When planning a trip to Salzburg, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is where to stay in Salzburg. I created this guide to the best accommodation in Salzburg to ensure you find the perfect fit for your needs, whether it be the most inexpensive place to rest your head or the chance to feel like royalty.
How I Became Your Go-To Guide for Hotels in Salzburg
When it comes to finding the best places to stay in Salzburg, you want a guide who knows the city inside and out. Someone who’s not only traveled the world but spent years working in the Salzburg tourism industry and understands the accommodations available. That’s who I am.
After spending my 20s on side jobs and travel, I decided to settle in my hometown Salzburg in 2012 and stay in touch with travelers while staying close to home. I began my journey in tourism as a Rikscha driver, but after my first season realized that there were no Rikschas in Salzburg during winter. So, I took a job at the Yoho Hostel.
That set me on the path of following a career in tourism. Eventually, I became a licensed guide and founded the Free Walking Tour. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with and visit most hotels in the city. Whether through my guests, delivering flyers, or interacting with receptionists, I know the ins and outs of each property and even live minutes away from some of the most renowned hotels in Salzburg.
By the way, I took over the Rikscha company, but we are no longer operating. Check out the website for a glimpse of our past adventures, and who knows, maybe one day, we’ll be back in action!
Best Area to Stay in Salzburg
Salzburg is a compact city, allowing visitors to explore the attractions on foot. The old town, the heart of the city, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That’s where you find iconic sights, including the Salzburg Cathedral, the Mirabell Palace, and the Hohensalzburg Fortress.
The Old Town is the Best Area to stay in Salzburg
The old town is a small area, measuring only 1.5 km². It’s easy to navigate. This means that no matter where you stay, you’ll be close to the city’s main attractions and sights and most likely don’t need public transport. Hence where to stay in Salzburg in terms of location doesn’t matter all that much. However, staying in the old town of Salzburg is without a doubt the best choice.
If you want more options for a hotel in the thick of the action, you’ll want to check out my article on the 15 best hotels in Salzburg Old Town for a more comprehensive guide to finding the perfect base from which to explore the city’s beautiful architecture, culture, and history.
The Old Town is walkable, so you can access all the major tourist attractions regardless of where in the old town you stay.
Hotels near the Salzburg Train Station
One of the best things about staying in the old town is that it’s just a short walk from the train station, which is the entry point for most travelers. Most hotels and hostels in Salzburg are located within a 15-30 minute walk from the station. Choosing a hotel based on its proximity to the train station is not necessary, but if you’re traveling for business, are short on time, or need to catch an early train, here’s a list of the best hotels near the station.
Hotels near Salzburg Airport
There is no need to choose a hotel close to the airport either. Most travelers don’t arrive by plane anyway but rather by train from bigger cities like Munich or Vienna, but there is also nothing to see in the airport area, and the airport is not far from the old town. You can get to the old town from the airport for a few euros and in about 20 minutes by bus, numbers 2 and 10. If your flight is at an odd hour, you can also take a taxi for between €15 – €20. A taxi ride to the airport will also take no more than 20 minutes, and the airport is tiny, so you don’t have to be there much in advance.
Where to stay around Salzburg
While budget options on the outskirts may seem tempting, they often lack the convenience and proximity to the city center that makes exploring the city so easy. That’s why I’ve excluded hotels on the outskirts in this guide. However, for those looking for a more secluded and authentic experience, these hotels outside Salzburg offer a chance to immerse yourself in natural beauty while still being within a short distance from the center, typically no more than 30 minutes by car or public transport.
If you wish to stay in even more of a fairytale setting, you might want to look into hotels in the Salzkammergut Lake District, but that’s where my hotel expertise ends. I have yet to discover the best hotels in the Lake District, but I will add them to this guide once I get the chance to explore more. For now, you might want to check this guide on the Salzkammergut Lake District to get the hang of the area, one of the best day trip destinations from Salzburg.
Types of Hotels in Salzburg
Salzburg offers a variety of hotel options, from historic luxury resorts to budget-friendly hostels. In this section, we’ll explore the different types of the best hotels in Salzburg, including luxury hotels, boutique hotels, budget-friendly hotels, adults-only hotels, historic hotels, hotels with views, spa and wellness hotels, family-friendly hotels, and pet-friendly hotels.
Luxury Hotels in Salzburg
Luxury hotels in Salzburg, like everywhere in the world, offer top-of-the-line amenities and excellent service. These hotels typically have high-end furnishings, on-site restaurants, fitness centers, and spas. Many also offer additional amenities such as concierge services, valet parking, and 24-hour room service.
But what sets the luxury hotels in Salzburg apart is their historical significance and prime locations. Many of these hotels are housed in beautifully restored historic buildings, offering guests the unique opportunity to experience the city’s history firsthand.
Imagine staying in a medieval building and stepping onto the street to walk the same path Mozart walked centuries ago. This is what makes the luxury hotels in Salzburg truly special, and it’s an experience that can’t be found anywhere else.
I love boutique hotels for their uniqueness. These are typically smaller than large chain hotels and offer a personalized touch. They often have a strong sense of design and character. They often provide amenities such as on-site bars, restaurants, or rooftop terraces. Boutique hotels offer a more intimate hotel experience.
Finding budget-friendly accommodation in a small city like Salzburg can be a challenge. With the high season lasting from April until October and temporarily restarting in December for a month, many hotels raise their prices, making it difficult to find a comfortable and affordable place to stay.
But fear not; there are budget hotels in Salzburg that don’t sacrifice quality. In this guide to the best budget hotels in Salzburg, I will share my picks for accommodation that doesn’t break the bank but still offers a comfortable stay, whether you’re a budget-conscious traveler looking for a great deal or simply seeking to make the most of your budget while in Salzburg.
My Top Picks for Budget-Friendly Hotels in Salzburg:
Hostels are a great choice if you’re looking for an even cheaper option than budget hotels. These accommodations offer shared spaces such as dormitory rooms and communal bathrooms. They are an excellent option for solo travelers who want to socialize and meet new people and those on a tight budget.
As a seasoned traveler and former employee at the Yoho Hostel in Salzburg, the Yoho, with its vibrant atmosphere and backpacker-friendly amenities, is always my top pick for an authentic hostel experience in Salzburg. But in this guide to the best hostels in Salzburg, I will also share my other top picks for hostels in Salzburg that offer great value for the price, whether you’re looking for a social atmosphere or a quiet place to rest.
There are many factors to consider when choosing hotels in Salzburg. Location, amenities, and price are important, but for some, there are specific requirements that need to be met. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a wellness retreat, there are hotels in Salzburg that cater to your purposes.
Let’s look at some of the best hotels for particular purposes in Salzburg.
Adults-only Hotels in Salzburg
Adults-only hotels in Salzburg cater to guests 18 years and older and offer a more peaceful and mature atmosphere. These hotels often have a more sophisticated design and offer on-site bars, spas, and fitness centers.
My recommendations are Hotel Stein,Villa Carlton, and the Berglandhotel. The first two offer luxurious amenities and elegant furnishings, and the third is a more budget-friendly pick. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a more sophisticated vacation, these hotels offer the perfect setting for a more grown-up trip.
Salzburg Hotels with a View
If you asked me what’s one thing you must do while visiting Salzburg, you must see the city from above at least once. There are many opportunities with the city mountains and the fortress, but what if you could wake up to a stunning city view? There are hotels in Salzburg that have rooms with private balconies or terraces and offer panoramic views of the city, some of which are even accessible to non-guests, like, for example, the rooftop bar at Hotel Stein or the breakfast buffet at the Arte Hotel.
Austria has a lively Spa and especially sauna culture. Spa and wellness hotels in Salzburg offer the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate during your stay. They have on-site spas and fitness centers and offer various wellness services, such as massages.
For those seeking the ultimate luxury spa experience, the five-star superior Hotel Mönchsstein might be an option. It’s in the center, on the city mountain, Mönchsberg, making it the perfect place to unwind after a day of sightseeing. If you’re looking to truly escape the hustle and bustle, I recommend heading to Hotel Gerl, 7 kilometers from the center. This hidden gem offers a range of spa treatments and wellness facilities that will undoubtedly leave you refreshed and rejuvenated.
But suppose you’re looking for something more budget-friendly. In that case, I recommend picking any hotel and visiting the public sauna at Paracelsusbad next to Mirabell Garden. I personally love spas and visit Paracelsusbad every week. It’s a great way to unwind without breaking the bank.
Family-friendly Hotels in Salzburg
Family-friendly hotels in Salzburg cater to families with children and offer playgrounds, children’s menus, and family-friendly activities. These hotels also often offer larger rooms and suites to accommodate families. My top favorite is the Hotel and Villa Auersperg, but if you are on a budget, the Meininger Hotel is also a great option.
Pet-friendly Hotels in Salzburg
When traveling with your furry companion, finding a hotel that welcomes pets with open arms can be challenging. But fear not, Salzburg has pet-friendly hotels ready to pamper you and your four-legged friend.
One of my top picks for pet-friendly hotels in Salzburg is, just as with kids-friendly hotels, the Hotel and Villa Auersperg making it the perfect choice for a family vacation. They charge €30,- but your dog will have the luxury of roaming free in their garden. A more budget-friendly option but without a garden would be Motel One, where the price for bringing a pet is only €15,-.
Salzburg transforms with the seasons, each offering a unique experience, whether it’s the lush gardens in spring, the bustling crowds and outdoor concerts of summer, the vibrant fall foliage, or the magical Christmas markets of winter.
To avoid the crowds and get the best deals, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring or fall. The fall is gorgeous, with the city turning into a sea of red, orange, and yellow leaves. Plus, it’s a great time to explore the city more intimately without the rush of peak season. And if you’re looking to save money, prices are often lower during the shoulder seasons.
RECOMMENDATION: When I travel (typically in low season since I work in tourism), I love to book last minute, but I can’t recommend it for Salzburg. To avoid disappointment and ensure a stress-free vacation, I recommend booking your accommodation in advance, especially during peak season, typically between April and October and around Christmas. Trust me, as someone who has worked in the tourism industry in Salzburg for over a decade; I’ve seen firsthand the struggles of travelers trying to find a place to stay last minute. Plan ahead and book early to ensure availability and secure the best deals.
Salzburg offers a range of outdoor activities. Whether you’re an avid hiker, cyclist, or skier or looking for a way to explore the beautiful natural surroundings. The city is surrounded by picturesque mountains, offering endless opportunities for hiking, cycling, and skiing, but the Alps are about half an hour south of Salzburg.
Many outdoor activities can be accessed directly from the city by public transport, car, or even on foot. Gaisberg, 1300 meters in altitude, is a mountain within walking distance of the city. Hotel Meininger, a hostel-like budget hotel, is located at the foot of Gaisberg, saving you about 30 minutes of walking from the center. Read this article to learn more about hiking in Salzburg city and the other two city mountains.
Many hotels in Salzburg offer bike rentals, like the Hotel Hohenstauffen, conveniently located 200 meters from the Salzach river that connects Salzburg to long-distance bike routes like the Mozartradweg and the Alpe Adria Radweg. Other organized outdoor activities include paragliding and canyoning. Most hotel receptionists or the tourist information at Mozartsquare or the station can help you book these activities.
If you’re looking for an actual alpine experience, you’ll have to venture outside Salzburg. The Lake District or Berchtesgaden are both stunning places to visit by public transport or car, but for these excursions, you don’t have to worry about where to stay in Salzburg because transportation is required, the station is within walking distance of most hotels in Salzburg and the buses pass Mirabell Square and the old town.
Cultural Activities and Events
Salzburg is vibrant and culturally rich, with events occurring throughout the year. Whether you’re interested in attending world-renowned festivals, the traditional Rupertikirtag fair, or exploring the city’s religious heritage, there are hotels in Salzburg that offer easy access to these cultural experiences. In this section, we’ll look at the best hotels for experiencing all the cultural events Salzburg has to offer.
Hotels in Salzburg when visiting the Salzburg Festival
Salzburg is home to the world-renowned Salzburg Festival, one of Europe’s most important cultural events. Taking place annually in the summertime, the festival is a celebration of classical music, theatre, and opera, with performances taking place all over the city. The festival transforms the city into a mecca of classical culture and entertainment. The atmosphere is electric. Famous artists from all over the world travel to Salzburg to perform.
The festival takes place in various venues, including the iconic Felsenreitschule, a former riding school transformed into a theatre, and the Grosses Festspielhaus, an opera house in the same location. Hotel Sacher and the Goldener Hirsch are just two of the five-star hotels often frequented by high-profile guests during the Salzburg Festival.
You might want to stay near the Christmas market if you visit Salzburg in December. Salzburg, as I mentioned, is a small city, so most hotels are within walking distance of the market.
In other words, you don’t really need to stay near the Salzburg Christmas Market, and there is not only the main Christmas Market, but Hotel Goldgasse is particularly well located, almost within viewing distance. Goldener Hirsch and Blaue Gans are a short stroll along the festively-lit Getreidegasse from the Christmas Market. For a more budget-friendly option, Kasererbräu is just around the corner. Read my article for more information on hotels near the Salzburg Christmas markets.
Hotels for other Cultural Activities and Events
The newspapers reported in 2019 that Salzburg does not allow any more events around the Cathedral because there were events 200 days every year. Don’t get me wrong. These are not major events like the Christmas markets and the Salzburg Festival, even if they alone take up many of the 200 days, but include everything from the traditional Rupertikirtag fair, the Salzburg marathon, and a brass music festival, to mention a few.
Most events in Salzburg happen in the squares around the Cathedral. The Cathedral is also the religious center of Salzburg, a city built around religion with major celebrations around holidays like easter or Pentecost.
You get the point. The old town is the best area to stay in Salzburg, and the Cathedral is the heart of the old town. Staying as close as possible to the Salzburg Cathedral is always a good idea, even if it doesn’t really matter since any accommodation is at most 30 minutes walking, most are 5-15 minutes walking distance from the Cathedral.
Food and Drink Options
Salzburg is home to excellent restaurants and cafes. From hearty Schnitzel to decadent Strudel, there’s something for every palate. I recommend trying some of the traditional Austrian restaurants that I personally recommend, which offer affordable and authentic meals.
However, Austrian restaurants are usually not fine dining. Austrian food, like the must-try dishes I highlight in this article, is simple. If you’re looking for an elevated dining experience, consider staying at a hotel that offers on-site dining options. Some of the hotels in Salzburg even feature Michelin-starred restaurants, offering a truly unparalleled culinary experience.
Recommendations for Hotels with Dining Options:
Hotel Mönchstein: The hotel’s Glass Garden Restaurant at the hotel has received 4 Gault Millau toques and is one of only six Michelin-starred restaurants in Salzburg. They serve international cuisine.
Hotel Goldener Hirsch: Awarded 2 Gault Millau toques, the restaurant at Goldener Hirsch offers a unique blend of traditional Austrian cuisine with a modern take.
Blaue Gans: Salzburg’s most classical boutique hotel offers a unique blend of traditional Austrian cuisine fused with flavors from the south of the Alps. The simple yet expertly crafted dishes at the Blaue Gans are a must-try for any fine-dining lover visiting Salzburg.
Stadtkrug: This rustic Inn is not just a great place to stay but also my go-to for steak in Salzburg. The restaurant serves up some of the best steak, locally sourced and cooked to perfection, whether you’re staying at the hotel or just looking for a great meal.
Laschenskyhof: One of the hotels outside Salzburg. It’s 6 kilometers from the center, yet it feels like authentic countryside Austria. Their restaurant is a favorite among locals. It’s not fine dining but a genuine experience and better value.
Gasthof Pflegerbrücke: Like my previous pick, the Pflegerbrücke is located 6 kilometers from the center and has also long been a favorite among locals when it comes to simple traditional Austrian cuisine. It’s easily accessible by bus number 5.
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