Salzburg is always suitable for a short city trip. To give you a good overview, I have put together a guide with the best sights in Salzburg! Salzburg is full of great locations that you can easily discover in a whole weekend or even a day!
Tips for your trip to Salzburg:
➜ With the Sparpreis Ticket of Deutsche Bahn* cheap and comfortable to Salzburg
➜ C heap hotels in Salzburg you can find here*.
➜ Save on high entrance fees for many Salzburg sights and tickets for public transport with the Salzburg Card*.
The best sights in Salzburg
The Hohensalzburg Fortress, the Mönchsberg, Mirabell Palace or the pretty old town with many sights such as the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Salzburg has a lot to offer in a small area! The best place to start is here:
#1 Fortress Hohensalzburg & Fortress Funicular
The city’s landmark also provides a breathtaking view of Salzburg and the surrounding mountains. At Hohensalzburg Fortress you can not only enjoy the panorama, but also explore one of the best preserved medieval castles in Europe! Almost 950 years ago, the first foundation stone for the huge castle overlooking Salzburg was laid on the fortress hill.
By the way, the fortress railroad takes you up and down in just a few minutes. The train runs every 10 minutes and is free for Salzburg Card* holders. It takes about 20 minutes to walk up to the castle, the path is asphalted, but not unstrenuous. Once at the top, you also have to pay admission if you don’t have a Salzburg Card.
#2 Mozart’s Birthplace
Even if you say that you have nothing to do with classical music – I bet you’ve certainly heard a piece by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. His compositions were legendary even in his lifetime! You can’t miss his birthplace in the Getreidegasse: Either the bright yellow facade or the long lines of waiting tourists in front of the door will show you the way.
In the house itself, the Mozarts’ former apartment and adjoining rooms house a lovingly curated museum with old letters, Mozart’s original children’s violin and, of course, lots of music. Don’t let the many tourists scare you off, a visit is worthwhile and free if you have purchased the Salzburg Card* beforehand. Mozart’s birthplace is the classic among Salzburg sights.
Looking for delicious food in Salzburg?
➜ Click here for the great Salzburg Food Guide!
#3 Mozart Residence
At Makartplatz, on the other side of the Salzach, you will find the Mozart family’s residence. If you want to dive deeper into Mozart’s life, you’ve come to the right place! Destroyed during the Second World War, the former dancing master’s house was rebuilt and now houses a multimedia exhibition on the life of Mozart and his equally musical family.
If you have little time, however, I would recommend that you give priority to the birthplace and only visit that one.
#4 DomQuartier & Salzburg Cathedral
The Salzburg Cathedral is impressive. No wonder, Salzburg was ruled by archbishops for centuries. They ensured a correspondingly high density of churches in the city, with the Salzburg Cathedral as the most outstanding of all. And they did not spare any pomp, I can assure you! You should definitely take a look at the cathedral as well.
Insider tip: Via the DomQuartier next door, you can get through various state rooms and exhibition spaces via a large terrace on the upper floors directly to the organ loft! Between the antique organ and all kinds of orchestral equipment you have ,here the mega view of the nave.
Admission to the Salzburg Cathedral is free. With the Salzburg Card* you also have free admission to the entire DomQuartier.
Very cool photo spot: On Kapitelplatz stands the sculpture “Sphaera” by Stephan Balkenhol. The man on the golden sphere with the fortress Hohensalzburg is a super photo motif. (By the way, the sculpture is in two parts: can you find the female figure that goes with it?)
If you are interested in funny details of church history, you should definitely drop by the Kajetanerkirche on Saturdays exactly between 10 and 11 a.m. (not earlier and not later!). Then a small inconspicuous looking chapel opens, in which there is an offshoot of the Scala Santa from Rome. Like the “real” Scala Santa, this staircase may only be climbed kneeling! One of the insider tips among the Salzburg sights.
You can also find more unusual places and wacky stories from over 800 years of Salzburg in this article: Salzburg and its secrets
#5 Mirabell Palace and Gardens
Very close to the Markartplatz you will find the Mirabell Palace with its beautiful Mirabell Gardens. The Mirabell Palace today houses parts of the city administration. Here you can see the impressive Marble Hall, where concerts are also held.
The Mirabell Palace is also a popular place for weddings. Couples from all over the world come here to tie the knots. Maybe you’ll be lucky and are able to watch a fairytale wedding!
In the Mirabell Garden you should also take a look at the small palm house. Another nice photo op!
Admission is free.
#6 The Getreidegasse & the old town of Salzburg
The heart of Salzburg is the old town! Even though it can get crowded in high season, I love the pastel-colored houses in the winding alleys. After all, they are a sight in themselves in Salzburg! The main street here is Getreidegasse, where next to Mozart’s birthplace you can find a lot of stores from expensive to a little less expensive. In the old town of Salzburg cars are prohibited, so you can stroll leisurely through the streets.
Tip: If you feel like shopping, on the other side of the Salzach you will also find Linzer Gasse with many shops and cafés!
Are you a coffee addict like me? In my big Salzburg Food Guide you will find many extraordinary addresses for a cozy coffee in between!
#7 The Mönchsberg
You can climb the Mönchsberg by foot from the old town. But what is much more impressive is the trip with the Mönchsberg elevator that is simply carved into the massive rock and provides a total contrast between the picturesque oldtown and the futuristic complex.
At the top of the Mönchsberg there is the Museum der Moderne, into which you literally drop into from the lift. A lot of concrete, a lot of art and regularly changing exhibitions: Salzburg is also a modern city! And the view over the old town is fantastic. One of my absolutely favourite places in Salzburg.
Tip: The M32 serves fine Austrian cuisine and/or coffee in an informal atmosphere. Pretty cool, pretty nice atmosphere: A good address for a cozy evening above the roofs of Salzburg.
#8 Alter Markt | Café Tomaselli & Konditorei Fürst
The Alter Markt is another central point in the old town. The Café Tomaselli is one of the most famous cafés of Salzburg and so old that even Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a guest here! The prices are reasonable, but there is an original coffee house atmosphere. Right across the street you will find the headquarters of the Konditorei Fürst.
And if there’s one thing you really should have done in Salzburg, it’s to try the different Mozartkugeln! Yes, that’s right, there are several pastry shops that make Mozartkugeln! By the way, since I tried the Mozartkugeln from Fürst and Café Habakuk in Salzburg, nothing else comes into my house :)
Salzburg is a true paradise for foodies! Be sure to read my great food guide for Salzburg with lots of great restaurant and café tips! There you will also learn everything about the most popular specialties such as the Salzburger Nockerln!
Tip: In any case, check out the Goldgasse and the Judengasse nearby! The two old town alleys have that real Salzburg feeling.
#9 The Nonntal & Stift Nonnberg
If you want to get away from the tourist crowds a little, you should make a detour to the Nonntal. Here you will find the new and young Salzburg with some nice cafés and restaurants. But what is even more worthwhile is a visit to Nonnberg Abbey. And now you have to be strong, because for this experience you have to get out of bed really early. Every morning at 6.45 a.m. – and I mean really EVERY morning – the nuns of the Benedictine monastery sing Gregorian chorales in the monastery church. Incredibly impressive.
The church is open to everyone, you can just walk in. I tell you: It was a goosebump experience to sit in this dimly lit church and from the gallery the chants of the nuns sounded as if from nowhere! I’m not a churchgoer, but that really blew my mind.
By the way, from the Nonntal valley you can reach Hellbrunn Castle with its extensive park in about an hour walking along Hellbrunner Allee.
#10 The Almkanal
The Almkanal is a particularly fascinating construction in Salzburg, which not many visitors know! Connected to the Königsseeache, it still supplies parts of the city of Salzburg with water, such as the air conditioning system of the Festspielhaus.
Every September, the Almkanal is shut down for three weeks for maintenance. During this time you can wade through the narrow and over 800-year-old Stiftsarmstollen, which runs under the Mönchsberg to the fortress railway. An absolute experience! If you do not suffer from claustrophobia ;)
almkanal.at (only possible with a guide)
#11 The Kapuzinerberg
From the Kapuzinerberg you have a perfect view of the old town of Salzburg. The ascent is a bit more difficult depending on your physical condition, but it’s worth it!
With luck you will see one of the about a dozen chamois, which settled down on the mountain at some point and are now part of the wildlife.
Access: Steingasse via the Imberg staircase
Linzergasse via the Franziskus Gate
Fürbergstraße behind the shopping center “Im Berg
#12 Augustiner Braustübl at the Kloster Mülln
Salzburgers are definitely a sociable bunch! So when the weather is good, don’t miss a visit to a beer garden. In the Augustiner Braustübl in the Mülln monastery you can experience real Salzburg beer garden tradition in huge dimensions. So you have an idea: The beer garden has room for 1400 guests!
Don’t be shy: Just grab a pitcher from the shelf, rinse it with ice-cold water, and have it filled with freshly tapped beer at the counter. You can bring your own snacks or even your evening meal, but the Schmankerlgang with its many stands has plenty of tasty treats on hand. The classic is the Radi of the family Atanassoff, where you can really only get Radi in all variations!
You can find many more gastro tips in my big Salzburg Food Guide!
Where to stay in Salzburg
Save money with the Salzburg Card
If you want to see a lot of sights in Salzburg, it can add up pretty quickly. With the Salzburg Card, you not only get free rides on all public transportation and the Fortress Railway, you also get free admission to attractions like the Birthplace and the DomQuartier.
Parts of this article were made possible with the kind support of the team around Tourismus Salzburg, without whom I would never have come across many Salzburg insider tips! Thank you very much!
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Salzburg is really a popular destination for city trips! If you want to know even more about Salzburg, feel free to browse through my blog archive about Salzburg!