Though Salzburg City is small compared to other popular European cities, it makes up for it’s size with it’s scenic landscape, famous musicians, poets, hiking trails and many other beautiful attractions. So don’t underestimate the city of Mozart, or Sound of Music. Give Salzburg more than just a day visit, and we promise it will surprise you with all it’s wonders. See what this lovely city has to offer with this list of over 50 things to do in Salzburg City.
Our Top 10 Things to Do in Salzburg
1. Hohensalzburg Fortress
Salzburg’s most popular attraction is the largest and most preserved fortress in Central Europe. A fortress that has never been conquered before is now taken by storm by tourists from all over the world. Walls and towers that once protected the city from invaders now contain several museums, such as the state rooms and the torture chamber, that can keep visitors entertained for hours.
2. Explore the Old Town
Take a stroll through the old city and be wowed by the beautiful architecture, the cobblestone streets, small alley ways, and well preserved buildings dating as far back as the 15th century! It is here where you will find the Getreidegasse, Salzburg’s most famous shopping street! Squeeze through the crowds to shop for souvenirs, clothes, take pictures of old iron store signs or even grab a bite to eat! Oh and did we mention that Salzburg’s Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Take a stroll through one of Salzburg’s most popular and beautiful gardens, Mirabellgarten! The garden which was first opened to the public in 1854 still wows visitors today. Filled with a nice array of flowers, marble statues, and fountains as well as ample opportunities to re-enact scenes from the Sounds of Music, Mirabellgarten is a must visit.
4. Salzburg Cathedral (Dom)
This impressive 17th century baroque cathedral is the biggest church in the Old City. The cathedral has been destroyed by fire and rebuilt several times throughout history, and the building that stands in the Domplatz today is not the same one that was built in 774. Nonetheless, visitors can still see some of the old church remains in the Cathedral Excavations.
Domplatz 1a, Tel. 0662/80477950, www.salzburger-dom.at
5. Hellbrunn – Palace and Trick Fountains
This beautiful palace was once the summer residence of Prince-Bishop Markus Sittikus. The sole purpose of the Hellbrunn Palace was to entertain, and even after 400 years it still does just that. Visitors from all over come here to experience the fun and relaxing atmosphere of the “pleasure palace”. It would be a great shame if you didn’t stroll around the beautiful park, visit the Sound of Music Pavilion, or get wet by the trick fountains during your visit to Salzburg.
6. Augustiner Bräu Beer Garden
What’s a visit to Austria without beer, nothing really! The Augustiner Bräu is a monastery that brews it’s own beer, and is the largest beer garden in Austria. The beer is still drawn from a wooden barrel and served in stone mugs just like in the old days. Both locals and tourists consider this beer garden to be the best of it’s kind as it offers great beer for almost nothing.
7. Salzburg Marionette Theatre
A visit to Salzburg would be incomplete without catching a show at the Marionette Theatre. Watch as only a few puppet masters manage a stage full of lifelike puppets as they perform operas from various composers including Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream or Saint-Exupéry’s “The Little Prince”. Popular performances are “The Magic Flute” by Mozart (in German with English subtitles) and the Sound of Music.
Hike or take a ten minute cable car ride up to the top of the Untersberg mountain to get a breathtaking view of Salzburg, Rosietten Valley as well as surrounding mountains! Once at the peak, visitors can continue their journey of the mountain by either hiking to the Geiereck (1805 meters), visiting the mountain climbers memorial, or walking to the Salzburg Hochthron mountain (1856 meters).
9. Panorama Museum
In the 1820s, a well respected and admired panorama artist, Johann Sattler painted an impressive and well detailed 360° panorama of Salzburg City depicting not only the view of the city from the fortress but also the everyday life of Salzburg residents from 200 years ago. This unique panorama painting is 125 m2 in size and 26 meters in circumference and has traveled all over the world before it called the Panorama Museum it’s home. Now visitors can go back in time and get a panoramic view of how Salzburg City looked in 1829. It’s a must see in our opinion.
One of the best things about Salzburg is that when you want to take a little break from your everyday life, you can just go and climb a nearby mountain, sit with nature and tune out the city noise. Kapuzinerberg is our favorite within the city for just that. Plus it offers by far the most picturesque view of Salzburg.
Entrance: Linzergasse 14
More Things to Do in Salzburg
11. Sound of Music Tour
If you are a fan of the Sound of Music, it is only fair that you take a guided tour around the city to see the locations that were featured in the hit movie. There are over 15 locations around the Salzburg city you can visit. Some of these places include Mirabellgarten, Hellbrunn Palace, and Nonnberg Abbey. You can learn more about the “The Original Sound of Music Tour” here. If you don’t have money for a tour, don’t despair, you can visit all these Sound of Music filming locations on your own by foot, bus or bike rental.
12. DomQuartier Salzburg
Gets some insights on how the Prince-Archbishop lived by exploring the state rooms, residence gallery and the Cabinets of Curiosities. The DomQuartier has finally reopened its door after being closed to the public for over 200 years, giving visitors a new perspective of how powerful and rich the Prince-Archbishop was. Tours of the DomQuartier include access to the terrace above the cathedral, Cathedral Organ Gallery, Cathedral Museum, Museum of St. Peter’s Abby and more.
13. Mozart’s Birthplace
Get the opportunity to explore the grounds where Mozart was born and lived during his youth. At this museum visitors learn more about Mozart’s family, as well as see documents, letters, Mozart’s childhood violin and portraits on display.
14. Mozart’s Residence
As the Mozart family outgrew Mozart’s birthplace, the family moved across the Salzach river to what is now known as the Mozart’s Residence Museum. The exhibits here include information relating to the life of the Mozart family.
15. St. Peter’s Cemetery & Catacombs
The St. Peter’s Cemetery dates back to the 1600s and is the oldest Christian cemetery in Salzburg. The catacombs hewn out of the rocks of Monchsberg provides a stunning view over the beautiful cemetery and should definitely be visited.
16. Salzburg Museum / New Residence
Visit the Salzburg Museum to get an in depth look into Salzburg’s culture, history and art.
17. Klessheim Palace
The Klessheim Palace, is a baroque gem and used to be the summer residence of the Archbishops of Salzburg. Today the palace is home to the Salzburg Casino. However even if you are not a gambler, it’s beautiful gardens, pleasure grounds, and interior design are definitely a must see in Salzburg.
18. Nonnberg Abbey
This monastery in Salzburg is the oldest female convent in the German speaking world. However, that is not why this abbey is famous in Salzburg. Tourist from all over the world come and visit this abbey because of it’s connection to the Sound of Music. Not to mention this abbey is also where the real life Maria lived and taught for 2 years, and got married to Georg Von Trapp here in 1927.
19. Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art is located on a cliff that overlooks the old city. Visitor get to see art from the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as rotating international exhibits.
20. Mönchsberg (M32)
Mönchsberg offers another top view of the city center and the Hohensalzburg Fortress. It’s a popular spot among tourist to take a top view picture of the city. It’s also a great opportunity to have dinner with a spectacular view at the M32 restaurant.
Popular among locals for hiking and skiing, Gaisberg is said to be one of the most popular excursion destinations in the Salzburg area, which means if you are in Salzburg you have to hike up to the peak. The top offers a gorgeous panoramic view of Salzburg’s lake district, neighboring Bavaria as well as Salzburg City.
22. Salzach Cruise
Take a ride on the “Amadeus Salzburg” speedboat along the Salzach River to get a different view of the beautiful city of Salzburg as it heads towards Hellbrunn. The Salzach Cruise offers an array of tours to choose from including one to The Hellbrunn “pleasure palace”.
23. Sachertorte & Coffee
Does anybody ever need an excuse to eat cake and drink coffee? I know we don’t. So, do like the locals do and make sure to stop at one of the many cafés for a delicious slice of Sachertorte and a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
24. The Sound of Salzburg Dinner & Show
Enjoy a nice candle lit three or four course meal as you take in the classic melodies and songs that made Salzburg famous. The show can also be seen without a meal.
25. Christmas Market/Christkindlmarkt (Winter only)
If you are in Salzburg around late November or December a visit to one of the many Christmas market located at the three squares around the cathedral (Domplatz, Kapitelplatz, Residenzplatz) as well as at the Hellbrunn Palace is a must. Try some traditional Salzburg Christmas delicacies such as Glühwein (sweet, warm and mulled wine), Maroni (roasted chestnuts), or Lebkuchen (traditional baked Christmas treats); or purchase Christmas decorations, winter clothes, handcrafted items and so much more. You have to be there to truly embrace the feeling and beauty of the Christmas markets.
26. Museum of Natural History
From prehistoric times to milestones of space travel, Salzburg’s Museum of Natural History has a wide variety of exhibits, including a diverse aquarium and reptile zoo that will keep you and your family entertained for hours.
27. Christmas Museum
I know, what you are thinking… Yes, Christmas can be all year around at least when you visit Salzburg’s Christmas Museum. A small yet interesting museum to learn the history of Christmas. And if you can’t make it to Austria during the Christmas festivities, this museum can give you a little taste of the Christmas spirit in Salzburg.
28. Salzburg Open-Air Museum
Journey back in time and experience how farm life was in rural Salzburg between the 16th and 20th century at this beautiful Open Air Museum. More than a 100 historical buildings such as barns, farmhouses and mills dating back 500 years can be seen to help give you a real feel of life back then. Visit all these historical attractions on the museum train!
29. Salzburg Zoo
A great family friendly attraction with over 1200 animals (140 different species) to explore throughout the 35 acres zoo. The zoo has a nice mix of local, exotic and rare animals such as the Przewalski’s horse. Make your visit to the Salzburg Zoo extra special by visiting the zoo at Night in August and September on Friday and Saturday.
30. Stiegl Brauwelt
This attraction is said to be a paradise for beer lovers. Are you a beer lover? If so, get the opportunity to get detailed insights into the world of beer. Oh and did I mention you get to sample 3 beers for free! Prost!
31. Dwarf Garden
If you are visiting Mirabell garden be sure to check out the Dwarf Garden nearby and make funny poses as you take pictures next to the many dwarf statutes.
32. Salzburg Festival (July – September only)
For almost 100 years, Salzburg City has been bringing the arts to life with operas, theater plays, and concerts throughout the city with the Salzburg Festival. The Salzburg Festival takes place in July and August for five weeks. If you are visiting during this time be sure to catch one of the most popular performance, Jedermann (Everyman) which is performed every year in front of the Salzburg Cathedral (Dom).
33. Salzburg State Theatre
Salzburg is known for it’s arts and culture so why not culturize yourself by seeing a play or an opera at the State Theatre. You won’t regret it, after all it is the leading company for performing arts in Salzburg with international recognition.
34. Toy Museum
A great museum to visit when traveling to Salzburg with kids. Not only do you and your family get to see the largest collection of European toys but you also have fun with hands-on experience, plenty of rides, games and toys. Explore the world of toys and your kids will be calling you the best parents in the world :)
35. Hangar 7
Want to take a break from the historical sites, musical activities and old style buildings? Well, take a trip to Hangar 7 and experience modern architecture in perfection in this futuristic glass dome that houses cool airplanes, race cars and space equipment! And no, you don’t have to be a car or plane buff to enjoy this attraction.
36. Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter
During your visit of the old city, stop by Stiftsbäckerei and eat freshly made bread in the oldest bakery in Salzburg. Bread are still made the old fashion way here with high quality sourdough and baked in the same old wood-ovens. Be sure to get there early because this little hole in the wall bakery sells out fast.
37. Hang a Lock on the Makartsteg Bridge
Get the opportunity to lock your love forever on the lock bridge in Salzburg. Buy a lock (or bring your own), engrave something on it, lock it on the bridge and throw away the key (not in the river please).
38. Cathedral Excavations
Take a few minutes to visit the excavations located underneath the Cathedral (Dom) to see the remains from a Roman Villa. Visitors get to see intact mosaic floors, parts of residential areas, courtyards, excavations of the medieval cathedral and so much more.
39. Folklore Museum
At the Folklore museum located near the Hellbrunn Palace, visitors can get an in-depth understanding of Salzburg’s Folk culture and traditions. The museum’s collection consists of furniture, glass paintings, religious craftworks, ceramics, traditional garments and folk music to name a few.
40. Georg Trakl Memorial and Research Centre
Mozart wasn’t the only famous person born in Salzburg (well actually there are many). Georg Trakl was a famous poet, whose poem verses were said to “created inner human situations from outer inspirations”. Many of his poems were influenced by Salzburgs architecture and the city’s atmosphere. Trakl has gained international recognition as his works have be translated into 26 languages. Today many of his handwritten poems are on display at the Georg Trakl Memorial and Research Centre. To learn more about Salzburg’s famous poet, Georg Trakl get a guided tour at 2pm M-F at his birthplace on Waagplatz.
41. Visit a Farmer’s Market
What better way to get a taste of some of Salzburg’s food then by eating samples or purchasing goodies at one of the many farmer’s markets in Salzburg City. A popular farmer’s market is the Grünmarkt, located in front of the Kollegienkirche in the Old City. There you can find a blend of souvenirs, agricultural products, and of course food. Not to mention the Grünmarkt is seconds away from one of the only few stores in Salzburg that make the original Mozartkugel (Mozart Balls).
42. Take A Walking Tour
Learn more about this lovely city by taking a walking tour with one of the many tour companies around town.
43. Rent a Bike
Salzburg is considered to be the cycling capital of Austria, which means it’s a bike friendly city. The city is paved with miles and miles of bike paths, so why not explore the city on two wheels. If you want to escape the city chaos for a while, just follow the river in either direction until you are surrounded by forest.
44. Bible World Museum
The treasures and stories of the bible are exhibited in such a way that is only unique to Salzburg. This is a museum where history is not just learned but felt and touched. Visitors get to experience and explore this working museum with all their senses in and around the 600m2 space floor. You will know you have arrived once you see the gigantic yellow ear on the side of the Elisabethkirche (church)!
45. Take a Horse Carriage Ride Through Town
Get the entire old city ambience when you explore Salzburg in one of the many two horse powered carriages. Sit back and relax as you trot through some of the most beautiful parts of Salzburg, learning new and interesting facts about this UNESCO World Heritage City! Horse carriages can be found on the Residenzplatz in the old city.
46. Salzburg Soccer Park
Soccer Park is where families and visitors can play the quickly growing new sport called Soccergolf. What is Soccergolf you ask? Well it’s a mixture of golf and soccer. It’s like playing golf but with a soccer ball and your feet. Salzburg SoccerPark is the only Soccergolf court in all of Austria! If you get a chance, go visit the Soccer Park and play a fun and interesting game of Soccergolf.
47. Casino Salzburg
Salzburg Casino is located in the historical Klessheim Palace dating back to the 1700s. With a beautiful garden and 3 stories filled with games, visitors can test their luck to see if they can leave Salzburg with more money than what came with. If you are visiting Salzburg in the summer, be sure to check out the open-air games on the terrace.
Schloss Klessheim, 5071 Wals-Siezenheim, Tel.0662/854455, www.salzburg.casinos.at
Austria’s water is rated among the top 5 best drinking water in the world, and by visiting the Salzburg’s water museum you can find out why. Learn about Salzburg’s current and old water system and how it supplies water to the whole city.
49. Red Bull Arena
If you love soccer you must visit the Red Bull Arena, where the UEFA Euro 2008 Championships were held. A 90 minute guided tour of the stadium is available on Saturdays at 10am. Tour includes access to the changing rooms, VIP areas and players tunnel.
50. Eat an Austrian Meal
It kind of goes without saying but I will say it anyway, if you are in Salzburg make sure to eat at least one real traditional Austrian meal. If you are eating chicken, turkey or rice it ain’t Austrian, however if there is a lot of red meat, potatoes or bread, chances are it is. Some popular Austrian dishes are: Schnitzel, Käsespatzle, Tafelspitz, Gulasch, Speckknödel, and Schweinsbraten.