Villach, Austria is a beautiful city that I am lucky enough to call my home. As an American expat, I quickly grew to love the peaceful pace of my life here as I met new people and learned more about Austrian culture. Interested in what Villach has to offer? Here is a list of five things I love about living in Villach as an expat.
Villach is located in the Austrian state of Carinthia and is a cultural hub for various Austrian holidays and celebrations. Every year, Villach is host to the week-long Kirchtag Festival where people from all over the region gather in their finest Tracht (traditional Austrian folk clothing) to party. Outside of its festivals, locals in Villach value their traditions and have a lot of pride in their city. When walking around downtown, it is typical to hear the friendly greeting of “Grüß Gott” from locals passing by on the street. Regardless of whether you are from Villach or just passing through, its residents want you to feel welcome in their city.
Austria is renowned for its natural beauty and Villach is no exception. In the winter time, the city is framed by the snow covered peaks of the Gailtal Alps and in the summer the hillsides are alive with the lush and vibrant green of the forest. With so much natural beauty, it is easy to understand why Villach is a tourist destination for Austrians.
From its pristine lakes to its beautiful mountain hikes, Villach has something to offer for everyone.
Villach is a transportation hub for the Austrian railway system, making it an excellent location for exploring central Europe. Since Villach is on the border of Slovenia and Italy, it is even possible to visit three countries in one day with breakfast in Austria, lunch in Slovenia, and a nice pizza dinner in Italy. Since I love to travel, Villach has been a great location for me and since living here my passport has gotten a lot of use.
There are few places in Europe where you will be able find such a robust International community in a city of only 60,000 people. With organizations like the Carinthian International Club (CIC) and Villach in English, there are plenty of social events to meet new people and make new friends. When I first moved to Austria, I was concerned that I would have a hard time finding a community for myself here, but since being connected with the various international groups in town, I have been able to meet lifelong friends and make lots of new memories with them.
With about 14 public holidays a year and an average of 5 weeks of annual leave built into work contracts, Austrians know how to take it easy. As someone who came to Villach after living in a large metropolitan city, the relaxed pace of life was a breath of fresh air for me. Since most shops are closed on Sundays, I now have one day a week where I am essentially forced to relax and enjoy my free time. Villach locals take advantage of their free time with visits to the mountains for skiing or long walks in the park with family. The peaceful pace of life in Villach is definitely something I could get used to.
There you have it, five things I love about living in Villach as an expat. An honorable mention also has to go to Villacher beer, especially after a long summer hike - ha!
Chelsea Navarro is an American expat from California, USA.
She has lived in Villach with her partner and dog since February, 2016. She enjoys exploring the Austrian wilderness, drinking Villacher beer and traveling around Europe.