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READERS REVEAL: Is Salzburg a nice place to live?

The alpine city has plenty to offer those who like a relaxed life with plenty of outdoor offerings, but our readers also say Salzburg is far from cosmopolitan – and comes with a few challenges.

READERS REVEAL: Is Salzburg a nice place to live?
Salzburg has plenty to offer the right international resident, but is experiencing a particularly acute housing shortage. (Photo by Zhang Xiaoyu / Unsplash)

As Austria’s fourth-largest city with over 150,000 residents, and one with more than a few historical legends attached to it, Salzburg has attracted many foreigners to live there with its crisp mountain air and picturesque streets and riverbanks. But what should someone know before moving there?

We asked our Salzburg readers that in a recent survey for The Local. Some reviews are very positive. Just a couple are mostly negative. Most though, leave Salzburg with a mixed report card – suggesting that the city, while beautiful, is better suited to some people than others.

A picturesque beauty of a city

One thing our respondents essentially unanimously agreed on, is how beautiful both the city and its surroundings are.

“It is really nice to live in a place with clean air, water, and streets where everything works nicely. The real charm of Salzburg is the nature,” says Rick, an American reader who has lived in Salzburg for over five years now. There are parks, greens spaces and even farmland throughout the city. Here we are surrounded by the majestic Alps and with easy access to the spectacular lake district.”

“If you love the outdoors, skiing, mountain biking, climbing, etc. – Salzburg could be very interesting,” says Chris, who has lived in Salzburg for a couple of years now after moving there for love.

READ ALSO: The best places to live in Austria that are not Vienna

High Quality of Life – but it’ll cost you

Even our readers who left mixed reviews for Salzburg generally say the city offers come great quality of life – but for a steep price.

Survey respondents say the city is walkable, has little to no pollution, and sports excellent medical facilities and childcare.

However, you better be making decent money.

“Rents, food prices and a lack of more casual, and more inexpensive restaurants make it overly expensive to eat out,” says Chris, a Salzburger now for a few years. “You often overpay for something very average.”

Salzburg and its surrounding area have plenty to offer the ski, or general outdoor enthusiast. Photo by KERSTIN JOENSSON / AFP

“Living in Salzburg is very expensive, but it is safe and clean,” says Dorothy from Manchester, who came to live near Salzburg a couple of years ago to join her family.

“It is difficult to find the middle ground of interesting and affordable ethnic food at a reasonable price that other cities of its size have in abundance,” says Rick from the USA.

EXPLAINED: Why is finding housing in Salzburg so difficult?

Unfriendly – or even discriminatory – locals

More than a few of our readers complained that Salzburg locals aren’t the friendliest bunch – and it can be hard to get to know people in the city.

“It’s not a very openminded place,” says Leo, who has been living in Salzburg for over ten years. “Salzburg is not really international or cosmopolitan people. But it’s still a cool place for a chill & cozy time.”

“The locals are not known for being warm and welcoming,” says long-time resident Rick. “They are very traditional, conservative, and hesitant to open up in any way to foreigners.”

For some readers, the problem is worse than the city’s unfriendliness. Some say they’ve faced outright discrimination.

“The locals are not the most friendly and some of them are actually quite racist. English is not spoken that much either,” says Karl from London, who moved to Salzburg over five years ago for work.

“Discrimination towards internationals is present in some sections of society, and one must be prepared to face it in daily life,” says Muhammed, originally from India and living in Salzburg for over a year.

READ ALSO: Discover Austria: How to explore Salzburg in one weekend

Overall, our readers make it clear that Salzburg isn’t for everyone. Couples making a decent living and looking to raise a family – especially if they love the outdoors – could take to Salzburg very naturally. But those looking for good value, decent nightlife, or to make friends with locals could have a much harder time – or are perhaps better off looking somewhere else.

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For members


Pfingstmontag: Why is Pentecost a holiday in Austria?

Austria has many national holidays, and on this Monday, May 29th, shops, banks and supermarkets will also be closed. Why and how do people celebrate it?

Pfingstmontag: Why is Pentecost a holiday in Austria?

Austria is one of the EU countries with the highest number of official holidays – 13 national ones in total – and most of them are related to Christian celebrations in this deeply Catholic central European country.

This year, Monday, the 29th of May, is another holiday –  to the joy of workers eager to enjoy a long weekend as Austria finally gets summery weather. So, what is this holiday, how do Austrians celebrate it, and what should you know about it?

What is Whit Monday?

Whit Monday, also known as Pentecost Monday, falls on the day after Pentecost Sunday, marking the seventh Sunday after Easter. It is a time when Christians commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Jesus, an event described in the Bible.

The origins of Whit Monday as a holiday in Austria trace back to centuries-old customs and religious practices. It serves as a day of reflection, spiritual renewal, and community gathering.

READ ALSO: When are Austria’s school summer holidays in 2023?

The holiday’s historical significance can be attributed to the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, which has played a vital role in Austria’s religious and cultural landscape. Currently, just over 55 percent of the Austrian population identifies as Roman Catholic. This number was near 90 percent in the 1950s. 

Whit Monday became a significant part of the liturgical calendar, symbolising the Holy Spirit’s arrival and its transformative power.

How is it celebrated?

Austrians may celebrate the date with colourful processions, festivals and by gathering family members. However, adhering to the holiday’s religious significance is becoming rarer. 

Nowadays, and especially in bigger cities, people in Austria tend to enjoy the holiday as a day off. However, with this particular one always falling on a Monday, travelling is also very common – and roads tend to become very busy with loads of traffic. 

READ ALSO: Why everything in Austria is closed on Sundays – and what to do instead

As it is with every holiday, on Whit Monday, most stores and supermarkets will be closed (so plan your shopping accordingly, as those are also closed on Sundays). However, restaurants, bars and ice cream parlous are usually quite packed but open. So are most tourist attractions.