The story-book Old Town, dreaming spires, green hills, and romantic gardens make this city truly beautiful. Set on the banks of the fast-flowing Salzach River, Salzburg has become the city of a burgeoning arts scene ever since Mozart lived here 250 years ago. Your gaze will be raised to graceful domes and spires, the formidable clifftop fortress, and the mountains beyond as you stroll the city’s streets. If you wander into quiet side streets, you will find yourself drifting to the sounds of classical music coming from open windows. No matter where you find yourself in Salzburg, you will always find something that will enchant you.
Things to do
Numerous museums of Salzburg reflect not only the local history, art, and culture, but also of the world. Those who want to learn more about Salzburg can visit the Salzburg Museum and the Domgrabungsmuseum. Those inspired by the work of Mozart, one of the best composers in the entire history, can visit his house of birth as well as the house where he lived while he was in Salzburg. The Dommuseum is a treasure trove of sacred art, sure to whisk you into the past. If you love nature, make sure to visit Haus der Natur. Ancient dinosaur bones and alpine crystals, snakes and crocodiles in the reptile enclosure, piranhas and coral reefs in the aquarium, baby clownfish in the Kinderstube, a science museum where scientists can race rowboats, take a biological tour of the human body, and literally feel Mozart’s music by stepping into giant violin case – truly, everyone can find something fun to do here. 21 km southwest Salzburg stands the open-air Freilichtmuseum, showcasing around 100 archetypal Austrian farmhouses. Feed the goats, clamber over tractors, watch butterflies, and have fun on a huge adventure playground. If you’re visiting Salzburg with children, make sure to visit the Spielzeugmuseum which is filled with various toys of every child’s dream. For those who are in the Christmas spirit all year round, the Christmas Museum is the perfect fit. Artistic souls will find refuge in the Museum der Moderne and the Rupertinum.
Palaces and forts
Salzburg’s most visible icon is the 900-year-old clifftop fortress, the Festung Hohensalzburg. It’s easy to spend half a day here, roaming the ramparts for far-reaching views over the city’s spires, the river, and the mountains. The fortress is a steep 15-minute walk from the centre, or a speedy ride up in the glass funicular.
The Residenz is where the prince-archbishops held court until Salzburg became part of the Habsburg Empire in the 19th century. Take an audio-guide tour through the lavishly adorned state rooms.
Built in 1606 by the Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich to impress his beloved mistress, the Schloss Mirabell palace still proudly stands with its lavish interior and is free to visit.
When walking the streets of Salzburg, you will come across numerous displays of public art. Take a look at Sphaera, the gigantic golden globe topped by a statue of a man, crane your neck to see the Spirit of Mozart, glance at the weird-looking Mozart – Eine Hommage, look up at the sky in Sky Space, and search for neon Numbers in the Woods in the trees atop Mönchsberg.
Salzburg is the home to three masterfully built churches worth mentioning. Dreifältigkeitskirche was built by the baroque master Johann Bernhard Fischer on the city’s right bank and is famous for its dome fresco of the Holy Trinity.
A real architectural gem, Salzburg’s Franciscan church houses a mesmerising Romanesque nave, a Gothic choir with rib vaulting, and a baroque marble altar.
The Kollegienkirche is Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach’s grandest baroque design with its striking bowed façade and the high altar’s columns which symbolise the Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
The Mozart Dinner Concert in the historic Baroque Hall of St. Peter Stiftkulinarium invites Mozart fans to enjoy a romantic dinner by candlelight. In additional to culinary masterpieces, music lovers will also be able to enjoy a selection of famous melodies from Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute.
The Sound of Music is the story of the novice Maria, who is ordered to watch the children of widowed Captain von Trapp. She falls in love with the Captain and together with the children, they start singing as a family choir. The Sound of Music has been put on stage since 2007. In English with sidelines in various languages. duration: 1 hour 45 minutes The Salzburg Marionette Theatre is a “big” theatre with “small” actors. For more than 100 years, the puppets have enchanted grown-ups and children alike.
Top places to eat
Salzburg offers numerous cuisine choices, both local and international. If you want to eat something local, pay a visit to Zum Zirkelwirt, Imlauer Sky, or K+K. If you’re craving something French, the Esszimmer is the place for you, and if you want something closer to home like burgers, make sure to go to Ludwig.
Top places to sleep
Salzburg offers an assortment of different accommodation – all you need is to know how you want to spend your nights in this city.
Institut St.Sebastian is situated in the Old Town Salzburg, at the foot of the Kapuzinerberg Mountain. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property.More on Hostel
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Villa Verde is located just 500 m from Leopoldskron Castle and a 15-minute walk from Salzburg’s Old Town. Free Wi-Fi and free parking are available at this bed and breakfast.More on B&B
Hotel Schloss Mönchstein is a 5-star superior hotel which enjoys a unique location on top of the Mönchsberg, a hill in the centre of Salzburg. It is surrounded by a large park and offers panoramic city views, an outdoor infinity pool, and an outdoor hot tub. Free on-site private parking and free Wi-Fi is available as well.More on Hotel
Salzburg is well connected to both Vienna and Munich via the autobahns A8 and A1, as well as via rail. If you’re going by car, you will need to purchase an Austrian Motorway “Vignette”. You can also get there by bus, or by plane.
The best way to get around Salzburg is on foot, but there is also network of city buses you can use. A single trip ticket on the bus is €2.60, a single short trip ticket €1.30 (maximum 3 stops), a 24 h ticket €5.70 which covers the whole city. Conveniently, bus tickets can be bought on the buses from the bus driver. However, if you have time, buy the tickets in advance at a “Trafik”, since they are then significantly cheaper. But you have to buy the tickets in blocks of 5, 5-single-ticket package costs €9 (means €1.8 each), 5-short-trip-ticket package costs €4.5 (means €0.9 each) and Day Ticket Single tickets is €3.7. Single tickets and 24-h Day ticket are also available from automatic machines at central bus stops.
If you enjoy taking in the scenery but would like to travel a bit faster than when walking, you can always rent a bike, or a car from €35 if you want to go somewhere out of town.