When looking for accommodation in Salzburg, you will find a variety of options. Most of them are good. Some of the hotels in Salzburg, however, stand out and offer an experience you couldn’t find anywhere else in the world. That’s what this article is about.
In this article, you find out about the best hotels and hostels in Salzburg in each category, from historic five-star hotels to dormitory-style hostels for backpackers.
DISCLAIMER: The links to booking platforms in this article are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, you support the Free Walking Tour Salzburg by booking through them. We, however, don’t get paid by any of the places we recommend. We recommend them because we love them or because we think they offer an experience you should have.
Where is the best Area to stay in Salzburg?
Salzburg is small, and all the tourist attractions in the old town are within walking distance. Salzburg’s old town is an area of 1.5 km². From the train station, for example, it takes you 15 minutes to walk to that area. About 90% of hotels are within that radius.
Therefore, it doesn’t matter where you stay as long as you don’t choose a budget hotel on the outskirts of Salzburg. Every hotel or hostel on this list is five to fifteen minutes walking from every sight.
The Best Luxury Hotels in Salzburg
You might ask why luxury hotels are first on the list when they are outside the average traveler’s budget. These five-star hotels in Salzburg are first on the list because they are not mere accommodations but rather historical and cultural institutions. When visiting Salzburg, they are worth noticing, even if you are not going to stay there.
Hotel Sacher Salzburg (imperial)
Sacher is a name you might have heard before. Although not in connection with hotels but rather in relationship with food. Before the original Sacher hotel in Vienna opened in the 19th century, the family became famous for the invention of the Sacher cake. This cake made of chocolate and apricot jam is the most famous Austrian cake. And Austria is renowned for its cake. If you would instead like to read about the cake and postpone your search for accommodation in Salzburg, here is an article on where to find the best sweets in Salzburg.
But not only the Sacher cake became one of the most important Austrian cultural assets. When it comes to the best hotels in Austria, the first thing that comes to most people’s minds is Sacher. Sacher hotels are only found in Vienna and Salzburg, the two most popular travel destinations in Austria. The Sacher in Salzburg is where the rich and famous stay during the Salzburg festival or any other high society event. I happen to live on the other side of the street from the hotel and expensive cars are lined up on the side of the street during these occasions.
But while the hotel has luxury suites that cost several thousand euros a night in the high season, a stay at the Sacher Hotel is not entirely unaffordable. All the hotels in Salzburg are expensive. A standard room at the hotel Sacher might be double the price of the cheapest hotels, but that’s the price you pay for a once-in-a-lifetime luxury experience. From the staff to every little detail of the decoration, everything is designed to take you right back into the time of the Habsburg empire when the famous chocolate cake was invented.
Hotel Bristol (noble)
While the rest of the cast of the Sound of Music stayed at the Sacher hotel during the movie production, Christopher Plummer stayed at Hotel Bristol. The reason for his decision was that the Bristol had a piano in the bar next to the lobby. They still have that piano, which to me, adds significantly to the over-the-top elegance of the place.
But the history of the hotel began long before the Sound of Music.
The building was built in 1619 by an archbishop and served as a residence for noble and wealthy families. The building was renovated and modified throughout history and got its current appeal when it became a hotel at the end of the 19th century. In fact, it didn’t only become a hotel at that time but the first building with electricity in Salzburg. It was therefore called the electricity hotel before in 1907 they renamed it to Hotel Bristol.
You might have heard Bristol as a hotel name before, but the Bristol in Salzburg is not a chain. There are more than 200 independent hotels called Bristol. That’s why the name sounds familiar, but the Bristol in Salzburg is a family business and was run by the same family for more than 75 years.
The Sacher hotel mentioned above, as well as the hotel Bristol, are from the nineteenth century. They are in the same location, only a minute walking apart. The Sacher, as well as the Bristol, take you back to the 19th century. But while the Sacher will make you feel like a member of the imperial court, the Bristol makes you feel like a nineteenth-century intellectual nobleman.
Hotel Mönchstein (superior)
Mönchstein would be considered the ultimate luxury hotel in Salzburg. When thinking of luxury hotels in Salzburg, the Bristol or the Sacher first come to mind. That’s because hotel Mönchstein stands out from all the other options. Quite literally. It is located on Mönchsberg mountain and is visible from all over Salzburg. It was awarded the world’s best castle hotel in 2018.
There are only 24 rooms and suites in an area of 14.000m² at the Mönchstein. You can imagine that a stay at this hotel is a personal experience. Their staff is entirely dedicated to making all your wishes come true. They probably will come true at the breakfast buffet; the restaurant awarded three out of four bonnets or in the spa area.
By the way, the spa and the restaurant are also available for day guests. You don’t have to be a guest at the hotel to pay for using these facilities. What’s on the other hand also possible is renting all the 24 rooms and thereby the entire castle for yourself. People do that because, for example, the gothic hall and the garden of the Mönchstein are venues for civil weddings.
To reach the old town from the castle, you use the elevator to the museum of modern art, which is about five minutes walking. The hotel staff will provide you with a free ticket. Or you take a taxi or a short hike. The hike along Mönchsberg is something I would recommend to every visitor who has enough time.
The city mountains are some of the best things about Salzburg, and while the place is slightly remote, I couldn’t think of a better location to stay. Mönchstein is the hotel where you want to spend the night if you are in for a treat. It’s a world-class combination of luxury, city sightseeing, and wellness.
Hotel Goldener Hirsch (traditional)
This list wouldn’t be complete without the Goldener Hirsch hotel. Remember the Do from the Sound of Musics Do Re Mi? Do, a deer, a female deer. A Hirsch is a male deer, and as much as the Sound of Music isn’t always culturally accurate, the deer is kind of the traditional Austrian animal.
The Hotel Goldener Hirsch is the luxury hotel you want to choose if you want a traditional Austrian hotel. Not traditional Austrian like you find it at hotel Sacher. Not from the times of the Austro-Hungarian empire but traditional in the sense of Lederhosen and Dirndl. Traditional in the way, the Sound of Music tried to portray authentic Austrian customs. Traditional like you would otherwise only experience in the countryside.
The building that houses the hotel Goldener Hirsch dates back to the 15th century. The first hospitality business at this address was established more than 400 years ago. But the place is far from old-fashioned or dated. Extensive renovation works finished in 2020. Renovation works that renewed every aspect of the hotel while focusing on preserving its original appeal.
Wooden floors, rural decoration, and antique furniture. Many of the features of the hotel were created and renovated by local artisans and craftsmen. And while traditional, rural Austrian features are simple in nature, the Goldener Hirsch finds the perfect balance with five-star luxury. Luxury is also a restaurant. But while many other high-end restaurants serve fancy food, the Goldener Hirsch sticks to authenticity.
When it comes to luxury hotels and even hotels in general, there is no place like Goldener Hirsch. No other place in Salzburg has these rural Austrian features while dominating the list of luxury hotels.
The Best Boutique Hotels in Salzburg
In between budget hostels and luxury hotels, there are boutique hotels. Boutique hotels are my favorite. They are both affordable and comfortable and usually have a particular style and a specific concept. I like them because I like the futuristic, and I am all about unique design and innovative ideas. Let us have a look at some of these boutique hotel concepts in Salzburg.
Arthotel Blaue Gans (artsy)
The Arthotel Blaue Gans (Blue Goose) could as well be categorized as a luxury hotel. It’s the neighbor of Goldener Hirsch. The building that houses the Arthotel Blaue Gans is also from the 14th century and one of the oldest buildings in town. Both are in Getreidegasse, in the most famous street in Salzburg. The street where Mozart’s birthplace is located.
You could also call the Arthotel Blaue Gans traditional Austrian, but that’s not what it’s about. While from the outside the medieval appearance of the building is preserved, it hits you when you enter the hotel. The modern, artsy design elements blend in with the light and friendly demeanor. Light and warmth seem to be their approach to everything. An environment in which you immediately feel comfortable.
More than 120 tasteful modern art pieces decorate the halls and corners of the house. The available rooms range from a 20m² room intended for a one-night stay to a multi-floor maisonette suite. The same applies to the hotel facilities. From the Restaurant and the Brasserie Bar to the meeting room in a glass house in the garden, city bikes, sight running tours, and the wellness facilities. The Blue Goose is right for any kind of stay.
The restaurant fits the rest of the concept. While the essence is traditional Austrian food, modern elements are brought in with so much feeling that one is not sure how to categorize the cuisine. If you only want to have a drink, there is a brasserie for beer lovers and a wine archive in case you are fond of wine.
No matter the purpose of your stay in Salzburg. May it be for business, for sightseeing, for the Salzburg Festival, or a relaxed weekend away, Blaue Gans is an excellent choice if you would like to stay in style and comfort.
Arte Hotel Salzburg (stylish)
Arte Hotel opened in Salzburg in 2019 in the newly built Perron next to the train station. Perron is a french word for a train platform. That’s reasonably accurate because the building that houses the Arte Hotel is 36 meters from the train station. The building is mainly made of glass and is one of the highest buildings in Salzburg. You can, therefore, imagine the view from the upper floors.
On the top floor of the building, there is a bar that belongs to the hotel but is accessible for outside guests as well. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, you could pay a visit to the bar and get a drink or their breakfast buffet to enjoy the view. Speaking of view.
One of my favorite features of the Arte Hotel is the trainspotting lounge, a lounge on the building’s first floor. One floor up from the ground floor where the reception is located. On the first floor, you are level with the train tracks; therefore, the lounge is the place for spotting trains. The same applies to the meeting rooms on the same floor. And because the building is only fifteen meters wide, you got glass on both sides of the room.
Unlike most of the recommendations in this article, the Arte Hotel is a chain, but that doesn’t make it less unique. It’s an Austrian chain that’s now present in five cities in Austria. The hotel in Salzburg has 120 rooms and studios. Their style is urban. The location is perfect if you arrive and leave by train, but the old town is also only 10 minutes walking.
The architecture, the view, and the design are my favorite features of the Arte Hotel in Salzburg. I was excited about that hotel, even if I, as a local, don’t need accommodation in Salzburg. If you need a place to stay, are as excited as I was, and a mid-range hotel is within your budget, I recommend this place without reserve.
Hotel Stein (adult-only)
Hotel Stein is an institution when it comes to boutique hotels. That’s because it’s not only popular with tourists, but every local knows their rooftop terrace. The terrace is available for a drink or food, regardless if you are a guest of the hotel.
The hotel got its name from the German word for stone. The street behind the hotel is called Steingasse, the stone alley. The narrow alleyway borders the rocks of Kapuzinerberg mountain.
Located next to Staatsbrücke, across the street from the Free Walking Tour Meeting point, it’s in the perfect location for anything in the old town. Every sight is less than 10 minutes of walking. Plus, from the rooftop terrace, you have one of the best panoramic views in the city.
My favorite fact about the four-star Hotel Stein is that they have a no-kids policy. Stein is an adult-only hotel. I like it when a place is clear about what they are about.
The overall concept fits that rule. Upscale accommodation for adults. The hallways and the lobby are decorated with valuable glass art like chandeliers, vases, and bowls. The overall theme of the hotel is pearl blue.
The last renovations at Hotel Stein finished in 2018 after two years of work. Some of the rooms feature large-scale photography wallpaper and centuries-old stucco at the same time.
But for all the luxury and elegance, the most important feature is still the helpful staff at hotel Stein. I sometimes had contact with them because I brought flyers and they book my free walking tours for their guests, and I have rarely seen such courteous hotel staff.
Hotel und Villa Auersperg (personal)
Out of the boutique accommodation in Salzburg, the Hotel and Villa Auersperg is the most personal place to stay. It’s a family-run hotel on the border of the old town at the end of Linzergasse. That area is called Andräviertel. It was like in many cities, the more affordable part of town that has become hip and is now on the brink of becoming posh.
While the location is excellent for exploring the old town, the hotel is in a more quiet area than the other hotels on this list. Especially the city garden is an oasis of peace and the spa area, massage and yoga courses let you choose whether you go for sightseeing or wellness.
According to their philosophy, the hotel Auersperg is a blooming garden and a home for the soul. That’s why I want it on this list. I couldn’t describe it better and know no similar place in Salzburg.
The breakfast is also in line with these values. The hotel management knows each of the suppliers personally, and each supplier comes from the surrounding area. Many of the available delicacies are homemade.
Unlike the previously mentioned Hotel Stein, the Auersperg is family and kids-friendly. Upon request, they provide you with toys, buggy. They will even arrange a babysitter for you so that you can enjoy an evening for two.
I don’t know a better place to stay in Salzburg when traveling with family. But even if you are going alone, on a honeymoon, or on a business trip, Villa Auersperg is the right place if you want to feel at home.
The Best Budget Hotels in Salzburg
Salzburg’s thing is that there are too many tourists for such a small town and there are not enough hotels. That’s why most of them raise the prices in the high season and the high season ranges from April until October and temporarily restarts in December for a month.
None of the hotels in Salzburg are exactly budget hotels. Prices for private rooms in hostels often rise close to the costs for the aforementioned boutique hotels. You will find pensions on the outskirts of Salzburg, hostel chains that could be called budget hotels instead, or self-check-in accommodation. I only recommend one budget hotel in Salzburg because it’s the only one I know personally and have experience with.
Motel One (balanced)
Motel One is a hotel chain. In Salzburg alone, there are two Motel One, and in total, there are 73 Motel One. The one you should go for in Salzburg is the Mirabell branch. The other one is a bus ride from the old town. It’s called Mirabell, even if it’s far from Mirabell, but the location is excellent. Motel One Mirabell is a 5-minute walk from the train station and a 15-minute walk along the river to the old town. What I love about these budget hotels are their streamlined style and their concept.
Like any chain hotel, Motel One is a big complex and impersonal. Still, in my opinion, that’s the purpose of budget hotels. Motel one is for the straightness and comfort of a hotel but the price of a private room in a hostel.
For personal experience, I would recommend booking a private room at a hostel for the same price or less.
And while Motel One doesn’t offer a personal experience, I always found their staff amazingly helpful, knowledgeable, and kind. The atmosphere at the hotel is not as stiff and formal as in many other hotels.
What’s worth it is their breakfast and the coffee. The whole experience at the so-called Motel is a perfect balance between budget-friendliness and high quality. That and that it’s simple and straightforward is why Motel One remains the only Budget hotel on my list.
The Best Hostels in Salzburg
Hostels are my area of expertise not only because I usually stay in hostels when I travel but also because I worked for a hostel for many years. Hostels are much more than mere inexpensive accommodation. They are a way of traveling and a way to make friends.
Yoho Hostel (original)
I worked for the Yoho Hostel for eight years. I chose to work there after a season of riding a bike taxi in the old town of Salzburg. In winter there are no bikes. I wanted to keep in touch with international travelers, and there was no better place for that than the Yoho.
With almost 200 beds, the Yoho is not a small hostel. It mainly features six and eight-bed dormitories. There is a bar, laundry facilities, common rooms, and television where the Sound of Music is played daily at 8 pm. There is everything a backpacker needs in Salzburg.
The Yoho was the first Hostel in Salzburg and remained the only real hostel for a long time. With a real hostel, I mean a place for party people and adventurers. The Yoho doesn’t host school groups or anyone younger than 18 years old. There is no upper age limit, though. That’s why people from all walks of life come together, and each day is different.
There is a cheap breakfast buffet in the morning, inexpensive Austrian dishes in the evening, and instant noodles in between. Sometimes the coffee from breakfast is available all day, and sweets can be purchased from the vending machines.
The Yoho is everything you expect from a hostel and more. It’s not perfect, but that’s it’s the charm. Even if you could consider the Yoho a hostel like all the other hostels all over Europe, it certainly is unique.
The Keep Eco Residence (ecological)
The Keep Hostel is a self-check-in hostel that prides itself on being eco-friendly. Rightly so, because the whole hostel was furnished and equipped with recycled materials, however, far from cheap looking.
As a friend who works at the Keep told me. It costs less money but a lot of time to set up a hostel like that.
You can feel that time and the love that went into setting this hostel up. The interior was created with enough attention to detail that you wouldn’t notice it was assembled from recycled materials. Especially the beds are handmade works of art. Together with the building, the interior blends into a mix of urban style and nature.
What I love about the Keep Hostel is not only the eco-friendliness but their overall attitude. At the vegan restaurant, they are currently offering a pay what you want breakfast, which resonates with me as that’s how I deliver my tours. The breakfast consists of many homemade, biological dishes. So far, I only tried the coffee, which is excellent.
At the time of writing this, there are only private rooms available at the Keep, but as I said, they are still adapting to the guests and their needs. There is no reception, but you receive a code to check yourself in. The keep hostel’s location is two corners away from the train station and just another turn and a 10-minute walk from all the sights in the old town.
I surely love the innovative concept, and I am looking forward to seeing where this project goes. To you, I recommend the experience. The keep is not only good for our planet but different, made with love and their breakfast is from another world.
Stadtalm Hostel (picturesque)
If there is accommodation in Salzburg that can be called a hidden gem, it’s the Stadtalm. It’s not the most convenient place. You either have to take an elevator up the Mönchsberg mountain, or you have to hike. But isn’t that what backpacking is all about? Accepting inconveniences for the experience of a lifetime. The view from Mönchsberg alone is such an experience, let alone sleeping on top of the mountain.
The Stadtalm hostel is situated on a cliff on Mönchsberg mountain. Its backyard is in my top 3 favorite photography spots in Salzburg.
Alm means alpine pasture, and Stadt means city in German. That’s what Stadtalm is like. The feeling you would have on an alpine pasture while you are right in the center of Salzburg, 200 meters above the old town.
There are only twenty-two beds in five-room, but as I said, the Stadtalm is a hidden gem. A secret. Nowadays, they are also on booking.com. Therefore, I don’t know if they are becoming more famous, but with a bit of luck, you can make a bargain on one of their dormitory beds.
The Stadtalm hostel is the accommodation and the restaurant with the best view in Salzburg. The accommodation and the food are authentic yet straightforward, just like it would be in the mountains, and the place would be worth visiting even without food or shelter.
Accommodation in Salzburg is expensive. But if that’s your cup of tea and you can afford it, there are a bunch of luxury hotels that offer a unique experience. If you would rather experience a twenty-first-century style than nineteenth-century luxury, there are a few excellent boutique hotels.
But what if you can do without luxury and style but have to watch your budget? Then there are three outstanding hostels. The yoho is the oldest hostel in Salzburg, the Keep is the most innovative eco-hostel, and the Stadtalm is the hostel with the best view ever. In case you are on a budget but still want hotel flair, I recommend the Motel One Mirabell branch.
These accommodation options, like everything on this website, are chosen with utmost care. None of them reached out to us, but I recommend them from personal experience and because I want you to find the right place to stay in Salzburg and have the best possible stay.