The nearest mountain from Salzburg, apart from the three house mountains in the city of Salzburg, is Untersberg. With almost 2000 meters of altitude and jagged cliffs, a hike to the peak of mount Untersberg is a challenge even for experienced hikers. The top of Untersberg, however, is accessible by public transport from Salzburg for travelers of all ages and fitness levels on a half-day trip or less.
To reach the Untersberg cable car from Salzburg, you take bus number 25 and get off at the last stop. The bus stops in front of the cable car. On top of mount Untersberg, you walk for five minutes to “Geiereck”, the highest point on the eastern side before you take an easy 30-minute hike to “Salzburger Hochthron” the peak of Untersberg in Austria.
How to get from Salzburg to the Untersberg Cable Car?
When going to the Untersberg cable, you should get a Salzburg card. The cable car and the bus is more expensive than the Salzburg card, and the card includes both. More about that in the ticket section below.
Bus number 25 from Salzburg Hbf to the Untersberg Cable Car
I recommend taking the first cable car in the morning and if possible, choose a weekday for the most pleasant experience. Untersberg is also popular among locals, and you can expect many visitors during the day. In the morning, Untersberg is least crowded. Also, if you have a Salzburg card, the first cable car in the morning is the way to use the card most efficiently.
Bus number 25 leaves from the train station every 20 minutes and passes Mirabell square before it crosses the river and heads south. Mirabell and the train station will be close to most accommodations while Rathaus and Mozartsteg on the left side of the river are close to the old town. If you head to the cable car after my free walking tour, you would go down from Mozartplatz to the river and catch the bus at Mozartsteg.
The bus number 25 leaves every 20 minutes.
In case you don’t have a Salzburg card (not recommended), you get your bus ticket from the driver. You need cash for the ticket but no exact change. The price of the bus ticket is €2,70 (in 2020), and the ride takes 35 minutes. Take the bus from the train station, from Mirabell square or the Rathaus on the side on the riverside.
If you have a Salzburg Card, you write your name, the date and the time on the backside. With these details, the card is valid, and you board the bus.
After 35 minutes on bus number 25, the bus reaches its final destination, the valley station of the cable car. The bus will stop right in front of the cable car about 50 meters from the entrance. In case you arrived by car, the parking is the same place.
The Ticket for the Untersberg Cable Car
The price for a ticket to the Untersberg Cable car is €25,- (in 2020). Student and Senior charges only apply for residents of Salzburg and surroundings. Children are €12,- (in 2020).
Now the beforementioned Salzburg card costs €29,- (in 2020) in high season and €26,- (in 2020) in the low season. If in 2020, you pay for the bus and the cable car, you would pay €30,40, and the Salzburg card includes most of the attractions in Salzburg, like Mozart’s birthplace, the Hohensalzburg fortress, history museums and many more. You get the card at most hotels and hostels and the tourist information. Here is an article on the most efficient use of the Salzburg Card.
With the card, you can skip the line at the ticket counter and head straight to the line for boarding the cable car. That’s not exactly a fast lane because you have to wait for the staff to start the check-in process. You can’t just go through.
Take the Cable Car up to Untersberg
Two cabins keep going up and down. They renewed the cars in 2018 and now take less than 10 minutes to rise 1300 meters in altitude so you won’t have to wait long for the next ride. The cable car now fits 50 people, and since the renovation, the ride is not bumpy and shaky anymore.
However, there is a spot along the way up, where the mountain is close to the cable car. When the cable car passes the rock, most people gasp for air as they realize how high they are, especially when the cart is full.
In case you are seriously scared of heights, the cable car might not be the right activity.
The Peak of mount Untersberg
When you leave the cable car, you will first want to enjoy the view for a moment. You then walk up and past a mountain pasture called the “Hochalm”. After Hochalm, you turn left and ascend to cross at “Geiereck”. Geiereck with 1806 meters, is the highest point on the eastern side of the mountain.
From the Geiereck, you hike on an easy path over to the “Salzburger Hochthron” the highest point on the mountain on the Austrian side. You take about half an hour and don’t require hiking experience or gear, even if the terrain feels alpine. Wearing proper shoes is recommended, but not a must. At the end of the 30-minute hike, you reach an altitude of 1973 meters, at the highest peak of Mount Untersberg.