Salzburg travel guide

Salzburg Tourism | Salzburg Guide

You're Going to Love Salzburg

Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart and still one of the world's great centers for music. It is the fourth biggest city in Austria, with a population of 150,000, and became famous across the world as one of the locations in the film "The Sound of Music".

Curling around the Salzach River, Salzburg is easily one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The skyline is dominated by the Hohensalzburg fortress, which perches imperiously above the city. It is a city of culture, architecture, and stunning vistas.

Salzburg means 'Salt Fortress' and the city got its name by charging a toll to the salt barges, which traveled along the river in the 8th century. Today, the baroque architecture of the Old Town is recognized as one of the most complete in the world, and the entire area is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Salzburg

1. Hohensalzburg Fortress

A climb to the Hohensalzburg Fortress is an absolute must for any visitor to the city. The views of the city and the Alps are breathtaking, and concerts are regularly held in the fortress.

2. Salzburg Festival

Salzburg has been hosting its internationally renowned festival for nearly 100 years. It takes place throughout July and August. With concerts, opera, and theater, it's a great time to experience the culture of the city.

3. Salt Mine Tour

There are a number of different salt mine tours available from Salzburg, with the Salzwelten Salzburg tour a particular favorite. Buy a Salz Erlebnis ticket at the train station, which includes round-trip train and bus transfer and admission to the mine.

4. Ice Caves

The biggest ice caves in the world are just outside Salzburg. They are a 40-minute train journey south and there is a connecting shuttle bus. There is a guided 30-minute tour, but wrap up warm because temperatures in the caves are below freezing.

5. Mozarts Geburtshaus

This is the house where Mozart's family lived and where Mozart himself was born. The house is now a museum dedicated to the famous composer and his family, and has lots of fascinating memorabilia and original letters. A must for classical music lovers.

What to do in Salzburg

1. Altstadt: The Left Bank

Salzburg is divided into the new city and old by the Salzach River, and it's in the cobblestone streets of the Old City that tourists will find the greatest sights. Start at 16th-century Residenzplatz with its baroque architecture, the Salzburg Cathedral, and the Residenz Palace museum. Nearby, the 7th-century St. Peter's Abbey takes you even further back in time. Wander the historic streets wherever they might take you - there are sights with every step.

2. Mozarts Geburtshaus: Get Classical

The most famous native of Salzburg is the beloved composer Wolfgang Mozart, and his birthplace is now a preserved house museum. A child prodigy from a tender age, Mozart discovered his talent playing the piano within these very walls. Find early editions of his music, portraits, and his first violin on display as you explore the cramped bedrooms and kitchen. Outside, Getreidegasse is a busy, 21st-century shopping, but behind these doors is a whole other world.

3. Festung Hohensalzburg: High and Mighty

Overlooking the Old City, this incredible 11th-century castle has been a force to be reckoned with for nearly a thousand years. The medieval fortress is one of the largest of its kind in Europe, and taking a tour of the grounds will transport you to another time. Let your imagination run wild as you picture the historical events that unfolded here. Inside, the lavish decor found throughout, from the Golden Hall to the Chapel of the Archbishop, is equally unforgettable.

4. Schloss Mirabell: For a Majestic Stroll

Mirabell Palace is the ultimate gem of the inner city, with lavish halls and endless pleasure gardens - now for the enjoyment of all. Inside, the Marble Hall is the most luxurious space of many, but it's the gardens outside that are the true attraction. Famous for its use in "The Sound of Music," the land is well kempt and geometrically arranged to satisfying perfection. Wander to your heart's content, and discover the statues based in Greek mythology as you go.

5. Schloss Hellbrunn: A Regal Oasis

This 17th-century Renaissance palace is to die for, surrounded by exceptional pleasure gardens and filled with lush decor. Explore these mystical grounds from one novelty fountain to the next, and you'll feel as though you've found the source of all life springing from the ground. Exuberant gardens surround the countless grottos and pools, and the interior of the palace is equally grand. Combine a visit to the Salzburger Zoo and the Volkskunde Museum of Folklore.

1. Altstadt: The Left Bank

Salzburg is divided into the new city and old by the Salzach River, and it's in the cobblestone streets of the Old City that tourists will find the greatest sights. Start at 16th-century Residenzplatz with its baroque architecture, the Salzburg Cathedral, and the Residenz Palace museum. Nearby, the 7th-century St. Peter's Abbey takes you even further back in time. Wander the historic streets wherever they might take you - there are sights with every step.

2. Mozarts Geburtshaus: Get Classical

The most famous native of Salzburg is the beloved composer Wolfgang Mozart, and his birthplace is now a preserved house museum. A child prodigy from a tender age, Mozart discovered his talent playing the piano within these very walls. Find early editions of his music, portraits, and his first violin on display as you explore the cramped bedrooms and kitchen. Outside, Getreidegasse is a busy, 21st-century shopping, but behind these doors is a whole other world.

3. Festung Hohensalzburg: High and Mighty

Overlooking the Old City, this incredible 11th-century castle has been a force to be reckoned with for nearly a thousand years. The medieval fortress is one of the largest of its kind in Europe, and taking a tour of the grounds will transport you to another time. Let your imagination run wild as you picture the historical events that unfolded here. Inside, the lavish decor found throughout, from the Golden Hall to the Chapel of the Archbishop, is equally unforgettable.

4. Schloss Mirabell: For a Majestic Stroll

Mirabell Palace is the ultimate gem of the inner city, with lavish halls and endless pleasure gardens - now for the enjoyment of all. Inside, the Marble Hall is the most luxurious space of many, but it's the gardens outside that are the true attraction. Famous for its use in "The Sound of Music," the land is well kempt and geometrically arranged to satisfying perfection. Wander to your heart's content, and discover the statues based in Greek mythology as you go.

5. Schloss Hellbrunn: A Regal Oasis

This 17th-century Renaissance palace is to die for, surrounded by exceptional pleasure gardens and filled with lush decor. Explore these mystical grounds from one novelty fountain to the next, and you'll feel as though you've found the source of all life springing from the ground. Exuberant gardens surround the countless grottos and pools, and the interior of the palace is equally grand. Combine a visit to the Salzburger Zoo and the Volkskunde Museum of Folklore.

Top activities & attractions in Salzburg

Where to Eat in Salzburg

Salzburg is famed for its traditional Austrian dishes. These include treats like Schnitzel, a breaded veal escalope. Strudel is a sweet pastry with cream, custard, or ice cream, often completed with fruit or nuts. Sachertorte is the local chocolate cake, usually layered with apricot jam. Tafelspitz is a traditional main course of boiled beef. Gasthaus Wilder Mann is a good budget restaurant serving traditional Austrian classics from around EUR7.00. For a meal with a view, try Franziskisschlössl. It is located on the Kapuzinerberg mountain in a former castle and serves good Austrian food and fine fish from EUR10.00. It also has some great Austrian beer. K+K restaurant is a good choice for an upscale romantic meal. It is situated on Mozartplatz, right beside the cathedral, and serves excellent Austrian cuisine. A meal for two with wine costs around EUR90.00.

When to visit Salzburg

Salzburg in May
Estimated hotel price
£28
1 night at 3-star hotel
Salzburg in May
Estimated hotel price
£28
1 night at 3-star hotel

Salzburg is a year-round destination offering something for visitors in every season. Winter attracts skiers to the nearby Alps, while the summer festival season draws the largest crowds. Fall is a great time to enjoy the city's beautiful gardens, and the spring bloom of alpine meadow flowers is a joy to behold.

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How to Get to Salzburg

Plane

The city is served by Salzburg Airport (SZG), which is well connected to other European cities. For more international connections, a second option is to fly to nearby Munich and take the train to Salzburg. The Salzburg Airport is connected to the city by a trolley bus. The journey takes around 20 minutes and costs EUR2.50.

Train

Salzburg's main train station is the Hauptbahnhof, in the city's New Town. It has excellent connections to other Austrian cities, with an hourly service to Vienna. International connections include those to Munich, Zurich, Zagreb, and Budapest.

Car

Salzburg's main motorway connections are the A1 to Vienna and the A8 to Munich. The regional road network in Austria is also extensive and efficient. If traveling on the motorways, you need to purchase a vignette, which is available from gas stations and motorway rest areas.

Bus

Operators like Czech Shuttle, Eurobusways, and Bean Shuttle connect Salzburg with Prague, Munich, Budapest, and Vienna. Buses usually arrive and leave from the Hauptbahnhof.

Airlines serving Salzburg

Lufthansa
Good (1,385 reviews)
United Airlines
Good (2,463 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (3,901 reviews)
KLM
Good (292 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,076 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,657 reviews)
British Airways
Good (941 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (642 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (663 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (197 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (373 reviews)
Ryanair
Good (1,167 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (307 reviews)
Finnair
Good (450 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Good (155 reviews)
LOT
Good (257 reviews)
easyJet
Good (339 reviews)
Aegean Airlines
Excellent (115 reviews)
Eurowings
Good (54 reviews)
Thai Airways
Good (39 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Salzburg

The Hotel Bristol Salzburg is one of the city's leading five-star hotels and is situated right in the heart of the city. Pension Elisabeth Salzburg is a good budget option just behind the train station, and Hotel & Villa Auersperg in the Old Town is a good mid-range hotel with a rooftop sauna and spa.

Popular neighbourhoods in Salzburg

Altstadt - this is the city's Old Town and historical center. It is here that you will find most of the attractions. The entire area comprises the largest UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world.

Mülln - Mülln is just to the north of the Old Town and is home to the beautiful Müllner Stadtpfarrkirche church and the Müllner Bräu, the biggest beer garden in Austria. It has a distinctive village atmosphere and some beautiful architecture.

Nonntal - this is an almost hidden part of the city's World Heritage Site just to the south of the main Old Town area. It is scenic with many fine buildings, and is a good place for a quiet stroll.

Where to stay in popular areas of Salzburg

Most booked hotels in Salzburg

Schloss Fuschl, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Fuschlsee-Salzburg
Excellent (9.5, Excellent reviews)
£500+
Hotel Goldener Hirsch, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Salzburg
Excellent (9.5, Excellent reviews)
£263+
Hotel Villa Carlton
Excellent (8.7, Excellent reviews)
£108+
Haus Gschwendtner
Excellent (8.7, Excellent reviews)
£65+
Altstadthotel Weisse Taube
Excellent (8.5, Excellent reviews)
£89+
H+ Hotel Salzburg
Excellent (8.4, Excellent reviews)
£101+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Salzburg

Public Transportation

Salzburg is well served by an extensive network of trolley buses and standard diesel buses. Tickets cost from EUR2.60 for a single journey, with a 24-hour ticket costing EUR5.70. There is also a local train line, Lokalbahn, which runs to Lamprechtshausen and Oberndorf. The station is to be found just below the main train station. Postbuses serve the city's outlying suburbs.

Taxi

Taxis in Salzburg are reliable and can be easily booked or hailed from the street. You will be charged an initial fare of EUR3.60 and then around EUR1.70 per mile.

Car

Driving in Salzburg can be difficult. Road signs are written in a small Germanic font, which can be difficult to read. It is a legal requirement to have snow tires on your car from October to April and snow chains are a must when it snows. Car hire can be relatively expensive at EUR80 per day, and Avis and Sixt are present in the city.

The Cost of Living in Salzburg

Shopping Streets

Shopping in Salzburg's beautiful streets can be a real pleasure. The most famous shopping street is Getreidegasse, an elegant avenue offering upscale stores. Linzergasse is another good location for fashion boutiques and shoe stores.

Groceries and Other

There are a number of supermarkets throughout Salzburg. Some of the major chains include Spar, Billa, and Interspar. There is a large mall, the Forum 1, just behind the train station. A quart of whole milk will cost around EUR1.10 and a dozen eggs is around EUR3.00.

Cheap meal
£8.84
A pair of jeans
£70.71
Single public transport ticket
£2.22
Cappuccino
£2.66
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