The smartphone apps that make living in Austria easier

It’s well known that we all spend too much time on our phones, but there are some useful apps that make living in Austria easier.

The smartphone apps that make living in Austria easier
Some mobile phone apps make living in Austria easier. Photo by Cottonbro on Pexels.

For anyone with a smartphone, using an app is a part of daily life, whether it’s for transport, banking, essential admin or social media.

There are some apps that are more useful than others though – especially when it comes to living in Austria.

Here are the top apps that every international resident in Austria should have on their phones.


This is the official app of the Wiener Linien – Vienna’s public transport operator – making it an essential tool for anyone living in the capital city or the surrounding area.

The WienMobil app covers all forms of transport in the city, from trains to buses and ride sharing vehicles, and shows all the different forms of transport available for a selected route.

FOR MEMBERS: Ten destinations by direct night train from Austria

Tickets can even be purchased and stored in the app, which means users don’t have to carry a physical ticket when they are going about their daily lives.

WienMobil’s transport partners include Citybike Wien, Europcar, Taxi 31300 and Westbahn.


ÖBB is Austria’s national rail operator and the ÖBB app is useful for anyone that regularly travels by train in Austria – or for anyone visiting the country.

Users can purchase tickets within the app and receive notifications about delays or changes to a service, as well as view information about platforms at specific train stations. 

City, weekly and monthly tickets can also be purchased in the ÖBB app.


Before the pandemic, the Handy-Signatur was a little known app that most people didn’t understand, let alone use.

Then the Covid-19 Green Pass was rolled out, along with many other digital services, and the Handy-Signatur suddenly became an essential app.

But what is it exactly?

The Handy-Signatur is essentially a mobile phone (known as a Handy, in German) signature which turns your phone into a virtual ID card. It allows you to legally sign official documents without having to print them out and sign them by hand.

FOR MEMBERS: EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s Handy-Signatur and how does it work?

There is just one prerequisite for the Handy-Signatur – you need an Austrian or German mobile phone number to use it.

Also, it can be tricky to set up the Handy-Signatur as it requires registering at a registration authority, or at FinanzOnline – Austria’s online portal for the tax office. But once you’re in, it’s a practical tool to have.

However, it’s worth noting that the Handy-Signatur will become known as ID Austria in the future and all signatures will be automatically switched over to the new app.

Green Pass

The Green Pass, or Grüner Pass, is the nationwide app that is used to show proof of 3G (vaccination, recovery or a negative test for Covid-19 ).

Since 3G rules were introduced in Austria in spring 2021, the Green Pass has become an essential part of going to cafes, restaurants and events, and an easy way to show compliance with the rules.

READ MORE: Austria’s Green Pass: What counts as proof of 2G?

The app works by scanning in an official government certificate of vaccination, recovery or negative test. The app then displays a barcode that can be scanned by personnel at 3G or 2G venues and locations, as well as the expiry date of the certificate.

Additionally, the Green Pass is used at airports, at ski resorts when purchasing tickets and is recognised across the EU.

At the time of writing, there was no indication of when the 3G rules would be phased out, so The Local expects the Green Pass to be in use for the foreseeable future.


The Austrian Automobile, Motorcycle and Touring Club (ÖAMTC) recently announced that the average price of diesel in Austria hit an all time high of €1.477 per litre.

And prices are set to rise even more in the coming months with the introduction of Austria’s carbon levy of €30 per tonne of fuel from July 2022.

FOR MEMBERS: How to save money on fuel costs in Austria

So what can people do to protect their bank balance from the increased cost of fuel? Use the ÖAMTC app to find the cheapest deals in your area.

In the ÖAMTC app, users can search by petrol or diesel (depending on their vehicle) to view details of current prices at petrol stations in the selected area. For example, type in an address in Vienna and it will display all nearby fuel prices on a map or as a list. 

In these high cost of living times, every little bit helps – even if it’s just saving a few cents on a litre of fuel.

Der Die Das

For anyone learning German and struggling with the articles der, die and das, help is at hand with the Der Die Das app.

Type any German word into the search function and it will bring up the correct definite article, as well as for any alternative forms of the word. It also has a useful explainer about some exceptions to the use of articles.

Even better, it’s free to use. Simply download and start impressing your German-speaking friends with your new-found Deutsch skills.

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Six helpful tips to save money on food shopping in Austria

High inflation means that costs are rising in Austria, including in supermarkets and grocery stores. Here are some tips to help you if you're feeling the pinch or want to make your money go further.

Six helpful tips to save money on food shopping in Austria

Some savings tips work whichever country you’re in: avoid shopping when hungry; plan meals ahead of time if you can; check products from the top or bottom shelves (usually cheaper than those placed at eye-level!) and compare prices by weight rather than by unit.

On top of these general frugal habits, there are some tricks that might be less relevant outside Austria, so here’s a quick rundown.

Reduce waste and cost

Over the past few years, a number of new mobile apps designed to combat food waste have arrived in Austria, helping you do your bit for the planet and save money, too. 

The main player, Too Good To Go, gives you the chance to “rescue” old food that might have otherwise been thrown away by supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and bakeries. After downloading the app, it’ll show you available offers within a certain radius of where you live or work. Sometimes you might strike gold with an incredible bistro or hotel brunch for a fraction of the usual price, other times you may end up with a mountain of bread products and cakes from your local bakery.

You can also find bargains by looking for discounted items in supermarkets close to their best before dates, particularly on Saturday evenings before the Sunday closure.

And your local neighbourhood may have a Buy Nothing or similar Facebook group where people will share details of food they’d otherwise throw away.

Sign up to loyalty schemes and offers 

These won’t always net you huge savings, and you need to watch out for being enticed to buy more than you otherwise would have down, but it’s worth signing up to your favourite supermarkets’ loyalty scheme or app. There’s Billa’s Jö Bonus Club, which also works at Penny Markt, Libro and a handful of other stores; Lidl Plus; the PAYBACK scheme for Unimarkt which also works at stores like DM and even Burger King, and MPreis has a loyalty card scheme.

While it won’t shave loads off your shop, if you let the points build up on the family shop, you might get a nice surprise when you can use that to pay for some groceries further down the line. The other benefit of these schemes is that you can get personalised discounts and offers based on the products you tend to buy.

Think about where you buy what

This can take some planning, but often pays off. Rather than going to your nearest neighbourhood shop, you could plan to do the bulk of your shopping either at one of the cheaper brands — Penny Markt, Lidl or Hofer — or at a bigger store if you go to Billa or Spar, which generally means lower prices than the small inner-city branches, plus wider availability of their discounted own-brand items.

And international supermarkets are another way to unearth treasures. Buying spices, for example, is often cheaper if you can find a grocery store specialising in foreign goods, and it means greater variety. At these kinds of neighbourhood stores you can also sometimes track down those hard-to-find home comforts, rather than paying a premium. The store with the widest variety in Vienna is Prosi, and in Salzburg there’s Asiatische Spezialmarkt, but smaller shops are also worth a visit.

Check out your local markets too, as sometimes these are the place to get vegetables, meats and spices for a bargain, and support local traders. But it’s usually cheaper to head outside city centres, where the major markets may have become gentrified or hiked up their prices after featuring in tourist guides, and find the markets still mainly frequented by locals.

Think like a restaurant 

One of the best ways to get into a budget mindset with food shopping is to think in a similar way to a restaurant owner. If you study the menu of the next restaurant or cafe you go to, you’ll generally find variations on a theme that use and reuse a selection of ingredients. That’s to ensure that the chefs can order food in bulk and avoid waste by using the same ingredients in different dishes, meaning they can still be used if some dishes aren’t selling well. 

So how does this apply to everyday folk? Well, meal-planning and buying staples you can use over and over again in different ways can be a great way to make your budget go further and avoid wasted food. For example, a sack of potatoes costs barely anything and can be used in a myriad of different ways.

And think like a local

Even when you’re using these savvy shopping techniques, it will still often be the case that foods and ingredients that aren’t traditionally popular in Austria will cost more than those which are.

Food is often a strong link to your roots, so it’s worth stretching your budget for those special items that will help you feel at home, but for your day-to-day meals, you might want to consider a more local menu and adapting your eating habits to match the products you can find most cheaply in Austria. 

Avoid quick delivery services

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, you’ve likely noticed a whole range of new app-based shopping services that promise to get your groceries to you in record speed. While we absolutely won’t judge anyone who uses these services, they’re unfortunately not a great idea if you’re trying to save money. Why? Because their business models generally work by adding a slight mark-up to each of the products they sell – and because you usually have to pay a delivery fee, and a tip for the drivers is recommended.

The one exception to this rule is taking advantage of any ultra-generous sign-up offers as a one-off treat. Some of the grocery delivery brands offer as much as €20 off a €40 shop for new customers, or €10 off a €30 shop. If you don’t normally spent that much, stock up on basics you know you’ll use and which don’t go off, like pasta, tinned goods, coffee and tea. 

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