Salzburg appeals on so many levels. Historians love its long and varied history; music lovers revere it as the birthplace of one of the world’s most recognized composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; and art lovers appreciate the High Baroque style.

Surrounded by mountains and straddling the river Salzach, Salzburg is dramatic in its beauty. It’s special in its own right, but it is also well-known as the setting of the movie The Sound of Music.

Salzburg layout

Salzburg is located in the west of Austria, right near the border with Germany. The train station is to the north of the old town, which straddles the River Salzach. On the south side of the river, you’ll find the imposing Fortress Hohensalzburg, perched on the top of a hill. 

Salzburg, Austria, by night
Salzburg is a compact city.

Accommodation in Salzburg

Salzburg is a compact, walkable city, and it’s worth finding a centrally located hotel so that you’re close to everything. There are plenty of options on Booking.com and AirBnB, or pick one of my favourites: 

Budget: If you don’t have a lot of cash for expensive hotels, go for Institut St. Sebastian in the Old Town. It provides private rooms for one to four travelers, as well as shared dormitories.

Mid-range. You can choose the Star Inn Premium Salzburg Gablerbrauhe, located in the heart of the old town. This is especially suitable for families, with large rooms that offer modern décor. 

Luxury: The Hotel Schloss Monchstein is a five-star hotel found on the top of Monchstein, which offers a grotesque view over Salzburg. It is just an eight-minute walk to the old town from the hotel.

Salzburg accommodation
Choose a room in the centre of the city.

What to eat in Salzburg

There is plenty of food to eat in Salzburg!  In this city of Mozart, you can find a broad array of snacks and breweries, ranging from cheap casual bites and coffee shops to expensive fine dining establishments and Michelin-starred restaurants. Actually, the city has more gourmet restaurants than other cities in Austria, so it’s a great place to indulge in quality Australian and German food.

There are various options available for those who are on a budget. To begin with, coffee drinkers should check out 220 Grad. Coffee is roasted on-site, and it serves an assortment of crostini, cakes, or small bites. If you’re looking for authentic German and Austrian classics, you can eat at Zum Zirkwelwirt. The menu in this restaurant offers traditional foods such as Gulasch, wiener schnitzel, and more.

Tourists looking for gourmet meals cannot leave the city without visiting Esszimmer. The satisfied traveller talks about the three-course menu offered here, which features rotating options such as halibut, goose liver pate, and beetroot ice cream. 

Make sure to have some schnitzel!
Make sure to have some schnitzel!

How to get around Salzburg

For touring Salzburg’s city centre, walking is the best option. However, if you’d like to see more of the city, you can enjoy Salzburg’s extensive bus and trolley-bus system, which has been operating since 1940, and prides itself on its eco-friendliness.

The Obus system is also useful for getting to and from the airport and train station. Lines 1,3,5 and 6 will take you from the airport to the city centre. Line 2 will bring you from the airport to the train station while line 10 will take from the airport to the city centre. Buy your ticket from a kiosk and make sure you stamp it when you enter the bus. You might want to consider a Salzburg Card, which includes public transport.

If you are touring attractions outside the city centre, you can consider getting a bike for rental from your hotel or a bike-hire stand. Bike riding for tourists is a favourite in the city.

Just walk
Walking is a good way to get around.

What to do in Salzburg 

From beer halls and holiday festivals to Mozart and the sound of music, there’s plenty to do in Salzburg — it would be easy to spend weeks or months wandering the cobbled streets and discovering more each day. Here are some things to do in Salzburg.

Salzburg museum: This prize-winning museum will acquaint you with the arc of the country’s history from the Roman settlements during the ancient period to WW1. 

Salzburg’s old town: You can treat yourself to a visit of copper-topped cathedrals and winding streets of Salzburg’s historic centre.

Hellbrunn Palace: This is one of the most popular for its fountains and water games. It was where the Austrian archbishops used to unwind during the summertime. 

Hellbrunn Palace
Hellbrunn Palace in Salzburg, Austria

Mirabell Palace: Mirabell palace is one of the famous places of manicured elegance; built initially for the mistress of the prince, it is a perfect fitting for Maria and the kids.

Salzburg Zoo: Everything is admirable at this zoo; lush habitats spread out over the floodplains, and the rocky hillsides make it as unusual sites for animals grazing in green grass. 

The Salzburg Festival: Began as early as the 1920s, the Salzburg Festival is considered one of the most significant musical festivals globally. The whole city is taken over by music madness for the month of August every year.

Take a Sound of Music tour: Although the movie isn’t well-known within the country, tourists flock to Salzburg for its Sound of Music tours. There are various firms to choose from, so look at reviews before picking which you’d like to take.

Sound of Music... on a bus
Sound of Music… on a bus

When to visit Salzburg

You can visit the city at any time of the year. Peak season is summer, especially August, when the Salzburg Festival is held. Another magical yet busy time to visit the city is in December to shop for Christmas. 

If you need good weather and fewer crowds, you can consider September, May, or October. During the late spring and winter months, the number of tourists will be low, but so will the temperatures.

Choose the shoulder season for fewer crowds
Choose the shoulder season for fewer crowds

Where to next?

Since Salzburg is located in the centre of Europe, the rest of Europe is at your doorstep. You can fly from Salzburg airport to destinations in Europe and beyond, or fly from nearby Munich, Germany, for even more options. Make sure you make use of Austria’s excellent train network to visit more of Austria before you go, though: Vienna and Innsbruck are both beautiful, as are the smaller cities and villages that make up the rest of the country. 

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