Subscribe to SmallPlanet

We Need Your Help

Five stars on Amazon! Don't miss Talesmag's first book of essays, on cross-cultural food experiences from Mexico to Mongolia (plus recipes!)
Submit a Real Post Report


How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Mainstream grocers in the "expat districts" are offering a much wider variety of items than from when we first arrived; there are more specialty markets (Asian, Turkish, Russian, Italian), as well. Compared to Washington, DC the costs are about the same. - Nov 13, 2017
Every 2 blocks there are these small, over-priced grocery stores with limited selections (Spar, Billa, etc.) There are also medium-sized luxury gourmet stores, as well as some cheaper small and larger stores. You just have to find them. Stores close at 6:30PM or maybe later. Only a few really expensive train station stores are open on Sundays. - Jun 7, 2016
Almost everything I need is here and I find I spend about the same as I did in DC. A decent commissary is available for those affiliated with the UN. If you're really compelled to save money you can drive to Hungary (about an hour) and shop at a large Tesco and save about half. - Mar 24, 2015
Great availability, cost is relatively high. - Jul 18, 2014
Some folks complain about the high price of groceries but I've found them to be pretty reasonable. Yes, it's a capital city and it can get expensive, but there are many grocery chains which offer good product choices and a wide range of cost. Your choice. - Mar 19, 2014
Everything is available, for a price! I would say I pay about 30% more for groceries here than in the U.S. which is consistent with the COLA. Some baking items like chocolate chips, baking soda, and vanilla extract can be hard to find. - Aug 23, 2013
Expensive! Crazy expensive! But the quality is generally good. You can find just about anything, but you might have to try more than one small grocery store in the process. There are also some specialty Asian grocery stores. I order some items online just to save money and trouble but I could find them here if I really wanted to. - May 12, 2013
You can get pretty much everything you want here but, again it can get pricey for some of the more exotic things, like maple syrup. Prosi is a great international supermarket that also sells Duncan Heinz cake mixes, chocolate chips and other miscellaneous things that you wouldn't find at a typical grocery store. Julius Meinl is an amazing high end grocery store that also sells some things you wouldn't normally find. Both have their own websites. - Jan 16, 2013
Expensive. If you are affiliated with the UN, you can shop at the commissary, which is cheaper and has a good selection of products from the US. We brought staples from the US in our shipment, which helped defray costs - Aug 6, 2011
Groceries are expensive. Utilize the commissary, especially if you have a family. School lunches are almost unaffordable. - Aug 5, 2011
Expensive! About twice what one would pay in the US. There is a 50-60% COLA for US diplomats. - Aug 15, 2009
Widely available but very expensive. - Aug 5, 2009
Groceries are high, but pretty much everything is available. The Austrians don't dwell as much as we Americans do on variety. Foodwise, they don't do much in the way of beef or lamb. Do try the frozen prepared foods here, they are not like those in the US. Here they are VERY edible as meals. Wine is very reasonably priced, as is beer. - Jul 23, 2009
EXPENSIVE!!!! - May 21, 2008
Well, we're at 80% COLA these days, that should tell you something. For everyday living I find it manageable with the COLA, but travel or touristy things start to look pretty expensive. - Apr 4, 2008
All products are available - you just have to get used to the brands. The cost is higher than in the U.S. - Jan 11, 2008