Salzburg is often referred to as the “Rome of the North”. The magnificent buildings of 17th and 18th centuries still shape much of the city skyline today. The world-famous City of Mozart, has also earned a rightfully deserved place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. With lots to see within a surprisingly small area, one can easily cover the city in a day.
Ready to start exploring? Here’s my experience spending 24 hours in Salzburg.
Travel Tips for Salzburg
- Getting Around: Buy a 24 Hour Salzburg Card, priced at €25 -28 (depends on what month you travelling) its complete value for money. Free admission to tourist attractions and museums, free use of public transportation and many additional discounts. My itinerary below can be done completely with a Salzburg Card, no extra fees including the Festungsbahn funicular and the Salzburg River Tour! (Available for 48 & 72 hours too)
- Where to Stay: On my trip to Salzburg, I stayed at Hotel-Flair. Easy on pocket, small budget rooms with decent Breakfast. Very close to the station but far away from all the historical/touristy places. I chose to pick a hotel near the station as I had an early morning train the next day. But I would urge people to choose their stay close to the Old town, as most of the attractions are there.
- Credit Cards & Cash: Credit cards are widely accepted throughout Salzburg, but I’d recommend taking some local currency along if you plan to eat/shop in the local markets.
- Best time to go: Though Salzburg has moderate weather conditions most of the year and a trip can be planned pretty much anytime, still one should keep in mind the tourist seasons. During the Salzburg Festival in July-August both crowds and prices peak. December with its Christmas markets is another peak season in Salzburg. So if you are looking for less crowd and low prices, try spring and autumn.
I visited Salzburg during autumn (September 29th to be specific), when the leaves start to change colour, the temperature stays easy in the day, less crowds and cheap hotel prices…perfect!
Start your day early with a good breakfast and get ready for a day of exploration.
You should first visit the Salzburg Tourism Office at Mozartplatz in Altstadt (Old Town). Pick up a free map, mark your route and purchase the Salzburg card, before beginning your walking tour of the city.
You will find the striking Residenz of Salzburg, right next to the Tourist Information Centre. A guided tour of the 12th Century palace of Archbishop of Salzburg takes about 50 minutes. Also the Residence Fountain which is considered to be the most beautiful fountain in the city is right in front.
Anyone walking towards the fortress, the funicular or to St. Peter’s Cemetery will cross Kapitelplatz (Chapter Square). The spacious square is bordered on all four sides by historical buildings, including the current bishop′s palace and the Archdiocese of Salzburg. Multiple photo opportunities at one place!
3. St. Peter’s Monastery & Cemetery
A highlight of St. Peter’s Cemetery are the catacombs, which are hewn out of the Mönchsberg itself and date back to late antiquity. Also they are a must-see for fans of “The Sound of Music” as it was used as a backdrop in the film!
4. Hohensalzburg Fortress
Built in 1077, Hohensalzburg Fortress was home to Salzburg’s archbishop-princes who used to rule the city. You can either walk up, or ride the fortress funicular (“Festungsbahn”) which is faster option. Highlights include the medieval princely chambers, the Fortress Museum, the Marionette Museum and the Museum of the Rainer Regiment. It is also a great spot to enjoy fantastic views over Salzburg and picturesque Alpine surroundings.
5. Nonnberg Abbey
Instead of taking the funicular back from Hohensalzburg Fortress, walk down to visit the oldest female convent north of the Alps – Nonnberg Abbey. It is here that the opening part of the film “The Sound of Music” was shot.
Head to the Getreidegasse Street to grab some lunch, a busy street decorated with beautifully designed signs for each businesses. Even the McDonald’s sign makes you believe that the fast-food restaurant has been there for hundreds of years! (check picture below)
I found a windows seat on the ground floor from where I could see the passers by and some souvenir shops while eating. It’s a good place to relax and recharge before moving on to your next destination!
6. Mozarts Geburtshaus
Keep walking on the Getreidegasse Street till you find “Hagenauer Haus” at No. 9, this is where W. A. Mozart was born in 1756. Today, Mozart’s Birthplace is one of the most visited museums in Austria and is an absolute highlight, above all for Mozart fans!
7. Mozart Wohnhaus
Also called the Mozart Residence, this is where the Mozarts lived from 1773 to 1787. The 8 room apartment on the first floor is now home to a museum. Here you can see, in addition to Mozart’s fortepiano – many original documents and portraits that tell us about Mozart’s Salzburg years and the life of the Mozart family.
8. Dom zu Salzburg
Also called the Salzburg Cathedral, this is the most important sacred building of the city. It stands out on the city skyline, with its mighty dome and two towers and leaves its own distinctive, and absolutely impressive stamp.
9. Mirabell Palace & Gardens
Mirabell Palace was built in 1606 by prince-archbishop Wolf Dietrich for his beloved Salome Alt. The Marble Hall, which is the former banquet hall of the prince-archbishops, is generally regarded as one of the “most beautiful wedding halls in the world”! The Marble Hall is only open till 4pm, the gardens are open till later.
TRIVIA – Many scenes for the “Do-Re-Mi” sequence in The Sound of Music were shot here.
10. Salzburg City Cruise
By this point the day is almost over, but you can’t call it quits without getting aboard the speed boat “Amadeus Salzburg“. The cruise starts at the Makart Bridge and continues on a leisurely 8-kilometer cruise along Salzburg’s magnificent cityscape towards Hellbrunn and back. Remember to pick up an original ticket at the ticket office, if using the Salzburg Ticket. (It’s free with the card, but you need to pick the ticket)
Enjoy extraordinary view of the city and its scenic environs on a speed boat before you end your day in Salzburg!
BBye Salzburg! 😘 Till we meet again! ☺️