This gorgeous Austrian city is on the border of Germany and boasts spectacular views of the Eastern Alps. The city is split by the Salzach river which is a pedestrian bridge that is filled with locks of love, you can add yours with hundreds of others. There are medieval and baroque buildings that fill the magical charming downtown with the old pedestrian city on the left bank facing the 19th century more modern new city on the right. The Altstadt birthplace of the famous composer Mozart was made into a museum displaying his childhood instruments. Every corner you turn there is history, beautiful architecture and beautiful music in the air. There are street musicians all over town displaying their gifts especially in the summer. There are many open air concerts for free held in local parks by local composers. This was one of my favorite spots I visited in Europe because of the feeling that you truly are in a musical as you walk around the picturesque streets.
How to get there
Getting from Salzburg Airport to the city center
The airport is only conveniently about a 20 minute drive from the city center and is a simple and cheap bus ride into town. The busses are very modern, clean and a convenient way to operate in Austria.
Public Buses to Salzburg City
- The No. 2 bus runs daily every 10-20 minutes between Salzburg Main Station and the airport. The bus ride is around 23 minutes.
- The No. 10 bus (Mon-Sat) leaves every 10 minutes from the airport to the city centre. The bus ride is around 15 minutes.
- Full airport transportation information here
Tickets (single ticket €2.50, children €1.30 up to 15 years) available at the “Newscorner” in the airport terminal, at the bus stop (machine) or from the bus driver.
The Salzburg Card is available at the “Reisewelt” travel agency. It offers free entrance to most tourist attractions and free public transport in the city of Salzburg for 3 days.
Taking the Train to Salzburg City Center
There is a train station downtown called, Salzburg Aiglhof S-Bahn. From this central train station there is a bus terminal where the bus headed to city center comes and you can get brought the extra 15 minutes into town. The bus comes frequently and is fast, clean and a pleasant experience in Austria as well as cheap. See the bus information above.
Things to do
Mirabell Palace & gardens
Mirabell Palace is an iconic, 17th-century palace with ornamental gardens, plus classical concerts in the lavish ballroom. There are classical composers who put on concerts in the gardens during summer time that are open to the general public and free. They are fantastic in the beautiful garden settings and this was my favorite accidental thing to stumble across while wandering the city.
Hours: 8am-6pm daily
Price: Admission is free!!!
Love Lock Bridge Salzburg
This is the most fun love lock bridge officially called Makartsteg Bridge in the city that is reminiscent of the gates at both ends of the Charles Bridge in Prague or the love lock bridges in Italy as well as Paris. The bridge is right near the Herbert Von Karajan Statue. There are so many European cities with these bridges but this one over the Salzach river with a beautiful view of the city and the mountains is so picturesque. Walk across this pedestrian bridge between both halves of the city and add your lock to the love lock bridge.
BackWerk Cafe Pastries
BackWerk is a small homemade bakery cafe that is on Griesgasse street parallel to the Salzach river right across the street after you cross the love lock bridge. This was the most budget and delicious fresh bakery I visited in the city. It is not the most cute asthetic inside and has barely any seating whatsoever but it is amazing. You have to grab one of the view window bar seats available if you can. There are amazing sandwiches, little homemade pizzas, apple turnovers and several other traditional pastries. I grabbed several for lunch and they were all the best pastries I have ever had. My lunch was under $5 USD and I was very full and satisfied. This is a secret hidden gem of the city. The locals were all there and there was a line.
Hours: 6am-8pm Mon-Fri, 7am-7pm Sat, 8am-6pm Sun
The Salzburg Cathedral has twin spires top this baroque-style 17th-century cathedral, with a museum housing sacred treasures. This is a gorgeous building in the square and Salzburg is filled with beautiful architecture and many historical churches. There are concerts held here regularly as well as operating church services you can attend. To find out when concerts are or how to attend services and get tours look here.
Hours: 8am-5pm daily
Price: Admission is free! Donations are requested.
The Franciscan church has architectural details (including a Baroque interior) from several periods. This is a gorgeous quaint church with a beautiful attached courtyard and cemetery filled with flowers. There is a church burial crypt you can pay to tour as well as a tower that gives a lookout over the city. The grounds of this church are a garden to enjoy and go on a walk through. The church is open to sit in and soak in the silence and beauty.
Hours: not listed
Price: Admission is free!
Linzer Gasse Platz & Shopping
This shopping area is on the other side of the river in the modern side of the city without all the historical cathedrals and churches. This is a cool trendy area with lots of bars, restaurants, cafes and shops to go shopping. This is a fun area to walk around, window shop and get a feel for the city life of Salzburg.
Public Street Fountains & gutter play
In Austria the city is clean and in the main part of the city there are fountains that run in the gutter and create playgrounds for the children that are open to the public. There are plastic colored balls like in Mcdonald’s play pits that kids take and put in the fountain to run down the stream downhill to the bottom of the hill. In the summer there were so many naked babies and kids in undies running through the streets playing in the public fountains. This was such a fun and alive part of the streets and interesting to witness culturally. Not sure if adults are allowed to join in their undies when its hot in the fountains.
There are many flower fields in Austria and the sunflower fields in the countryside are gorgeous. I visited an old friend from college who lived in the country and was ecstatic about finding these beauties that were a U-pick field on the side of the road. There is lots of beautiful countryside and hills to hike in and explore right outside the city. If you visit in summer go to the country for sunflower fields!
St. Peter Salzburg Monastery
This is a Catholic church & monastery dating to the 7th century, featuring a cemetery, catacombs & a museum. The grounds are gorgeous with a fairly large garden to walk through with lots of flowers. The cemetery and catacomb grounds are shown below. Since 696 monks have been living, working and praying here. This atmosphere is filled with love and the Spirit as you sit in the church the presence is thick. This is a beautiful respite from the city. There are also retreats available as well as lodging accommodations if you want to experience a night in the monastery. Religious and pilgrims in possession of a pilgrim’s passport can make a stopover here on their journey. The accommodations for people of faith seem to be free. Find out more here.
Hours: Mon – Fri: 08:00am – 6:00pm
Price: Admission is free
Petersfriedhof Christian Church and Cemetary Catacombs
Mozart Platz & Mozart’s Birthplace Museum
Mozartplatz is a large courtyard that is best known for its memorial statue of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This courtyard is dedicated to his life and music. The courtyard overlooks the Salzburg Cathedral as well as a beautiful fountain. There are lots of cafes and live music to enjoy the courtyard. There are two main museums for Mozart one on each side of the river. The one on the old city side is his birthplace and house museum including his childhood instruments. If you are a musician, composer and appreciate the arts this is a unique experience and historical landmark.
Hours: 9am-5:30pm daily
Price: Adults € 11.00 per ticket, € 3.50 for kids and € 4.00 for teenagers. Combined tickets to see both museums are 7 euro more a ticket. Book here.
Fortress Hohensalzburg City Overlook
This is a huge 11th-century fortress complex on a hilltop with views over city to the Alps & museums. This is the best city overlook for free hands down with amazing pictures of the mountains and city with cathedrals and church towers sticking up above baroque and medieval buildings. This was one of my favorite in city hikes that is a good workout and is a perfect spot for a picnic and city views.
Hours: 9:30am-7pm daily
Price: € 12,90 per adult ticket , book here
Listen to Street Musicians
This city is the city of music. Every street corner is filled with different very gifted musicians and singers using their talents and releasing their art to the world. There are phenomenal violinists, singers, guitar players and several other instruments. Especially in summer you will find yourself stopping every few minutes to observe different beautiful musician street performers. They are a delight to the ears especially when they play in the baroque building entryways that echo and have amazing acoustics near the cathedral.
Gateway to the Alps (Hike!)
This city is close by the nearby mountains and there are even closer hills to hike around with wild views of the alps. There are wildflowers out in the spring time and the hikes are in the hill country with an overlook to the lake. There is a quiet charming chapel on the path to stop and meditate quietly. While you are in Austria get outside and go for a long walk in the country. Find some local hills nearby with stunning views of the Alps. This place is so beautiful.
Milk Chocolate is the most delicious here. They are known for their brand Milka which is my favorite. They also are known for their Mozart hand dipped chocolate balls they make commemorating the historical figure in their area. Chocolate is a great souvenir to bring back from the city. The Sound of Music souvenirs are very popular because of the musical hit associated with their city. There is endless Von Trapp merchandise that is available. From postcards and fridge magnets to puppets of Maria and her singing troupe. Snow globes are another popular souvenir since they were invented there in 1900.
Where to stay
This is a city center hostel in Old Town that is a great location. The hostel is a modern apartment like complex with beautiful clean rooms filled with art and deco ceilings. This does not fit the normal definition of a hostel in most cities.
Price: $87, BOOK HERE
Hotel Sacher Salzburg
This is a beautiful modern hotel in the old town historic center in the city walkable from everything. The hotel is on the picturesque river Salzach and is known to be one of the nicest hotels in the city.
Price: $600USD/night, BOOK HERE
For those who are Sound of Music fans you can stay in the former home of the real Von Trapp family, who lived here between 1923 and 1938. Stay in Baron Georg and Maria’s bedroom, and enjoy the gorgeous views of rolling green hills. This home is a hotel now that is a fun experience to do while you are in Austria. There are also bike tours with music players that play the soundtrack of the movie for tours in the country.
Price: $93USD/night, Book here
Romantik Hotel Gmachl
This hotel has the most gorgeous 365 degree glass windows view of the alps with a huge pool and lets you experience the mountains no matter what the weather with the view.
Price: $200USD/night, BOOK HERE