Written by 7:37 pm Expat Life, Finance, Living in Dublin

A Comparison of Living Expenses in Dublin vs Vienna

Since The Wine is from Austria, her friends who live in Vienna often ask about the living costs in Dublin. How do they compare? Similar, people in Dublin often ask how expensive living in Vienna is. So, we thought we’d nerd out a little and research. The result is a quick comparison of living costs and some ideas about why they’re sometimes very different.


Groceries & Eating Out

For groceries, Austria and Ireland are both some of the more expensive countries in the EU. However, what we did notice on our recent trip to Austria is that the selection in the super markets there seems much bigger than in Dublin. So, for certain items, you’ll have to go to specialist shops in Dublin, which means the prices will be higher.

One thing, which is a lot cheaper in Austria, is alcohol. In Ireland it’s taxed very heavily to discourage drinking. But also eating out is much cheaper in Austria than in Ireland. That’s again, because of tax. Not to get too nerdy about taxes but the reason for the different prices (apart from Ireland being an island and having to import most stuff) is simple. In Austria, most groceries and restaurant meals are taxed at 10% (vs 20% as the standard rate on everything else). Meanwhile Ireland taxes most groceries at 13.5% or 23%. The only exceptions which aren’t taxed at all are bread, tea bags, vinegar and uncooked chips. That sounds like a joke about Irish stereotypes but you can read it up on Revenue’s website yourself.


This comparison almost feels unfair because Vienna has a very old and well-developed public transport system. The annual ticket only costs €365. That’s €1 per day to use any train, bus, tram or tube within city limits. Meanwhile, in Ireland a tax saver pass costs €2050 per year and you have to choose between certain modes of public transport that it will be valid for only.

However, with 24h tickets the difference becomes less noticeable. In Vienna, a 24h ticket for all public transport costs €8 and in Dublin a similar ticket for the LUAS (the tram system) only costs €7.3. So, while Vienna might be cheaper to live in, when it comes to transport for tourists it doesn’t necessarily make as much of a different. Actually, Dublin might win in this category because the city centre is rather small and so it’s very walkable for tourists.


This comparison seems so unfair I almost didn’t want to make it but it has to be said. For what we pay in rent for a 25-year-old 30m2 flat in Dublin we could get a brand-new multiple bedroom flat next to a tube stop in Vienna. According to Numbeo rent is literally 93% higher in Dublin than in Vienna.

We’ve made other videos about the housing crisis in Dublin and how hard it can be to find a flat, so we won’t go into too much detail here. It’s unfortunately a reality you have to reconcile with when you move here. Dublin’s one of the most expensive cities for rent in all of Europe, so you’ll have to be willing to downgrade or make sure you make a matching salary if you want to move here.

What about the salary though?

Most very expensive cities come with matching higher salaries. It’s very hard to compare salaries between Vienna and Dublin because there’s only old data on a national level and it doesn’t account for how many people with higher salaries would live in the capital. The best comparison we found was the median equalised net income in 2017, which was €22879 for Ireland and €24752 for Austria. There doesn’t seem to be much of a difference there but there can be a big salary difference in different parts of the country, different industries and depending on how many years of experience someone has. Therefore, if you’re considering to move here, make sure you know what living costs to expect, before settling on a salary.


What are living costs like where you live? Join our discussion in the comments to our YouTube video about this topic.

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Tags: , , , Last modified: November 6, 2019