8 Best Things to Do in Salzburg Austria: Day Trip Tips & More!

Salzburg Austria

Salzburg is a one of a kind city in Austria, and a must-see for history and food lovers. We recently had the chance to visit and were left in awe of this famous destination. So is Salzburg worth visiting on a day trip or longer? Here are some easy tips from our experience, all about the Hohensalzburg Castle, and some of the best things to do in Salzburg Austria.

How to Get to Salzburg Austria

You’ll be happy to hear that Salzburg is very simple to get to. Salzburg Airport plays host to international flights from all over Europe. There is also a major bus and train station which you can use to get from nearby cities like Vienna, Linz, and Innsbruck. 

If you decide to rent a car in Austria make sure to do so in advance. This especially applies to the busy summer months when prices can often double or triple. You can even make the day trip to Salzburg over the border from the nearby Königssee Lake in Germany.

How to Get to Salzburg Austria

What is Salzburg Best Known For?

So you may have heard Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart. However, it’s also filled with endless historical sites, great food, cafes, and fun activities!

The first thing you will notice when arriving is the massive Hohensalzburg Castle sitting above. The colorful and historic old town underneath is amazing to wander through and take in the surrounding Salzkammergut Mountains.

So what is Salzburg best known for? Its museums and architecture are above all else, but you’ll find that the restaurants and street food stands are well worth the visit, too.

Salzburg Austria

How Many Days in Salzburg is Enough?

Something we love about this city is that it’s small enough to see on a Salzburg day trip. Yet, with so many things to do in Salzburg, you can easily stay for two or three days and keep yourself entertained. 

We recently visited for an afternoon as part of an excursion with Riverside Luxury Cruises. Our cruise ship was parked in Linz on the Danube River and we made the 2-hour drive to Salzburg from there. 

Having a full afternoon allowed us to go on a fun guided walking tour through the beautiful city. After that, we had about 2.5 hours of free time to explore on our own. 

We loved Salzburg so much that we definitely could’ve stayed another day or two. Still, we were happy to get a small taste of the popular attractions in this Unesco World Heritage Site. 

Also, know that most of our free time was spent in Salzburg’s old town and inside the castle. There is so many other day trips to take to the nearby salt mines, Hellbrunn Palace, Hallstatt, and even the Bavarian Mountains.

Things to Do in Salzburg

8 Best Things to do in Salzburg Austria

1. Hohensalzburg Castle

The majestic centerpiece of Salzburg Austria is without a doubt the 11th century Hohensalzburg Castle. Also known as the Hohensalzburg Fortress, the historic site towers 506 meters (1,660 ft) above the city center on Festungsberg mountain. 

To get up to the medieval castle you have two options. You can take the Salzburg Funicular called the Festungsbahn, or make the 20-30 minute vertical climb to the top yourself. 

There are several different tickets that give you access to the various museums and displays inside the fortress. Having limited time, we chose the basic entrance ticket price. This was a tad bittersweet as we quickly realized how much there was to do and see! 

We did however have enough time to climb to the highest point which gave us a 360 panoramic views of the city and green hills. Honestly, the cable car ride alone was well worth the 17 euro entrance fee.

Book Your Tickets to the Hohensalzburg Castle

Hohensalzburg Castle Salzburg

2. Explore Salzburg Old Town

After you’ve experienced the Hohensalzburg Castle, it’s time to take a stroll around the magical Salzburg Old Town. This is where many of the greatest sights and restaurants are located.

Walking through the fascinating Baroque architecture gives you a glimpse into the city’s long history. The old town truly felt like we were inside a living museum! 

Be sure to stop into the Residenzplatz Square and see the second largest marble fountain in the world. The biggest is actually the Trevi Fountain in Rome if you didn’t know. Other main squares to check out include Alter Markt, Cathedral Square, and Mozartplatz. 

Things to do in Salzburg Old Town

3. Eat & Cafe Hop

One of the best things to do in Salzburg is eat and drink! This is a city renowned for its traditional Austrian food and beautiful cafes. You can even visit the world-famous Café Tomaselli where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was said to have his daily brandy.

While we would’ve loved to stop into a restaurant for a full meal, we were more drawn to the street carts on our day trip. There is one great place in Universitätsplatz (location) where vendors congregate and offer affordable street food.

We went for the traditional frankfurter and spicy kransky to try two different sausages. Something we found unique about it was the shredded horseradish they put on top. There are also pretzel stands if you need a quick takeaway snack.

Are you looking for something a little different on your trip to Salzburg Austria? Then be sure to try the Bosna! This is a Salzburg street food staple that was created at the Balkan Grill (location) in 1949. Two pork bratwursts are grilled and put in a long toasted bun with toppings of your choosing. We got ours with onions, parsley, spices, and mustard. 

When we first arrived here around lunchtime there was a big line of people. Luckily, we doubled back a couple hours later before our tour bus departed and it had calmed down a bit. 

Best Food in Salzburg Austria

More Local Treats in Salzburg Austria 

Something else to check out is the many chocolate shops and bakeries around the city of Salzburg. Mozart chocolates are the most desirable and you’re sure to find them all around Austria. There is one spot in particular called Cafe-Konditorei Fürst where they still hand roll each ball instead of using a machine. 

Stiftsbäckerei St Peter (location) is one of the oldest bakeries in the city which has everything from fresh bread to traditional cookies and treats. Just like the Bosna, don’t be surprised if there is a slight line to get in. We also recommend having some Euros on hand as many of the bakeries and street food stands don’t take credit cards.

Salzburg Austria Beer Garden

4. Visit the Salzburg Cathedral 

There are many amazing churches to visit around Austria, and Salzburg is one of the best places to see them. The most important by far in the city is the Salzburg Cathedral.

The first church was constructed here back in the 7th century, but has been destroyed and rebuilt several times since then. It was consecrated on three different occasions in 774, 1628, and 1959, and the dates can be seen clearly on its iron gates. 

The most sacred part about the Salzburg Cathedral is its bronze baptismal font. This is where Mozart himself was actually christened! If this interests you then also be sure to go to St. Peter’s Abbey as well. This is considered the oldest monastery in the German-speaking world. 

Salzburg Cathedral 

5. Mirabell Palace and Gardens

Mirabell Palace is one of the best tourist attractions in Salzburg. It was first built in 1606 by Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich for his mistress and their children.

The name Mirabell comes from the Italian-style marble you can see around the palace. These days it’s used as a city admin building and the home of the mayor of Salzburg. The beautiful gardens seem to hold every color of flower and are quite magical with the mountain scenery surrounding them.

This is also an essential stop for Sound of Music fans as many of its filming locations are dotted around the grounds. If you visit on the right day, you may even see a wedding taking place at Mirabell Palace! 

Book a Sazlburg Sound of Music Tour

Salzburg Old Town

6. Shopping on Getreidegasse 

Ready for some shopping in Salzburg Austria? Then the main strip of Getreidegasse is the place to be! This long and narrow street is packed with designer shops, souvenirs, and eateries.

Don’t be afraid to duck down into the alleyways which run across the famous street either. One of these passageways is where you can find the Bosna sandwich we mentioned above.

When wandering down Getreidegasse in mid-July it was full of people enjoying their afternoon. At times, it was so congested we barely felt like we could move!

With that said, it was nice to come out to one of the large squares and get some additional space. We even enjoyed a refreshing drink at the nearby Sternbräu Beer Garden (location).

Salzburg Austria Getreidegasse

7. See Mozart’s Birthplace

Right on this very street is the birthplace of Mozart. You’ll notice the bright yellow building right away because of the swarms of people taking photos outside. 

The musical prodigy would write his first song at just 5 years old and go onto be come one of greatest composers of all time. Sazlburg was Mozart’s home for most of his short life and you will see how much of an impression he left on Salzburg during your visit.

The museum located inside tells the story of Mozart who was born in Salzburg Austria in 1756. We recommend getting tickets in advance if you’d like to tour the composer’s birth home.

Mozarts Birthplace Salzburg Austria

8. Go to a Museum in Salzburg Austria

In addition to the Hohensalzburg Fortress and Mozart’s birthplace, there are so many great museums to visit in Salzburg! They range from nature, history, and culture to modern art and technology. 

This can also be one of the best things to do in Salzburg to escape the summer heat, rainy days, or winter weather. Here’s a few of the fantastic museums to check out on your trip.

  • Salzburg Museum
  • Museum of Natural History and Technology
  • Mozart’s Residence 
  • Domquartier
  • Stiegl-Brauwelt Beer Museum
  • Museum der Moderne Salzburg
  • Panorama Museum

Salzburg Austria Museum

Should You Buy the Salzburg Card?

The Salzburg Card is a very popular way to get into all the main attractions of the city. The all-inclusive pass will save you the time of waiting in lines as it includes entrances to the Hohensalzburg Castle, museums, and different sights.

One of the biggest benefits is that you’ll have free public transportation to all the trains and buses! If you’re only making a day trip to Salzburg is we did, it probably isn’t worth it. However, if you’re visiting the city of Mozart for longer you should definitely look into purchasing this card.

Salzburg Card

Is it Worth Visiting Salzburg? 

Absolutely! If you couldn’t tell, Salzburg was one of our favorite places we went on our recent trip to Austria. So much so, that we’re already planning a trip back. Realistically, two to three days would be better if you have the time. Yet, due to its compact size, you can still get a lot out of your experience on a Salzburg day trip as we did.

Whether you’re interested in history, Austrian food, or a lover of Mozart, there are so many amazing things to do in Salzburg. If you’re fortunate enough to be there in the winter you may also get to see the Salzburg Christmas markets! 

Is it Worth Visiting Salzburg

Have any questions about this article or want to share your own favorite things to do in Salzburg Austria? Leave us a comment below! 

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar

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Austria Travel Planning 

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. You can skip the line at the Schönbrunn Palace & Gardens, attend a classical concert at Mozarthaus in Vienna, or take a two-hour guided walking tour in Hallstatt with a photographer!

Rental Car: We always use Discover Cars for vehicles while traveling. Consider renting a car and taking a road trip through Austria and Germany! 

 Information: Explore amazing destinations around the world, travel planning tips, street food guides, and so much more.

 Flights: A great way to find flight deals is by using Skyscanner and Kayak. This way you can plan your trip around the cheapest and most direct routes.

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

Austria Travel

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  1. Jhicel
    October 20, 2023 / 4:30 am

    I haven’t had the chance to visit Salzburg yet, but your description of its museums and historical sites has piqued my interest. As a museum enthusiast, I’m drawn to cities that offer a rich cultural experience, and it sounds like Salzburg does just that.

    Thanks for sharing your fantastic experience.

    • Brigitte & Jake
      October 20, 2023 / 4:32 am

      Salzburg is such a great city! Thanks for reading and we you get to see it one day (-:

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