Austria, home to roughly 8.58 million people, is a multicultural country. Considering its history, this is no surprise. During the reign of the K&K monarchy, it was perfectly normal for people to move to Austria from all parts of the Habsburg Empire. After its collapse, the trend continued. This is why today, people from former parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire still play a major role in Austrian life and culture.
Expats relocating to Austria benefit from this multicultural flair, which is, of course, most evident in Vienna. Other Austrian cities, despite appearing small and somewhat provincial compared to the capital, often boast a significant international population, too. Below, we will give you a short overview of some favorite expat destinations around Austria.
Austria is conveniently located in Central Europe and shares borders with eight countries: Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Profiting from the country’s central position within Europe and its very good transport connections, expats opting for life abroad in Austria from further afield thus have an excellent base from where to explore the rest of the continent.
Austria isn’t called the “Alpine Republic” for no reason! Mountain lovers will be pleased to know that the Alps make up some 65% of the state’s territory, while 43% is covered in forest. In the alpine regions, the climate is characterized by severe winters.
Generally speaking, expats moving to Austria will experience a mixed climate shaped by both oceanic and continental influences. While the east is known for its cold winters and hot summers with very little precipitation all year round, the climate in the west is much more moderate with mild winters, warm summers and generally more rain.
Most expats headed for Austria settle in Vienna, the capital city with almost 1.8 million inhabitants. With a populace of more than 2.5 million, the Vienna metropolitan region accounts for over a quarter of Austria’s total population. The combined metropolitan region of Vienna and nearby Bratislava in Slovakia, often referred to as Twin City, has over 3 million inhabitants.
Your move to Vienna will take you not only to the political, but also to the cultural and economic center of the country. Millions of tourists visiting the city every year as well as a significant expat and immigrant population make Austria’s capital an exciting place, which combines traditional Viennese culture with an international flair.
The latter is aided by the many international organizations that have chosen Vienna for their regional headquarters: Organizations like the UN, OPEC and IAEA, to name but a few, are behind many an expat’s move to Austria. Vienna is also among the top 3 destinations worldwide for international congresses and conventions.
Most newcomers to Vienna enjoy the benefits that come with living in a city which continually features in the top ten for quality of life in surveys conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit or Monocle. In the Mercer Quality of Life Survey, Vienna ranked first for three consecutive years — a result that may well convince people who are toying with the idea of moving to Austria.
With nearly 274,000 inhabitants, Graz is Austria’s second largest city. This university town with a significant student population doesn’t only attract academics. Tech savvies transferring to Austria often end up in Graz, which is known as the high tech factory of Austria. If you’re in the creative industry, your expat adventure in Austria may also take you to Graz, which has been nominated City of Design by the UNESCO Creative City Network.
Salzburg is widely known as the birth place of Mozart and, just like Vienna, it is a great place for classical music lovers moving to Austria. With close to 150,000 inhabitants, it is only the 4th largest city in Austria. Located in a picturesque valley on the northern edge of the Alps, Salzburg attracts great numbers of tourists every year and is also an important location for trade fairs and conferences. Expats moving to Austria often find work with one of the internationally operating companies based in Salzburg, such as Porsche Holding and SPAR.
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