Salzburg is a beautiful, vibrant city, a Unesco World Heritage Site with an astonishingly rich cultural heritage. It is also a great place to wander and absorb the history that marks it out from other Austrian cities etched with typical Habsburg style and their distinct atmosphere. The harmonious interplay of landscape and architecture, art and culture, as well as traditional and modern, all within a surprisingly small area, merely adds to the special charm of this place.
- Salzburg blog — Sleeping heaven of Austria
- Salzburg Hallstatt itinerary — The Hallstatt trip from Salzburg for 3 days in Austria
- What to buy in Austria? — 17+ best souvenirs from Austria & best things to buy in Austria
- One day in Vienna — What to see in Vienna in one day?
- Visiting Dachstein Salzkammergut to climbing Dachstein mountains
So, is Salzburg worth visiting, how to visit Salzburg, what to do in Salzburg and how to plan a budget trip to Salzburg for the first-time perfectly? Let’s check out our Salzburg travel blog (Salzburg blog) with the fullest Salzburg travel guide (Salzburg tourist guide, Salzburg city guide, Salzburg guide) from how to get to Salzburg, best places to visit, best time to come, what to eat as well as top things to do in Salzburg to help you maximize your trip as follows!
To experience at a relaxed, leisurely pace what to do and where to go in Salzburg in Austria, let’s find out through this guidepost to be useful on your journey!
Overview of Salzburg (# salzburg travel blog)
To know what a wonderful city of Salzburg is, let’s explore its highlights from history, the arts, culture, and nature, that interest you Salzburg involves these things.
This old city on the Salzach River looks back on a long history as a metropolis of the arts and culture. The cultural heritage of this city shaped by the Baroque has its origins in a vibrant exchange with its southern neighbors, especially Italy.
It contains beautiful classical architecture, classical streets and squares, and famous structures such as Hohensalzburg Fortress, the emblem of this city, and Salzburg Cathedral. The left bank of the Salzach is also famous for the Getreidegasse, you will discover the house where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born, creating a city having much of its identity as a metropolis of music and the arts.
Stunning Vistas of Salzburg (# salzburg travel blog)
Salzburg is a city of unparalleled beauty, surrounded by the famous Alps. This enchanting city offers plenty of opportunities to admire its elegant buildings; graceful domes; photographic mountains and Salzach River; and majestic countryside from a range of known and unknown lookout points and vistas.
Music and art (# salzburg travel guide)
Salzburg is home to the annual Mozart Festival, which attracts and features musicians and classical dramatic artists at the top of their professions. You can attend musical performances practically every night of the year at concert halls and theatres like the Salzburg Landestheater.
Salzburg enchants visitors with pure, unadulterated nature. It is immersed in colorful flower gardens, and green parks everywhere. You will get a sense of just how green Salzburg is the very first moment you set eyes on it. The tradition of landscape gardening is deeply rooted in Salzburg. Therefore, outdoor activities including bicycling, and walking shall be beloved by many visitors.
Salzburg is close to the border with Germany, spends only two hours from Munich and one hour from Vienna by train, and also has convenient domestic and international flights. This makes Salzburg an ideal destination to visit or combine with other European destinations.
When to visit Salzburg? (# salzburg travel guide)
The high seasons to visit Salzburg are in spring from April to June and fall from September to October. If you like warm days and sunshine, the summer high season is the best time to head to Salzburg. With blue skies, and temperatures hovering around 15 and 25 degrees Celsius, the surrounding hills are ripe for walking.
The spring weather is often changeable, with sunny days mixed with cloudy and rainy days, so it’s a good idea to bring a range of clothing. This is also a beautiful time to visit, as the city’s parks and gardens come to life with blooming flowers and green foliage. Especially noteworthy and Instagramable are the Magnolia trees on Makartplatz Square. You can participate in outdoor activities such as walking, and cycling, and visit popular attractions such as Mirabell and Hellbrunn Palaces.
In the fall, the city’s parks and gardens are ablaze with autumn colors, and the surrounding hills and mountains are blanketed in red, yellow, and orange foliage. The fall weather in Salzburg can be pleasant during the day, but temperatures can drop significantly in the evenings, making it important to pack warm clothing. You can participate in festivals, like the Mozart Festival and the Red Bull Foliage.
However, if you like winter air and don’t mind the cold, you can also visit Salzburg during the winter to enjoy the snow-covered landscape and participate in activities like skiing or enjoy indoor attractions such as museums, galleries, and historical sites, as well as Christmas markets in December.
How to get to Salzburg from cities in Austria and Europe? (# salzburg blog)
The usual route is to travel between Vienna, Salzburg, and Hallstatt within Austria, in addition, there is a small valley at the foot of the mountain, Innsbruck. You can refer to a detailed article on traveling between Vienna, Salzburg, and Hallstatt here. Alternatively to get to Salzburg from cities in Europe by various means of transport as follows:
By plane: Salzburg has an international airport W.A. Mozart (Salzburg Airport), hence you can fly directly from major cities like Vienna, Munich, Frankfurt, Zurich, and Amsterdam. From the airport, you can travel to the city center by taxi, bus, or shuttle.
By train: The Salzburg Main Train station (Hauptbahnhof) is a 20-minute walk from Altstadt or the old city. Salzburg is at the intersection between Munich and Vienna as well as destinations in the Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia, and Switzerland. Munich (about 1.5—2 hours) and Vienna (about 2—3 hours) are the most frequented destinations with Munich even closer to Salzburg than the Austrian capital Vienna. Express train lines are also available from major cities.
By car: If you drive or rent a car, you can travel to Salzburg by road. Salzburg has national highways and highways interconnecting to nearby cities such as Munich, Vienna, and Innsbruck. However, be aware of applicable traffic regulations and fees to cross borders and on highways.
How to get from Salzburg airport to the city center? (# salzburg travel guide)
From Salzburg airport, there are several public buses that you can use to get from the airport into downtown Salzburg. Bus 10 to get to the Salzburg Rathaus (old town) from the airport takes you every 10 minutes. The most popular bus route is line 2 with the following details:
- Departure point: Salzburg Airport (Terminal 1)
- Destination: Salzburg Hbf Bus Stop—Salzburg City Center
- Schedule: Line 2 is from early morning to late night and has a frequency of about 10-20 minutes during the day. The route travels through several central stops and ends at the Salzburg Hbf bus stop (central train station).
- Trip time: The trip time from the airport to the city center is about 20-30 minutes, depending on the traffic.
How to get around Salzburg by public transport? (# salzburg travel guide)
The public transport system of Salzburg runs primarily on buses, trains, and trams acting as fillers. The same ticket can be used for traveling across the integrated travel network of Salzburg. Study the Salzburg city zone carefully, it extends to the Austria-Germany border.
Types of public transport tickets in Salzburg
The 24—hour ticket to the center of Salzburg costs €6.40 when you bought directly from the bus driver, which is €6.40. You can buy tickets in advance for less than €4.20 from vending machines or via the phone app. The saving tip is that you should buy a 24—hour ticket compared to a single 5—ticket for €9.50. Both the 24—hour ticket, the single ticket, and a 1—hour ticket (only available on the machines or in the app) are much cheaper when pre-purchased.
If you take a single ride in the center of Salzburg, it’s expensive because distances are short and there is a minimum charge. If you take a 2—minute ride, for example, you would pay €2,90 while you pay the same for the 20—minute bus ride to the airport.
One-hour tickets cost €2. These prices are only for the Central Zone i.e. Salzburg City and airport. These tickets can also be brought on regional trains. These tickets can be used on Buses, Obuses, and regional trains.
If you are going to explore Salzburg exhaustively and are going into two or more regions, then buy the two-region combined ticket for a week (priced at €29). This will allow the use of public transport networks in Salzburg Central and one adjacent zone for a week. If you want to cross borders and go to upper Austria or Berchtesgaden land, then buy a cross—border ticket for €4.
Salzburg Pass–Salzburg Card (# salzburg guide)
Though most of Salzburg is very walkable, some attractions like the Schloss Leopoldskron, Schloss Hellbrunn, Salzburg Zoo, and Untersberg Mountain are outside the city center and you should buy a travel card.
The card is of great value as it offers free admission to 30 attractions and discounts on events and concerts as well as access to certain tours. Free use (subject to conditions) of the cable car to the Hohensalzburg fortress, the funicular on Untersberg Mountain, the ski lift to Mönchsberg Mountain, and the river tram.
When you buy the card, you will get a guidebook/brochure with a list of attractions and a map of the bus lines that you can use. The card can be brought in 24/36//72 hours. Ideally, buy the 72—hour card as it’s impossible to see all sights connected with the card in less than 72 hours.
What to eat in Salzburg? (# salzburg guide)
You will see that the oldest cooking methods are still alive here and are practiced with greater ease in making some of the most influential dishes. You will also find some blissful amalgamation of different cuisines from various countries in Salzburg. the best food mentioned in Salzburg must be tried as follows:
Schnitzel: One of the best-known dishes of Austrian cuisine, the Wiener schnitzel is a thinner, breaded, and pan-fried veal cutlet that is traditionally served with a dollop of lingonberry jam, lemon wedges, and either buttered parsley potatoes, a simple potato salad, or French fries. Pork is often used instead of veal because it’s more available and cheaper.
Knödel: Which we would translate into dumplings, is a popular and versatile dish in Austria and throughout central and Eastern Europe. They are made from a mixture of flour, eggs, and milk, and can be either sweet or savory, depending on the filling and seasoning used. Knödel can be a side dish, but there are also main courses made of Knödel.
Nockerl: A traditional dessert of Salzburg. The dessert is made up of three large meringue mountains, typically served with raspberry jam and sometimes with sweet vanilla sauce. The three mountains are supposed to resemble the famous Salzburg city, the mountain of Mönchsberg, Kapuzinerberg, and Gaisberg. And just like a light dusting of snow on a mountain, these dumplings are added with powdered sugar before being served.
Salzburger Bier: Beer has been brewed in Salzburg for more than 600 years: out of a love for indulgence and with an attentive eye to quality and purity. The result is an array of tradition-rich beers and breweries with a long history. Salzburg has many famous breweries and you can enjoy local beers such as the Stiegl-Brauerei goes back to the year 1492 and is now Austria’s biggest private brewery, while Augustiner Bräu Kloster Mülln has been producing beer since 1621.
Mozartkugel: A traditional chocolate candy named after the composer Mozart, who originated in Salzburg. Mozartkugel has been made of marzipan and pistachio core wrapped in nougat and dipped in dark chocolate quickly became the most popular sweet in the city.
Where to stay in Salzburg?
Salzburg has a wide selection of places to stay, from luxury hotels to family guest houses and rental apartments. Here are some popular areas to stay in Salzburg.
Salzburg Old Town (Altstadt): The Old Town of Salzburg is home to many stunning historic sites and monuments, each provides a unique insight into the rich history and culture of this beautiful city, and it is worth a visit. Moreover, it is easy for you to access a lot of sightseeing, restaurants, and shops. There are many luxury hotels and nice cottages in this area.
Mirabell Palace and Gardens: The area offers convenient accommodation options and is close to major city attractions.
Nonntal: The Nonntal area is located south of the old town of Salzburg city and is known for its beautiful views and quiet surroundings. This is a good choice if you want to enjoy a natural and peaceful space.
Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- H+ Hotel Salzburg (Agoda, Booking)
- Hotel & Villa Auersperg Salzburg (Agoda, Booking)
- Altstadt Hotel Hofwirt Salzburg (Agoda, Booking)
- arte Hotel Salzburg (Agoda, Booking)
- MEININGER Hotel Salzburg City Center (Agoda, Booking)
- Wyndham Grand Salzburg Conference Centre (Agoda, Booking)
- Radisson Blu Hotel Altstadt, Salzburg (Agoda, Booking)
- Hotel Elefant Family Business (Agoda, Booking)
- NH Collection Salzburg City (Agoda, Booking)
- Hotel Turnerwirt (Agoda, Booking)
Where to visit in Salzburg?
Salzburg is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Located in the northwest of Austria, it’s as popular among tourists for its well-preserved historical architecture as it is for its magnificent Alpine setting. Find out all the best places to visit while on vacation in this beautiful corner of Austria with our list of the best things to do in Salzburg.
Hohensalzburg Fortress is one of the largest and best-preserved fortresses in Europe. It is located high on Festungsberg Hill, high above the rooftops of the Baroque historical district. The biggest fully preserved castle in Central Europe, this emblem of Salzburg offers a 360-degree view of the city and its surroundings.
Salzburg’s old city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The best way to experience the historic old town is to simply walk around and see everything, even if you do not miss the highlight attractions such as the Salzburg Cathedral and the Salzburg Landestheater.
One of Salzburg’s many unmissable tourist attractions is the magical Mirabell Palace and its gorgeous gardens. The panoramic views are some of the finest in Europe and were featured in some of the most famous scenes of the film “The Sound of Music” with the iconic sightseeing such as Pegasus Fountain and the clump of trees.
Mirabell Park (Mirabell Gardens)
Nearby Mirabell Palace, Mirabell Park is designed in a geometric Baroque style, they are so beautiful, especially in warmer months when all the flowers are blooming. The Gardens are a beautiful stretch of flowers and sculptures, where you can just sit down for a while to admire everything it has to offer. This is also the place used in wildly famous for being a part of the Sound of Music.
Salzburg Cathedral, or Salzburger Dom, is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Central Europe and has an interesting story behind it. You can enjoy Baroque architecture and see the famous painting “Maria Immaculada” by Michelangelo Grigoletti.
Hellbrunn Palace (Schloss Hellbrunn)
Hellbrunn Palace is a Baroque mansion located on the outskirts of Salzburg. The Italianate villa became a beloved retreat for the rulers of the state, who flocked here to eat, drink and make merry. It was a Garden of Eden to all who beheld its exotic fauna, and citrus trees. Hellbrunn Palace with the Trick Fountains is famous for spraying water on visitors. Therefore, they should wear clothes that dry quickly.
Mozart’s Birthplace is located in the house, being is the bright yellow building at Getreidegasse 9, where the composer Mozart was born and raised. You can explore Mozart’s life and work through artifacts, documents, and multimedia displays.
The Salzach River provides the perfect backdrop and a home base for your trip to Salzburg. The river is beautiful in its own right and provides easy access to the city.
Since it goes right down the middle of Salzburg, you’ll be able to get exactly where you want to go in no time with easy access to walking and bicycle tours as well. The Salzach itself is a gorgeous scene. With the backdrop of Salzburg’s Baroque architecture in the background, the river is well-lit with neat grassy banks.
Home to some of the world’s most beautiful natural landscapes, Austria has much to offer the adventurous traveler. Dive into its culture-rich cities, innovative culinary character, and variety. This guide is to the very best of Salzburg for first-timers. Whatever your passion, whether it be spectacular scenery, history, architecture, or music, you will find it all in this captivating Austrian city.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Salzburg you can refer to
- Salzburg Card
- Salzburg Day Tour from Vienna
- Hallstatt Day Tour from Salzburg
- Eurail Pass for Austria (Mobile Pass)
- 4G WiFi for Europe from Uroaming (HK Airport Pick Up)
- 4G SIM Card for Europe from Xplori (SG Delivery)
Read more Austria guide here.