Salzburg: What to do in just one day!

What to do with a day off in Linz, Austria? I landed in Linz for a day, but wanted to do something different! So I decided to spend the day in nearby Salzburg! It takes a good hour to get from Linz to Salzburg by train, so it’s perfect for a day trip. And I’ve always wanted to visit Salzburg. History. Culture. Mozart. Mountains. And anyway. Millions of tourists who are visiting Salzburg every year can’t be wrong. Besides, Salzburg is really good to explore in one day! In this article, I’ll show you what you can see in one day in Salzburg and share some helpful tips!

My best Salzburg tips for preparing your trip:
➜ With the Salzburg Card for 24 hours* you’ll save the entrance fee for most sights and you can use the public transport, the Mönchsberg elevator and the fortress railroad (both the Fortress and the Mönchsberg offer great views over Salzburg) for free!
➜ From Germany, you can also get to Salzburg by train*, where you can land some pretty good deals buying your train ticket in advance.

Salzburg Golden Globe
The man on the Golden Sphere in front of Hohensalzburg Fortress

Discover Salzburg in one day: Start in the Old Town

The nice thing about Salzburg for a day trip: everything is within walking distance. Perfect if you are traveling without a car and by train like me! The main train station is outside the old town on the other side of the Salzach River, but you’ll in the middle of town by bus in just 10 minutes . Right in the middle of this lovely old town dream in pastel colors. The alleys of the old town are small and narrow, sometimes crowded, sometimes surprisingly empty, but always neat and pretty to look at.

In the middle of the old town: Salzburg Cathedral

And then there are such amazing buildings as the Salzburg Cathedral – which you should definitely see from the inside even if you’re not that religious. The restored ceiling paintings are really impressive.

Mozart and Salzburg: The Birthplace

Mozart. Mozart. Mozart everywhere. For those who have zero knowledge of classical music, Salzburg is perhaps only half as interesting. Salzburg lives from the most famous son of the city, the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and at every corner you’ll see something with his name on it. There are Mozartkugeln, Mozart fridge magnets, Mozart postcards and all kind of Mozart souvenirs in every store, every pub, every supermarket.

Salzburg Mozart birthplace

So I also had to include a little bit of Mozart into my day as well. In Salzburg, both Mozart’s birthplace and his later home can be visited, and I opted for the former. Although I was worried I’d end up in a small museum with numerous tour groups, because Mozart’s birthplace is one of the must-sees in Salzburg and often very crowded.

salzburg mozart birthplace

But it wasn’t like that in the end. The house/museum is quite spacious (the Mozart’s were a wealthy family) and it wasn’t as crowded as expected. With 11 euros, the entrance fee is also pretty expensive. But it’s a must-see in Salzburg. And the exhibition is really worth it.

Looking for more tips for Salzburg? Click here for the Salzburg Blog!

With the Salzburg Card*, however, you have free admission there, as in many other sights – I only learned that afterwards, unfortunately. It’s worth comparing – you can save a lot of money that way!

Salzburg Old Town

Salzburg from above: Is the view better from the Mönchsberg or the Fortress Hohensalzburg?

“You absolutely have to go up the Mönchsberg,” another friend gave me as the ultimate advice. It would probably be nicer than on top of the fortress Hohensalzburg, which is always well attended. Crowds are not my thing anyway, so I decided to up to the Mönchsberg. How convenient: To get to the top, you can just take an elevator. Which in my case was a good time saver, since I had to slowly make my way back to Linz.

Salzburg Mönchsberg

But the view from Mönchsberg of the old town, the fortress and snow-capped mountains in the background is really worth it. In addition, there is a museum of modern art up there, the Museum der Moderne Salzburg, which is very impressive!

If you want to do both, then it’s even more worth buying the Salzburg Card*, because with it you can take the funicular to the Hohensalzburg Fortress and the elevator to the Mönchsberg for free!

Cafés in Salzburg

There are so many differentcoffee specialties in Austria! Kleiner Brauner, Einspänner, Verlängerter, Kapuziner, Fiaker… it’s a whole science! And I never get which one is which! I But I found a cozy café to satisfy my sudden hunger for an original Austrian treat: Café Würfelzucker right on the Salzach offers handmade strudels. From this cozy coffee house upstairs you’ll have a great view over the Salzach River. And the strudels are amazing!

Is Salzburg worth it?

Salzburg is really pretty. I couldn’t say otherwise. And I would definitely come back again if I get the chance. The surrounding countryside is also worth a visit! The alleys of Salzburg are really photogenic and the overall vibe is really one of kind. It definitely feels like being in a fairytale!

Travel advice for Salzburg

Do you want to spend more than just a day in Salzburg? Find the best hotels deals here:
Best hotel deals in Salzburg*
For a romantic weekend, I’ll recommend Hotel Stein*!

In Salzburg, there are also 6 accomodations operated by religious institutions. These places are often cheaper than others (Salzburg is otherwise rather expensive). You can learn more about these accommodations in my article Salzburg and its churches.

Guide Book recommendation: Salzburg Travel Guide* perfect for a day in the city

Budget tip: Entrance fees for the main tourist attractions in Salzburg can be quite expensive.
Save money with the Salzburg Card and get free admission to many sights*

More about Salzburg:
12 Amazing Attractions in Salzburg you shouldn’t miss!
Salzburg Food Guide
Salzburg and its churches
Mozart in Salzburg
Mozart Week Salzburg
Review: Hotel Stein Salzburg


Hey there! I created The Happy Jetlagger in 2015 to gather all those lovely places I got to know during my trips. I love to inspire others on their travels and to discover unique destinations! Working many years as a flight attendant, I finally found a way to share my travel experience. Hope you enjoy it!

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