Salzburg: The Best Breathtaking Things To Do

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There are many reasons to visit Salzburg. In this guide, I’ll give you an insight into Mozart’s city and show you the things you shouldn’t miss when you visit. Salzburg is Austria’s fourth largest city, after Vienna, Graz and Linz. When I think of Salzburg, I think of music and art, Mozart and the delicious Mozart balls. Salzburg is an easy place to explore and most of the places worth visiting are within walking distance.

In this guide I will show you many amazing things you can do in Salzburg. And there is absolutely no need for you to break the bank. Just like in other Austrian cities you can buy the Salzburg Card for 24, 48 or 72 hours. With this card you can visit all the sights and you can save some money (+ you can use public transport). Although it’s easy to walk around the city, sometimes public transport can be very useful. Especially if your plans include visiting the Hellbrunn Palace & Salzburg Zoo Hellbrunn. You can buy it here.

And because no trip is complete without good food, I’ll show you some traditional Austrian dishes worth trying.

How to get there

My favourite way to travel around Austria is by train. Their trains are nice, punctual and they can take you literally everywhere you want. Plus that, you are more environment friendly if you travel by train. Main train station is pretty close to the city centre and there is a bus station in front of the train station. If you are planning to visit different places in Austria, it might be worth considering travelling by train. The same goes for plans that include Southern Germany, which is really close to Salzburg. You can search for connections, check the train fares and buy tickets on the ÖBB page.

You can also rent a car without any worries, Austrian roads are in a good condition and drivers there don’t drive like they are crazy.

Where to stay

There are so many great places to stay and they are suitable for every budget. I was staying in Max 70 Hotel in the Maxglan district, a few minutes away from the old town. There is a bus station (Bus line 1) directly in front of the hotel, which makes it very easy to reach the city centre. There isn’t a single thing to complain about this place, I’d stay there again.

Also, there is another bus stop not far from the hotel (less than 5 minutes walk), where the Bus line number 2 from the airport stops.

What to do in Salzburg

Salzburg is one of the most popular places to visit in Austria and I can totally understand why is it like that. Salzburg is a birthplace of one of the most famous composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The city is foremost a musical metropolis. Plus that Salzburg has it all. Beautiful old town, amazing architecture and picturesque riverside promenades. Let me take you to the streets of Salzbrug and show you all the breathtaking sights. The visit can be done in a single day, but ofcourse it’s better to give yourself some extra day to take full advantage of the city.

Let me take you through this amazing place.

#1 Mirabell Palace & Gardens

My journey began in the Mirabell Palace, the UNESCO World Heritage site from 1606 when Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau built the palace to impress his mistress. It’s definitely impressive! This is absolutely one of the must attractions in Salzburg if you love visiting pretty places. Today, it serves as the backdrop for weddings. The Marble Hall in Mirabell Palace is considered to be one of the most beautiful wedding halls in the world. 

The Mirabell Palace & gardens are free to visit. The palace was built under the name “Altenau” and it was re-named after the death of Raitenau. Markus Sitticus von Hohenems re-named the Palace “Mirabell” (from Italian mirabile – “admirable” and bella – “beautiful”). As you can tell, Mirabell Palace has a rich history behind it.

mirabell palace

Mirabell Gardens was one of the most important shooting locations from the famous Hollywood musical “The Sound of Music”. Stroll through the gardens and admire the charming flower beds, statues and fountain.

When you are done with the Mirabell Palace, just head straight forward and soon you will get to the Mozart-Wohnhaus / Mozart Residence.

If you will visit Salzburg in spring, when magnolia trees are in a full-bloom, you will be amazed by the beautiful spring scenery.

#2 Mozart-Wohnhaus / Mozart Residence

From 1773 to 1787, the Mozarts lived at the so-called “Dance Master’s House”, standing on today’s Makartplatz. The spacious eight-room apartment on the first floor is now home to a museum.  In the museum, you can see – in addition to Mozart’s pianoforte – many original documents and portraits. The exhibition provides an array of interesting facts about the history of the house, Mozart’s Salzburg years and the life of the Mozart family.

You should allow yourself between one and one-and-a-half hour to discover the Mozart Residence.

Here are some interesting facts:

  • 21.120€ of debt were left behind Mozart when he died
  • 3.720 days of his life did Mozart spend travelling
  • 6,5 kilometers/hour on average is how fast the coach of the Mozart family travelled
mozart wohnhaus

#3 Stroll around

When you are already on this side of the Salzach river, you can wander the city streets or even head to the so-called “View to Fortress Hohensalzburg” to get some free stunning views. If you’re more in the mood for a leisurely stroll around the city, you can head to Linzer Gasse and do some shopping too. There are plenty options to drink a coffee or have something to eat.

The streets are really picturesque and you will find beauty at every corner. The promenade along the Salzach River is also suitable for walks. After a stroll along the promenade, at some point, you will cross one of the bridges over the river and find yourself in the Old Town.

#4 Mönchsberg & Museum of Modern Arts

My next stop was Mönchsberg with Museum of Modern Arts. Mönchsberg, at 508 metres above sea level, is one of the five mountains in Salzburg. It surrounds the western side of Salzburg’s historic city centre and is part of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its name origins from the Benedictine monks of St Peter’s Abbey at the northern foot of the mountain.

Ascent & descent with the Mönchsberg Lift will cost you 4,20€. With the Salzburg Card you can use the Mönchsberg Lift for free. Access point for the Mönchsberg lift is located on Anton-Neumayr-Platz.

Rising 60 m in total, this modern lift carries passengers in just 30 seconds up to the Mönchsberg and Salzburg’s museum of modern art (Museum der Moderne). From the scenic terrace you will be treated with one of the best views of Salzburg Old Town.

At this point, my first day of exploring Salzburg was finished and I had to eat a delicious Wiener schnitzel and a piece of Sacher cake!

Like I’ve said before. You can visit the main sights in one day if you hurry up a little bit, but I’ve had more than 2 days, so I have split the activities into two days.

The next day, after breakfast, I started my day with a visit to the Hohensalzburg Fortress.

#5 Hohensalzburg Fortress & Festungsbahn

FestungsBahn is a modern funicular up to Hohensalzburg Fortress. It runs every 10 minutes. The valley station is located in the heart of the historic district and after a short ride you will be able to enjoy stunning views across Salzburg to the surrounding mountains.

hohensalzburg fortress

Hohensalzburg Fortress is a real eye-catcher, located on the Festungsberg high above the city. This is the biggest fully preserved castle in Central Europe. It offers a 360-degree view of the city and its surroundings. It has something to offer for museum lovers – The Fortress Museum, the Marionette Museum and the Museum of Rainer Regiment. I’m more into nature and views than into museums, but since this was included in the Salzburg Card, I had to give it a look.

Always here for the views. And this one was fabulous! I even saw some planes taking off (and I really love watching planes taking off or landing).

After a ride down with the FestungsBahn, I’ve decided to explore the St. Peter’s.

#6 St. Peter’s Abbey, Cemetery, Catacombs & Stiftsbäckerei St Peter

First of all I visited the oldest bakery of Salzburg where they make bread from a log fired oven. I’ve tried a brioche (they make them with or without raisins) and I’ve got also one rye bread for later.

After this it was time to visit the St. Peter’s Cemetery and the catacombs. Since St. Peter’s was founded in the 7th century, the church and abbey have been the spiritual heart of the city of Salzburg. With its unique setting, the cemetery of St. Peter’s is one of the world’s most beautiful and oldest cemeteries. A highlight of St. Peter’s Cemetery are the catacombs, which are hewn out of the Mönchsberg itself and date back to late antiquity. The entrance is located at the graves of Mozart’s sister Nannerl and Michael Haydn.

#7 Mozart’s Birthplace / Mozarts Geburtshaus

Mozart’s Birthplace is one of the most visited museums in Austria and it is one of the highlights there. Salzburg’s most famous son came into this world on 27 January 1756. His family actually lived here for 26 years, from 1747 on, occupying an apartment on the third floor. With parents Leopold and Anna Maria as well as sister “Nannerl”, Mozart spend his childhood and much of his youth there. In 1773, the family moved to the house we know today as the “Mozart Residence”, on the Makartplatz Square.

#8 Schloss Hellbrunn & Hellbrunn Zoo

Schloss Hellbrunn is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Salzburg. The palace and the gardens are really picturesque and worth the visit. It is such a pleasure to stroll along the gardens, pools and sculptures. Also, neighboring Salzburg Zoo is a real visitors magnet, so you can visit both of them. You will need a few hours to do it in peace.

One of the must things to do there is visiting the Hellbrunn Trick Fountains. During my visit in March, the fountain was closed, so I’ve missed this popular attraction.

Hellbrunn can be reached by public bus (line 25) from main train station (Hauptbahnhof) and from the city centre.

schloss hellbrunn

#9 Salzburger Dom / Salzburg Cathedral

Of its numerous churches, the cathedral is Salzburg’s most important sacred building. The cathedral, with its turquoise, copper dom, and its white interior is very much the centerpiece of Salzburg. Salzburg Cathedral actually is a tribute to the Early Baroque. The cathedral is definitely one of the highlights of your visit, even you don’t go into churches. With its distinctive appearance, it will dominate many landscape photos from Salzburg.

In the cathedral, Mozart was baptized a day after his birth in 1756 and later in his life performed there. 

salzburg cathedral

Is Salzburg Card worth buying it?

Based on price and what is included, yes it’s worth buying it if you ask me. I’ve decided to buy one for 48 hours and I didn’t regret my decision. I visited the most important sights and used the public transport for 35€ only. If your plans include at least a few sights, it’s worth buying the card.

There are two different price lists – one valid from January 1 – April 30 & November 1 – December 31 and the second one from May 1 – October 31.

Price list for low season:

Salzburg CardAdultsChildren ages 6-15*
24 hours€ 27,00€ 13,50
48 hours€ 35,00€ 17,50
72 hours€ 40,00€ 20,00

Price list for high season:

AdultsChildren ages 6-15*
24 hours€ 30,00€ 15,00
48 hours€ 39,00€ 19,50
72 hours€ 45,00€ 22,50


From schnitzel to strudels… Austrian cuisine is full of delicious dishes and you won’t be hungry in Salzburg. Austrian food is often hearty and all about the meat. However, there are plenty of choices for vegans too.

Wiener Schnitzel

You must not go to Salzburg (or anywhere else in Austria) without eating a schnitzel. A wiener schnitzel is a signature dish of Austria – big, battered, flattened, breaded and fried piece of tender veal. You can order a pork, turkey or chicken schnitzel too, but the original one is made from veal. It is served with parsley potatoes, lemon wedge and cranberry jam.

wiener schnitzel


Let me introduce you strudel, another popular Austrian food. You can have all kinds of strudel – a strudel is a filled layered pastry, but if you are in Austria, you have to try apple or cheese. My all time favorite is apple strudel – in fact it is very high on my favorite sweet dishes. It is made with a simple dough that bakes up into a flaky, buttery crust and a juicy apple filling.

apfel strudel


Ofcourse, there is one more thing you shouldn’t miss out trying if you love chocolate. If you thought of Sacher Torte, you’re right. It was actually invented in Vienna, but Salzburg is a great place to eat the Sacher cake too. Sachertorte is a rich chocolate sponge cake with a thin layer of apricot jam in the middle and another on the top underneath a thick layer of dark chocolate icing. Traditionally, it comes with a whipped cream. It is very delicious. You can spoil yourself in the Cafe Sacher which serves the “original” Sachertorte. You can expect that you will pay 8,9€ for a piece of original Sachertorte.

Sachertorte is also served in many other restaurants. I’ve had one too in a place where we had lunch. It was tasty, but one slice of this cake is more than enough for me, because it’s very sweet.

Mozartkugeln / Mozart balls

Those are my top three things to try there, but there is a lot more, so keep reading. Like I’ve mentioned before, I think of Mozartkugeln when I think of Salzburg. The Mozart balls are signature sweets of Salzburg made up of pistachio marzipan in the middle, surrounded by nougat and a smooth shell of quality chocolate on the outside. The original ones are from Konditorei Fürst – there is a small charming shop and café in Brodgasse. You can buy them one by one or in a package. I have totally forgot to take a picture of a them, because I was to busy with trying them.

konditorei fürst salzburg

Tafelspitz, Kaiserschmarrn, Salzburg Nockerl & more…

I can guarantee you that there is a looot of delicious food. One of things worth trying out it Tafelspitz, which is boiled beef. You may be asking yourself what’s so special about boiled beef, but you really have to try this. Tafelspitz is one of the most famous Austrian dishes for a good reason.

Kaiserschmarrn is another traditional easy Austrian dessert. It is a sweet, fluffy pancake, torn into bite-size pieces and served sprinkled with powder sugar.

Here we have also the Salzburger Nockerl, which is a sweet, dumplingy, meringue creation, which is huge dessert for two.

Very popular and mouth-watering food to try is backhendl / fried chicken, that can be found in almost all the restaurants. The portion is usually huge and full of flavors.

There are tons of shops where you will find pretzels of different varieties. Pretzels are a great idea for a quick snack while exploring the city.

Now when you know how to get there, where to stay, what to do there and what to eat, it is time for you to buy the ticket and visit stunning Salzburg. I hope that this guide will help you with planning.

Done planning on your Salzburg itinerary? If you are interested, here are some other countries and places to visit nearby:

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  • Alanna
    May 27, 2023

    Great guide to Salzburg! The food looks especially delicious!

    • Jasmina
      July 6, 2023

      The town is very lovely and yes, the food was delicious!

  • Laureen Lund
    May 27, 2023

    It’s been 34 years since I was in this beautiful city…on my very first trip to Europe! I sure would like to go back. Your photos are great. I’m sure it has changed…but everything looks beautiful and delicious. I need to make this happen!

    • Jasmina
      July 6, 2023

      Oh, I bet that you have amazing memories from then! Thanks a lot! Probably it has changed, but it is such a lovely city.

  • Anna Schaeffer
    May 28, 2023

    I feel like Austria has been calling my name lately! Saving this post for later….

    • Jasmina
      July 6, 2023

      Austria has so much to offer, it was so stunning to explore all this amazing places!

  • Curls en Route
    May 28, 2023

    Ohh wow the food looks amazingg! That alone gives me enough reason to add Salzburg to my list!

    • Jasmina
      July 6, 2023

      And it is sooo delicious, yummy!

  • Alaine
    May 29, 2023

    Salzburg is so beautiful and quaint. I spent a few days there this Spring and was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to get around and find wonderful eateries and things to do.

    • Jasmina
      July 6, 2023

      I totally agree with you… it offers amazing things to do and I totally loved the food there!

  • Tiffany roxxx
    July 25, 2023

    Thank you for the great tips! I’ll definitely be leveraging this when I visit.