Once you are done with your Salzburg itinerary and saw all the mayor sights in the city, make sure to take a few day trips to explore its surroundings. Salzburg is a great central location to do a number of day trips from as it has great and reliable transportation system. So don’t let not having a car stop you from leaving the city and hop on the next train or bus to some of the most beautiful sights in Austria. Here are some of the best day trips from Salzburg! Enjoy!
1. Werfen Ice Cave (Eisriesenwelt)
Eisriesenwelt is an impressive natural limestone and ice cave hidden in Hochkogel mountain in Werfen, Austria. As visitors, climb and descend over 1400 steps through the pitch black 26 mile long cave with hand held lamps, they can see large ice sculptures shaped like polar bears or elephants come to life! Even on the hottest days in Austria, this cave is still 0 °C/ 32 °F. It’s by far the coolest (pun intended) day trip from Salzburg!
For more in depth information check out our guide to visiting the world’s largest ice cave.
- By Car: Take the Tauern motorway (A10) south and take exit 34-Paß Lueg (40 min. drive) From there follow the Eisriesenwelt signs up the mountain to the entrance.
- By Public Transportation: Take a direct train from Salzburg Hauptbahnhof to Werfen Bahnhof, from there you can either wait for the local Eishöhle bound bus which leaves every 2 hours from 8:18 am until 2:18pm, or walk 5 minutes to the Parkplatz Gries and catch a bus to the visitors center which leaves about every 25 minutes. Roundtrip bus fare: Adults: € 7, Kids: € 5.
- By Private Tour: For a more personalized experience we recommend you book a private tour guide to explore the largest ice cave in the world. Click here to learn more about the tour.
Visiting Hours: Open daily from May – October
Cost: Cave visit with Cable Car Ride: Regular: € 24.00 | Children (5-14 yrs old): €14.00 | Youth (15-18 yrs old): €18.00
Recommended Trip Length: 3 hours
2. Hohenwerfen Castle
Go back in time and re-live life in the medieval times and meet the “hunters of the skies” at the Falcon Flight Demonstrations. Your ticket allows you access to the falcon demonstration, torture chamber, dungeon, pitch kitchen, armory and arsenal, weapons room, the state rooms and so much more. This side trip from Salzburg can be combined with a visit to the Werfen Ice Caves as both can easily be done on the same day.
Fun fact: The Hohenwerfen fortress was seen and used as backdrops in a lot of Hollywood movies such as the “Sound of Music” or “Just Married“ with Ashton Kutcher.
- By Public Transportation: Take a direct train from Salzburg Hauptbahnhof to Werfen Bahnhof (~45 mins), from there it is a five minute walk to the base of the castle. At the base of the castle you can choose to either hike 15 minutes to the entrance or pay € 3.50 to take the funicular to the top.
- By Car: Take the Tauern motorway (A10) south and take exit 34-Paß Lueg (40 min. drive). From there follow the Hohenwerfen Castle signs to the entrance.
- March – April & October – November: 9:30 am – 4 pm
- May – September: 9 am – 5 pm
- July & August: 9 am – 6 pm
- CLOSED December – February and on Mondays in March
Flight Demonstration Shows:
- March 26th – November 6th: 11:15 am & 3:15 pm
- July 18th – August 19th: 11:15 am, 2:15 pm & 4:30 pm
Cost: Regular: € 12.00 | Children (6-15 yrs old): € 6.50 | Family: € 28.50
Recommended Trip Length: 3 hours
3. Hallein Salt Mine
One of the main reasons why Salzburg is such a rich city is because of its discovery of the white gold, i.e. Salt! So if you want to learn more about Salzburg’s history and how it came to its wealth, make sure to visit one of the world’s oldest salt mines in Hallein. In this 70 minute tour, visitors get to walk the ancient grounds of the famous salt mine, cross an international border underground, slide down two wooden miner slides and raft across an underground lake.
What makes the Hallein Salt Mine different from the two other Salt Mines (Hallstatt and Altaussee) is that your ticket to the Saltmine also gives you FREE entrance to the nearby Celtic Village, Celtic Museum and the Silent Night Museum, not to mention that you get the opportunity to experience an underground border crossing!
- By Public Transportation: Take a 24 minutes train ride from Salzburg Hauptbahnhof to the Hallein Station then take Bus #41 for 10 minutes to the Salt Mine (Stop: Salzbergwerk).
- By Car: Take the Tauern motorway (A10) south and take exit 16. Follow the signs to the mine. Free parking is available.
- Mid-March – October: 9 am – 5 pm
- November – Mid-March: 10 am – 3 pm
Cost: Adults: € 21 | Kids (4-15 yrs old): €10.50 | Family: €44
Recommended Trip Length: 2-3 hours (without the museums)
As you walk through what many consider to be the prettiest gorge in the Alps, you get consumed by the 900 ft high canyon walls, roaring waterfalls, and crystal clear water. The narrow gorge is about 1.5km long, ending at a 40m single drop waterfall. At the falls you will find a few picnic tables so bring some food with you for a scenic picnic by the waterfall. Either way you don’t want to miss out on visiting the longest and deepest accessible wild water ravines in the Alps.
- By Public Transportation: From the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof take a train to St. Johann im Pongau Bahnhof (~72 minutes) from there take Bus #51 one stop to St. Johann im Pongau Postamt. Lastly, take the Bus #52 to St. Johann im Pongau Glückauf. A one way trip costs € 11.90 and takes about 1.5 hours.
- May – September: 8 am – 6 pm
- October: 9 am – 4 pm
- CLOSED November – April
Cost: Adults: € 6 | Kids (6 – 18 yrs old): € 4
Recommended Trip Length: 1.5 – 2 hours
Hallstatt is one of the most touristy villages in Austria and for good reason. This fairy tale like village has it all, from beautiful mountains, colorful houses to a tranquil lake. It definitely is the postcard town of Austria. Spend the day wandering the village streets and squares or do one of the many activities Hallstatt has to offer.
Here are some of the top things to do in Hallstatt:
- Salt mines: If you haven’t already been to the salt mine in Hallein, this would be the time to explore one of the oldest Salt mines in the world and learn more about the “salty” history of Austria.
- Dachstein Ice Cave: Explore the below freezing ice cave and see some ice sculptures and frozen waterfalls.
- 5 Finger Lookout: Catch a breathtaking view of Hallstatt from the glass bottom walkway.
- Bone Chapel: Get creep-ed out by the hundreds of painted skulls at the St. Michael’s Chapel.
The best way to get to Hallstatt in our opinion is by bus as it will take you through the most scenic lakes of the Salzkammergut. Oh and it’s also the fastest and cheapest.
- By Bus: Catch the Bus #150 from the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof to the last stop, Bad Ischl (~95 minutes). Then take the train to the Hallstatt train station, from there you will have to walk to the lake and take the ferry to Hallstatt (~10 minutes). Round trip will cost around € 35 per person and takes about 2 hours one way.
- By Train: From the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof take a train to Attnang-Puchheim. From there take another train to the Hallstatt train station. Lastly, take the ferry to Hallstatt. Round trip will cost around € 60 per person and takes about 2.5 hours one way.
Recommended Trip Length: 6 – 7 hours minimum. Get an early morning start.
Insider Tip: Though Hallstatt is an easy day trip from Salzburg, we suggest maybe spending a night there to see how the village looks when it’s not overpopulated by day trippers and tourists.
Königssee is a day trip from Salzburg you don’t want to miss out on! Nestled in between several gorgeous Alpine mountains, the emerald green lake is the cleanest and deepest lake in Bavaria region and because of this it is popular among locals and tourists alike. One can easily spend an entire day here as there is so much to do. From hiking the nearby mountains, chasing waterfalls to taking the popular electric boat ride to Salat or Obersee, there is something for everyone. We can honestly say that this is one of the most beautiful lakes we have every visited and that is why it is one of our favorite day trips from Salzburg!
From Königssee, visitors can also take side trips to the Eagle’s Nest, the Berchtesgaden Salt Mine, and the Watzmann Therme.
- By Bus: Catch Bus #840 from Salzburg Hauptbahnhof to the last stop, Berchtesgaden Bahnhof (~45 minutes). Then take either Bus #841 or #842 to Königssee (~10 minutes).
Recommended Trip Length: 5-6 hours minimum. We suggest arriving early to avoid the crowds.
If you are coming to Salzburg during the winter months you definitely have to visit one of the many thermal baths in the region. Our favorite is the RupertusTherme in Bad Reichenhall. They have beautiful facilities with heated indoor and outdoor pools, sauna area, turkish bath, whirlpools and so much more. It’s the perfect escape from the cold.
By Public Transportation: Take the S3 from Salzburg Hauptbahnhof to Bahnhof Bad Reichenhall and then take Bus #4 directly to the RupertusTherme.
Insider Tip: The cheapest way to enjoy a day at the RupertusTherme is to buy a “BLB – ThermenTicket” from the Salzburger Lokalbahn at Salzburg Hauptbahnhof. The ThermenTicket costs € 22 and includes a free 4 hour ticket to the RupertusTherme, and transportation to and from the Therme.
Cost: Adult: from € 18,50 | Children (8-16 yrs old): from € 15,50 | Children (0-7 yrs old): from € 12,50
Visiting Hours: Daily from 9 am to 10 pm
Recommended Trip Length: 4 hours – all day
8. Dachau Concentration Camp
The Dachau Concentration Camp was the first Nazi concentration camp in Germany, opening it’s door just a few weeks after Hitler was appointed Reichskanzler of Germany. It became the model for future concentration camps and served as a “School of Violence” for the SS troops.
Today the Camp serves as a memorial site and a reminder of the horrors and atrocities of the Holocaust. Take a moment out of your vacation to walk the grounds of the first Nazi Concentration camp, explore the surviving buildings and hear the chilling stories of the day to day life of prisoners during the twelve years of it’s existence.
- By Public Transportation: Take a 90 minute train ride from Salzburg Hauptbahnhof to Munich Hauptbahnhof. From the Hauptbahnhof, take the S2 train in the direction of Dachau/Petershausen and get off at Dachau. Once at the Dachau station, go outside and take Bus #726 to the entrance of the camp.
Hours: Daily 9 am – 5 pm
Cost: Free without audio guide | Audio guide: € 3.50 | Guided tour: € 3
Documentary Film Screening (English): 10:00 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm
Recommended Trip Length: 3 hours
Can you really come to Austria without visiting its beautiful capital? You can’t! And although Vienna probably deserves more than just a day it is definitely doable if you leave early in the morning thanks to a high speed train connecting Salzburg with Vienna. Some of the best things to do on your day trip are: Schönbrunn Palace, Ringstrasse, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
- By Public Transportation: Take the Westbahn from Salzburg Hauptbahnhof to Vienna Westbahnhof (2.5 hours).
Recommended Trip Length: All Day
More Info: Backpacking Vienna on a Budget
Have you taken any awesome day trips from Salzburg that are not on this list?