Salzburg is one of the most beautiful cities in Austria and is surrounded by mountains. What to do in Salzburg? Keep on reading!
Why should you visit Salzburg?
After Vienna, Salzburg is the most popular destination for a city trip in Austria. The city has a beautiful historic city center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Salzburg is located in a mountainous area and the river Salzach runs right through the city.
The city is known as the hometown of the famous composer Mozart and it is also the place where the movie The Sound of Music takes place. As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to visit Salzburg!
What to do in Salzburg?
What are the best things to do in Salzburg? Here are 15 fun things to do in Salzburg.
Mirabell Gardens & Palace
If you’ve seen The Sound of Music, you will probably recognize the Mirabell Gardens and Mirabell Palace. That’s right because this is the place where Maria and the children sing Do Re Mi. The gardens are free to visit and a perfect place to take a break.
Tip Would you like to visit more film locations from The Sound of Music? Go on The Sound of Music tour.
Hohensalzburg Castle is undoubtedly the most striking structure in Salzburg. It is a huge medieval castle (one of the largest in all of Europe) and stands on top of a hill. It is a beautiful sight to see, but also a great place to visit. From the castle, you also have a great view of the city.
Do you want to escape the crowds and are in for a challenge? Then you should go hiking on the Kapuzinerberg. This is a hill in the middle of the city northwest of Aldstadt (the historic city center where you will find most of the sights).
There are several hiking trails on this mountain, where you occasionally walk through a forest and have no idea that you are in the middle of a city. The highest point is 640 meters and from several places, you have a beautiful view of Salzburg and the mountainous landscape around it. It is especially fun to walk along the Basteiweg, over and along the former city wall.
There are several (large) churches and cathedrals in Salzburg and the Salzburg Cathedral (Dom zu Salzburg) is the largest and most striking. Although there has been a church on this site since 774, the current one dates from the year 1611. Unfortunately, it was hit by an airplane bomb during the Second World War, which required a major restoration.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptized in this church in 1756, his baptismal font can still be seen.
Stroll along the Salzach
The river Salzach flows right through the city and several beautiful promenades run along the river (including the Kaipromenade). It’s a lovely place to walk and from some places, you have a beautiful view of the city. There are also several cafes, restaurants, and terraces along the promenade. For sports enthusiasts: the promenade along the Salzach river is also a great place to go for a run.
Mozart is the city’s most famous resident and you will see his image everywhere. In Aldstadt you will find the Mozartplatz (platz means square in German), where there is a large statue of Mozart. It is a pleasant square with a few cafes, museums and the tourism office, where you can get even more information for your city trip.
The Kollegienkirche (Collegiate Church) is one of the most beautiful churches in Aldstadt. The church is all white on the outside as well as on the inside. A remarkable place to visit!
The church is located on Universitätsplatz, where there is a market where they sell local delicacies.
When I first walked through Getreidegasse (Grain Lane), I thought for a moment that I was walking on a movie set. This shopping street is so photogenic! Although there are some well-known chain stores here and there, all the shops fit in perfectly with the style of this street.
Between the shops are many hidden galleries and alleys where you can easily get to other places. It’s fun to discover them all!
Mozart’s Birthplace & Residence
Number 9 is the most famous building of the Getreidegasse, this is the birthplace of Mozart. This building has been a museum since 1880 and is a must-see if you want to learn more about Mozart’s history and his development as a composer.
On the other side of the river, you will also find Mozarts Wohnhaus, the house where Mozart lived until 1780. This is also a museum about Mozart’s life.
If you want to find some peace and quiet after a visit to the beautiful but crowded city center, it is nice to walk to the Richterhöhe on the Mönchsberg. Here you can see various old city walls and towers and there are many benches to relax on. You have a beautiful view from various places. You will love it!
The Pferdeschwemme is a very special building from the seventeenth century. This used to be the place where your horses could drink and be washed. The Pferdeschwemme in Salzburg is surrounded by various murals (of course depicting horses) and in the middle is a statue of a horse. It’s a very interesting sight!
Museum der Moderne
East of the center you will find Museum der Moderne, the museum of Modern Art. The building is very special to see, it stands on a steep cliff of the Mönchsberg and overlooks the entire city. From here you have a beautiful view of the city.
As the name suggests, you can mainly view modern art (from the nineteenth century) in the museum. The museum mainly focuses on works by Austrian artists and houses a large collection of graphic art, photography, film, paintings, and sculptures.
Would you like to explore a more quiet neighborhood in Salzburg? Then it is fun to wander through the Mülln district. It is located north of the center and here you will find cozy old streets with beautiful buildings. The Pfarrkirche in particular is a sight to see. In addition, you will also find Augustiner bräu with a large beer garden.
St Peter’s Abbey
It’s a little bit hidden, but behind the Dom, you will find St Peter’s Abbey, a Benedictine monastery. In this monastery, you will find the oldest library in Austria. There is also a very old cemetery here (Petersfriedhof) with graves that date back to the twelfth century. Among others, Nannerl (Maria Anna, Mozart’s sister) is buried here.
It is a huge complex and you can wander around for a while to discover all the hidden squares and marvel at the beautiful architectural styles.
And to end your city trip: drink a beer in one of the beer gardens (or when it rains in a Brauhaus, a brewery). Biergarten Sternbräu is located in the middle of the Aldstadt, hidden between Getreidegasse and Griesgasse, and is exactly what you would expect from a beer garden. Wooden chairs and large glasses of fresh beer. Prost!
Day Trips from Salzburg
Salzburg is also a good base to discover more beautiful places in the area. Here are some great day trips you can take from Salzburg:
Hallstatt is a small village on the Hallstätter See and one of the most beautiful places in Austria. The village is surrounded by mountains and is picture-perfect. Hallstatt is about 1.5 hours drive from Salzburg. No car? It takes almost 3 hours by public transport, but you can also book a guided tour.
Eagle’s Nest in Berchtesgaden
Salzburg is very close to the German border and there are so it’s easy to travel to Germany and visit some interesting places. A day trip to Berchtesgaden is therefore very popular. This village is located near one of the most beautiful places in Germany: the Köningssee. In addition, you can also visit the Eagle’s Nest (The Kehlsteinhaus), which was used by members of Hitler and the Nazi Party for meetings.
Another beautiful place in Germany: Munich. If you think Salzburg is a beautiful city, visiting Munich is definitely a must. This city is also full of beautiful historic buildings and castles. It only takes 1.5 hours to travel from Salzburg to Munich by train, and by car, it takes a little longer (about 2 hours).
How to get to Salzburg?
There are many roads to Rome, but also to Salzburg! How to get to Salzburg?
- By plane: Salzburg also has an international airport. Check Skyscanner for prices and to find the cheapest tickets.
- By train: Salzburg has a large train station, so if you’re traveling in Europe, taking the train to Salzburg is pretty easy. Check the Rail Europe website for timetables and prices.
- By bus: In addition, it’s also easy to travel within Europe by bus. For example, traveling to Salzburg by Flixbus is very convenient.
Where to stay in Salzburg
To see all of Salzburg in a couple of hours is nearly impossible. That’s why I would recommend staying at least two nights in Salzburg. What are the best places to stay? Here are some recommendations:
- € The Keep Eco Residence: nicely decorated rooms with shared bathroom. In a good location between the main station and the Aldstadt.
- €€ Motel One Salzburg-Süd: beautifully decorated design hotel. Affordable because it is slightly outside the city center. But the bus connection is really good, and you’ll reach the city center within a few minutes.
- €€€ IMLAUER HOTEL PITTER Salzburg: 4* hotel with very comfortable rooms. From the restaurant you have a panoramic view of the city.
Check Booking.com for an overview of even more beautiful places to stay.
The Salzburg Card
Do you want to get the most out of your city trip to Salzburg? Then buying the Salzburg Card is highly recommended. The card can be purchased from €29 and is valid for 24, 48, or 72 hours. What’s included?
- Public Transport
- Almost all museums, including Mozart’s birthplace, Festung Hohensalzburg, and Museum of Modern Art Mönchsberg
- Various cable cars
- River Cruise
Read more about Salzburg and Austria
Would you like to visit Salzburg or do you want to discover more beautiful places in Austria? Here are some great travel guides:
Salzburg and Surroundings Marco Polo Pocket Guide
On this website, you can also read about Vienna, the capital of Austria.
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