Living in Vienna, AustriaIyna Bort Caruso
Vienna is a city known for the finer things, one that blends a rich cultural heritage with economic, political and social stability. The result is an enviable way of life that landed Vienna in the number one spot of 230 cities worldwide in the 2016 Mercer quality of living survey.
Situated on the banks of the Danube River, Vienna is one of the wealthiest cities in the European Union. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, global firms set up their headquarters here by the dozens as a gateway to the East. It is also one of four designated United Nations cities and a top site for international conventions.
Within this capital of palaces and imperial squares is room to roam. About half of Vienna’s square mileage is open space and parkland. The 21-kilometer long Donauinsel, an island in the middle of the Danube, is where Viennese flock for its network of biking, jogging and cycling trails as well as for bathing and boating. It is the only capital with a wine-producing industry of scale. Some 1,730 acres of vineyards translate into a lively café society of heurige or wine taverns.
Vienna is made up of nine districts with District 1, also known as the Innere Stadt, being the oldest and most prestigious. It sits inside the grand ringed boulevard, Ringstrasse, which houses a concentration of Vienna’s most expensive real estate and most prestigious monuments and institutions including St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Vienna opera house and the Hofsburg Palace. The palace, once the seat of the power of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is now the residence of the Austrian president. Bordering the old town is the MuseumsQuartier in District 7, an enormous art complex of museums, exhibition spaces and cafes in the former imperial horse stables.
Properties in neighborhoods closest to the city center tend to be in short supply. Many of the most luxurious units have been carved out of historic buildings. Private homes and villas are more prevalent in the outer districts, only a short drive from the city center. Compared to other European capitals, Vienna’s real estate market offers international buyers good value. Buyers from the European Union have the same ownership rights as those native to Austria. Those outside the EU require government permission.