With its historic old town nestled at the foot of the Alps and a towering fortress perched on an overlooking hill, the city of Salzburg is a breathtaking sight to see. This Austrian city attracts countless visitors every year as the famous birthplace of Mozart and the scenic backdrop of the classical movie The Sound of Music. Salzburg is the perfect blend of cultural heritage and trendy places, with many marvelous things to do that will keep you busy for at least a day. Surrounded by lush green hills and countryside villages, many people visit Salzburg as part of an Austrian road trip. Full of rich history which goes back hundreds of years and a picturesque riverside promenade, the city lends itself to an idyllic weekend getaway.
Thinking of visiting Salzburg and not sure what to do? From a buzzing beer scene and vibrant music festivals to eerie cemeteries or imperial-like palaces, there is something for everyone. We listed the best things to do that you shouldn’t miss during your Salzburg visit, including the city’s key landmarks, and top activities as well as revealing the most breathtaking viewpoints.
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The Best Things to Do in Salzburg
There are plenty of things to do in Salzburg that will keep you busy for days. From an imposing castle to a royal garden, lavish museums to ornate churches, traditional breweries to symphonic events. Or maybe you are a major Mozart or ‘Sound of Music‘ fan? And not to forget about its many spectacular viewpoints from which you can admire the Austrian landscapes. Whatever your interest might be, there is something for everyone in Salzburg.
We compiled below the best things to do and see on your first visit. Salzburg is easy to get around by foot as practically all the main attractions are within walking distance. You can see all the highlights in just one day, however, we suggest spending one night. This will allow you to hike to multiple viewpoints, enjoy a beer or two at a brewery and visit sights located outside the city center.
Once you arrive in the city, head straight to the old town where most of the sights are located. The city is divided in two by the Salzach River. On the left bank lies the medieval old town (Altstadt) and on the right bank the 19th-century new city (Neustadt). The historic center with its many incredible sights and architectural treasures has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1977.
Budget Tips for Your Salzburg Trip
The city of Mozart is well connected by train to many other destinations across Europe. For example, you can reach Munich in around 90 minutes, as Salzburg is located right across the border from Germany. If you book your train ticket in advance, you might be able to enjoy some discounts. Check the website from Deutsche Bahn for the Sparpreis Ticket to get a discount fare. Once you arrive at the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) it’s only a 20-minute walk to the old town.
If you intend to visit all the sights during your trip to Salzburg, we suggest getting the Salzburg Card to enjoy many benefits. Besides free admission to all tourist attractions and museums, you can also freely travel with public transportation and get additional discounts for cultural events and concerts. The Salzburg card is available for 24, 48, or 72 hours, starting from €27 for adults. You can purchase the card at all hotel receptions, and tourist information centers, or simply buy the Salzburg card online.
1. Seek out the most beautiful views
One of our favorite things to do on a trip is to find the best viewpoints, and Salzburg is just the perfect place for that. The city is surrounded by many hills, and you don’t have to hike far to get a nice bird’s eye view.
Some of the best photo spots and panoramic views of Salzburg city within walking distance from the center are:
The Hohensalzburg Fortress | You will spot this fortress immediately upon arrival, as it towers over the city from uphill. The northern terrace gives the best panoramic view of Salzburg city and its hilltop surroundings. From the castle grounds, you can also reach the Southern terrace on the other side of the fortress. From here let your gaze wander over the mountain ranges, which are especially beautiful during sunset.
Mönchsberg | A viewing platform right in front of the Museum of Modern Art and Café M32. From here you can spot the many churches and domes from the old town with the fortress in the background.
Humboldtterrasse | This panoramic terrace is on the way to Mönchsberg if you decide to go up on foot. It’s located above the Klausentor and gives a beautiful view of the entire old town.
DomQuartier Museum | The balcony of the museum is right between the Residenzplats and Domplatz, which you can enter with your Salzburg Card for free. If you are visiting during the festive season, this platform has great views of the Christmas market and Dom Square.
Kapuzinerberg | This viewpoint is located on the other side of the river, which you can reach by crossing the Staatsbrücke bridge. From this viewpoint, you get the perfect photo spot of the old town with the fortress as the main showstopper. Come here for sunset!
BONUS Photo spots
Müllner Steg | This one isn’t a viewpoint from above, but it’s one of the first bridges you pass coming from the train station. From here you get one of the most beautiful skyline views over the city framed by the river.
Mirabellgarten | One of the most popular photo spots in Salzburg must be the Mirabell Gardens. Find the elevated stairs on the west side of the palace from where you get a stunning view over the gardens with the fortress as a backdrop. Can it get any more iconic?
2. Explore Salzburg’s Old Town
We suggest starting your city tour in the old town (or Altstadt) near the fortress. The historic center of Salzburg is a maze of winding alleys and passages taking you to opulent squares. Salzburg’s old town is a must-visit, being one of the largest UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. This part of town houses the main sights such as the fortress, the Salzburg Cathedral, DomQuartier, Mozart’s birthplace and so much more! Furthermore, it boasts some of the most quaint cafés, bars, boutiques, and restaurants where you can fuel up in between all the sightseeing. Take your time exploring the many alleys in a leisurely way, while absorbing the beauty of all the medieval and Baroque architecture & courtyards.
The beating heart of the city is located around the main landmark Salzburg Cathedral (or Dom zu Salzburg). A visit to the Cathedral is one of the best things to do in Salzburg, as it boasts some magnificent artwork and baroque architecture on the inside as well. The imposing white Cathedral dates back to 774 but was rebuilt multiple times. Today its signature dome and two soaring towers dominate the cityscape of Salzburg. The cathedral houses 5 organs, of which one is the world-famous 4000 pipe organ, which is still being used today for concerts. Interesting to know is that none other than composer Mozart was christened in this very cathedral and he used to perform there. Don’t forget to head down to the crypts! The archbishops were buried here, and some art is being exhibited. Admission to the Salzburg Cathedral is free.
Make sure to explore all the squares that surround the Cathedral. During Christmas times you will find the Christmas market circled all around these squares. South is the Kapitelplatz, an amazing place from where you can admire the Hohensalzburg fortress. Keep your eyes open for a very cool photo spot here, namely the man on the golden globe with the fortress in the background. This famous sculpture was created by the German artist Stephan Balkenhol and goes by the name “Sphaera”.
In front of the Dom, you will find the Domplatz (or Cathedral Square) which leads to the Domquarter, a Baroque complex that houses multiple museums. A tour takes you along the staterooms located over several floors with an extensive art & cultural history collection. Further, you will pass through the Residenz Gallery, Cathedral Museum & St. Peter’s Museum.
TIP | Find your way to the Domquarter’s panoramic terrace, which you can enter for free with the Salzburg Card. The terrace gives you a magnificent view of Cathedral Square and Residence Square, especially with the Christmas Market.
ENTRANCE FEE | €13 euros, free with Salzburg Card
OPENING HOURS | Every day from 10 am – 5 pm
Another popular square in the old town is the Alter Markt (old marketplace) with its pastel-colored baroque townhouses around the St. Florian Fountain centerpiece. Founded in the 13th century, it served once as the main square for weekly markets and regular events. Traditional festivities such as the summer solstice of the Whitsun dance used to be celebrated on this very square.
Nowadays people flock around the square for its cozy ambiance and popular attractions. Café Tomaselli is probably the most known café in Salzburg, as it’s the city’s oldest coffee house. It’s said that none other than Amadeus Mozart used to be a regular here! Tomaselli’s signature white & green striped seats and umbrellas on the roof terrace became quite the internet hype. Experiencing this authentic coffee house and its extravagant atmosphere for a coffee break will cost you a bit more!
Another one of the best things to do on your trip to Salzburg is to sample one of the famous Mozartkugeln. These can be loosely translated as Mozart Balls. They are made by hand (hence the price of €1,40 per piece), consisting of a marzipan center with pistachio and nougat dipped in the finest dark chocolate. You can score these traditional delights at Café-Konditorei Fürst, the most famous chocolatier of Salzburg and the inventor of this delicious chocolate treat. Other famous buildings on the Alter Markt are the old court pharmacy (or Alte Fürsterzbischöfliche Hofapotheke) and the smallest house in Salzburg can be found on no. 10A.
3. Stroll along the Getreidegasse
At some point, while strolling through the old town you will stumble upon the Getreidegasse. This is probably the most popular & prettiest shopping street in Salzburg, recognizable by its stunning iron guild signs that adorn the house facades. Very iconic and eye-catching, even Mcdonald’s has its own gilded M sign. You will find many cute little shops here, from high-end fashion brands, and perfume boutiques to leather goods, antiquities, and souvenirs. Even if you don’t intend on shopping, strolling through the Getreidegasse is an attraction by itself with all its glittering displays, colorful houses, and charming doorways.
A few shops that are worth stopping by:
Eisl Eis | Ice cream shop that makes organic sheep’s milk ice cream.
Sporer Likör- & Punschmanufaktur | A little bar that makes its own authentic liquors & punch. They even offer Christmas flavors the whole year around.
Wieber Locksmith’s Shop | A traditional locksmith’s shop, where you can witness the blacksmith create iron guild signs for the shops on the Getreidegasse.
Blume & Duft | This beautiful shop is known for its dried flowers & spice arrangements, perfect to bring home as a souvenir. During the holidays you can also find some wonderful Christmas pieces.
Take a closer look at the older houses to notice the dates and names of former owners on the facades as well. The most important attraction on the Getreidegasse is without a doubt house No. 9. This bright yellow townhouse was the birthplace of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, born in 1756.
TIP | Keep your eyes open for the countless narrow passageways, also known as Durchhäuser. Most of these “secret passageways” can be found between Universitätsplatz and Getreidegasse, which will take you along ancient merchant houses.
4. Follow in Mozart’s Footsteps
As Salzburg is the birthplace of the world-renowned Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, you will stumble upon many Mozart-related sights. The Austrian composer was born in the city in 1756 and lived here for over 20 years.
It’s simply impossible to miss Mozart’s birthplace on the Getreidegasse. If it’s not by its bright yellow facade, then it must be by the long line of tourists gathering in the front. With over 400.000 visitors each year, this museum is one of the most popular things to do in Salzburg. You can find the yellow “Hagenauer Haus” at Getreidegasse 9. Visiting Mozart’s birthplace is an absolute must for all Mozart fans, as it’s the place where he learned to play the piano and violin and wrote his very first composition. Inside the former Mozart apartment, you can find a curated museum that displays Mozart’s original childhood violin, portraits, old letters, and music-related memorabilia. A tour of the exhibition takes you through 3 floors giving you more insights into Mozart’s past.
ENTRANCE FEE | Adults €12, children 6 – 14 yrs €3.50, youth 15 – 18 yrs €4. Combi tickets are available for Mozart’s Birthplace & Residence. Free entrance with the Salzburg card.
OPENING TIMES | Every day from 9 am till 5.30 pm (last entry 5 pm). During July & August from 8.30 am – 7 pm (last entry 6.30 pm).
On the other side of the Salzach River on the Makartplatz, you will find Mozart’s family residence. This is the perfect place to dive deeper into Mozart’s life. His family moved here in 1773 and with its eight rooms and a concert hall, it’s significantly grander than his birthplace. The building got destroyed during the Second World War, after which it got rebuilt into today’s museum that holds a multimedia exhibition on Mozart’s life, music, and family.
TIP | If you are craving something sweet, head over to Café Sacher right next to Mozart’s residence to taste the typical Austrian Sachertorte with some coffee.
ENTRANCE FEE | Adults €12, children 6 – 14 yrs €3.50, youth 15 – 18 yrs €4. Combi tickets are available for Mozart’s Birthplace & Residence. Free entrance with the Salzburg card.
OPENING TIMES | Every day from 9 am till 5.30 pm (last entry 5 pm). During July & August from 8.30 am – 7 pm (last entry 6.30 pm).
Experience Mozart’s music during Mozart Week or a dinner concert
One of Salzburg’s top attractions is Mozart Week, which takes place around the composer’s birthday on January 27th. This festival has been hosted every year since 1956 by the Mozarteum Foundation Salzburg. The whole city is transformed to honor and celebrate the composer and his work. During this festive week, the city hosts several musical concerts in its concert halls featuring recitals and operas performed by artists coming from all over the world. Not only can you expect classics like the Vienna Philharmonic but also special performances where Mozart’s authentic instruments are being used.
Throughout the year you have many opportunities to experience a Mozart concert in Salzburg, with regular events being held at the Mirabell Palace and the Hohensalzburg fortress. Another unique way to enjoy Mozart’s music is during a dinner concert. A known dinner concert is the one at the Stiftskulinarium, which is supposedly the oldest European restaurant dating back to 803. While enjoying a candlelight dinner, a quartet plays some of Mozart’s most-known pieces in the background.
5. Taste a traditional Bosna Sausage
It’s no secret that Austria is known for finger-licking good sausages. The best cure for a hungry belly is the typical Bosna sausage! This sausage is quite similar to a bratwurst, only thinner and spicier. You will mostly find it served as a hot dog kind of sandwich. A white sandwich roll quickly grilled and topped off with onions, ketchup, mustard, and curry powder. It’s so delicious we took another to go! Head over to Salzburger Grill Imbiss to grab a hot & hearty snack to savor while exploring the Old Town.
6. Hike up Mönchsberg for spectacular views of Salzburg
If you want to enjoy a panoramic bird’s eye view of the city, head over to Mönchsberg. This viewing platform is located right next to the Museum of Modern Art and Café M32. If you are a fan of contemporary art, this is the museum for you. We actually decided to skip the art museum itself and spent our day exploring the more traditional things to do in Salzburg. So even if you don’t want to visit the museum, we highly recommend going up to enjoy the views. This particular viewpoint is still quite a hidden gem as didn’t encounter many tourists.
How to reach Mönchsberg?
There are two ways to get up to the Mönchsberg observation deck. Or you take the elevator to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg, which you can find on Gstättengasse Street. To use the elevator you will need to buy a ticket, if you have the Salzburg Card, it’s free. Alternatively, you can hike the scenic path towards Mönchsberg, which is for free. We absolutely advise doing the hike if you have the time as not many people take this route. Nonetheless, the path is really beautiful and it’s a peaceful activity if you want to escape the city.
The path starts behind Cafe am Kai, where two sets of stairs will take you up the hill. On the hiking path, you will pass by several Stadttoren and another viewpoint called Humboldtterrasse. The best view of the city and its iconic fortress is however from the platform of the Museum der Moderne Salzburg. So absolutely something you shouldn’t miss on your visit! From there you can easily hike further toward the Hohensalzburg fortress. If you check google maps it looks like a long way from here to the fortress, but in reality, it’s not. Along the path, you will pass by other fortifications that date back to the 15th century such as Bürgerwehr Mönchsberg. Hiking lovers can even take the side routes and discover Mönchsberg lush meadows and forests that stretch way further.
ENTRY FEE MÖNCHSBERG ELEVATOR | One way: Adults € 2.80; Children (6-14,99 years) € 1.30. Roundtrip: Adults € 4.10 ; Children (6-14,99 years) € 2.00
OPENING TIMES | Monday 8 am -7 pm; Tuesday-Sunday 8 am – 9 pm; July & August daily 8 am – 11 pm.
7. Explore Hohensalzburg Fortress
The medieval Hohensalzburg Fortress towers high above the cityscape of Salzburg on top of a green hill. This spectacular castle is one of the largest medieval fortresses in Europe, built in 1077, and is well worth a visit. The city’s landmark was definitely one of our favorite things to do while in Salzburg. The place holds a captivating historical worth and on top of that has an incredible view over the city!
You can either reach the fortress on foot or via a funicular railway (Festungsbahn). The funicular starts right next to the Stieglkeller and the Festungsgasse, which runs every 10 minutes. If you choose to walk up, you can either take the long hiking route along Mönchsberg as explained above. Or take the short steep path if you are coming from Kapitelplatz, which takes around 15 minutes.
Once at the top, explore the castle grounds and visit its grand interior. The fortress houses multiple small museums, a courtyard, and medieval rooms that you can tour. The Prince’s Chambers is supposedly one of Europe’s best-preserved secular Gothic buildings.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT | The main highlight is of course its 360-degree view from on top of the Reckturm. The entrance to the tower is right next to the info point and access is included in the fortress’ entrance fee. The tower lets you admire both the city and Austria’s magnificent mountain ranges that stretch as far as the eye can see.
ENTRY FEE | All-inclusive ticket with fortress railway: Adults €16,60; Children €9,5. All-inclusive pathway ticket: Adults €12,60; Children €7,2.
OPENING TIMES | January – April: 9.30 a.m. – 5.00 p.m; May – September: 8.30 a.m. – 8.00 p.m; October – December: 9.30 a.m. –5.00 p.m.
8. Salzburg’s Cemeteries & Catacombs
After exploring the fortress, on your descent back to the city you will pass by St. Peter’s Cemetery (or Friedhof St. Peter). A cemetery is rarely an attraction, however, this resting place in Salzburg is quite a sight to see. Many of the tombstones are elaborately decorated with art pieces and overgrowing flower arrangements. As the cemetery is located on the edge of the Mönchsberg, it also houses some spectacular catacombs caves that were cut into the rock face. The catacombs can easily be missed as they are tucked away in the corner.
The catacombs date back to the 11th century and serve as a sanctuary for monks. The entrance can be found near the grave of Mozart’s sister Nannerl. You will have to climb 48 stone-carved steps to get to the first Chapel Gertrauden from 1178. Some 36 steps further you arrive at the second Chapel Maximus. It’s worth its small entrance fee as you can also enjoy a beautiful view of the cemetery and the surrounding historic buildings. Definitely one of the more unique things to do while you are in Salzburg!
ENTRANCE FEE | Adults €2, children 6 – 15 years & students €1.50; free with Salzburg Card
OPENING HOURS | From May – September, daily from 10 am – 12.30 pm & 1 pm – 6 pm. From October – April, daily from 10 am – 12.30 pm & 1 pm – 5 pm.
Stop by Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter for some freshly baked bread
On your way out of the cemetery make sure to stop by Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter, a very special landmark in Salzburg. The smell of freshly baked bread will come your way, and for just €2 you can take one home. The tradition of breadmaking at St Peter’s Abbey bakery goes back to the 12th century, making it the oldest bakery in town. Today you can still see the mill wheel at the Almkanal actively working, which was built by the monastery. Their popular wood-fired sourdough bread is still baked in the original wood-fired oven.
9. Treat yourself to a sweet Salzburger Nockerl
If you feel like treating yourself to a sweet delicacy, you have to try a Salzburger Nockerl. This famous dessert is a pyramid-looking soufflé, first created in the 17th century in Salzburg. The airy vanilla-flavored culinary specialty is served warm, topped off with sugared powder, and sometimes with a side of fruit sauce. One serving usually contains three Nockerl, each airy peak symbolizing one of the city’s surrounding hills: Mönchsberg, Kapuzinerberg & Gaisberg.
10. Cross over the Love Lock Bridge
Once you fully explored the old town, it’s time to make your way to the other side of the Salzach River. And what better way than to cross over the romantic Love Lock Bridge? Better known as the Makartsteg, a pedestrian-friendly bridge that holds onto love locks from hundreds of couples. The colorful locks on the bridge’s fencing instantly brighten up the whole place. Makartsteg also offers some wonderful views of the Old Town with the fortress backdrop, so make sure to turn around! This current bridge is the third version, the original one was built in 1905 but got destroyed during WWII, after which it got rebuilt in 1967. The final version as you can see today was revealed in 2000.
Salzburg counts many charming bridges, and going for a walk along the glittering Salzach River offers some wonderful perspectives of the surroundings. However, after all that walking, you might be more in the mood for a relaxing river cruise. A Salzach boat ride is not only a fun thing to do but also gives you the possibility to admire Salzburg’s awe-inspiring landscape along the riverbanks.
11. The Grandiose Mirabell Palace and Gardens
One of the most popular photo spots in Salzburg is without a doubt the Mirabell Gardens. Staggered terraces, marble statues, and beautiful fountains. These gardens are the perfect place to unwind in the afternoon while enjoying the beautiful surroundings from one of the benches. This place was once the backdrop for a famous movie scene of the musical “The Sound of Music”. Remember when Maria and the Van Trapp children sang “Do, Re, Mi” while dancing around the Pegasus fountain? From the west side, you have a stunning view of the garden with the fortress in the background. Can it get any more iconic?
As to be expected, the garden is extremely popular amongst tourists, so the place always gets rather crowded.
Adjacent you can find the grandiose Mirabell palace, which was built in 1606 by prince-archbishop Wolf Dietrich. Entrance is free, making it one of the best free things to do in Salzburg. This cultural heritage monument is one of the most romantic palaces in Salzburg. Fun Fact, its marble hall is one of the most famous wedding venues in the world! Besides its impressive marble hall, the palace’s main highlights are its 18th-century Angel Staircase elaborately decorated with statues. Further, you can also find a Baroque museum inside, which displays European art from the 17th century.
ENJOY A MOZART CONCERT AT THE MIRABELL PALACE
The stunning Mirabell Palace hosts almost daily classical concerts. Book tickets and enjoy a classical music recital in the 17th-century Mirabell Palace on your Salzburg trip.
12. Visit the locations of the Sound of Music movie
Did you know that many exterior scenes of the Sound of Music movie were shot in Salzburg? If you grew up with this movie classic and would like to re-enact some of its famous scenes, there are multiple Sound Of Music tours available. However, it’s also easy to go on the hunt for these locations yourself.
Hellbrunn Palace Gardens | In this palace’s gardens you can find the famous pavilion where the song ‘Sixteen going on Seventeen’ was filmed.
Mirabell Gardens | The staircase & the Pegasus fountain were the filming location for “Do, Re, Mi” sung by Maria and the Van Trapp children.
Schloss Leopoldskron | This lakefront palace is located outside the city center. Today it’s a luxurious hotel, that served once as the Van Trapp family house.
Residenzplatz | Shooting place of ‘I Have Confidence in Me’.
Felsenreitschule concert hall | Where the family performed their final concert before they had to escape from the Nazis.
Nonnberg Abbey | This monastery appeared at the beginning of the movie when the nuns sing. Supposedly the real-life Maria used to live here and it’s also the place where she got married to Captain Von Trapp.
FUN FACT | Funnily enough the movie “The Sound of Music” was no big hit in Germany or Austria! Moritz didn’t really know of the movie before I met him and has never seen it himself. Apparently, this is mostly due to the fact that the movie contains a lot of historical inaccuracies and is rather stereotypical in nature. The Nazi theme made the movie also controversial in Germany, 20-some years after the war.
13. Visit an authentic Beer Brewery
What’s a visit to Austria without trying out the local beer? For an authentic experience, you can’t go wrong with visiting a local brewery or Biergarten in the summer. If you are looking for an unforgettable ambiance and delicious beer head over to the Augustiner Bräustübl. This ancient monastery brewery has had a beer tradition for over 400 years and boasts five beer halls all over the city. Today they still pour their beer from a wooden barrel and serve it in a traditional stone mug.
During summer you can enjoy one of their local brews in their charming beer garden on the big wooden benches. Order delicious dishes like pork roast or knuckle with a potato salad. It can’t get any more Austrian with a freshly baked pretzel (or Breze/Brezn) with a sweet spicy mustard dip! During winter you can warm up in their cozy beer hall on the dark wooden seatings surrounded by a lively atmosphere. No doubt you will have an amazing time here!
Another favorite in the heart of Salzburg is the Stieglkeller. This Biergarten is on the way to the Hohensalzburg fortress, offering a terrace with a magnificent view of the old town. What better thing to do than enjoy a refreshing beer with delicious food while getting the best view of Salzburg? It’s the perfect place to try out Austrian specialties such as the typical Wiener Schnitzel as well as the local dessert Salzburger Nockerl.
JOIN A BEER TOUR & TASTING
If you are a beer lover, then a beer tasting at Stiegl Brewery might be the top thing to do for you in Salzburg! Stiegl-Brauwelt is the largest private brewery in Austria and offers brewery tours and beer tastings just outside the Old Town.
14. Experience Salzburg’s Christmas Market
As if Salzburg isn’t impressive enough, it gets even more magical during the festive season. Shops are lavishly decorated and festive lights adorn the quaint cobblestone lanes. The aromas of spiced Glühwein, freshly baked Lebkuchen, and grilled sausages fill the air. Imagine wooden chalets covered in twinkling lights selling everything from glass & wooden ornaments to leather goods and tasty treats such as roasted almonds and lebkuchen. The city’s churches and palaces serve as the perfect backdrop for a Christmas market, making Salzburg worth a visit during winter. The city’s Christmas atmosphere is one of the most popular around, with people even coming over from neighboring countries.
Multiple Christmas markets are spread all over the city of Salzburg. The main one can be found in the historic center around the Cathedral. This Christmas market knows its origin back in the 15th century and has an extensive program of events. Throughout the Christmas market period, there is choral singing, Turmblasen (or wind instruments music) on the Residenz square, and several exhibits in the Residenz courtyard.
The Hohensalzburg fortress even has its own little Christmas market. After visiting the museum and the top of the main tower to get the best city views, stop by the main castle courtyard. A few Christmas stalls are put up for the visitors to enjoy. We can advise getting the goulash here, which was mouthwateringly delicious. Afterward, proceed to the Domplatz to soak up the atmosphere. There are several Krampus statues installed, in case you are curious about what these folklore creatures look like!
15. Enjoy sunset views from the Kapuzinerberg
The best way to finish your day in Salzburg is by hiking to the Kapuzinerberg for sunset. Amongst locals, this hill is one of the favorite things to do if you want to tune out the city’s noises. It’s not only a peaceful city escape, but it also offers one of the most picturesque views of the city.
With its 640-meter height, the Kapuzinerberg is the highest point in the city and can be found on the eastern bank of the Salzach River. Luckily you won’t have to climb far as the monastery viewpoint is only a bit uphill. The sweeping views at the end are definitely worth the steep walk uphill. The viewing platform gives you a picture-perfect view of the fortress with the surrounding town, river, and mountains.
There are two ways to get to the top. You can take the stairs starting at Steingasse via the Imbergstiege, for which you do need a moderate fitness level. Or you can follow the road starting at Linzer Gasse near the Franziskuspforte, which is much easier than the stairs. Along this trail, you will pass by Cross Stations, a 17th-century defense tower, and the monastery of the Capuchin Friars.
Maps of all the best things to do in Salzburg
For your convenience, we have created an interactive map pinpointing all the mentioned sights and locations. This Google Maps link is freely available for you to open, save, and use as a helpful guide during your upcoming trip to Salzburg.
Best tours of Salzburg
Joining a tour can be a great way to make the most of your visit and gain valuable insights from knowledgeable guides. Here are some of the best tours in Salzburg:
Salzburg Old Town Walking Tour | Joining this 2,5 hour guided walking tour of Salzburg allows you to delve into the city’s rich history and architectural wonders. You’ll discover the UNESCO-listed historic center, stroll through narrow cobblestone streets, visit Mozart’s birthplace, and learn about the city’s Baroque and Gothic architecture. This tour is ideal for visitors to Salzburg who want to fully immerse themselves, especially those who are limited to a day of exploration.
Amphibious Tour on Land and Water | This 1.5-hour audio-guided tour is a unique and entertaining way to explore the city’s landmarks both on land and from the water. The tour takes place aboard an amphibious bus, a vehicle that can seamlessly transition between land and water, allowing you to experience the sights of Salzburg from both perspectives.
Salzburg Cruise, Dinner & Mozart Fortress Concert | A delightful evening experience that combines a scenic Salzach river cruise followed by a delicious dinner that consists of traditional Austrian cuisine. The highlight of the evening is a classical concert held within the walls of Hohensalzburg Fortress, where musicians will perform famous compositions by Mozart.
Salzburg Ghost Tour | A thrilling and spooky experience as you delve into the city’s haunted history and supernatural tales. The guided tour lasts around 1,5 hours and focuses mainly on the Salzburg witch trials and the Zauberer Jackl trials, as well as the role of the Catholic Church at the time.
Where to stay in Salzburg
In the historic district of Salzburg, known as Altstadt, there are many accommodation choices available. Staying in this area you can easily walk to all the main highlights, but keep in mind that prices tend to be higher.
If you’re willing to stay a bit further from the center, near the train station, Itzling is a good option. It has a range of budget-friendly properties and is still within walking distance of the main attractions. Below, you’ll find my recommendations for where to stay in Salzburg
BUDGET | Pension Elisabeth
The hotel’s central location allows for easy exploration of Salzburg’s attractions. The rooms are comfortable with modern amenities. There is the possibility to include breakfast and free private parking spaces & bicycle rentals are available on-site. Overall, it provides a cozy and convenient stay for guests.
A family-run boutique hotel in the heart of Salzburg, with a city courtyard, cozy terrace, stylish lounge, and relaxing wellness area. (E-) parking lot & high-class bikes are available for the guests (for a surcharge). The hotel features beautifully decorated rooms with modern amenities and luxurious touches. With its sophisticated design and personalized service, it offers a unique and memorable stay for guests.
LUXURY | Hyperion Hotel Salzburg
A modern and upscale hotel known for its contemporary design and exceptional amenities. With stylish rooms equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, guests can enjoy a luxurious and comfortable stay. The professional staff provides top-notch service and attention to detail. The hotel offers a restaurant serving culinary delights and a trendy bar for relaxation. A wellness area is available for guests’ well-being. The hotel’s prime location allows easy access to Salzburg’s main attractions.
Salzburg Essential Resources
FLIGHTS | Find the best deals for flights to Salzburg with Skyscanner.
TRANSFERS | Ready to travel to your next destination in Europe? Book your bus or train tickets via 12go.
HOTELS | Browse Booking.com for a place to stay in Salzburg, from budget hostels to luxury hotels.
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