Have you ever thought about retiring in Austria? If so, great choice! This European nation is known for being chock-full of gorgeous modern cities, medieval towns, and quiet villages. And being a moderately-sized country there are quite a few places to choose from.
The 10 best places in Austria to retire to include:
- St. Gilgen
This guide will explore the best destinations in Austria for retirees, ensuring you choose a city or town that fits your lifestyle, budget, and personal preferences.
If you’re looking to retire in a foreign country, you’ll want to consider several factors, one of which is your destination’s expat community. After all, cities with a higher number of expats tend to be more welcoming to foreigners.
In addition, having English-speaking expats can make transitioning to a new country more comfortable and straightforward. This transition is especially true for retirees who don’t speak German, Austria’s most widely spoken language.
As such, if you’re thinking of retiring in Austria you may want to consider Vienna (Wien) as your home base. This capital city has the highest number of international residents, including thousands of U.S. citizens. Retirees can quickly mingle with this community of expats upon arriving in Vienna.
Vienna is also one of the most developed areas in Austria. It’s home to hundreds of restaurants, several notable theaters, public transportation options, and an astounding number of museums. In short, you won’t run out of things to do while living in this gorgeous city.
Austria also boasts a top-notch universal healthcare system for all its residents, and Vienna has more than a dozen modern hospitals, many of which are the best in Austria. So retired expat residents won’t have to travel far to seek medical care.
However, if you’re looking to purchase a detached home with a small yard, it’s best to choose a different Austrian destination. While Vienna offers a high quality of life, real estate is limited and most of it comes in the form of apartments and townhomes.
As the supply of properties is limited, prices are higher than in other parts of Austria. For example, a two-bedroom apartment typically costs between $300,000 and $600,000 (€270,000 and €540,000) here, often more if it includes a balcony or yard.
Austria is separated into unique regions called states (or Bundesländer). Vienna is its own state and the smallest one in the country, with an area of 160.1 mi² (414.7 km²). But if you travel southwest, you’ll find the much larger state of Tyrol (Tirol), which has an area of 4,883 mi² (12,646.9km²)!
The capital city of Tyrol is Innsbruck, a picturesque European town that’s flanked by the snow-covered Northern Limestone Alps. Innsbruck is well-known as a vacation destination for German and Austrian citizens, especially those that enjoy winter sports like skiing.
But this town is also the ideal retirement destination for those looking to enjoy a combination of metropolitan resources and natural wonders. After all, Innsbruck is home to more than 200 restaurants and cafes, about a dozen unique museums, and some of the most breathtaking hiking paths in Austra.
However, this tourist destination only has three public hospitals. As a result, retirees with specific healthcare needs may need to travel outside of Innsbruck for certain types of medical services.
Fortunately, the public transport system in Austria is efficient and highly-developed. Retirees don’t need to own a car to get around town or visit nearby cities thanks to the Innsbruck public bus system and Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB).
The national rail system even has a senior-friendly program designed to help elderly passengers travel safely and confidently. Those who retire in Innsbruck can easily visit other cities and towns in Austria.
However, Innsbruck’s reputation as a world-class vacation destination (and its relatively small area) means that homes here sell for abnormally high prices.
So, while you may find a one-bedroom apartment listed for $350,000 (€315,400), don’t be surprised to see most properties selling at $500,000 (€450,700) or more.
Retirees looking to spend their golden years surrounded by natural beauty and historical landmarks may want to consider moving to Salzburg. This region has an area of 2,762 mi² (7,153.6 km²), and is one of the four states bordering Germany.
Living in the capital city of Salzburg is like taking a step into history. Although there are modern buildings and amenities here, there are also dozens of medieval buildings and elegant Baroque city squares.
This city is also where The Sound of Music was filmed in the 1960s!
You’ll likely see horse-drawn carriages plodding down the street while you walk past modern art installations. Gardens, fountains, churches, and cafes are abundant, so there’s always something to do. Salzburg is a balanced mix of old and new, making it an inviting retirement destination.
Healthcare is abundant, and the city is home to more than a dozen public hospitals and clinics. As such, retirees won’t need to travel out of town to attend doctor’s appointments and receive specialized medical care.
However, you’ll still need a significant budget to live in Salzburg as this gorgeous city has a higher-than-average cost of living, especially compared to the U.S. Most apartments here range between $200,000 and $4,500,000 (€180,200 and €4,000,00). And independent homes also fall in a similar range.
Luckily, like other cities in Austria, you won’t need to own a vehicle to get around when living in Salzburg. Instead, electric trolleys and buses (OBUS) criss-cross the city, making it easy for residents to travel to local grocery stores, museums, and train stations.
Thus far, we’ve explored a few of the more popular and common Austrian cities for retirees in the U.S. These destinations boast high numbers of English-speaking expats and residents, making them a natural choice for retirees who don’t speak German.
But what if you do speak German? And what if the bustling city life isn’t your style? If this is the case, you may want to choose a smaller Austrian town to retire to, like Feldkirch.
Located in Vorarlberg, the westernmost Austrian state, Feldkirch borders Switzerland and Liechtenstein. It’s a mountainous town much smaller than Vienna, Innsbruck, and Salzburg.
Feldkirch has about 34,000 residents, making it a peaceful retirement destination. And with high-steepled churches and Tudor-esque buildings, it’s also incredibly scenic.
When you live here, you can spend your weekend exploring the remains of Schattenburg Castle, a 12th-century structure that’s mostly intact. You can also enjoy the local wildlife by visiting the Feldkirch Wildpark or enjoy some shopping at the Feldkirch Marktgasse.
Getting around isn’t a problem when living in Feldkirch as this town has a thriving public bus system that features low-step entryways to make getting on and off a cinch. Bicycles are also a popular alternative to automobiles in Feldkirch, making this town a haven for cyclists.
However, due to the small size of this beautiful town, you won’t find as many hospitals and clinics. There are only three hospitals available to residents, so retirees may need to travel outside Feldkirch to see specialists.
On a positive note, the cost of living in Feldkirch is slightly lower than in major Austrian cities. Real estate is somewhat more affordable, with prices ranging between $200,000 and $660,000 (€180,200 and €595,000).
If the idea of living in Vorarlberg appeals to you, but you’d rather be closer to more extensive healthcare services, Bregenz may be a better retirement destination. This city (the capital city of Vorarlberg) has six hospitals.
It’s also larger than Feldkirch in geographical size, with a population of about 29,000 and is located on the shore of Lake Constance. Consequently, there’s a greater range of restaurants, cafes, and shops in Bregenz. There’s also a widespread public transportation system, with buses, trams, and trains available to carry you to any place you’d like to go.
While the cost of living in Bregenz is higher than in small towns like Feldkirch, home rental prices are comparatively low. That being said, for-sale properties are challenging to come by, and you can expect to spend upwards of $800,000 (€722,000) on a home here.
However, the fun activities and sights in Bregenz may make the high cost of living worth it. After all, Bregenz hosts an annual summertime music festival (Bregenzer Festspiele), has several historic churches and chapels, and is home to multiple art and history museums.
Upper Austria is one of the nine Austrian states, and it’s the northernmost state bordering Germany. Linz is one of the best cities in Upper Austria for expat retirees, and it functions as the halfway mark between Vienna and Salzburg.
Located on the winding Danube River, Linz is a seamless blend of traditional historic architecture and modern design. It’s known as the arts and music capital of Upper Austria, so retirees with a passion for opera, theater, and live music will love living in Linz.
And since Linz isn’t a tiny village, retirees that move here will have immediate access to health care services. Aside from the four hospitals located in the city center, there are several clinics and doctor’s offices spread throughout Linz.
Grocery and clothing prices are comparatively high here, but the range of available options is also comparable to larger cities like Vienna. If you’re someone who enjoys a night of fine dining and refined entertainment, Linz is perhaps the best place in Austria to retire.
Another positive aspect of moving to Linz is the range of available real estate. This growing city has apartments and homes available to interested buyers, and prices are relatively low for the quality of living offered.
For example, a one-bedroom apartment in Linz typically costs less than $300,000 (€270,500). On the other hand, a small house here can be bought for under $500,000 (€451,000). Consequently, Linz is one of Austria’s most affordable metropolitan retirement destinations.
Tyrol is probably the best Austrian state for retirees, as it’s home to multiple cities and towns that are ideal for senior expats. Alpbach is yet another retiree-friendly town in Tyrol, and it’s a pastoral, mountainous paradise that will grant you quiet serenity.
While Alpbach is a winter tourist destination, it remains pretty peaceful throughout the spring and summer months as well. It’s an ideal place to grow a garden, form friendships with locals, and take a gentle hike through the hillsides. In fact, it’s often called the most beautiful village in Austria!
However, the relatively remote location of this tiny town can be challenging for those with health conditions. There are no hospitals in Alpbach, and the nearest one is a private clinic in Wörgl, a one-hour bus ride (about 30 minutes by car) away.
Public transportation in Alpbach is also comparatively restricted, with only one primary bus stop available to residents. Homes are also in short supply here, though retirees can rent an apartment for as little as $22 per day (€20 per day).
Essentially, Aplbach can be an excellent retirement destination for those with plenty of savings and few health problems. Though hospitals, public transport, and real estate in Alpbach are limited, if you can manage living here, there are few places that can compare to the unbeatable views and tranquil way of life.
8. St. Gilgen
Technically, there aren’t any coastal towns or cities in Austria, as the nation is entirely landlocked. But when you set your eyes on St. Gilgen (Sankt Gilgen), things look a bit different.
This breathtakingly beautiful Austrian village (population of about 3,700) sits on the edge of Wolfgangsee (Lake Wolfgang), a sparkling blue body of water that stretches more than six miles (9.6km). This lake is a popular destination for fishing, water sports, and boating.
If you enjoy the taste of fresh seafood, living in St. Gilgen is a dream come true. Besides, this village’s natural splendor and small-town charm are enough to melt your heart.
Streets and gardens burst into life during the summer months, showing bright, colorful flowers and rich green leaves. But the winters are pretty cold here, as the village sits 1,801 feet (549 meters) above sea level.
Additionally, the nearest high-quality hospitals are in nearby Salzburg, which could prove problematic for retirees with significant health concerns. Public transportation in St. Gilgen is also limited, with the primary means of transport being bicycle and public rail.
However, housing in St. Gilgen is surprisingly affordable, with some one-bedroom apartments selling for as little as $109,900 (€99,000). However, a multi-bedroom house costs far more, with some properties even going over $2 million (€1,800,000)!
The small town of Lienz lies to the southeast of Innsbruck and sits in a quaint green valley between the Carnic Alps and Grossglockner (Großglockner) Mountain. Retirees ready to embrace a quiet life in a beautiful Austrian town will want to make a beeline for Lienz.
Fewer than 12,000 people call Lienz home, making it one of the most peaceful towns in Austria. While there are only two hospitals here, the larger of the two (A.ö. BKH Lienz) has several departments and eight specialists.
Still, retirees who don’t speak German (or aren’t willing to learn German) may not enjoy their time here. As Lienz consists of a smaller community, few residents speak fluent English.
However, if you plan on reducing your expenses, you can’t do better than Lienz as this little valley town has some of Austria’s lowest food and housing prices.
For example, a gallon of milk in Vienna might cost you about $5, but the same item in Lienz costs about $4. While this difference may not seem significant, it adds up over time, and retirees on restricted incomes will naturally want to make every cent count.
Tiny homes (one to two bedrooms) typically cost between $150,000 and $400,000 (€135,000 and €360,000).
Austria is one of the best retirement destinations for several reasons, including high-quality public healthcare. But another reason why you’ll want to consider retiring in Austria is because of where it’s situated. After all, Austria is bordered by several countries, including Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. As such, it’s easy to travel to other pristine places.
The Austrian state of Carinthia lies in the southernmost region of the country. It borders Italy, making it a fantastic retirement spot for those looking to enjoy weekend trips to Italy. One of the best cities in Carinthia for retirees is Villach, a bright and colorful city with a lot to offer.
Villach has a population of about 63,000 residents, so it’s not as small as some of the quaint Austrian towns listed above. However, it’s not nearly as bustling as Vienna or Salzburg, making it an excellent middle ground between rustic and metropolitan.
This mixture of small-town charm and big-city resources is a boon for those looking for high-quality medical care as Villach has no less than five hospitals. The cost of living here is comparatively low, especially when you consider Villach’s size and modern amenities.
As such, a small home here costs between $200,000 and $300,000 (€180,200 and €240,000), which is the same price you’d pay for a one-bedroom apartment in Vienna.