Living in Austria For Members

Barbecues, nudity and smoking: What am I allowed to do on my balcony in Austria?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Barbecues, nudity and smoking: What am I allowed to do on my balcony in Austria?

During the summer months, it may seem that every Austrian lives exclusively on their balconies - doing all sorts of activities outdoors. But what is and isn't allowed?


Summertime in Austria is synonymous with outdoor activities, not only in parks and lakes, but people spend a fair amount of time at home on balconies and terraces. 

From sunbathing to barbecues to late-night drinks, balconies are where many Austrians go to enjoy the warmer weather and escape the heat of their apartments. But what are the rules around what you can and can't do on your balcony?


There are no Austrian laws that expressly prohibit barbecues on balconies. However, some factors can affect whether or not you are allowed to have a BBQ on your balcony, including your tenancy agreement and the impact of your event on your neighbours.

If your tenancy agreement prohibits BBQs, you must comply with the clause, or you may face consequences, such as a formal warning or even termination of your lease.

Even if your tenancy agreement does not prohibit barbecues, you may still be restricted from having one if it has a negative impact on your neighbours. For example, if the smoke enters your neighbours' homes, they may be able to complain to you or your landlord.

Some tenancy agreements may prohibit using certain types of grills, such as charcoal grills. If this is the case, you may be able to use an electric or gas grill instead. These grills do not produce smoke, which can help reduce the impact on surrounding apartments and make coexistence easier.

Ultimately, if your grill is causing your neighbours a nuisance, they may complain to you or your landlord. In some cases, they may even be able to take legal action against you.

READ MORE: Can I have a barbecue on my balcony in Austria?



There are no Austrian laws that specifically prohibit people from being naked in their own homes or on private property - including your balcony. Additionally, past case law has clearly expressed that being naked at home and on private property (no matter how visible) is not prohibited. 

However, there are laws on public decency, which can be applied if your neighbours file complaints against you based on "public nuisance". The presence of children can be a factor in determining whether or not someone's nakedness is considered indecent. 

If someone's nakedness is considered indecent, they may be subject to a fine or other legal action. However, it is important to note that the law is not always clear-cut, and what is considered indecent can vary depending on the circumstances.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about getting naked in Austria



Smoking has been considered by Austrian case law as a "customary activity" in Austria and cannot be banned in apartments, balconies or gardens. However, a 2016 Supreme Court case in Austria ruled in favour of a tenant who was suing his downstairs neighbour, who smoked cigars on his balcony.

Austria's highest court determined that the plaintiff must be allowed to ventilate his apartment three times a day without being disturbed and must also be allowed to sleep with the window open during the summer months. With that, the court set specific times when the neighbour could not smoke (from 10 pm to 6 am during summer and during three "ventilation" times during the day).

Tenant's organisations in Austria recommend talking to the neighbour if their smoking bothers you and trying to reach a solution out of court.

READ ALSO: ‘Everyone smokes’: The biggest culture shocks of moving to Austria


Loud music

Austria has "rest periods" that generally apply from 10 pm to 6 am and all day on Sundays and public holidays (though they differ in some cases from one province to another or depending on tenancy agreements). 

If your neighbours are being too loud during those hours, tenant organisations recommend first seeking a conversation - if nothing changes, a complaint can be filed with authorities because loud noises during rest periods are considered an administrative offence. 

READ ALSO: Living in Austria: What can I do about noisy neighbours?

If you are throwing a party, be mindful of those hours - try to keep it quiet or indoors after a specific time. It's not uncommon for people in Austria to leave a note alerting their neighbours beforehand of an event or party they are throwing. But even if this gathers some sympathy from neighbours, it's still important to be reasonable. 


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also