Day trip to Salzburg

Salzburg – The birth place of Mozart and where the hills are filled with The Sound of Music, is one of the most exquisite cities you can visit in Austria and perhaps the world. A small city with extraordinary heritage nestled on the banks of the Salzach River.

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Salzburg is filled Baroque architecture and adorned by a dominating fortress which claims to be the largest preserved fortress in Europe. Tucked between the Alps and Germany Salzburg has some gorgeous mountain scenery and a charming Old town which is UNESCO World Heritage site.

Best time to go.

Though Salzburg is beautiful all year round it is most popular with tourists in the summer months. The Salzburg Festival is a prominent festival every summer and brings in large crowds along with some of the most popular international stars from around the world. The best time to visit would be September to October when the summer crowds have returned and you enjoy the beauty of this city and the weather is still pleasant.

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Getting There 

Salzburg is well connected with Europe and the rest of the world with the second largest airport in Austria. However being just sort of 300 km away from the capital it can easily be done on a day trip from Vienna. It is well connected by roads but the best way is to take a train and marvel at the Austrian countryside. For as little as €48 you can get a return ticket from Vienna and children under the age of 12 are just €1. The 2 train companies that operate o tis route are OBB and Westbahnn. We went with Westnbahn which is a private entity and had much more competitive fares.

Things To Do

There is so much to do in Salzburg from cathedrals, museums, and elaborate palaces to cafes, parks and castles but all this can be done in a days trip if you plan it.

Hohensalzburg Castle

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We started with the Hohensalzburg Castle built in 1077 and still standing strong overlooking the city. With magnificent views of the city and the surrounding natural beauty I would highly recomend this. Marvel at the old town to the North and stunning views of the Alps it is the perfect place to start you tour of Salzburg.

 

 

Hohensalzburg Castle sits atop the Festungsberg, a small hill and in its 800 year history, the castle has never been attacked or conquered. During peaceful times it was used as a storage depot as well as a dungeon. You can reach the top of the castle by a funicular that whisks you away in a few minutes and costs a few €.

 

 

You can also walk to the top for free but if you are on a tight schedule like we were it is best to enjoy the views from the funicular. There are 2 restaurants with bread taking views where you can enjoy some traditional Austrian cuisine or simply sip on a coffee and enjoy the views.

 

The Old Town

As you defend from the castle you are in the Old  Town which is on the left bank of the river with narrow roads and beautiful architecture. Rows of shops and cafes where you can purchase some of the finest Austrian products. Dedicate the afternoon to a pleasurable stroll through the old town and experience the colourful history and some of the most important sights such as the Festival Hall, The Cathedral, St. Peter’s Abbey Church along with the birthplace of W. A. Mozart. Enjoy the Mozartplatz a large square with a statue of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

 

We stoped for lunch at the popular Austrian restaurant call the K+K . The restaurant is located within a historically listed merchant’s home from the Middle Ages right next to Salzburg Cathedral on the famous Mozartplatz Square. The seating outside on a sunny day is out of this world and combined with some authentic Austrian cuisine with a modern twist you can’t ask for more.  The K+K is an amazing place to enjoy your lunch, coffee or afternoon tea and do some people watching.

 

 

No. 9 Getreidegasse  Salzburg, the birth place of Mozart 

Follow on to the birth place of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He was born here in 1756 and the house has been converted into a museum which introduces visitors to his early life and some of the first musical instruments the genius used. The third floor exhibits Mozart’s childhood violin as well as portraits and documents from his life. The second floor houses the famous clavichord on which he composed The Magic Flute.

 

Love Lock Bridge

Salzburg is full of scenic walks but my favourite one was across the pedestrian Love Lock Bridge. We decided to walk across this pedestrian bridge over the Salzach River to our next destination the famous Mirabell Garden. The bridge is nicknamed “The Love Lock Bridge” because of the many loving couples who like to put a lock on this bridge to show their affection and commitment to each other.

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It has become a popular site with tourists now and as you walk across this bridge you get some picture perfect views of the old town and Salzburg Fortress overlooking it.

 

 

Mirabell Palace and Garden.

As you walk across the bridge you enter the 19th century Neustadt, or New Town and home to the popular Mirabell Palace and Gardens.

 

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The Mirabell Palace was built around 1606 at the behest of Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau as a pleasure palace for him and his mistress Salome. The palace is home to the current mayor’s office and the Marble Hall inside still plays host to concerts and dates back to the time when Mozart performed here with his sister. The Palace is surrounded by beautiful Baroque styled gardens with it’s highlights being the Donnerstiege (stairway) and the Pegasus Fountain.

 

One of the main reasons for my visit to the Mirabell Palace and garden was because of it being the film location of one of my favourite films “The Sound of Music”  The palace is featured in the film as the Von Trapp family home along with the Horse Pond. The Sound of Music is probably one of the biggest musicals and if you are a fan like I am there are numerous location where scenes were shot both in and around Salzburg. The Mirabell Palace is one of the most popular destinations in the city and entrance is free.

 

 

St. Peter’s Abbey & The Catacombs.

St. Peter’s abbey and its cemetery dates back to the 7th century and is the spiritual heart of the city of Salzburg. The oldest tombstone that you can find in the cemetery is of Abbot Dietmar who died in 1288. Walking through the cemetery you will discover the graves of Mozart’s sister Nannerl and the composer Michael Hayden.

 

 

The builder of Salzburg Cathedral, Santino Solari, is also buried here. You can also vist the catacombs here that date back to the Early Christian era and are cut into the rocks of the Festungsberg mountain.

 

Must Do’s

  • Walk the streets of the Old Town one of the largest UNESCO World Heritage sights by area.
  • Ride the funicular to Hohensalzburg Castle and enjoy a birds eye view of Salzburg.
  • Pay a visit to “Mozarts Wohnhaus” in Makartplatz the birth place of Mozart.
  • Shop in the narrow street of Getreidegasse
  • Marvel at the Salzburg Cathedral which has been demolished and rebuilt several times from its initial creation in 774.
  • Sing along to the Sound of Music at the Mirabell Palace.

 

 

 

 

 

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58 thoughts on “Day trip to Salzburg

  1. There are lots of great things to see in Salzburg and you’ve put together a great list. I think their musical history is the most fascinating and they seem to celebrate it all over the city.

  2. I enjoyed your pictures. I visited back in 2002 and loved it. You need to go see the Eagle’s Nest…it’s not too far from there and it is an interesting structure right on a mountain top.

  3. I’ve never been to Salzburg but photos of the place against the mountain backdrop was enough to make this on my list. I would surely visit Mirabell Palace when I finally get the chance to see Salzburg. The Sound of Music is a classic and obviously one of my favorites, too.

  4. I was in Salzburg last winter for 3 days and I feel a day might be too less! I absolutely loved the city, the vibe, the lovely old town and the Baroque architecture. However, if someone were to have only one day, I think your itinerary covers exactly what you need to in a span of 24 hours! Hohensalzburg Palace was so pretty, especially the view of the city below from the top was amazing!

    • I guess you can easily spend few days there and enjoy the beauty at your ease but if you on a time budget then it’s easily done in a day with a flavour of the city.

  5. I love Salzburg, it’s so pretty, especially in the sunshine. I’d definitely take your advice and head to the castle to catch those wonderful views. The price of a ticket from Austria isn’t bad either, considering what awaits when you arrive. I also always enjoy a funicular ride!

  6. Salzburg looks lovely. You got really sunny weather to explore it seems. The pictures are amazing. Do you recommend staying in Vienna and doing day trip to Salzburg or viceversa?

  7. Salzburg is my favorite city and I stayed here for 3 nights. I always love such countryside towns more than a big city with some relaxed vibes. It is a musical city and a birth place of great Mozart, which adds more charm to this beautiful place. Also the countryside tours from Salzburg are very great thing to do. For me day trip is not enough to enjoy the full beauty of Salzburg as there are many Alpine towns nearby which can be explored from here.

  8. Wow, what gorgeous photos and a magical place to visit! I’ve always wanted to visit Vienna, Salzburg and/or anywhere in Austria! I used to travel for work in my old job, and I made it to neighboring Germany several times, but never Austria.

  9. One of my friends just took me to Salzburg because of her Sound of Music obsession. It’s such a magical place that I never would have discovered if it hadn’t been for her. There’s so much history and magic still in Salzburg. Thanks for sharing!

  10. That’s a lot of sightseeing to pack into one day in Salzburg. I didn’t realize that it could be seen as a day trip from Vienna. I’d really like to walk around Old Town and see Mozart’s birth place.

  11. There is so much to see in a day there. Very beautiful city, a must visit for people that want to understand the Austian culture and architechture.

  12. That’s good, that you went to Salzburg. I see, that you had a good time. Did you also have a chance to see another cities such as Insbruck?

  13. I am totally surprised after this article, I didnt know Salzburg is such a beautiful city! Thanks for inspiring me! I love to visit old castles and this one looks quite impressive.

  14. Seems like a very idyllic town. I would love to visit here someday! I am hopeful, that we are able to do a road trip in Europe soon and see all these cool places. The castle would be a must for us, since my husband absolutely loves visiting them.

    • Indeed a must visit town and the castle has some great history and offer panoramic views of the town.

  15. First, I love the recreated picture from Sound of Music! Second, Salzburg looks so quaint and picturesque. I love shoulder season travel, so I’d take you up on that recommendation in terms of when to go. When did you go? Were you there at all for the festival? And, the views from that castle…amazing!

  16. Such a beautiful city without question. I love the grounds of the palace where some of The Sound of Music scenes were filmed – the gardens are really so gorgeous. The views you captured from the Hohensalzburg Castle show just what a pretty and picturesque city Salzburg is. So much history with Mozart and those lovely buildings – I hope to get there one day.

  17. Glad to know it does not cost that much to visit this wonderful place. Will try to check the 2 train companies you mentioned. I would really love to visit Salzburg soon.

  18. Salzburg looks absolutely lovely! Glad to know it does not cost that much to visit this wonderful place. If you had to choose between Salzburg and Vienna, which one would you choose?

    • I would live in Vienna and see that first as you need more time to see Vienna than Salzburg

  19. Lock. Bridge looks like an interesting place to visit. The view is so quaint. You have captured the entire city and best things to do there. Well done Amar.

  20. Hi Amar, really enjoyed reading this article. Hohensalzburg Castle looks like the perfect place to stay in Salzburg. We visited some amazing places in Austria a few years ago, but we skipped Salzburg, fearing large tourist crowds. Maybe we should visit again and enjoy the Mozart museum, sound of music, the rolling hills and fascinating history.

  21. I’m so impressed how much you did in Salzburg in a single day trip! From the Hohensalzburg Castle down to the beautiful Old Town, and of course the Love Lock Bridge. And a lovely lunch as well. The Mirabell Palace Gardens look like a lovely place to walk off lunch. I like the look of the Abbey and Cathedral too.

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