For members


Renting in Austria: How to find a furnished apartment

In Austria, most rental apartments are unfurnished, which is not always convenient for new arrivals, students, or those on short-term contracts. But there are alternatives if you know where to look.

Furnished apartment
There are lots of factors to consider in your Austrian apartment hunt: price, location, and furnished vs unfurnished. Photo: Patrick Perkins/Unsplash

The typical situation in Austria is that your apartment won’t come with any of the furniture. You can expect to have the bathroom and kitchen fittings including in many cases a built-in kitchen, but often not a washing machine.

Additional furnishings such as the bed, tables and chairs, storage, light fittings, and curtains are rarely included.

Serviced apartments

One option for those who prefer a furnished rental is to look for a serviced apartment. These are a popular choice for new arrivals during their first few months, or for people on short-term work contracts. 

In this type of housing, you can typically expect a small kitchenette (think a hob and microwave, but no oven and limited preparation space). Extra services like a weekly clean and WiFi will usually be included in your monthly cost. Some buildings may have communal areas like co-working spaces or even a gym or pool.

However, rent tends to be quite a lot higher than a usual one-bedroom apartment, particularly since serviced apartments are typically small and compact.

Companies that specialise in furnished apartments

As well as serviced apartments, several companies offer furnished apartments, often targeting the expat or international community. These include Housing Anywhere, The Homelike, TempoFlat, and AirBnb for example.

However, be aware that in many cases the price you pay for the convenience with these companies is, well, a higher price; when The Local checked rates for the above sites in Vienna, they were significantly above what you would expect to pay on the private market, even taking into account extra costs for furniture rental. 

Tap into your network

Beyond browsing the usual property sites and checking out serviced apartments, you also have the option of using informal routes for finding a new home.

Even if you don’t yet have local friends and colleagues to speak to, Facebook groups for foreigners in your city, for example, might be a good place to find people who are leaving their apartment and need to hand over the contract to someone else. If you can take on the furniture as well as the contract, that could be a win-win situation.

The private rental market

You can also search for long-term furnished rentals, which like unfurnished apartments may be rented privately or (more often) via an estate agent. Look for apartments labelled as ‘möbliert’ on the usual rental services such as Willhaben, Immoscout and Der Standard. 

Make sure to check the description carefully, or speak to the landlord, to find out exactly what is included. You can’t assume that everything in the pictures will be left for you; some unfurnished apartments will be illustrated with photos of the current tenant’s furniture.

If you do rent a furnished place privately, it’s good to know that there are two different ways the costs might be worked out. 

The first is that sometimes it is possible to ‘take over’ the furniture when you rent the property. This means that you pay a one-time fee (called an Ablöse) to buy the furniture, which is then yours to use, maintain, and keep or sell on when you leave.

In other cases, you rent the furniture. This usually means that your rent includes a Möbelmiete (literally ‘furniture rental’), which you pay as part of your monthly fee — the landlord should provide you a breakdown of the different costs including basic rent, VAT, service charges, and this furniture rental.

There are pros and cons to each option, including the fact that the Ablöse is often a significant upfront cost. With Möbelmiete, you’re paying more each month but if any of the items break and it’s not your fault, the landlord is responsible for their repair or replacement, whereas if you paid an Ablöse for them, you own them and have to pay for their upkeep. The disadvantage of Möbelmiete is that you can’t get rid of the items, so could be stuck with furniture that’s not to your taste. 

While there are options out there for furnished rentals, it does mean limiting your options — the vast majority of rentals in Austria are furnished. If you’d rather focus on finding a perfect apartment, it might make more sense to just factor the cost of furniture into your budget, particularly if looking for a long-term home, but it’s an individual decision. There are always options for making your new place a home without spending a fortune upfront, such as browsing secondhand shops or joining a ‘buy nothing’ group in your area.

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For members


EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about camping in Austria

Camping in Austria can be a lot of fun, but what are the rules? Here’s everything you need to know about setting up camp in the Alpine republic.

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about camping in Austria

Waking up beside a lake or surrounded by mountains is a dream Austrian holiday for many, but it’s important to know the rules about camping before heading off with a tent or campervan.

As the summer season approaches, here’s everything you need to know about camping in Austria.

Is wild camping legal in Austria?

Wild camping – setting up camp outside of a designated campsite – is generally illegal in Austria. This applies to both camping in a tent or sleeping in a van on the side of the road.

Exceptions to this rule do exist but usually only if the municipal authority grants a temporary exception, for example for a school trip or a youth club activity.

A bivouac (temporary camp without cover) is allowed in the event of bad weather or injury, but planned wild camping in the mountains is illegal. 

FOR MEMBERS: What are the rules for wild camping in Austria?

There are some regional differences though.

In the states of Salzburg, Vorarlberg and Styria there are no laws strictly forbidding camping outside of campsites, but local authorities can prohibit it and take action if necessary.

The strictest rules apply in national parks, nature reserves and special protection areas across Austria, so check before you plan your camping trip that your spot is not located in one of these areas.  

In most cases, if someone is caught camping illegally in Austria it is considered as an administrative offence and a fine can be issued, ranging from €5 to €500, depending on the location.

Camping in the forest

Camping in the forest is prohibited everywhere in Austria by law (specifically Section 33 of the Forest Act). The only exception is when you have the consent of the landowner.

Camping above the tree line

In Upper Austria and Styria you are allowed to camp in the mountains above the tree line, as long as you are outside of pasture areas.

In Vorarlberg this is also permitted, although the mayor of a municipality can prohibit the setting up of tents outside approved campsites if the interests of safety, health, agriculture or the protection of the natural balance as well as the landscape and townscape are “grossly violated”.

In Salzburg, camping above the tree line is in theory permitted, but the Alpine Association recommends groups wishing to camp should contact the nature conservation department of the responsible district administration before setting up. 

READ ALSO: How to explore the Austrian mountains in the summer like a local

Camping in a tent

Camping in a tent is the most common way of camping in the summer and most people pitch up on a dedicated campsite.

Many campgrounds have water and electricity facilities, as well as showers, cooking areas, recreation spaces and even kids clubs. Others have luxury elements like year-round heated pools, saunas, beach volleyball and restaurants.

Campsites are also often located near a lake or at the base of mountains, which means you can wake up to beautiful scenery every morning .

Some of Austria’s top camping associations include Camping Wien, Camping Steiermark and Top Camping Austria.

Camping in a van

Camping in a motorhome is only allowed at campsites in Austria and if someone is caught sleeping in a van in a prohibited area they can be fined.

The only exception is if a driver has to stop and recuperate before continuing driving.

Top camping tips

Austria is packed with stunning natural landscapes, so camping during the summer months is a popular activity – both for Austrian residents and tourists.

For this reason, it’s recommended to book ahead during the peak summer holiday months of July and August, whether planning to camp in a motorhome or tent.

Camping in motorhomes is also becoming more popular at some winter campsites during the ski season, so it’s always a good idea to book in advance.

Additionally, it’s advised to take bug spray when camping in Austria in the summer as insects like mosquitoes and ticks are common in countryside areas.

In fact, tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) – a viral infection transmitted by the bite of infected ticks – is endemic in Austria and it’s recommended to get vaccinated before going on a hiking or camping trip in the country.

The main affected areas for TBE are Tyrol and Upper Austria.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s ‘tick vaccine’ and should you take it

Useful vocabulary

Campsite – Campingplätze

Tent – Zelt

Campervan – Reisemobil

Electricity – Strom