Salzburg is small. You could see the main sights in a day or even half a day. However, there are many more things to do in Salzburg than just the essentials. We need the details to get the big picture.
Therefore, this article is the antithesis of an itinerary for Salzburg in one day. The point of this article is that it would take forever to work through everything on this list.
Day trips are not even included yet. Only the things to do in Salzburg city are included in this article.
All of the activities are in the center, most of them in the old town, and most of them are within walking distance no matter where you stay. The activities I present are of general interest. No vegan restaurants, no river surfing, and none of the other alternative interest activities are included.
They are for the average tourist.
The experiences I want you to have are experiences unique to Salzburg.
In case you want to go all-in on sightseeing, there’s nothing better than a Salzburg Card. The Salzburg card covers Museums, public transport, the fortress, Hellbrunn Palace, a cable car, and more on a fixed price.
As long as you visit two paid attractions, the Salzburg Card pays for itself and you get heaps of extra activities for free.
I will link an article with more information about the Salzburg card at the end of this article.
Must do Things in Salzburg
1. Take a Look at the Marble Hall in Mirabell Castle
The Marble Hall and the staircase leading to the Marble Hall in Mirabell Palace are the only part of the Palace’s inside available to visit. The rest of the Palace is dedicated to the city government. To get to the Marble Hall, you enter the Palace and take the beautiful baroque staircase to the first floor. If there is no wedding happening, the marble hall is open and free to look at.
However, weddings happen often because the Marble Hall is considered one of the most beautiful wedding venues in the world. Therefore, more than a thousand weddings take place every year, but you will notice and have to come back later or find something else to do if there is a wedding going on.
Furthermore, there are tourist concerts at the Marble Hall in the evening.
2. Take the Funicular to the Hohensalzburg Fortress
Included in the Salzburg Card
If there is only one paid thing you do in Salzburg, let it be the Hohensalzburg Fortress! Salzburg’s fortress is the best-preserved fortress in Europe, and the building gives Salzburg (salt fortress) its name and offers the best view over the city.
The alternative to the Funicular is a hike, which I can recommend. However, the funicular ride is fun, only takes a minute, and is included if you have a Salzburg Card. If you didn’t buy a Salzburg Card and have to pay for the ride and the fortress, it’s only a few bucks more than the fortress would cost anyway.
3. Walkthrough Saint Peters Cemetery
Saint Peters Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Salzburg and one of the oldest, if not the oldest cemetery in Europe. It has been used as a cemetery since Salzburg was founded in 696 and probably even before. With the arcaded crypts on the side of the hill and the ornate tombs, it may be one of the most beautiful cemeteries you’ll ever see.
Spoiler alert: If you visit Saint Peters Cemetery, it might seem familiar from the Sound of Music. The scene at the end when the Trapps escape and hide behind the graves was actually supposed to be shot at Saint Peter’s Cemetery. However, they were not allowed to film at the cemetery, so they rebuilt it in a Hollywood set.
4. Visit the Salzburg Cathedral
There is no way around visiting the Salzburg Cathedral. It is located in the heart of the old town and admission is free. Salzburg Cathedral was the first baroque church in Austria and has remained largely unchanged. From the five organs to the ceiling paintings, the stucco work on the walls, and the crypt. It is an artistic gem and one of the few things you must do in Salzburg.
Salzburg became famous for Mozart a hundred years before “The Sound of Music” was even made into a movie. At the time when he became popular, Salzburg needed a monument to honor him. To that end, St. Michael’s Square was renamed Mozart square, and the Mozart statue was created to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Mozart’s death. But there was a problem.
When Salzburg began to lay a foundation, remains of a Roman villa were found. Therefore, it took another year to finish the statue. However, it was finally inaugurated the fifty-first year of Mozart’s death. Look on the ground on the right side when you look at the statue, and you will find a replica of a mosaic they found.
Nowadays, Mozart Square and the Statue is one of the most iconic and photographed places in Salzburg. You should not miss the chance to take a selfie with Mozart.
6. Admire Austrian Baroque at the University Church
The University church was renovated for ten years until 2013. There are no paintings on the walls and no pews. Therefore, the University Church is an impressive white space. I recommend that you lie down on one of the half inclined benches and look at the ceiling. This church is an oasis of calm in the most hectic part of Salzburg. Despite its splendor, the University Church is not popular with tourists.
The church, as the name suggests, was part of the university. Built around 1700 by the same architect as Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, the University Church was the last historic building in Salzburg’s old town. When Salzburg lost its independence, and the university was temporarily closed, the church ceased to function as a church. Today it is used more for concerts than religious services.
7. Visit the Franciscan Church
The Franciscans came to Salzburg in the course of the reformation around 1600. They took over the church from the abandoned Benedictine Nunnery but had been sharing the monastery building with the Benedictine Monks of Saint Peter on the opposite side of Franziskanergasse alley. The Monastery and the Church are connected with a corridor above the alley.
The Franciscan church is one of the oldest churches and has changed its appearance several times throughout history. Thus, you will find traces of different art historical periods from the Romanesque nave from the 12th century to the Baroque high altar and the Neo-Gothic tower from the 19th century.
Insider tip: When you exit the church and turn left, you see an entrance next to the crucifix. In case it’s open and especially in summer, try to take a look inside. Be very respectful; it’s a private garden. A beautiful, private garden. The monks usually don’t mind you looking at the dozens of different plants.
8. Visit the Church of Saint Peters
St. Peter is the place where St. Rupert founded Salzburg in 696. That’s right. Salzburg is the oldest city in Austria, and St. Peters is the oldest monastery in the German-speaking world. It has been active for 1300 years. The statue above the church entrance is St. Rupert, the founder, with his salt cask. You can find a statue of him in most churches in Salzburg.
You can’t visit the monastery of St. Peter, but the church is a must-see. It is now newly renovated in 2020 and the perfect picture of a baroque church. Next to the church is another entrance to St. Peter’s Cemetery, which is also a must-see. Also, note the restaurant in the corner. Above the door is written 803, as St. Peter’s Restaurant claims to be the oldest in Europe.
9. Visit Mozart’s Birthplace
Included in the Salzburg Card
Salzburg is the city of Mozart. He was born here in 1756, and Mozart’s birthplace is the most popular sight, along with the fortress. It is a must-see, even if only from the outside. However, if you have a Salzburg Card, admission is free, and you should take a look inside. Of course, if you are really interested, you should take a look inside whether or not you have a Salzburg Card.
Mozart was born in Getreidegasse, but when he was 17 years old, the family needed a larger space, and they moved to the other side of the river. Just outside the Mirabell gardens is where the Mozart family moved. He lived there until he finally broke with Salzburg and moved to Vienna for good at the age of 25. As the birthplace, the residence is a museum you can visit with the Salzburg Card or if you are really interested.
Things to do at a specific Time
11. Watch the Sunrise from Humboldtterasse
When: Every Morning
Getting up is not easy, I know. But suppose you are an early riser or talk yourself into getting up and going. In that case, this recommendation is more than worth following. I wake up many mornings, and even though it doesn’t seem worth it and I’d rather sleep, I remember the sunrises from the Humboldt Terrace on Mönchsberg, and that makes me get up and go.
It’s best between April and October when the weather is stable and the sun rises next to the mountains in the east. From Müllnerkirche church at the north-west end of the old town, you can go up. After sunrise, you continue along the mountain, following the sun, discovering more places and more great views.
Nonnberg Abbey is the oldest nunnery in the world. It was founded in 717, shortly after the founding of the monastery of St. Peter and the city of Salzburg. Like St. Peter’s Monastery, St. Rupert founded Nonnberg Abbey and brought one of his relatives from Bavaria to be the abbess of the newly established monastery.
The visit to the Nonnberg Monastery is anyway worthwhile, but the morning prayer is extraordinary. Most of the nuns live their lives in seclusion and never go out in public. Therefore, they cannot be seen during their prayer and chanting. They are located above the church hall, hidden behind a fence. Their singing and prayer is a mystical experience in the dimly lit Nonnberg Church.
13. Listen to the Glockenspiel Bell Tower of Salzburg
When: Daily at 7 am, 11 am, and 3 pm
The Salzburg carillon was the last addon to the new archiepiscopal residence on the main square in Salzburg’s old town. The bells came from Belgium, where they were actually intended for another church. But that church burned down, and so Salzburg made a bargain. But no one in Salzburg knew how to make them work. Therefore, it took ten years before the 35 bells played for the first time.
Nowadays, the bells play three times a day at 7 am, at 11 am, and 3 pm. The melody changes every month. Just wait at the residence square to hear the tune. And don’t panic if no song is heard at first. You are in the right place on Residenzplatz, but the bells are always five minutes late.
On Thursdays afternoon and on Friday morning, there are tours to the bell tower, which I can highly recommend. Private tours to the bell tower would be available as well. If you are interested, you might also want to read this article on the Salzburg bell tower tours.
14. In the Evening watch the Sound of Music at the Yoho Hostel
When: Every day at 8pm
I worked for Yoho Hostel for years, and every night we played The Sound of Music. No exceptions. The hostel is open 365 days a year, and that’s how often the movie plays every year. If you want to see the film while you are in Salzburg, just go there at 8pm, grab a drink, order a cheap dinner at the bar and join the enthusiastic crowd in the common room.
It’s not a problem if you don’t stay there overnight. You can tell the front desk you’re there to see the movie, but you actually don’t have to. It doesn’t matter. You can also tell the receptionist that Gerhard from the Free Walking Tour sent you. Here is an article on the yoho hostel if you want to know more and consider staying at a hostel in Salzburg.
15. Watch the Sunset from Kapuzinerberg Mountain
When: Every Morning
While the best place to enjoy the sunrise is at the Mönchsberg, the best place for the sunset is the Kapuzinerberg. Not from the top of the mountain, which would take you an hour hike, but from the end of the Imbergstiege, the staircase which starts in Steingasse, only a minute away from the Free Walking Tour meeting point. It will take you about five minutes to climb the stairs.
There are two viewpoints on tops. One from which you can see the old town and one from which you overlook the more modern part of the town.
Both are excellent, and they are only a minute apart, so you should visit both. And if you feel like hiking, you can also go to the forest behind the Capuchin monastery. There are a few more viewpoints there, but none of them are as spectacular as the one at the end of the stairs.
16. Thursday visit the Schranne
When: Every Thursday
The traditional Farmers in Salzburg is called Schranne and happens every Thursday. It begins at 5 am and ends at around 1 pm. If you happen to be in Salzburg on a Thursday, there is no way you don’t visit the Schranne.
Because it’s open early, you can visit Schranne before any other activity you have planned. Schranne is not a non-touristy market; it’s a fixed date in many Salzburg residents’ weekly schedule.
For me, it was a regular weekly appointment for a long time. I went there for the fried chicken. I recommend that to you as well. The chicken is right in front of the church. You order a chicken wing and eat it with your hands at one of the high tables. Otherwise, the farmers sell fresh vegetables, raw meat, bread and pastries, and less cooked food like fried chicken.
17. In June, attend the Salzburg Funfair called Dult
When: 8 Days at the beginning of June
The Dult is the traditional annual fair. Theme park attractions, beer, and street food. It is located away from the old town on the fairgrounds, but you can reach it by walking along the river for about 30 minutes. Although it’s not as traditional as Rupertikirtag, the other annual funfair in September, you’ll get a good sense of the local culture by visiting the Salzburg Dult.
18. In July and August, watch Opera on the Public Viewing Screen
When: 6 Weeks in July and August
To the average tourist, it may seem unremarkable. But the Salzburg Festival is the largest classical music festival in the world. Every year, 250,000 tickets are sold. However, the best tickets are sold out early in the year and are expensive.
There is, however, the Siemens Festival, which is a screen in one of the Squares next to the Cathedral, where you can watch recordings and sometimes live performances for free. During popular operas and premieres, the square fills with people. With the illuminated fortress in the background, the atmosphere in the square is extraordinary.
19. In September, have Fun at the Rupertikirtag Fair
When: 5 Days at the End of September
The Rupertikirtag is considered the most important traditional festival in Austria. It is dedicated to St. Rupert, the founder and patron saint of Salzburg. The festival had its origins in the consecration of the first Cathedral in 774, when Rupert’s relics were transferred to the Cathedral. But don’t think of Rupertikirtag as a religious festival.
It’s more like Oktoberfest in that there’s lots of beer, food, and folk music, as well as theme park rides. These rides are especially unique. Only a few of them are modern. The rest, like the carousel and Ferris wheel, are super vintage. The festival takes place for five days right in the heart of the old town. So no matter if you want to visit Rupertikirtag, you will if you happen to be in Salzburg during that time.
20. In December visit the Christmas Markets
When: The Month before Christmas
The Christmas market is not a must-do in Salzburg but rather the reason to visit Salzburg in December. A no brainer. The Christmas markets take place for a month until December 24. The primary Christmas market takes place around the Cathedral. However, there are many more you can visit, such as the one at Mirabellplatz, Hellbrunn, or the Lakes District.
The best thing to do at the Salzburg Christmas Market is to drink mulled wine and try many delicious Austrian foods. The Christmas market food is reasonably priced, and dishes you would typically only find in restaurants are available in smaller portions. There are also ice skating, pretty souvenirs, and other smaller events like choir singing and Krampus runs.
21. Identify each of the Dwarfs in Mirabell Garden
The dwarves in Mirabell are not just cute decorations, but there is a whole story behind them. There were 28 dwarfs as a counterpart to the 28 heroes and gods in the garden. However, only 17 dwarfs remain because Salzburg auctioned them off when they went out of fashion around 1800.
The dwarfs were a kind of game for the archbishop and his guests. Each of the dwarfs has a symbol, and with this symbol, he stands for something. Visit the dwarf garden, find out what each of the symbols stands for, and maybe even find out which of the dwarfs was in “Sound of Music.”
22. Learn about Greek Heroes and Gods in Mirabell Garden
The most significant decoration of the Mirabell Garden is the Element Fountain in the center. Depicted are dramatic scenes of battle and abduction—popular stories from Greek mythology. Suppose you have ever read anything about them. In that case, you are undoubtedly familiar with the individual stories to which the statues refer.
However, without an explanation, it’s hard to identify them. That, and because it is my personal interest, I have put together an article explaining each statue. It is intended to serve as your guide through the mythology of the Mirabell Gardens.
23. Learn about Greek Mythology at the Entrance of Mirabell Garden
Did you notice the 16 Gods at the entrance of the Mirabell garden? Surely you noticed the four warriors. They starred in the Sound of Music. On the other hand, the gods and goddesses are less often noticed, even though their stories open up a whole new world of ancient Greek mythology. You may know that these gods and goddesses are all one family. A family marked by intrigue and jealousy. The fabric for great stories.
24. Walk the Walk of Modern Art
The Walk of Modern art is based on the 13 modern artworks of the Salzburg Foundation. The Salzburg foundation was a private initiative with the noble goal of bringing art directly to the people instead of museums. I don’t like modern art, but I like this idea, and these artworks became a part of the city. Also, they are spread all over town. When you go looking for them, you are exploring Salzburg at the same time. That’s what I call alternative sightseeing.
25. Study the Archbishops at the Salzburg Cathedral
Because Salzburg was an independent ecclesiastical state, the archbishops are Salzburg’s history until it became a part of Austria in 1816. Therefore, there is no better way to learn about the history of Salzburg than through the archbishops. Most of them were either buried in the Cathedral’s crypt or at least have a memorial there.
The Cathedral’s crypt was not opened to the public until after the reconstruction from World War II. There are epitaphs and monuments to archbishops throughout the Cathedral. Learn more about them and identify each of the tombs and monuments. Some of their traces in the form of coats of arms can be found not only in the Cathedral but everywhere in the city.
Things to Eat and Drink in Salzburg
26. Try the Original Mozart Chocolate
Mozart chocolate can be found everywhere in Austria. The biggest producer is even a German company. But the original, invented on the 100th anniversary of Mozart’s death, is still handmade, available only in Salzburg and only in the confectionery that developed it. Konditorei Fürst operates a cafe on the Alter Markt and three small stores that sell chocolate.
The original Mozart chocolate is still handmade, and they sell it only in their stores. The chocolate is wrapped in blue and silver foil. Be aware that many other stores also wrap their chocolate in blue and silver, rather than the more popular red and gold, to give the impression that they are original. If it’s not Fürst, they’re not.
27. Try the Sourdough Bread at Salzburgs oldest Bakery
At the entrance to St. Peter’s Cemetery, coming from Kapitelplatz square, there is usually a smell of bread. There is also a mill wheel there, constantly moving water. The mill belongs to the oldest bakery in Salzburg, and they renovated the wheel in 2008 to generate electricity. The water comes from the Almkanal, from the canal system of the city of Salzburg.
The city of Salzburg built this canal system in the 12th century, and that’s when the bakery started using the water to run the mill and grind the flour. Even today, the old sourdough recipe is used, which makes the bread not only tasty but also healthy. You can buy the bread directly in the room where it is baked. I am loving it.
28. Try the Original Bosna at Balkan Grill
Bosna is one of the few dishes native to Salzburg and not available in the rest of Austria. The street food dish was invented at the Augustiner Brewery by a Bulgarian, who opened a Bosna stand in the most famous street in Salzburg only a year after he created Bosna at the brewery in the 1950s. Nowadays, you find Bosna at every sausage stand, but the original is still sold at the same place. Read this article to find out more about Bosna and Austrian Street food in general.
29. Embrace Austrian Street Food at the Salzburger Grill Imbiss
Salzburg Grill Imbiss on Wiener Philharmoniker Gasse has the best sausages in Salzburg, the only authentic Austrian street food. I recommend trying Käsekrainer, a sausage with bits of cheese melted inside, or get a Bosna, which is just as good at Grill Imbiss as it is at the original Getreidegasse. Here’s another article for a full review on the best street food in Salzburg. Read it to learn how I became a sausage stand celebrity.
30. Drink Coffee at Salzburgs oldest Cafe
Opened in 1703, Cafe Tomaselli is probably not only the oldest cafe in Salzburg but the oldest cafe in all of Austria. It’s more of a tourist attraction, but if a visit to Salzburg’s oldest cafe is on your bucket list, you should definitely visit. The best place to sit is on the balcony overlooking the old market (just a name, there is no market).
31. Experience Austrian Coffee House Culture at Café Bazar
The best place to do that is Cafe Bazar. I really believe that it is the only place where you can experience an authentic Austrian coffee house atmosphere in Salzburg. Cafe Bazar was opened in the second half of the 19th century and became a place for artists, intellectuals, and all kinds of curious people.
Even today, it is a place where you go not for the excellent coffee but for all the trimmings.
“A place where time and space are consumed, but only coffee is on the bill.” Quote by the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig.
However, traditional Austrian coffee houses are for the atmosphere and the experience, not the places that serve the best coffee.
The 220 Degrees is the institution of Specialty coffee in Salzburg. They were the first ones to bring good coffee to the people of Salzburg, and they continue to be on top of their game. These days there is even a second branch in Nonntal, and both places are busy all the time.
You can also buy their self imported, house-roasted beans to prepare coffee at home or choose from a variety of coffee specialties, but I would recommend getting you a coffee boost on location. That’s the 220 Grad Coffee House website, and here is an article on the best coffee in Salzburg that features them as well as another one of my favorite cafes, the next in this article.
33. Drink Great Specialty Coffee and Look out the Window at Café Alchemie
For true coffee lovers, there’s no way around Kaffee Alchemie in Salzburg. It’s unassuming, but don’t let the tiny establishment fool you. The owner is a world champion barista. You can imagine that the coffee is world class accordingly. Because of the limited space at Kaffee Alchemie, there is a strict no laptop policy.
Therefore, chances are you’ll get one of the seats by the window, from where you can watch the passing cyclists and pedestrians with the Kapuzinerberg in the background. A place to come down while you cheer yourself up with a cup of coffee.
34. Eat Jause (Austrian snack Meal) at the Restaurant with the Best View
The Stadtalm is one of the more modest places in Salzburg, but it undoubtedly offers the best view for your lunch while hiking to the top of the Mönchsberg. You sit on the edge of the mountain and have a view of all the sights and the fortress on the other side at eye level. Stadt means city, and Alm means alpine pasture, so I recommend the traditional Austrian snack Jause. Jause is what you would get on an alpine pasture. A selection of bread and cold cuts.
35. Eat the Vegetarian Austrian Dish Kasnocken at Pauli Stubn
There are not many vegetarian dishes on an Austrian menu. Kasnocken is the only vegetarian dish you find in almost every Austrian restaurant. But it’s not only suitable for vegetarians. Kasnocken is one of the recipes you should try in Austria. It’s different from the rest of the Austrian meals. It is a category of its own, so to speak.
There are restaurants outside of Salzburg that only serve Kasnocken and nothing else. Kasnocken is a kind of Austrian pasta/dumplings with tasty melted cheese. And Pauli Stubm is the place famous for the best Kasnocken in the city of Salzburg. I agree. I have not found a better place for Kasnocken in the town yet, and they fully deserve the fame.
36. Try Salzburger Nockerl at S’Nockerl (permanently closed in 2020)
Unlike its savory namesake, Kasnocken, Salzburger Nockerl is a Dessert. They consist mainly of sugar and egg white and are baked in the oven. This sweet delicacy is, as the name suggests, typical of Salzburg. It’s a symbol for the three city mountains, I often mention in this article, and one of the few dishes that are typical to Salzburg but not to the rest of Austria.
To be honest, in the 34 years I have been alive and living in Salzburg, I only ate Salzburger Nockerl twice. It’s not something the locals actually order. Maybe we don’t because we could order them anytime. You likely just visit Salzburg once and, therefore, Salzburger Nockerl are worth a try. I don’t know of anything like it, and if you like sweets, you will undoubtedly love them.
One of the two times I ate Salzburger Nockerl was in the restaurant with the same name that I liked a lot. It closed in 2020, unfortunately. You can still find Salzburger Nockerl in many restaurants in the city, but I can’t recommend any because I haven’t tried them anywhere else.
37. Have Dinner at Andreas Hofer Weinstube
Andreas Hofer Weinstube is not only the restaurant with the most rustic traditional Austrian furnishing but also a culinary highlight when it comes to Austrian food. When you enter the restaurant, it feels like you’re stepping into another century. The dimly lit room with the small windows and the interior lit by candles make you quickly forget about the outside world.
38. Eat Cake at the Best Pastry Shop in Town
Konditorei Schatz is the place for cake. They have the best “non-original” Sachertorte cake; they were one of the first to copy the Mozart chocolate from Fürst, the first to call it Mozartkugel (Mozart balls), and their cake is simply the best. Don’t believe me? Do you wonder why this should be the best cake? Well, it’s not without reason.
As of now, in 2021, Konditorei Schatz has been run by the same confectioner, Erich Winkler, who was born in 1936 and has been a pastry chef all his life. The cakes are not made by just anyone. They are baked by the most capable person in town. I hope and pray to God that they will find a worthy successor when he retires.
39. Try the Original Sacher Cake
The Sacher cake was invented in Vienna in the 19th century. That’s where the original cafe and the hotel are located and where the argument over the ownership broke out. The Salzburg branch opened some 30 years ago. The cake is a chocolate and jam cake. Like the Mozart chocolate, the Sacher cake is available everywhere in Austria, but the original is only available in actual Sacher cafés.
The original Sacher cake, however, is known to be too dry. Why would that be, you ask? Well, the cake was invented 150 years ago, and Sacher claims that the recipe is a secret. That’s why they have to stick to their secret recipe, while other cafes and pastry shops can change the way they make the cake.
40. Eat and Drink at Austria’s biggest Beer Hall
The Augustiner Brewery in Mülln is by far the largest beer venue in Austria. It consists of 1400 seats in the garden and another three beer halls inside. When you get there, you take a mug from the shelf, rinse it yourself and get a liter of beer. The Augustiner isn’t just nice for the beer, though; I love its self-serve food stands. They are a great way to try different Austrian foods by ordering several small portions. Especially if you’re a group of people.
41. Drink Austria’s most famous Beer and enjoy the View at Stieglkeller
Stiegl is the most significant private brewery in Austria. Founded in the year Columbus discovered America, it is also one of Austria’s oldest beer brands. Its bottles and cans can be found in every supermarket in Austria. While the brewery is located on the outskirts of Salzburg, the restaurant is located just below the fortress.
Since it is slightly elevated, you have a fantastic view of the old town with all its church towers.
I would recommend having a beer at the Stieglbrauerei restauranters beer garden on a sunny day, for the beautiful view and to try Austria’s most famous beer. That’s it.
42. Enjoy a Can of Stiegl Beer on the Banks of the River
Yes, it is allowed to drink beer in public. Everybody does that. People in Austria drink beer when and where they want, and you can too. On a warm, sunny day, especially when summer is just starting, the river banks are filled with people. You can get your can of beer at Billa on Hanuschplatz.
Things to do in Nature
43. Walk to the Hohensalzburg Fortress
Included in the Salzburg Card
Instead of taking the Funicular, you can walk and thus save money, enjoy the surrounding nature and get other impressions of the fortress as you pass the three gates on the way up. I would recommend this to anyone who is fit enough and doesn’t care about the cable car ride (which is, by the way, fantastic).
The hike up to Hohensalzburg Fortress is steep but short.
Bonus tip: If you would like to visit the fortress for free, walk up at the closing time! When the fortress closes, the ticket office closes, and an hour or two later, they close the big gate. Therefore, you can enter for free shortly after the closing time. There is a small door that can only be opened from the inside, so once inside, you can stay as long as you want. The museums will be closed, but the whole building will remain accessible.
44. Hike along Mönchsberg
Mönchsberg is the mountain that surrounds the old town of Salzburg on the left side of the river. It looks like a wall. Now because of that, once you are on top of mount Mönchsberg, it’s completely flat. And then Mönchsberg is so close to the most famous sights in the old town that you get an excellent overview and different perspective of the historic part of Salzburg. Aside from the view, there are a few things there like the Museum of Modern Art, the Stadtalm restaurant, a climbing wall, and let’s not forget the fortress (even though it’s technically on a different mountain).
I always say that you have to see Salzburg from above at least once while you are here. It can be from the Mönchsberg, from the Kapuzinerberg, or from the fortress. However, the Mönchsberg is the best free way to get this view while being in nature and without spending money or exhausting yourself. The best way is to hike the whole mountain from the Müllnerkirche to the fortress to the Nonnberg monastery. It takes about an hour.
45. Walk around the Buddhist Stupa
Another thing to do on the Mönchsberg is to visit the Buddhist Stupa Monument. That’s right. We have a dome-shaped Buddhist stupa monument in the middle of the city in the forest on one of the hills. It is hidden on a platform behind the trees. You probably won’t find it by accident, but if you look on the map and know where it is, you’ll get there.
What Buddhists and Hindus do at such monuments or temples is called circumambulation. It means walking around the monument. That is why there is a walking path around the stupa.
46. Get another Angle of the Fortress at Richterhöhe
Richterhöhe is a hidden viewing platform on Mönchsberg, where you are almost at eye level with the fortress. It’s a very distinct view. From there, you can also see to the other side of Mönchsberg mountain and see the alps. You can’t see the Alps from the city center, but you see them from the fortress or Richterhöhe.
47. Climb and Boulder at Richterhöhe
If climbing or bouldering is your thing, there are two spots on the Mönchsberg. One is at a playground in Mülln at the north end of the mountain, and another is on Richterhöhe just before the climb to the viewing platform. It’s a straight wall and quite challenging, but you can go sideways, and you don’t need any equipment except maybe shoes.
48. Enjoy the only Public Green Space on the Left Side of the River
Furtwängler Park between the University Library, the University Church, and the Concert Hall was once a monastery garden. The whole area was a monastery garden before the university was founded. Since the old city of Salzburg is surrounded by mountains, the space was limited. Today this tiny park is not only what is left of the monastery garden, but the only green space on this side of the river.
What you will find there are some modern artworks and a few chairs scattered around the park. Because of its proximity to the university, students tend to hang out there, but so do other locals looking for a moment of peace and quiet. That’s the thing about the old town of Salzburg. It is very touristy. It gets very crowded, but quiet areas are always just a corner away.
49. Walk along One of Salzburgs oldest Streets
Steingasse is always empty because there is no real reason to go there. There are no notable sights and nothing for locals to do. But it is one of the oldest alleys in Salzburg, and nowhere in Salzburg is the medieval spirit and simplicity of life on the right side of the river in the past more visible. I recommend walking the Steingasse from beginning to end, after or before visiting the Mozartsteg footbridge, another random but beautiful place.
50. Hike on Kapuzinerberg Mountain
Kapuzinerberg is a recreational area for locals in Salzburg. The yellow building, the Capuchin monastery, at the end of the stairs or the street on Kapuzinerberg. At the monastery, there are two of the best viewpoints in Salzburg, especially for sunset. There is, however, a lot of forest behind the monastery, and not many walk to the top of Kapuzinerberg.
On Kapuzinerberg, you will feel like you are no longer in the city. There are even mountain goats on this mountain, but they are hard to spot. I only managed to see one once.
Sidenote: On the way there, you will find a Mozart monument and a Stefan Zweig monument, and if you go up the street, you will find stumbling stones for Stefan Zweig, because in the villa, on the left in front of the observation deck, Stefan Zweig lived before he fled from the Nazis on the eve of World War II.
51. Rent a Bike and Cycle to Leopoldskroner Weiher
Leopoldskron Castle on the Leopoldskroner Weiher is a rococo castle from the beginning of the 18th century. Since the castle is now owned by an American non-profit organization, it is private and not public. Therefore, you can only see Schloss Leopoldskron from the shore of the lake on the other side. The lake and the castle are beautiful, but otherwise, there is not much to do in Leopoldskron. Therefore, I recommend renting a bike to make the trip worthwhile.
Leopoldskron is predestined to be combined with a bike tour to Hellbrunn Palace. This is the route that the Sound of Music bike tours take. Leopoldskron Castle made an appearance in the Sound of Music. It was the back of the house in the movie. Do you remember the scene on the boat? That’s at the Leopoldskron pond.
52. Explore Hellbrunnerberg to find the Stone Theater
In Hellbrunn, there is the Salzburg Zoo, there are the trick fountains, there is the palace museum, and there is a folklore museum. That folklore museum is inside Monatsschlössl, the yellow castle on the hillside of Hellbrunnerberg mountain.
But this mountain houses a less obvious secret.
If you continue through the forest past the Monatsschlössel, the little yellow castle, or climb the mountain from the other side, you will eventually come across a theater carved into the mountain stone. It’s a very unusual thing. Not many people know about it, but I think it’s the most beautiful part of Hellbrunn.
53. Rent a Bike and Cycle to the Sound of Music Pavilion
In Hellbrunn, there is a park where in spring and summer, the locals hang out. Especially those with children. The park is large and surrounded by walls because these were the hunting grounds of the archbishop. There are the trick fountains, the castle, the zoo. There are many reasons to visit Hellbrunn, but the primary purpose is to see The Sound of Music pavilion in the park.
I have seen many negative reviews for the pavilion of people being underwhelmed by it and negative reviews for arriving there at the same time as a tour group. Well, it’s just a pavilion, and about the most touristy thing you can do. It’s not a crowded place, but when the tour buses arrive, it becomes one.
That’s why I recommend taking a bike ride along the old archbishop’s avenue, the Hellbrunner Allee. Then the pilgrimage to the Sound of Music pavilion is all the more worthwhile. As I mentioned with Leopoldskron, Hellbrunn and Leopoldskron Palace are the places you go to on the Sound of Music bike tour. So my recommendation is to rent a bike and do your Sound of Music bike tour.
54. Go on a Pilgrimage to Maria Plain
Maria Plain is probably the place with the most spectacular view over Salzburg. It’s in the north of Salzburg, about a hundred meters higher in elevation. That’s why you see all of the city as well as the majestic mountains in the background. Maria plain used to be a place of pilgrimage or still is for some people. You walk about 1 hour and 30 minutes from the center of Salzburg to reach the church in Maria Plain.
The old signposts, in the form of little houses with scenes from the cross, start near the train station. When this pilgrimage was popular a few hundred years ago, the train station area was still a green meadow. The waymarks began where the city ended. Nowadays, however, the city extends to the hill where Maria Plain is. To get there today, it is best to walk along the river and at some point to the right.
55. Hike to the Top of Mount Gaisberg
Gaisberg is the most serious hike you can do right from the old town of Salzburg without the need for public transport. You will need between 30 minutes and 1 hour to reach the trail and another 2 to 3 hours to reach the top of the mountain. Salzburg is 450 meters above sea level, and the top of Gaisberg is at 1300 meters above sea level. Gaisberg is not technically demanding, but it requires endurance and suitable footwear.
56. Swim in the Salzachseen Lakes
The Salzach lakes are artificially created lakes. They are located next to the main river Salzach about 30 minutes walk from the old town. These lakes were created as a byproduct of the highway. They are freely accessible and the alternative to public swimming pools. I prefer swimming in the rivers because the water is cleaner and I like the cold, but the lakes are warmer and perfect for staying in the water. There are also large fields around these lakes where you can chill and soak up the sun.
57. Stroll Salzburgs Municipal Cemetery
The Kommunalfriedhof (municipal cemetery) in Salzburg is not as impressive as the Zentralfriedhof (central cemetery) in Vienna. However, it dates from the same time and style. The Salzburg Municipal Cemetery was explicitly designed to serve as a recreational area for the people of Salzburg. It is nestled in a small city forest, and there are benches, fountains, and more.
58. Swim in the Cold Water of Almkanal
Do as the locals do and visit Almkanal for a quick swim. For this, you need to be a skilled swimmer; the current is strong. You also need to be aware that it will only be a quick dip because the water is cold. Almkanal is the 12th-century canal system of Salzburg. The part of Almkanal you are visiting is on the other side of Mönchsberg before the water flows through the mountain into the city.
The water of the Almkanal comes from the Königssee (kingslake). The lake is located in Germany, about 30 kilometers from Salzburg, and has the best water quality in Germany. The water comes directly from the mountains. The parts of the canal where you can swim are about 20 to 30 minutes walk from the center of the old town or about 10 minutes by bike.
59. Take Bus Number 25 to the Untersberg Cable Car
Included in the Salzburg Card
The things to do in Salzburg that are on this list are only in the area of the city of Salzburg. Not in the province of Salzburg. Even if Untersberg is not in the city of Salzburg anymore, there is no way not to include the cable car. On the one hand, because it’s the best thing you can do with a Salzburg card and on the other hand because it’s the most amazing thing you can reach on a 30-minute bus ride.
The bus that takes you to the Untersberg is number 25, and the last stop on this bus is right in front of the cable car that takes you to 1800 meters above sea level. The Salzburg Card is valid for both the bus and the cable car. Therefore, it is cheaper to buy the card even if you only take the bus and the cable car. The Untersberg is the main reason why I would recommend a Salzburg Card to everyone.
The Gaisberg is the third of Salzburg’s city mountains with an altitude of 1300 meters. Compared to the other two city mountains, the hike to the top of the Gaisberg is physically demanding. Although you can hike from the city center to the summit, it will take you about 5 to 6 hours to ascend and descend.
Therefore the Gaisberg bus is a valid alternative. You can either take the bus to the top and back, hike up and take the bus down, take the bus halfway up and hike or take the bus halfway up to Zistelalm and hike around the mountain. The bus is inexpensive because it’s a regular public bus. It’s the least expensive and least time-consuming way to reach a mountain top.
More Things to do in Salzburg
61. Take the Elevator to the Museum of Modern Art
Included in the Salzburg Card
The Museum of Modern Art is not a must-visit. However, the elevator to reach the museum can make your ascent to Mönchsberg easier and again. If you have the Salzburg card, the museum is included. But if you don’t have time for the museum, just take the elevator and enjoy the view for a minute. It’s gorgeous. You can also take the elevator to skip the climb but then walk along Mönchsberg mountain, which is flat.
62. Walk in the Footsteps of the Sound of Music
The Sound of Music, filmed in 1965, is more popular than ever more than 50 years later. Not only Americans come to Salzburg for the movie, but everyone from all over the world. Everyone except Austrians, Germans, and Swiss. Most of us have never seen the film. That’s why it’s not something the locals would do. Most Salzburgers have never seen the movie and have no idea what it’s about.
But that shouldn’t be a reason not to visit the filming locations. Many of them are located in the old town and are within walking distance. Others are a short bus ride away or perfectly accessible by bike, while a few are a day trip away. In any case, searching for Sound of Music filming locations is another one of the alternative sightseeing options I like because the Sound of Music locations are everywhere. Therefore, you will be exploring all of Salzburg in search of them.
63. Get lost in the Hedge Maze in Mirabell Garden
Mirabell is not only a garden and a castle, but the garden hides many secrets. One of them is the hedge theater and the labyrinth behind it. When you enter the garden from Makartplatz, you will find the hedge labyrinth and the open-air theater on the left side. You can’t get lost in the maze. It is too small for that, but you can walk through it, enter the theater stage, and then continue to the dwarf garden.
64. Feel like you are on a Tropical Vacation in the Orangerie
The Orangery is a greenhouse in one of the corners of the Mirabell Gardens. It was used to grow exotic fruits like oranges for the archbishop in winter and otherwise. Today there are still fruits and palm trees, and there are birds in a cage. The climate there is different from the outside and very humid. Simply tropical.
65. Visit the Grave of Mozart’s Sister Nannerl
While Mozart gets all the credit, his sister was very talented as well. When they were kids, they traveled together and performed together. When Nannerl was an adult, however, she could only teach piano. At that time, it wouldn’t have been appropriate for a woman to perform in public. It’s said that the reason she is the only one from the Mozart family buried at Saint Peter’s is that she didn’t get along with Mozart’s wife. The latter is buried in the Family grave at Saint Sebastian’s.
66. Find a Free Student Concert at Mozarteum
Paid concerts are available at Mirabell Palace, the Fortress, St. Peter’s Restaurant, and the Old Residence. But there is also the world-famous Mozarteum University of Music. Its students have to practice, preferably in front of an audience. That’s why rehearsals are open to the public and free of charge.
Check the schedule to experience a world-class musical performance at zero cost. Of course, there are no performances on vacations and weekends, but on other days when students need to practice a lot, there are concerts all afternoon.
Considering that Salzburg is famous for classical music, it’s surprisingly hard to find decent concerts. The state theater is the best place for inexpensive opera. They are not on in summer, and there are other plays as well, but if there happens to be an opera performance during the time you are in Salzburg, go for it! The cheapest tickets are usually €16,- and the performances are always great.
68. Watch a String Puppet Theater Performance
You may remember the string puppets from the song of the lonely goat herder in The Sound of Music. These string puppets were not a Hollywood invention; they have been around since before World War I. Not only are the performances art, but the making of the puppets is an art form in itself. The most common performances today are The Sound of Music and Mozart’s Magic Flute.
69. Pay tribute to Mozart at the Family Grave on Sebastiansfriedhof
Mozart is buried in Vienna, but most of his family is buried at Saint Sebastian’s cemetery. But St. Sebastian’s Cemetery is worth a visit not only for Mozart’s father, Mozart’s wife, and her second husband. Although the family is buried there, the cemetery remains an off the beaten path secret of Salzburg. Tucked away behind St. Sebastian’s Church in Linzergasse, the cemetery is an oasis of peace and tranquility.
70. Visit the Grave of Wolf Dietrich on Sebastiansfriedhof
When visiting Saint Sebastian’s cemetery for the Mozart family or for the sake of seeing the cemetery, you will find a round building in the middle of the square field. This round building is the mausoleum of one of the most essential archbishops in history. Wolf Dietrich was the one who built Mirabell Palace and started to demolish the medieval Salzburg to replace it with baroque buildings.
71. Put a Lock on the Makartsteg Lock Bridge
In many cities, the locks on the bridges are not welcome. They often damage monuments of cultural heritage. In Salzburg, that’s not the case. When the lock bridge fashion reached Salzburg in 2011, the city tried to get rid of the eleven first locks. However, the bridge quickly regained its locks, and the city decided to accept them. Some of the locks were cut off in the spring, but most of them remain on the bridge and serve as decoration.
72. Indulge in Wellness at the Paracelsus Spa
The old Paracelsus swimming pool dated from just after World War II. It was sad to see the old pool demolished, but when the new Paracelsus swimming pool and sauna opened in 2019, it turned out to be worth the sacrifice. I guess I was the first person to load the full €500 on a prepaid discount card on the first day before even trying the new facility.
Since the new sauna opened, I’ve been there at least once a week, sometimes two or three times. Paracelsus now not only has a sauna but an infinity saltwater pool with panoramic views of the city on the roof. Sounds incredible, doesn’t it? It is. That’s where I recharge my batteries and relax. If you don’t know Austrian sauna culture, be aware that it’s mixed and everyone is naked.
Mozartsteg footbridge was built by the owner of a cafe on the right side of the river. The right side of the river was more for the lower class people. Therefore, the smart businessman came up with the idea of building a bridge to facilitate access to his cafe from the other side of the Salzach. But he had another idea to refinance his project.
You see, the style of the time was the same as that of the Eiffel Tower. If you imagine these two structures, they are very similar. Now, this was a sensation, and smart as the owner of the café was, he realized that he could charge a toll to cross the bridge. So the tiny building on the left side of the river, which today houses the café “We love Coffee”, was built as a toll booth.
74. Take a Picture of the Old Town from Müllnersteg
Müllnersteg bridge, one of the many bridges in the north of the old town, is the place to take the perfect postcard picture of Salzburg. There you get both the city mountains, the river, the fortress, and all the church towers in the picture.
Müllnersteg is also the best place to stop before you start your hike up the Mönchsberg, as it’s the end of the Old Town opposite the fortress. I’m a big fan of going there early in the morning and then climbing the Mönchsberg and walking towards the rising sun.
75. Take a Picture of Salzburg from Kapuzinerberg Mountain
While the Mönchsberg is perfect for sunrise, the Kapuzinerberg is the ideal place for sunset, but the top of the stairs on the Kapuzinerberg is also one of the most iconic viewpoints in Salzburg. You have a bit of distance from the main old city around the Cathedral and get the full panoramic view from up there.
There is also no way around Getreidegasse. Not only is Mozart’s birthplace located there, and Getreidegasse is the most famous street in Salzburg, but Salzburg’s old town is small, and you will have to pass through Getreidegasse several times. Getreidegasse is a shopping street known for the early wrought-iron signs in front of the stores. In history, these signs were necessary because most people were illiterate. Today, it is all protected as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
77. Take a look at the Kulstrunk Panorama at the City Hall
The striking square tower with the flags and the clock in Getreidegasse does not belong to a church for once. This is the old town hall. The town hall is public. Inside there are, for example, a police station and an art gallery. The building is old, but the interior has been renovated in a modern way with a fancy staircase and other artistic refinements.
The highlight of the town hall in Getreidegasse is a painting from 1916, located on the second floor. The so-called Kulstrunk Panorama is a real gem and can be viewed free of charge. This is one of the secrets to discover, and you wouldn’t find it if no one told you about it. Now that you know about it go visit!
78. Take a Horse Carriage Ride
Well, you can if you have the money and fancy a horse-drawn carriage. I’ve never tried it myself, but indeed should one day. When I do, I’ll update this post with my experiences. For me, it’s one of the things on a long bucket list simply because Salzburg is my life, and I want to experience everything there is to experience. If it’s on your agenda too (maybe because riding the horse carriage is what they did in “The Sound of Music”), go for it!
79. Enter the Parking inside Mönchsberg Mountain
On each side of the concert hall, you will find entrances to the parking lot inside the Mönchsberg. Even if you think it’s just a parking lot, it’s worth taking a look inside. The tunnel system is vast. In the past, there was even a newspaper stand and a tobacco stand in these tunnels. It becomes awe-inspiring, however, when you learn what these tunnels were in history.
Look at the green steel doors between the segments of the tunnel system. These tunnels were built initially as bomb shelters during World War II. Even though it looks like there was no damage in Salzburg, almost half of the buildings in the old city were damaged or destroyed in 1945, including, for example, the dome of Salzburg Cathedral.
80. Toss a Coin into the Horse Pond
Okay, don’t do that. Nobody does, except maybe a few misguided tourists. But go and visit the horse pond. It is located at the beginning of the concert hall. The reason it exists is that historically the Concert Hall was the Archbishop’s riding school, and the horses had to be cleaned before they went into the stables and the ring. This worked much like a car wash. There is water inside, and the horses went in one side and came out the other side of the pond.
81. See the View from the Rooftop of Unipark University
The Unipark in Nonntal is a modern university building on the border between the old town and the city’s new parts. The building is mostly made of concrete and glass. Universities in Austria are public, and you can enter the building and walk around.
The library in the basement is worth seeing, but the highlight is the roof terrace. The entire roof is walkable. You can walk around and have different views of the mountains, the fortress, and the Nonnberg monastery. If you want to eat and drink up there, there is a student cafe and restaurant. I like those kinds of places because that’s wherein a touristy city you can experience how it is living in the city.
82. Visit Lehen and the Public Library of Salzburg
When people ask me about the secrets of Salzburg, I always say that there are none. The old town is small, and even the places I call “off the beaten path” are more or less known. To find the alternative Salzburg and places that are unknown to tourists, you would have to go to areas where there are no real points of interest. This is precisely the point of this recommendation.
Lehen is a residential area where the percentage of immigrants is high. Therefore, there are lots of Kebab places. Our goal here is to go down Ignaz Harrer Straße, the main street in Lehen, and turn right at the end. There you will find the city library of Salzburg. This library is a work of art in modern architecture. Pretty. There are two things you should do in the city library. One is to explore the library. The other is to take the elevator to the café inside the exposed tower to enjoy the view.
83. Visit Hellbrunn Castle and get wet at the Trick Fountains
Included in the Salzburg Card
The main attraction in Hellbrunn is the trick fountains. Until I revisited them in 2018, I thought they were only for children. It turned out, however, they are also recommended for adults. The way to see them is by joining a guided tour. If you have a Salzburg Card, which I recommend, the tour is included, as well as the bus to Hellbrunn.
The tour lasts about 45 minutes. You learn about the fountains’ history and purpose, the mechanical theater, and all the grottos and statues. If you are not careful, you might get wet. There are several things to see and do at Hellbrunn, including the castle, the Folklore Museum, the Salzburg Zoo, and The Sound of Music Gazebo. If you want to get more out of your trip, I recommend renting a bike to cycle along Hellbrunn Alley. This is the most bike-friendly part of one of the most bike-friendly cities in Austria.
84. Visit the Folklore Museum in Hellbrunn
Included in the Salzburg Card
The folklore museum is inside the Monatsschlössl, the small yellow palace on Hellbrunner Berg mountain. This castle is said to have been built due to a bet between the archbishop and an archduke. The archduke stopped by Salzburg on a journey. Because he had to settle for only a part of Hellbrunn castle as his quarter, the Salzburg archbishop promised that there would be a separate guest house upon his return.
Monatsschlössl means monthly castle, but probably it took a bit longer to build it. Nowadays, the castle houses the Folklore museum of Salzburg. You can get familiar with customs and traditions and learn about the Trachten, the traditional Austrian clothes. For most of you, the folklore museum won’t be worth the trip to Hellbrunn, but there are so many other things to do and see in Hellbrunn, and you might as well visit the Folklore Museum while you are there.
85. Visit the Salzburg Zoo in Hellbrunn
Included in the Salzburg Card
Hellbrunn Zoo in Salzburg is considered one of the most beautiful zoos in the world. It runs along the rock face of Hellbrunn Mountain, where the vultures breed. The animals at the zoo in Salzburg are like anywhere else. Bears and rhinos, mountain goats, and zebras. As with so many other attractions, you should visit it if you have a Salzburg Card if you are a fan of zoos, or just want to check off everything there is to do in Salzburg.
86. See the Red Bull Airplane Collection at Hangar 7
Did you know that the founder of Red Bull, Dietrich Mateschitz, is from Salzburg? The Red Bull headquarters are in Fuschl in the lake district, about 20 minutes from Salzburg, and the media house is also on the outskirts of the city. These places can’t be visited, but Hangar 7, near the airport, has his private collection of cars, helicopters, and planes on display in a fancy building, and it’s free to visit.
It’s also home to Salzburg’s most expensive restaurant, Ikarus, where the best chefs from around the world take turns for a period of time. The hangar is only a 15-minute bus ride away and can be entered for free. You are allowed to take pictures inside, but you are not allowed to publish these pictures anywhere, which was my only disappointment.
87. Buy Expensive Clothes for Cheaper at the Designer Outlet
The designer outlet, next to the Salzburg airport, houses over 100 stores from Hugo Boss to Samsonite. Most of them are expensive brands, so your shopping won’t be cheap either, but all of the products are available at a reduced price. You can make a bargain compared to stores selling the same brands in the old town of Salzburg or anywhere else, really.
88. Go on a Shopping Spree to Europark Mall
The largest shopping center in Salzburg has about 130 stores and restaurants, including IKEA. It has its own train stop on the S3 regional line in the direction of Freilassing. It can therefore be easily reached from Salzburg’s central train station in less than 10 minutes. If shopping is your thing and you want to visit the most prominent shopping center in Salzburg, this is the place to do it.
89. Gamble at the Salzburg Casino in Kleßheim
Your recommendations are becoming more and more dubious, you might say. Well, gambling is legal in Austria, and as in many other countries, the Austrian state has a monopoly on it. That’s no reason to gamble, right. But in Salzburg, the location of the casino would be a reason. The casino in Salzburg is one of the Baroque summer palaces that the archbishops had built.
Klessheim Palace, near the soccer stadium and Europark shopping center, is largely unknown to tourists, even though it is no less attractive than other castles such as Leopoldskron and Hellbrunn. Since everyone has to wear formal clothes, you will feel like you are at a nobleman’s ball in this 18th-century castle. By the way, you can rent the suit, and you can order the casino shuttle that will pick you up from the center of Salzburg for free.
Museums to visit in Salzburg
90. Visit the Salzburg Museum in the New Residence
Included in the Salzburg Card
The Salzburg Museum was the first history museum in Salzburg. It already existed in the 19th century and is the place to go if you want to dive deep into Salzburg’s history. There is always a temporary exhibition, while on the upper floors, you can see themed rooms, the archiepiscopal state rooms, and general Salzburg history. Again. If you have a Salzburg Card, the Salzburg Museum is a must-see.
91. Take a look at the Salzburg Panorama in the Salzburg Museum
Included in the Salzburg Card
The panorama is housed and integrated into the Salzburg Museum. Why does it get its own number? Because it is, in my opinion, something of its own. The Salzburg Panorama is a 25-meter long painting from the beginning of the 19th century. In the museum, you stand in a room surrounded by the painting. If you don’t have a Salzburg Card and don’t visit the Salzburg Museum, you can still pay €4.50 to only see the panorama.
92. Visit Domquartier Museum in the Old Residence
Included in the Salzburg Card
The Domquartier opened in 2013 as a new museum in the old Residenz. Before that, there was already the Residenzgalerie and the Staterooms, but now you can also enter parts of the Cathedral and St. Peter’s monastery, which is connected to the old Residenz via the vaults. Therefore, the Domquartier is a must for anyone with a Salzburg Card and anyone who likes museums.
93. Visit the Catacombs at Saint Peter’s Cemetery
Included in the Salzburg Card
When you visit St. Peter’s Cemetery, you will notice caves in the rocks on the side of the hill. We call them catacombs, but they are not catacombs as you know them from other cities. According to historians, the catacombs in Salzburg are not burial places but were caves where early Christians prayed. Perhaps as early as the time of the Romans.
The cemetery of St. Peter is a must-see in Salzburg. Mozart’s sister’s grave is located right at the entrance of the cemetery. Therefore, the catacombs are definitely worth a visit if you have a Salzburg Card because it’s again included. There are two chapels in the catacombs and beautiful views from the windows of the caves. Otherwise, there is nothing spectacular, it’s not a must, but even without a Salzburg Card, the entrance costs only a few euros.
94. Visit the Natural Science Museum
Included in the Salzburg Card
The Natural Science Museum was my favorite museum as a kid. Heck, it’s every kid’s favorite museum. But seriously, it’s great for kids, but also interesting for adults. Parts of the museum are just like they were when I was a kid, about 25 years ago. In contrast, other parts like the Science Center are modern and let museum visitors experiment and participate. Especially with a Salzburg Card and enough time, this is not to be missed.
95. Follow the Footsteps of the Author Stefan Zweig
Included in the Salzburg Card
Stefan Zweig was an Austrian writer who lived through the turn of the 19th century and the First World War. His most famous books deal with these themes. Before the Nazis came to power, Stefan Zweig fled from Salzburg to England and then to Brazil, where he committed suicide in 1942. While Zweig’s villa was on the Kapuzinerberg, there is the Stefan Zweig Center in the Edmundsburg on the Mönchsberg.
If you know Stefan Zweig, want to learn about him or are interested in literature, you can visit the center. There is a small exhibition with books and other information. Be aware that they charge €4. The last time I was there, I didn’t realize it at first because there was no sign. Across the river, on the Capuchin Hill, you will find Stefan Zweig’s stumbling stone in front of the villa and a monument next to the Capuchin monastery.
96. Find out about the Poet Georg Trakl and the Club 27
Included in the Salzburg Card
Unknown among the young generation, Trakl was the real deal during his time. He is considered one of the most important Austrian expressionist poets. Unfortunately, he was drafted into World War I in 1914 and committed suicide with an overdose of cocaine. This would make him a member of Club 27 along with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, and others. All troubled artists who died of drugs at the age of 27.
Anyway. There is the Trakl memorial at his birthplace at Waagplatz 1 in Salzburg. If you are interested in literature or just interested, visit it! I’m just not sure how interesting German poetry can really be to English speakers. Again, if you have a Salzburg Card, you can find out for free. The memorial center is included in the Salzburg Card. Also, the courtyard where you find the museum’s entrance is worth checking out.
97. Visit the Sound of Music Museum in Getreidegasse (permanently closed in 2020)
Included in the Salzburg Card
Following the film’s hype, there are more and more Sound of Music related offers for tourists in Salzburg. The Sound of Music Museum opened in 2018, and of course, I visited it immediately. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much but was pleasantly surprised. It doesn’t feel like a tourist trap at all.
The people who run the museum are the people who run the hotel in the house in Aigen where the Trapp family actually lived. They have put together a collection of things to help you understand the real story behind the film – audio and video materials, as well as souvenirs. The entrance fee of € 8 is fair, but not cheap, and the museum is included in the Salzburg Card anyway.
98. Visit the Museum of Modern Art on Mönchsberg
Included in the Salzburg Card
The museum of modern art in Salzburg was a topic of great controversy and remains so. If you are into contemporary art, go visit! If you have a Salzburg card, you might want to visit as well.
If neither is the case, but you still want to see modern art, here is an alternative. Go and explore the city by navigating the contemporary artworks of the Salzburg foundation on a “Walk of modern Art”! These are outdoors, spread throughout the city, and can be visited free of charge.
The Toy Museum is, of course, for children. Or adults who are young at heart. When I visited, I was surprised at how fascinating the theme can be and how well the material is put together. In keeping with the theme, everything is shown playfully, and there’s plenty of room for kids (or adults) to actually play. Definitely recommended if you have a Salzburg card or kids.
100. Visit the Christmas Museum
Included in the Salzburg Card
The Christmas Museum is not as traditional as it may sound. It opened in 2017 after the previous tenant, a café, moved out. But the collections on display are original. They display items that show Christmas as it was celebrated throughout history. These items were collected by a single person over a 40-year period. The museum is open all year round and not only around Christmas. Like all other museums, it is included in the Salzburg Card. Especially in December, when the Christmas markets take place, it is a great way to get more background knowledge.
101. Learn about Water in Salzburg at the Water Museum
Included in the Salzburg Card
Tap water in Salzburg is drinkable. Everywhere and always. The water in Salzburg comes from the mountains, and the quality is excellent. We are proud of our water, but most Salzburgers don’t know that there is even a museum about water on the Mönchsberg. You can probably imagine that this museum is not a must-see, but a walk on the Mönchsberg is recommended anyway, and if you have a Salzburg Card, the museums are free.
102. Take a Tour with Beer Tasting at Austria’s biggest private brewery
Included in the Salzburg Card
The Salzburg Card includes public transportation and admission to the museum at Stiegl Brauwelt. Stiegl is the largest private brewery in Austria and was founded in 1492, the year Columbus discovered America. You’ll see a beer film at the brewery museum, get a tour of the production, and see lots of advertising. In the end, you’ll get free beer samples in the restaurant.
Guided Tours and Activities
103. Join me for a Free Walking Tour
This does not need any explanation. This website you are reading is the Free Walking Tour Blog. If you want me to personally introduce you to Salzburg on one of our tip-based tours, just check the Free Walking Tour schedule!
104. Attend a Guided Tour at the Concert Hall
The concert halls are only accessible during concerts, the Salzburg Festival, and the afternoon guided tour at 2 pm. These tours last about an hour. An expert guide will show you at least two of the three concert halls and tell you about the history of the Salzburg Festival. In case you didn’t know. One of the concert halls is where the Edelweiss song from “Sound of Music” was performed.
105. Go on a Sound of Music Bus Tour
Whether the Sound of Music Tour is a must-do in Salzburg depends on your personal preferences. For many visitors, it is the most critical activity. The tour does not include the city center because that is a pedestrian zone, but it will take you to Hellbrunn, Leopoldskron, and the Wedding Church in Mondsee in the Lake District. This makes it a great addition to one of my tours, which are only in the old town.
106. Take a Sound of Music Bicycle Tour
The Fräulein Marias bike tours take you to Leopoldskron and Hellbrunn and thus to the Gazebo and the two houses used in the film. It’s a fun, active, and highly entertaining way to explore the filming locations with a guide and see some of the surrounding areas of Salzburg.
107. Take a Tandem Paragliding Flight from Gaisberg Mountain
Tandem flights are an expensive activity, but I think everyone should do them at least once in their life. If you are afraid of heights, don’t worry. I am, and I have done three such flights. When you glide like this, the altitude feels different. It’s one of the greatest feelings. The operator of these flights in Salzburg, Wolfgang, is a fantastic person and paragliding pilot. If you can afford it, consider it!
108. Take a River Cruise on the Salzach River
Included in the Salzburg Card
There is not much to see along the river in Salzburg, but the river cruise is informative, entertaining, and again included in the Salzburg Card. You travel upstream towards Hellbrunn, and on your return, the boat waltzes on the river before docking.
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