Salzburg is my favourite city in Austria. The small size, historic places to see, and access to nearby nature, make it the perfect little city.
Salzburg is perfectly located between the main big cities of Munich in Germany and Vienna in Austria making it great to stop in even just for the day.
If you have a few days in Salzburg then you can slow down and enjoy the place better, but you can see all the main sites in a day.
Hohensalzburg Schloss (Castle)
Hohensalzburg Schloss (Schloss is the German word for castle) looms over the city of Salzburg and is one of the main attractions to see.
For over 1000 years this mighty fortress has held the power of Salzburg’s rulers.
There is a funicular cable car that brings tourists up the hill to the castle but if you can manage it’s worth the short hike up there instead.
As far as things to do in Salzburg go this is a must-visit place!
Salzburg Old Town (Altstadt)
The Altstadt (old town) is the most charming part of Salzburg with its myriad of old streets and history. It’s where Mozart lived and has many of the main sites to see in Salzburg.
You can walk around seeing lots of historic buildings of Baroque and medieval architecture that are famous in Austria.
Salzburg Cathedral in Old Town
Salzburg Cathedral is nearby St Peter’s Abbey and is beautifully designed in Baroque architecture.
The original structure dated back to 774 AD but has been destroyed many times. What you see today is a newer building but still impressive. The interior is the best part about it.
Getreidegasse in Old Town
Getreidegasse is a classic shopping street in the heart of Salzburg old town and is a popular place to stroll down.
The street is packed with boutique shops and pretty buildings, while cafes can be found to sit and enjoy a coffee and strudel.
Mozarts Geburtshaus in Old Town
Mozart is one of the most famed names in musical history and he comes from Salzburg. In the old town at number 9 Getreidegasse, you can visit his birthplace which is now a museum.
Just be aware it’s a very popular tourist attraction so go early to avoid the crowds.
Neugebäude and The Salzburger Glockenspiel
Part of the Residenz Palace which is where the Salzburg museum is, between Salzburg Cathedral and Mozartplatz, you can see and hear the Salzburger Glockenspiel with 35 bells that play at different times of the day classic music pieces from Mozart and others.
Relax in the square and enjoy the sound!
St. Peter’s Abbey
St. Peter’s Abbey dates back to 690 AD and was home to Benedictine archbishops, but nowadays most of the building is from the 17-18th centuries.
It has an incredible Christian burial ground and old catacombs.
Mirabell Gardens and Palace
This palace dates back to 1606 and was originally built as a pleasure palace. And it is a pleasure to walk around the gardens there.
The Marble Hall in the palace where concerts are held is beautiful but it’s walking around in the gardens that is the best thing to do there. You will get great views of parts of Salzburg old town from there as well.
Hellbrunn Schloss (Castle)
Hellbrunn Castle is an old building dating back to the 1600s. The gardens are the main draw here with their trick fountains.
It’s only around 20 minutes from Salzburg by car. If you don’t have your own transport then you can take a bus from Salzburg train station.
If you are short on time in Salzburg then give this one a miss and concentrate on the things to do in Salzburg old town etc, but if you can make it out there it’s a nice trip.
Half-Day Trip to Hallstatt
Hallstatt is one of the most popular small villages to visit in Austria due to its pretty location next to Lake Hallstatt and the old-world romance of the place, with its Alpine houses going back to the 16th century.
It has been described as one of the most beautiful villages in the world!
There are plenty of cafes and shops in the small streets of the village. Be aware it’s a very popular tourist village in Austria and can get packed midday!
A half-day tour to Hallstatt can be done easily from Salzburg or take a bus there (or drive if you have your own car) and visit by yourself.
Food in Salzburg (Including Beer and Coffee)
Cafe Konditorei Fürst has been around since 1884 and is world famous for the handmade marzipan pistachio nougat dark chocolates called Salzburger Mozartkugel. A must visit place for the chocolate and history lover!
Bärenwirt (Bear Host) is one of the oldest inns in Salzburg going back to 1663 and has some of the best regional speciality foods you can have in the city.
The Augustiner Bräustübl is one of the most popular places for a beer and dinner in Salzburg with a beer tradition that goes back nearly 400 years.
Austria is well known for its coffeehouses, especially in Vienna, and in Salzburg, the 300-year-old Café Tomaselli coffeehouse is one of the best for coffee and cake and was even a favourite place of Mozart’s.
St Peter Stiftskeller is the oldest restaurant in Europe with 1200 years of history behind it. You can see a Mozart concert and have dinner along with it in the St Peter Stiftskeller.
Salzburg Practical Information
Getting to Salzburg
Salzburg is easy to get to as it’s connected easily with the rest of Austria by train, bus, or by your own car.
Train is my favourite way to travel and is the best way to get around in Europe.
This is the official website for trains in Austria.
It’s 2 hours and 20 minutes from Vienna to Salzburg by train.
It can easily be reached from nearby Munich in Germany as well. The train from Munich takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Where to Stay in Salzburg
There are so many places to stay in Salzburg for every budget. As this website and the way I travel generally leans towards the budget side of things but for a nice compromise for a middle-range place to stay I would recommend the Altstadt Hotel Hofwirt, located around 10 minutes walk from Mirabell Palace.
You can find many hostels and hotels in Salzburg here.
Get a Salzburg Card (get one with that link) for 24 hours free access to all major sites, museums, and transport in the city.
One of the best guides for Austria and Salzburg I recommend is the Lonely Planet Austria guide.
For travel insurance, which I view as a must-have when travelling in Europe as healthcare costs can be very expensive if things go wrong, I use WorldNomads insurance.
If you are in Munich then Salzburg makes an excellent day trip from Munich by train as it’s not that far.
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