Return to Austria

Hohensalzburg Castle, Salzburg Cathedral, Austria
Salzburg, © Can Stock Photo Inc. / hiro1775

Salzburg is a city of under 200,000 people, located in the Austrian Alps, near Munich, Germany.  The translation of its name is "salt town" related to the numerous salt mines in the area that shipped through the town in the past.  The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Austrian German and the Austro-Bavarian dialect are widely spoken in this area.  Salzburg's claim to fame according to its residents is that this is the birthplace of Mozart.  Its claim to fame with tourists, however, is that it was the filming location for the Sound of Music.  


May to September are the best months to visit Salzburg for comfortable temperatures, but these months are also the highest for rainfall and drizzly weather in the Alps.  Expect average highs from May - September of 70 F (22 C) and lows of 50 F (10 C).  The Alpine setting means that visiting in the winter will best be associated with skiing and Salzburg airport is the gateway to the Austrian Alps.  Average highs for December - February are just above freezing, while average lows are a few degrees below freezing.


The Austrian Rail System (OBB) offers many ticket options for rail transport to Salzburg and rail is the easiest way to visit the city.  In addition to participating in Eurail passes, Austria also has an Einfach-Raus ticket that offers single day rates for small groups, similar to the Bayern Ticket in Germany.  Many river cruises arrange day trips to Salzburg for their passengers.  The No 2 trolley connects the downtown railway station (Sazlburg Hbf) to the Salzburg airport.  The Old and New Towns are located quite close together and each make good walking tours.  Buses are an excellent option to Hellbrunn Palace and for a day trip to Berchtesgaden.

Old Town, Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg, © Can Stock Photo Inc. / gina_sanders

Attractions in Salzburg:

Things to see and do:

Salzburg has a proliferation of sites to visit.  The most popular attractions are walking through the Old Town and taking a 4 hour Sound of Music Tour to its numerous filming locations.  Just outside of town are Hitler's Eagles Nest, the Ice Caves of Eisriesenwelt at Werfen and Austrian Lakes and Salt Mine Tours.  To cover admission to a number of attractions in the city, consider a Salzburg Card.

The Old Town:

  • Hohensalzburg Castle (Festung Hohensalzburg, Salzburg Fortress) - one of the largest castles in Europe, with views over Salzburg.  Take the funicular (Festungsbahn) railway which runs from the downtown every 10 minutes, past the Nonnberg Nunnery to the Castle.

  • Salzburg Cathedral (Salzburger Dom, Domkirche St. Rupert) on the Cathedral Square (Domplatz) with the adjoining Residenz Palace.  The palace was the former Prince-Archbishop's residence and it contains the Residenzgalerie.  Listen to the Glockenspiel (bells).

  • The Getreidegasse - "the street" where everyone congregates in Salzburg.  It includes a museum at Mozart's Birthplace (Mozart Gerburtshaus).

  • The Franciscan Church (Franziskanerkirche)

  • St Peter's Archabbey (Stiftskirche St. Peter) with St. Peter's Cemetery.  Margaret Chapel is a small gothic building in St. Peter's Cemetery.  The Catacombs are located in the cliffs behind the cemetery.  Dine within the Abbey walls at the oldest restaurant in Europe, Stiftskeller St. Peter, while listening to the music of Mozart.

  • The Salzburg Festival (Grosses Festspielhaus) during the months of July and August each year, the Salzburg Easter Festival (Pfingstfestspiele) and other concerts at the Salzburg Festival House.

Traditional Street Signs, Salzburg, Austria

Traditional Street Signs

  • The University of Salzburg Church (Kollegienkirche)

  • The Siegmundstor Tunnel (Neutor) - built in the 1760s to connect the Old Town to outer city districts, including Leopoldskron.  The Horse Wash (Pferdeschwemme), a pond formerly used for watering and washing horses, is located at the Old Town end of the tunnel.

  • Sphaera, a sculpture, by Stephan Balkenhol, of a man on a golden sphere in the Kapitelplatz beside the Salzburg Cathedral.

  • Salzburg Museum and beside it is the Mozartplatz and Statue (Mozart Square).

  • Monchsberg - city park with city views. Take the Monchsberg Lift and visit the Modern Art Museum (Museum der Moderne).

  • Take a horse carriage ride through the Old Town.

  • Take a cruise on the Salzach.

Mirabell Palace, Salzburg, Austria

Mirabell Palace, © Can Stock Photo Inc. / tupungato

Across the Salzach River from the Old Town:

Walk over the pedestrian bridge from the Old Town.

Salzburg Cathedral, Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg Cathedral, © Can Stock Photo Inc. / hiro1775

Surrounding the Old Town:

St Peter's Cemetery, Salzburg, Austria

St Peter's Cemetery

Greater Salzburg:

Trick fountains at Hellbrunn Palace, , Salzburg, Austria

Trick Fountains at Hellbrunn Palace, © Can Stock Photo Inc. / happyalex

Things to see and do near Salzburg:

  • Travel less than an hour from Salzburg on bus #840 to the picturesque area of Berchtesgaden, Germany.  

  • Salzkammergut - the Austrian lake district, including Hallstatt, the Wolfgangsee and several other lakes less than an hour from Salzburg.

  • Untersberg Mountain and Cable Car.

  • The Ice Caves of Eisriesenwelt at Werfen, less than an hour south of Salzburg.  Access is by cable car.  There are over 30,000 sq metres and 42 kilometers of passages.  It may be warm outside but it's very cold in the caves.  Also located here is Hohen Werfen Castle.

  • Several options for viewing salt mines in Salzkammergut (literally 'good salt chamber'), including Saltmine Berchtesgaden, Salt Mines of Hallein, Salt Mines at Hallstatt and Salt Mines at Altaussee.  The Saltmine Berchtesgaden is frequently incorporated into day trips through the Austrian Alps and lake country.  It includes a salt raft ride and a train ride around the lake.  The Hallstatt Salt Mine is not getting great reviews, but the town is like a postcard.  The Hallein Salt Mine rates much better than Hallstatt and has a miner's slide, a salt lake boat ride and a Celtic village.  

Hallstatt, near Salzburg, Austria

Hallstatt, near Salzburg, © Can Stock Photo Inc. / macism

Savor the Tastes of Salzburg:

  • Try Mozart-Kugeln (a Mozart ball) -  Pistachio and marzipan coated in milk chocolate.  This was created in 1890 in honor of Mozart.

  • Typical Austrian foods such as Sachertorte (apricot & chocolate cake), Apfelstudel (Apple), Baumkuchen (layer cake), pretzels, Wiener Schnitzel (veal, not hotdog), Salzburger Nockerln (high calorie pastry) and Marillenknoedel (apricot dumpling).  

  • Combine the Austrian emphasis on pastry desserts with a cup of coffee at Afro Cafe, the terrace at the Hotel Stein, the "Rosthaus und Cafe 220 Grad" or the Republic.  For a classic coffeehouse try Cafe Bazar, Cae Wernbacher or Cafe Fingerlos.

  • Have some German Beer at Augustiner Braustubl or Stiegl-Brauwelt.

  • Have a meal at Restaurant Goldener Hirsch, in the Hotel Goldener Hirsch.

Salzburg Tours:

Hotels in Salzburg:

Take That Vacation Recommendation: Ramada Hotel Salzburg City Centre.  This hotel has the perfect location on the square facing the Salzburg train station and the main bus depot.  The rooms are quiet, comfortable and  reasonably priced.  There is an international client base and customer service staff speak multiple languages.

Hotel Listings for Salzburg

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