12 Cool Things to do in Salzburg, Austria

Nonnberg Abbey Salzburg
Übersicht

Do you know these dreamy, romantic towns in Austria? Salzburg is one of them and it’s one of the best destinations in Europe for a city trip. To give you a good overview, I have put together a guide with 12 pretty cool locations in Salzburg! What to do in Salzburg and what not to miss in the famous city of Mozart and the Sound of Music! (P.S. I’m sure you’ll find some secret tips you’ve never heard about!)

Things to do in Salzburg Austria
Fortress Hohensalzburg: One of the major tourist attracions in Salzburg

What to do in Salzburg: The most important sights!

Salzburg is really a popular destination for city trips and full of sights. I will give you tips on which locations you can skip, and which ones are definitely worth seeing! And if you want to know more about Salzburg, please feel free to browse through my blog archive about Salzburg!

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#1 Fortress Hohensalzburg & Fortress Funicular

The city’s landmark also provides a breathtaking view over 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 above Salzburg was laid on the fortress hill.

sculpture man on golden ball in Salzburg in front of Hohensalzburg Fortress
The man on the golden globe: the sculpture makes the view of Hohensalzburg Fortress perfect
Things to do in Salzburg Austria
View from the fortress to the old town of Salzburg

By the way, it takes only a few minutes to go up and down with the fortress funicular. The funicular runs every 10 minutes and is free of charge for holders of the Salzburg Card. It takes about 20 minutes on foot up to the castle, the path is paved, but steep. Once you reach the top, you also have to pay admission as long as you do not have the Salzburg Card.

Festung Hohensalzburg

#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, in the former apartment of the Mozarts and adjacent rooms, there is a lovingly curated museum with old letters, Mozart’s original children’s violin and of course lots of music. Don’t be put off by the many tourists, a visit is worthwhile and free of charge if you have bought the Salzburg Card beforehand! Mozart’s birthplace is the classic among Salzburg’s sights.

Mozarts Geburtshaus

#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.

Mozart Residence

Exhibition in the Mozart residence on Makartplatz

#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.

Things to do in Salzburg Cathedral
Salzburg Cathedral
The Salzburg Cathedral is really impressive from the inside!
Salzburg DomQuartier Sightseeing
Impressive ballrooms in the DomQuartier next door

Secret tip: Via the DomQuartier next door, you can pass through various rooms via a large terrace on the upper floors straight to the organ loft! Between the antique organ and all kinds of orchestral equipment you will have a great view of the cathedral.

Salzburg sights Salzburg Museum in the Neue Residenz
Great photo ops from the terrace of the DomQuartier: View of the Salzburg Museum in the Neue Residenz
Salzburg sightseeing attractions Cathedral
Inside Salzburg Cathedral
cathedral of Salzburg
Organ gallery in the cathedral

Admission to the Salzburg Cathedral is free. With the Salzburg Card you also have free admission to the entire DomQuartier.

DomQuartier

Very cool photo spot: On the Kapitelplatz there is the sculpture “Sphaera” by Stephan Balkenhol. The man on the golden globe with the fortress Hohensalzburg is a great photo op! (By the way, the sculpture consists of two parts: Can you find the corresponding female figure?)

Salzburg sights Man on the Golden Sphere
The sculpture “Sphaera” with the man on the golden globe
Perfect view from the other side with the Hohensalzburg Fortress in the background

If you are interested in funny details of church history, you should definitely come by the Kajetanerkirche on Saturdays exactly between 10 and 11 o’clock (not earlier and not later!). Then a small inconspicuous looking chapel opens, in which an offshoot of the Scala Santa from Rome is located. Like the “real” Scala Santa, this staircase may only be climbed kneeling!

More unusual places and wacky stories from over 800 years of Salzburg can also be found in this article: Salzburg and its secrets

Scala Santa in the Kajetanerkirche in Salzburg
May only be slid up kneeling: The Scala Santa in the Kajetanerkirche

#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.

Salzburg tourist attractions Mirabell Palace Marble Hall
Not only beautiful for getting married: The Marble Hall at the Mirabell Palace

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!

Salzburg sights Mirabell Garden in Mirabell Palace with Hohensalzburg Fortress in the background
The Mirabell Garden around Mirabell Palace
Palm house in the Mirabell Garden Salzburg
The small palm house in the Mirabell Garden

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 here quickly during the high season, I am very fond of the pastel-coloured houses in the narrow, winding alleys. The main street here is the Getreidegasse, where you can find a lot of shops from expensive to a little less expensive next to Mozart’s birthplace. Cars are not allowed in the old town of Salzburg, so you can stroll through the streets in comfort.

Salzburg landmark Goldgasse in the old town
The Goldgasse in the old town
Salzburg tourist attractions Getreidegasse old town
One of the busiest streets in Salzburg’s old town: Getreidegasse
Woman with umbrella in Salzburg old town at Schnürlregen, rain in Salzburg
The typical thin rain in Salzburg is called “Schnürlregen”
Hotel Altstadt in Salzburg
Narrow alleys, pastel-coloured facades: Salzburg’s old town is a little dream.

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 person like me? In my big Salzburg Food Guide you will find many extraordinary addresses for a cosy 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.

Salzburg Attractions Mönchsberg lift
Entrance to the Mönchsberg lift

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.

Salzburg Landmarks Museum der Moderne on the Mönchsberg in Salzburg
Museum der Moderne at the Mönchsberg in Salzburg
In the middle of nature: the Museum der Moderne presents first-class exhibitions on several floors
Salzburg Things to do View of the cathedral, the old town and the fortress
View from Mönchsberg to the old town with the fortress Hohensalzburg

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.

Museum der Moderne
M32

#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.

Things to do in Salzburg Café Tomaselli at the Alter Markt
Even Mozart drank coffee here: Café Tomaselli
Things to do in Salzburg Confectionery Fürst Mozart Balls Mozartkugeln
You have to try this: The Mozartkugeln from the Konditorei Fürst
Café Habakuk in the Linzer Gasse in Salzburg
The Café Habakuk in Linzer Gasse also makes very tasty Mozartkugeln

And if there is one thing you should really have done in Salzburg, it is to try the different Mozartkugeln! Yes, that’s right, because there are several pastry shops that make Mozartkugel! By the way, since I tried the Mozartkugeln from Fürst and the ones from the Café Habakuk in Salzburg, I’m a Mozartkugel addict :) (By the way, avoid to translate Mozartkugeln to English: “Kugel” means ball in English and “Mozart’s balls” really sounds odd  ;) )

Tray with Mozartkugeln from Salzburg
Tray with Mozartkugeln from Salzburg

Salzburg is a true paradise for Foodies! Also be sure to read my big Food Guide for Salzburg with many great restaurant and café tips! There you can also find out all about the most popular specialities, 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.

Things to do in Salzburg Nonnberg Abbey
Sunrise at Nonnberg Abbey
Salzburg Things to do Benedictine monastery Nonnberg with Gregorian chants
Mystical: The chorales of the nuns in the Benedictine monastery of Nonnberg

The church is open to everyone, you can just walk in.

Salzburg Things to do Benedictine monastery Nonnberg with Gregorian chants
It’s worth getting up early for the view!

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.

Guided tour through the Almkanal in September Things to do in Salzburg
Important for the guided tour through the Almkanal: rubber boots!
Salzburg Almkanal guided tour

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 with guided tours!)

What to do in Salzburg Austria Entrance to the Stiftsarmstollen
Entrance to the Stiftsarmstollen
Almkanal Salzburg Stiftsarmstollen
It is not allowed to enter the Almkanal without a guide!
Salzburg sightseeing guided tour through the Almkanal
Humid, dark and narrow: this is where the water of the Almkanal usually runs.

#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!

things to see in salzburg austria kapuzinerberg
Up to the Kapuzinerberg

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.

View from Kapuzinerberg to the landmarks of Salzburg
From Kapuzinerberg you have one of the best views of Salzburg

Access: Steingasse via the Imbergstiege Linzergasse via the Franziskuspforte Fürbergstraße behind the shopping center “Im Berg

#12 Augustiner Braustübl at the Kloster Mülln

Salzburgers are definitely quite sociable people! When the weather is good, you shouldn’t miss a visit to a beer garden. In the Augustiner Braustübl at the Mülln Monastery you can experience real Salzburg beer garden tradition in gigantic dimensions. Just to give you an idea: The beer garden has room for 1400 guests!

Salzburg Places of interest Entrance to the Augustiner Bräustübl in Mülln Monastery with beer garden
The Augustiner Bräustubl in Mülln Monastery is a Salzburg institution!

Self service at the beer garden

You will find many more culinary tips in my big Salzburg Food Guide!

Where to stay in Salzburg

I can sincerely recommend the luxurious Hotel Stein with its phenomenal rooftop bar or the Gästehaus im Priesterseminar Salzburg for a smaller budget.

Room at the Hotel Stein in Salzburg
The Hotel Stein is one of the top addresses in the city.

Save money with the Salzburg Card

If you want to see a lot of sights in Salzburg, this can easily cost you a lot of money. With the Salzburg Card, you will not only have free travel on all public transport and the fortress railway, you will also receive free admission to all major attractions such as Mozart’s birthplace and the DomQuartier.

Buy your Salzburg Card right here in advance!

Salzburg Card Tourist attractions
The Salzburg Card saves you a lot of entrance fees and travel expenses.

*Parts of this article were made possible with the support of Tourismus Salzburg. Thank you!

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