Heading to the beautiful city of Salzburg? Expect crazy good views, enchanting cobbled streets, captivating historical sites, shooting locations for the popular movie “The Sound of Music”, and — of course — lots and lots of Mozart! If you’re not quite sure what to see, here are my top things to do in Salzburg, Austria to make your trip magical.
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Did you know that Salzburg, Austria, is one of my absolute favorite cities in all the world?
It was one of the first places I visited when traveling abroad back in 2010 and still, almost a decade later, it holds a special place in my heart and a top ranking on my fav travel list.
Not only that, it was the one place I studied abroad while attending university! This allowed me to spend quite a bit of time venturing around the city and discovering the best Salzburg highlights (including the underrated things to do here)!
Tucked away near the Austria/Germany border, Salzburg is surrounded by the mystical Austrian alps and boasts:
✓ Incredible scenery,
✓ Drool-worthy architecture,
✓ Magical cobbled stone streets that’ll make your heart skip a few beats,
✓ Incredibly cool historical sites (like Mozart’s birth house!),
✓ Magnificent castles,
✓ A historic old town (which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!),
✓ And much, much more.
Safe to say, it’s a pretty remarkable city for being so small… it only has a population of around 152,000! While it’s neighboring city of Munich, just a 2 hour train journey away, has a booming population of around 1.5 million!
Anywho, I’ve got big love for Salzburg and after visiting, I hope you will, too!
If you’re currently planning your trip or are already in the magical city and are not sure what to see in Salzburg, here’s my handy dandy list of things to do, sites to see, and places to visit in Salzburg, Austria!
Table of Contents
- 1 BEST THINGS TO DO IN SALZBURG, AUSTRIA
- 1.1 Hohensalzburg Fortress
- 1.2 Mozarts Geburtshaus
- 1.3 St. Peter’s Cemetery & Abbey
- 1.4 St. Peter’s Catacombs
- 1.5 Mirabell Palace and Gardens
- 1.6 Kloster Nonnberg
- 1.7 Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter
- 1.8 Salzburg Cathedral (Dom zu Salzburg)
- 1.9 Hellbrunn Palace
- 1.10 Salzburg Museum
- 1.11 Walk the Salzach
- 1.12 Getreidegasse
- 1.13 Stroll Through the Markets
- 1.14 Local Pubs
- 1.15 Salzburger Marionettentheater
- 1.16 Kapuzinerkloster
BEST THINGS TO DO IN SALZBURG, AUSTRIA
**Keep in mind, these aren’t in any particular order! They’re all fantastic activities to do in the city, thus each and every one shouldn’t be missed.**
Wherever you are in the city, you can typically see one massive Salzburg tourist attraction… the incredible Festung Hohensalzburg!
Towering above the city on a huge hill, this castle is one of the largest medieval fortresses in all of Europe and it’s worth a visit.
It’s definitely one of my favorite things to see in Salzburg, as it holds a captivating, long-standing history that goes back to the 11th century. Plus, it also has incredible views of the city from the top!
Psst, by the way, if you only have one day in Salzburg, this is definitely a must-do! You can’t miss out on experiencing one of the most iconic attractions in the city.
Things to know about Festung Hohensalzburg
Opening Hours: Open all year round
- January – April: 9.30 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
- May – September: 9.00 a.m. – 7.00 p.m
- October – December:9.30 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
- Advent weekends & Easter:9.30 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.
- All-Inclusive ticket: Adults: €15.50, Children (6 to 15): €8.80, Family: €34.40. (Online an all-inclusive ticket for adults is €11.90)
- Basic ticket: Adults: €12.20, Children (6 to 15): €7.00, Family: €27.10.
Ever hear of the iconic musician and composer Mozart? I’m sure you have! If not, well… you should definitely still check out his birth house when visiting Salzburg!
The city is extremely proud when it comes to Mozart, and it’s easy to see why! I mean, damn, he created some magnificent compositions.
Anyways, while his face is all over Salzburg, the best place to really get to know him is his geburtshaus, aka his birth house, one of the most visited museums in all of Austria.
Lasting about an hour, the tour takes you through his family’s home where you can learn all about his childhood, see his childhood violin, Mozart memorabilia, and more. It’s pretty cool!
Things to know about Mozarts Geburtshaus
- Daily: 9 am – 5.30 pm (last entry 5 pm)
- July / August: 8.30 am – 7.00 pm (last entry 6.30 pm)
- Adults: €11
- Reduced (students & seniors): €9
- Child (6-14): €3.50
St. Peter’s Cemetery & Abbey
Are you one of those people who are drawn to spooky or eery places, like cemeteries? Because I totally am. (Which is why I loved Edinburgh so much — its cemetery is amazing… which is a very strange thing to brag about.)
Anyways, St. Peter’s Cemetery and Abbey is one of the top things to do in Salzburg, as you literally feel as though you step back through time and through history! Plus, the graveyard is the oldest in Salzburg, so how can you not check it out?
Imagine centuries old gravestones, overgrown flowers, grass, and plants that emit a sort of other-worldly beauty; stunning Christian architecture, and a feel as though there are spirits lingering around the corners, waiting to pass through to the other side…
It’s a pretty cool place to explore in Salzburg! Don’t miss it.
Things to know about St. Peter’s Cemetery & Abbey
Opening Hours for the Cemetery:
- Summer 6:30 am-7 pm (winter 6:30 am-5:30 pm)
Opening Hours for the Abbey:
- 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
- 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Psst, heading to Munich, Germany, too? Just a quick 2-hour train ride away, here’s my ultimate one day in Munich itinerary!
St. Peter’s Catacombs
Did you know there are catacombs in the city of Salzburg? Dating back to the 11th century or earlier, the catacomb caves serve both as a sanctuary and burial sites for monks.
Set right into the Mönchsberg itself, the caves are somewhat of a magical, yet mysterious, Salzburg site to behold. And yet, they’re so tucked away into the corner of the cemetery that most people completely miss out on visiting the catacombs!
The catacombs entrance is located at the graves of Mozart’s sister Nannerl and Michael Haydn. After handing over your entrance fee, you’ll climb 48 stone-carved steps to you find the “Gertrauden Chapel”, dating back to 1178. Climb a bit further up, 36 steps in total, and you come upon the “Maximus Chapel”.
This is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Salzburg, Austria, so don’t miss out on it!
Things to know about St. Peter’s Catacombs
- May-September: daily 10 a.m. — 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m. — 6 p.m.
- October-April: daily 10 a.m. — 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m. — 5 p.m.
(last admission 15 min. before closing)
- Closed: Jan. 1, Dec. 24-26, Dec. 31
- Adults: €2.00
- Child/Youth (6-18): €1.50
- Students/Seniors: €1.50
Mirabell Palace and Gardens
If you’ve ever had the chance to watch The Sound of Music, you’ll immediately recognize the Mirabell Palace and Gardens, as the gardens was a huge shooting location for the movie!
Even though I’ve never watched the full movie, the Mirabell Palace and Gardens is still worth a visit due to its beauty and stunning views of the castle. Plus, if you’re tired of walking around the city and need a little break, this is a great place to do so!
All around the gardens you’ll find benches just begging you to sit down. So, without any hesitation, sit back, relax, and admire the views.
And, once you’re done chilling out, head into the palace to be absolutely wowed! The Marble Hall is no doubt one of the most beautiful rooms you’ll ever behold. It’s even regarded to be one of the “most beautiful wedding halls in the world.” Who woulda thought?
This is definitely one of the best Salzburg tourist attractions, so don’t pass it up! Plus, it’s free — who can say no to that?
Things to know about the Mirabell Palace and Gardens
- Mirabell Palace and Angel Staircase: Daily from 8 a.m. — 6 p.m.
- Marble Hall: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 8 a.m. — 4 p.m. // Tuesday, Friday: 1 p.m. — 4 p.m.
- Mirabell Gardens: Daily from approx. 6 am to dusk.
Admission is free.
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Ready for some epic views of the surrounding alps? While the fortress is awesome for kick-ass views, too, head to the Kloster Nonnberg (aka the Kloster Abbey) to see the surrounding city for a different perspective.
Plus, for a really freakin’ cool experience, jump outta bed and get up with the sun to hear the nuns singing in the church. At 6:45 a.m. everyday, the nuns fill the church of Nonnberg Priory to sing enchanting Gregorian Chorals.
Going off that, this convent became an international star due to its feature in the popular film, The Sound of Music. It is here that Maria von Kutschera (the real person who inspired the film) came to join the Benedictine Sisterhood and was sent by her abbess to watch over the Von Trapp children.
Things to know about the Kloster Nonnberg
- How to get there: The convent can be reached either from the Kaigasse by climbing the steps of the so-called Nonnbergstiege, or via a narrow lane from Nonntal.
- Opening Hours: Open daily from 6:45 am in the morning until dusk (until 7 pm in summer). Keep in mind it is closed during worship hours.
Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter
Interested in having the best fresh baked bread of your life? Head over to the Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter and you won’t be disappointed.
Seriously. I like to consider myself sort of a bread connoisseur and oh em gee, having a warm, fresh baked roll right outta the oven… HEAVEN!
For just €2, you can get one of these fresh baked rolls for yourself. And as you’re munching on this beautiful bread gift from the bread gods, you can take a stroll through the St. Peter’s Cemetary and Abbey!
Warm, fresh baked bread and ghosts? Win-win in my books.
Things to know about the Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter
- Sunday, Monday, & Wednesday: Closed
- Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday: 7:15 a.m. — 5:30 p.m.
- Saturday: 7:15 a.m. — 1 p.m.
Want to explore outside Salzburg’s city limits? Check out this highly-rated Full-Day Bavarian Mountains Tour!
Salzburg Cathedral (Dom zu Salzburg)
One of the most beautiful buildings in all of Salzburg, the Salzburg Cathedral boast a magnificent dome, two soaring towers, stunning Baroque architecture, unbelievable artwork on the inside, and a magical feel that’ll leave you astounded.
No doubt, strolling through the Salzburg Cathedral and all its glory is one of my favorite things to see in Salzburg, Austria. It’s beauty will take your breath away! Don’t miss it.
Psst — here’s a little tip! Don’t forget to head down into the crypts! The stairs going down are a bit hidden but it’s totally worth it. Such an eery, yet cool, atmosphere!
While Hellbrunn Palace holds some rich history and some beautiful Baroque architecture… it’s mainly known and visited for it’s exciting and thrilling trick fountains!
For more than 400 years, Hellbrunn Palace has entertained visitors from around the world with it’s magical and mystical water fountains! As your guided tour through the Hellbrunn grounds takes you past the beautiful greens, lush trees, and flowing fountains… beware! You might be sprayed or spurted with some water!
Hellbrunn mountain is known for it’s abundant water sources, which is why this palace highlights its fountains!
If you want to know more about Hellbrunn and its trick fountains, click here.
Interested in learning some history about this beautiful city? Head over to the Salzburg Museum to learn all about it.
The museum has great collections of archaeological items, architectural documentation, photography, paintings, musical instruments, historical weaponry, coins, medals, and monetary tokens; sculptures, toys, folklore, and more!
Things to know about the Salzburg Museum
- Tuesday to Sunday: 9 a.m. — 5 p.m.
- Adult: €9
- Young People (16-26): €4
- Child (6-15): €3
To learn more about the Salzburg Museum, click here.
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Walk the Salzach
Need a little break from all the Salzburg sightseeing? Take a stroll along the Salzach river for some relaxation, as well as some breathtaking views of the city.
From the Salzach, and it’s bridges, you can take in the Salzburg city skyline — it’s perfect for pictures!
And for an even more remarkable experience, walk the Salzach as dusk. Viewing the city with a sunset behind it is beautiful!
If you’re sick of historical and architectural sites… firstly — how dare you?!
Secondly, after spending a good amount of time in Salzburg… I understand!
Anyways, if you are ready for a change of Salzburg attractions, head down the Getreidegasse for some fantastic shopping! Not only is this little street packed with cool, quaint shops, it’s absolutely gorgeous.
Smack dab in the heart of Salzburg’s Old Town, the Getreidegasse has an unmistakable charm you’ll likely not forget. Even cooler, a good number of the buildings have dates on them representing when they were built!
So while you thought you could escape the history of Salzburg for some shopping, you’ll still get a bit of it while strolling down the Getreidegasse!
Stroll Through the Markets
If you’re looking for a more local experience, head down to the University Cathedral square to stroll through some of the markets!
Every Monday through Saturday, a quaint market, called the Grünmarkt, opens its stalls and beckons visitors to view and admire its fresh fruit and veggies, as well as unique cheeses, treats, breads, pastries, and more. I love this market, as you can sometimes find quirky gifts for family and friends!
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As you can imagine, when I was studying abroad as a young gal, I tried and tested a good number of local pubs! And man, oh man, while Salzburg has fantastic things to do in the day, it also has a crazy good nightlife.
Here are a few local pubs and breweries you can spend a couple hours at in the evenings (or day, no judgement here):
- O’Malley’s Irish Pub (my personal favorite, as well as the favorite of my university pals, as it’s typically Salzburg university students here).
- Augustiner Bräu (another personal favorite; this is a massive beer hall and beer garden where you can find a beautiful blend of both locals and tourists).
- Augustiners Stieglkeller (a local brewery in Salzburg; serves up awesome Radlers). While they don’t have a great bar area, you can definitely drink and eat in their traditional Austrian restaurant.
With a proud spot on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List, the Salzburger Marionettentheater is one of the more unique things to do in Salzburg!
Although they may be tiny performers, they’ve got a big crowd and following who love them! Salzburg’s marionette theater goes back 100 years and at this opera house you can expect a full-blown performance that’ll knock your socks off.
Featuring over 500 characters and a talented wooden “cast”, each and every performer, costume, and set is hand-crafted with love (as well as some mad skills). Don’t miss out on visiting the marionettentheater for a wow-ing show!
If you’re searching for a panoramic view of Salzburg that’ll take your breath away, look no further than the Kapuzinerkloster. While this is actually the Capuchin Monastery (in english), which you may or may not want to enter, the outdoor views are why you made the climb up here.
I’m not even going to try to explain to you why this place is so spectacular. I mean, come on! Just look at the photo above — why you should visit this place speaks for itself.
There you have it, folks! My ultimate list of the best things to do in Salzburg, Austria. After visiting this beautiful city 4 different times, as well as living here, I can wholeheartedly say this smaller city packs in some epic sightseeing and attractions.
Are you planning to visit Salzburg, Austria? If you have any questions for me, don’t hesitate to stick ’em in the comments!