forward-thinking place that embraces technology and creativity.

Linz’s contemporary art scene is vibrant, with landmarks like the Ars Electronica Center and the Lentos Art Museum showcasing groundbreaking works. The city is also a haven for history buffs, with its old town boasting baroque architecture and quaint streets.

The Danube River adds a serene touch to Linz’s dynamic urban landscape. The riverside is perfect for leisurely walks or cycling, offering scenic views and tranquil spots. The city’s culinary scene is a blend of traditional Austrian flavors and modern gastronomy.

Linz is one of the good places to live in Austria for those seeking a blend of modernity and tradition. As one of the best Austria cities, it offers a unique living experience, combining a rich cultural life with the ease of urban living.

Linz, a city that combines innovation and culture, is located in the center of Upper Austria.
Linz, a city that combines innovation and culture, is located in the center of Upper Austria.

6. Bregenz

Where natural beauty meets cultural richness, Bregenz nestles on the shores of Lake Constance, presenting itself as a true gem. The city’s scenic location offers stunning views and a tranquil lifestyle by the water.

This city is a paradise for those who love the outdoors. The lake provides opportunities for swimming, sailing, and biking along its shore. The Pfänder mountain nearby is perfect for hiking and offers panoramic views of the lake and the Alps.

Culturally, Bregenz is famous for its annual Bregenz Festival, which showcases spectacular opera performances on a floating stage. The Kunsthaus Bregenz and Vorarlberg Museum are must-visits for art enthusiasts, showcasing contemporary and regional works.

As one of the best areas to live in Austria, Bregenz offers a unique blend of leisure and cultural activities. It stands out as one of the nice parts of Austria, ideal for those seeking a serene yet culturally vibrant lifestyle.

Bregenz, which presents itself as a genuine jewel, stands out as one of the best places to live in Austria.
Bregenz, which presents itself as a genuine jewel, stands out as one of the best places to live in Austria.

7. Klagenfurt

Tucked away in southern Austria, Klagenfurt is a city that blends historical charm with a relaxed, contemporary lifestyle. Its setting on the eastern shore of Lake Wörthersee adds to its allure, offering a picturesque backdrop for city life.

Klagenfurt’s old town is a delight, with its Renaissance courtyards and baroque buildings. The city’s dragon, a symbol of myth and legend, can be seen at the Landhaus and the Dragon Fountain. For leisure, the Minimundus, a miniature park with replicas of famous structures, is a unique attraction.

The city’s proximity to Lake Wörthersee is a highlight, offering everything from swimming to boat trips in the summer. The lake’s clear waters and surrounding trails make it a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Klagenfurt is undoubtedly a great place to live in Austria, offering a perfect mix of urban amenities and natural beauty. It’s a contender for those wondering where is the best place to live in Austria, especially for families and individuals seeking a balanced, fulfilling lifestyle.

Klagenfurt, a city hidden in southern Austria, combines a laid-back, modern way of life with historical charm.
Klagenfurt, a city hidden in southern Austria, combines a laid-back, modern way of life with historical charm.

8. Hallstatt

Imagine a postcard-perfect village nestled between a serene lake and towering mountains. That’s Hallstatt, a place of extraordinary beauty and tranquility. Its UNESCO World Heritage status is a testament to its enchanting appeal.

This charming village is renowned for its salt production, a tradition dating back centuries. The Hallstatt Salt Mine, the world’s oldest, invites visitors to explore its subterranean wonders. The Dachstein Ice Caves offer another otherworldly experience, showcasing nature’s artistry.

The Hallstatt Lake, with its crystal-clear waters, is perfect for boat rides or simply enjoying the view from a cozy lakeside café. The village’s quaint houses, some perched daringly on the mountainside, add to its storybook charm.

For those seeking peace amidst natural splendor, this gem in Europe, is one of Austria’s best places to live. Hallstatt stands out among the most livable cities in Austria for its blend of natural beauty, rich history, and a tranquil lifestyle that’s hard to find elsewhere.

One of the best places to live in Austria is Hallstatt, an oasis of breathtaking beauty and serenity.
One of the best places to live in Austria is Hallstatt, an oasis of breathtaking beauty and serenity.

9. Alpbach

Discover Alpbach, a picturesque village often hailed as Austria’s most beautiful. With its traditional wooden houses and floral balconies, Alpbach is a living postcard, epitomizing Alpine charm.

In winter, Alpbach transforms into a ski paradise, boasting well-groomed slopes and stunning mountain views. Summer brings out hikers and nature lovers, exploring trails that meander through lush meadows and pristine forests. The village’s commitment to preserving its traditional architecture and sustainable tourism is commendable.

Cultural events here blend local traditions with modern flair. The Alpbach Forum attracts thinkers and leaders from around the world, turning this quiet village into a bustling hub of ideas and discussions. Local taverns and inns offer a warm, welcoming atmosphere, serving delicious Tyrolean specialties.

For those pondering what are the best places to live in Austria, Alpbach is a top contender. Its combination of natural beauty, community spirit, and cultural richness makes it one of the best cities to live in Austria, especially for those seeking a tranquil yet engaging lifestyle.

Alpbach, a charming village that is frequently praised as one of Austria's best places to live in.
Alpbach, a charming village that is frequently praised as one of Austria’s best places to live in.

10. Zell am See

Blending natural beauty with vibrant community life, Zell am See in Austria is a picturesque lakeside town. The town’s heart is the Zeller See, a lake with crystal-clear waters, surrounded by majestic mountains.

The town offers a variety of activities, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. In winter, the Schmittenhöhe ski area becomes a snowy playground, while in summer, the lake invites swimming and sailing. Hiking and cycling trails offer panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding Alps.

Zell am See’s charming town center, with its quaint shops and cafes, offers a lively and friendly atmosphere. Cultural events throughout the year add to the town’s appeal, bringing together locals and visitors in celebration.

As one of the best Austria towns to live, Zell am See offers a perfect balance of natural serenity and lively community spirit. It ranks high among places to move in Austria for those seeking a picturesque and active lifestyle in a welcoming environment.

Zell am See, listed among the best towns in Austria, has the ideal mix of greenery and an alive sense of community.
Zell am See, listed among the best towns in Austria, has the ideal mix of greenery and an alive sense of community.

11. Feldkirch

Offering a unique blend of history and modern living, Feldkirch in Vorarlberg shines as a hidden medieval gem. The town is adorned with well-preserved medieval buildings, creating a charming atmosphere that transports you back in time.

The Schattenburg, a medieval castle, dominates the town’s skyline, housing a museum and a restaurant. Feldkirch’s old town is a delightful maze of narrow streets, leading to quaint squares and Gothic churches. This historical charm is balanced with contemporary shops and cafes, offering a cozy and vibrant community feel.

For nature lovers, the nearby forests and Austrian mountains provide endless opportunities for hiking and exploring. Feldkirch’s location near the borders of Switzerland and Liechtenstein adds a unique international flair to the town.

Recognized as one of the best towns to live in Austria, Feldkirch appeals to those who love history and nature. It also stands out among the best cities to live in Austria for its combination of historical charm and modern amenities in a picturesque setting.

A hidden medieval jewel in Vorarlberg, Feldkirch is ranked among the best places to live in Austria.
A hidden medieval jewel in Vorarlberg, Feldkirch is ranked among the best places to live in Austria.

12. Lienz

Captivating with its mix of Mediterranean ambiance and Alpine charm, Lienz in East Tyrol beckons as a city of contrasts. It’s a place where southern warmth meets the majestic beauty of the Dolomites.

The city is renowned for its sunny climate, earning it the nickname “the Sun City.” Strolling through Lienz’s main square, you’ll find colorful buildings, lively cafes, and a welcoming atmosphere. The Bruck Castle, now a museum, showcases the region’s rich history and art.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find Lienz irresistible. The Lienz Dolomites provide a stunning backdrop for hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. The Isel River, ideal for rafting and kayaking, adds to the city’s adventurous spirit.

Lienz is one of the top cities in Austria to live for those seeking a vibrant lifestyle in a stunning natural setting. Its sunny disposition and friendly community make it one of the best Austria cities for both adventure and relaxation.

For those eager for a lively lifestyle in a lovely natural setting, Lienz is one of the best places to live in Austria.
For those eager for a lively lifestyle in a lovely natural setting, Lienz is one of the best places to live in Austria.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Places to Live in Austria

Want to delve deeper into Austria’s living options? Here’s a compilation of frequently asked questions about the top places to live in Austria, providing insights to guide your decision.

Where do most expats live in Austria?

Most expats in Austria favor cities like Vienna, Salzburg, and Graz for their vibrant cultural scenes and high quality of life. Vienna, as the capital, offers a mix of international communities, diverse culinary experiences, and a thriving arts scene, making it one of Austria’s best places to live. Salzburg, with its rich musical heritage, and Graz, known for its youthful energy and innovation, are also popular among expats. These cities provide a balanced lifestyle, combining historical charm with modern amenities, which appeals to those relocating from abroad.

What is the nicest place in Austria?

Identifying the nicest place in Austria is subjective, as it depends on personal preferences. However, Hallstatt is often celebrated for its extraordinary beauty. This idyllic village, nestled by a stunning lake and surrounded by mountains, looks like it’s straight out of a fairy tale. Its UNESCO World Heritage status underscores its charm and historical significance. For those seeking natural beauty and tranquility, Hallstatt is a top contender and truly one of Austria’s best places to live. Its picturesque setting, combined with a serene lifestyle, makes it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

What is the cheapest city to live in Austria?

In Austria, Klagenfurt and Graz are often considered among the more affordable cities for living. Klagenfurt, with its beautiful lakeside setting and relaxed atmosphere, offers a lower cost of living compared to larger cities like Vienna or Salzburg. Graz, known for its vibrant student population, also provides more budget-friendly living options. Both cities boast reasonable housing costs, daily living expenses, and maintain a high quality of life, making them attractive for those seeking affordability without sacrificing the charm and amenities Austria is known for.

Living in Austria is accommodating to a wide range of tastes and ways of life.
Living in Austria is accommodating to a wide range of tastes and ways of life.

What is the safest city in Austria?

Austria, known for its overall safety, boasts several cities with exceptionally low crime rates. Innsbruck stands out as one of the safest cities. Its small size contributes to a close-knit community feel, enhancing the sense of security among residents and visitors. The city’s effective law enforcement and community-based approach to safety make it an ideal place for those prioritizing a secure living environment. Additionally, its high quality of life and beautiful alpine setting further cement Innsbruck’s reputation as not only one of the best Austria cities but also one of the safest.

What is the poorest region in Austria?

In Austria, the region generally considered to be less affluent compared to others is Burgenland. Located in the eastern part of the country, Burgenland is known for its rural landscapes and winemaking. The region’s economic situation is often attributed to its lower industrial development and reliance on agriculture, which contrasts with the more prosperous, urbanized regions like Vienna or Upper Austria. Despite this, Burgenland boasts a rich cultural heritage, beautiful natural scenery, and a slower pace of life, which many find appealing.

Is Austria a good place to live for foreigners?

Yes, Austria is a fantastic place to live for foreigners. It’s known for its high quality of life, robust healthcare system, and excellent public transportation. Cities like Vienna and Salzburg are multicultural and welcoming to expatriates, offering diverse communities and plenty of English-speaking residents, which eases the transition for many foreigners. The country’s scenic beauty, from the Alpine mountains to historic cities, along with its rich cultural life, make Austria not just a tourist destination but also a desirable place to call home. Safety, cleanliness, and a strong sense of community are additional factors that make Austria appealing to people from around the world.

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Live in Austria

Austria, with its enchanting blend of cultural richness and natural beauty, offers a living experience that caters to a diverse array of preferences and lifestyles. From the historical grandeur of Vienna to the picturesque serenity of Hallstatt, each location in Austria presents its unique charm and appeal.

For those seeking an urban vibe, cities like Graz and Linz offer innovation and vibrancy, perfect for the modern-day explorer. Meanwhile, places like Bregenz and Zell am See provide a tranquil escape, ideal for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a slower pace of life. Each city and town in Austria stands out for its unique qualities, from cultural festivals to outdoor adventures.

Budget-conscious individuals will find cities like Klagenfurt welcoming, proving that Austria offers affordable living without compromising on quality. On the other hand, if you’re seeking safety and community, towns like Innsbruck are known for their secure and friendly environments.

In summary, the question of what are the best places to live in Austria depends on individual preferences. Whether you’re drawn to Austria for its career opportunities, scenic landscapes, or historical ambiance, one thing is certain: living in Austria is an experience that combines tradition, nature, and modern living in a harmonious blend. Austria is not just a destination; it’s a lifestyle choice that resonates with a sense of belonging and quality of life.

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