Filled with sprawling palaces, streets lined with cafes, and gorgeous architecture, Salzburg is our must-see city in Austria.
If I’m being totally honest, the entire country of Austria is dreamy. But if you absolutely love rolling hills, charming villages, culture-filled cities and some of the world’s best known museums and concert halls, Salzburg might be the most perfect place for you to be …. especially if you are a fan of the Sound Of Music.
While you’re in Salzburg…
See what other cities to visit on our European Destination Guide
Easily reached by train or plane from several cities that you’ll be glad you made time to visit Salzburg for a couple of days.
- What To See In Salzburg
- Nearby Vacations
- Where To Stay
- Things + Places To Eat
- Getting To Salzburg
What To See In Salzburg
There is a lot! I’ve put my top recommended places here, but don’t think that is all there is to see when it comes to palaces, gardens, concert halls, churches, and cafes. However, these are the top sites to see if you’re here for a day or two:
One of Salzburg’s famously gorgeous palaces is the Mirabell Palace, filled with things like the Marble Hall where Mozart performed concerts. But the gardens might be the real attraction: The famous “Do Re Mi” steps from the “The Sound Of Music” are found on the grounds, as are swirling geometric patterns and floral gardens. You’ll also find an orangery, a dwarf garden full of marble sculptures, and several other little pavilions to explore. In a nutshell, the whole palace’s gardens are absolutely mesmerizing.
The palace and the gardens are free to visit, but you’ll want to get there early to avoid the crowds.
The Mirabell Palace and Angel Staircase: Daily from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Marble Hall: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Tuesday and Friday 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Head's up: The palace is now used for administrational purposes so sometimes rooms and the entire palace itself isn’t open to the public.
The gardens are open daily from around 6:00 AM to around dusk.
Here’s the address: Mirabellplatz, 5020 Salzburg, Austria.
The Sound Of Music Tour
Anyone who loves this classic movie absolutely needs to take a Sound Of Music Tour. You’ll visit famous sites as-seen-in-the movie, like the “Do Re Mi” steps in the Mirabell Gardens, the pavilion where you can recreate the “I am 16 going on 17” scene, and even twirl around fields in the Alps singing “the hills are alive with the sound of music”.
There are a few ways you can do a tour. Several companies can take you out for the day, driving you around to all the sites or you can opt to do your research and see some of the sites on your own. We have more information on the Sound Of Music sites and tour here.
A classically beautiful Baroque palace surrounded by sprawling gardens, Hellbrun Palace was once the summer palace for royalty, and was designed to be the most entertaining place around. The Palace itself sits on a huge park, full of manicured garden, floral fields, and forest, but inside the palace you’ll find stately ballrooms and concert halls. However, the thing to see in Hellbrunn are the trick fountains. Cleverly designed over 400 years ago, the palace grounds are covered with water-powered figures hiding jets that will spurt water at you when you’re passing by.
If you’ll be visiting the palace, you’ll need a ticket to go inside (the audio guide lasts about 40 minutes). If you’d like to see the trick fountains, you’ll also need a special ticket (the tour is about 40 minutes). The fountains are operated by a staff, so you’ll have to see the fountains as a part of a tour. The grounds are free to visit.
12.50 Euro for adults, 8 euro for students with an ID
This includes a guided tour of the trick fountains, an audio guide to tour the palace and entrance to the folk museum.
April & October: 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
May, June & September: 9:0 AM to 5:30 PM
July & August: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM (with additional evening tours at 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 PM)
Bus 25 from the main train station stops at Hellbrunn, or it’s a long walk from the city center (about 5 km) so most choose to bike here if the weather is nice. Here’s the address: Fürstenweg 37, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
This is Salzburg’s famous walking street, free of cars and filled with shops and bakeries, restaurants, and other famous sites like Mozart’s house. The street is filled with pastel-colored buildings and little alleyways that shoot off from the main street and open up into impressive courtyards. It’s a place you can’t miss.
Music fans will probably want to look at this place. The Mozart family lived in this house from 1747-1773 — the now-famous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was even born there on January 27, 1756 and lived there until he was 17. The yellow home can be seen from the outside for free, but inside, the house has been turned into an impressive museum where you can walk through the rooms, admiring furniture, pictures, letters, and other artifacts from the Mozart family including the baby-sized violin Mozart played as a child.
Open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM (but the last entry is at 5:00)
In July and August, hours are from 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM (with the last entry at 6:30)
Tickets are 11 euros. Visiting takes about one hour.
Getreidegasse 9, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Looking For More To Do?
We have a few more ideas, like just around from the Mirabell palace you can find the funicular to Hohensalzburg Castle where you can see some stunning views of the city below. Get information about visiting Hohensalzburg Castle here.
There’s also lots of self-guided walking tours you can take, either by plotting your route on Google Maps or following someone else’s itinerary. This blogger has a great walking tour full of other sites, like the famous St. Peter’s Cemetery, where members of the Mozart and Haydn family are buried.
Salzburg is a cinch to get to thanks to a well-connected train system, which means it’s very easy to hop onto a train and visit another charming city in Austria or even visiting another country. Here are a few spots that are just 1-3 hours away from Salzburg:
Come see what the country’s capital is all about. Filled with huge and ornate gardens that are home to huge and ornate palaces, you also have to spend a few hours sipping a hot drink and munching on pastries in Vienna. That’s right, hanging out in cafes is as much as the culture of Vienna as these world-class palaces.
We have a guide to Vienna that will come in handy for your visit.
Like a postcard, Hallstatt is a charmingly small village full of quaint homes and cafes, a picture-perfect church steeple and more, all situated on the side of a mountain, and surrounded by a lake. You’ll have to take a ferry ride over which just adds to the magic.
Visit Hallstatt by taking a couple of short train rides – see what we love about Hallstatt, here.
Fall in love with Munich the minute you walk down the picturesque Old Town. You’ll find enough to keep you busy for a week, but some reasons we love visiting this historic city are the palaces built for Bavarian Kings and all the things you know you already love about Germany. It takes under two hours to get here from Salzburg, so you should definitely make that happen.
Plus, Munich is the best jumping off point to see the most famous castle in Germany, Neuschwanstein.
Where To Stay
A few visitors just head to Salzburg for the day which is fine if you want to just skim the surface and not worry about a place to stay … however, I recommend spending a few days in Salzburg. If that’s the case, here’s my pick on where to stay:
Yoho International Hostel
It’s just a short 10-minute walk from the train station, and that gets you right in the middle of all the places you want to see. Cross the river to walk along
Getreidegass Street, and stroll to a few of Salzburg’s famous sites. The hostel also plays the Sound of Music on a daily basis. What more could you want? Rooms at the Yoho International Hostel are available for around $20+ a night, but it’s really our #1 pick for a comfy and affordable hostel that has a killer location.
Things + Places To Eat
Apple Strudel — Cafe Würfelzucker
A good pick for all Austrian food and other favorites … some thing that this cafe is the best place to get Apple Strudel in the entire city of Salzburg. Get this apple-and-cinnamon-filled pastry piled high with whipped cream, or order their veggie strudel if you’re more in the mood for something savory.
Address: Griesgasse 13 | 5020 Salzburg, Salzburg 5020, Austria
Hours: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Austrian Food - Gasthaus Zwettlers
Of course you can find Austrian food at quite a few restaurants in Salzburg, but there are several dishes that come highly recommended by lots of hungry travelers. I’m a big fan of ordering schnitzel here (a thin slide of veal, or other meat, lightly breaded and fried), and soaking up the atmosphere. This restaurant has been around for over 150 years. Insider tip: This place is popular for a reason, and can get busy. Make a reservation or plan on waiting (but it’s worth it). Here’s their menu.
Address: Kaigasse 3, 5020 Salzburg, Salzburg 5020, Austria
Hours: Open 11:30 AM to 1:00 AM (head’s up, this place is closed on Mondays, and closes at midnight on Sundays).
Cafe Mozart — Salzburger Nockerl
Huge, pillowy, and sweet, this unique soufflé is named after the city of Salzburg. The golden color hints at the Baroque atmosphere of the city, and the towering peaks dusted with powdered sugar represent the beautiful alps. This dessert is huge and delicious — I recommend splitting it with at least two or three people!
Make sure you order this dish early or be prepared to wait: it takes a while to make. You will find this classic dessert at a few places in Salzburg, but is a recommendation:
Plan on waiting 20 or so minutes for your Salzburger Nockerl at this cafe, but split the 14.80 Euro price tag with 3 people and you’ll be set. Here’s a peek at their menu.
Address: Getreidegasse 22, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Hours: 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM (9:00 AM to 9:00 PM on weekends)
Getting To Salzburg
When else can you say that you’ve flown into the Salzburg W.A. Mozart International Airport? This airport (code SZG) is obviously named after the famous musician and is found just outside of the city. Our favorite budget airlines fly in and out of Salzburg from a lot of cities spread across Europe so it shouldn’t be tough to get a flight. You’ll need to hop on a trolley bus (tickets are 2.50 Euros or so) and ride for about 20 minutes to get to the center of town. Just find the No. 10 Bus — it departs from the airport to the city center about every 10 minutes.
Another way to get to the city of music is by train. The station Hauptbahnhof is found on the north side of the Salzach River. We love booking train tickets for Europe on Omio.com especially since it’s just a 1.5 hour ride from Munich, Germany, or a quick 2 hours from Vienna, Austria.
It’s a 15-20 minute walk from the train station to Vienna’s Old Town — plus you’ll pass Mirabell Palace and the famous Do-Re-Mi steps. If you’d rather not walk, you can take bus #10. Tickets are 2.50 euro and the ride should take about 10 minutes.
Getting Around The City
This pretty city is rather walkable. Once you reach the historic Old Town, most of the palaces, gardens, cafes, and other sites you want to see are just a short walk away from each other.
My advice is to plot out what things you want to see and pin them on Google Maps, then you can see where they are compared to each other. Plan your route (see this side the city on one day, then visit the other half on the next). Then, you can download Google Maps and get around without using any data once you arrive.
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