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!)
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.
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.
#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.
#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.
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.
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 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?)
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
#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 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.
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.
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 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 ;) )
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.
The church is open to everyone, you can just walk in.
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 with guided tours!)
#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 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!
Self service at the beer garden
You will find many more culinary 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, 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.
*Parts of this article were made possible with the support of Tourismus Salzburg. Thank you!
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