When Carl Zuckmayer referred to Salzburg as a “part of paradise”, he wasn’t kidding: of all things to do in Salzburg Austria, doing nothing might be the most rewarding! Maxims aside, Salzburg is a city that enriches one’s visual cortex with very look they take around them. Full with lakes, mountains, and Alpine pastures, the city also offers much to the culturally inclined- a rich and fascinating variety of Baroque sculptures, buildings, and elegantly designed spires make Salzburg a formidable retreat.
Apart from having been the birthplace and residence of Mozart, this quaint city has a classical Baroque feel to it that draws musicians and tourists alike, no matter what time of the year it is! For musicians, however, Salzburg is a Meccan getaway. Every evening, coffee houses on the cobbled streets in the city come alive with amateur and professional performers who seem lost in other worldly pursuits, carrying their instruments around and infusing the air with an unshakeable energy.
If you aren’t sure of what to do in Salzburg, check out our detailed guide and see for yourself!
Visit the Hohensalzburg Fortress
Not only is this the largest preserved castle in Central Europe, the Hohensalzburg Fortress boasts of never having been invaded by foreign troops since it’s inception in 1500. The massive structure sits atop a small hill and is visible from miles away. Try visiting the Fortress at 11-ish on a Sunday morning, and you’ll hear musicians perform the “Trumpeter Tower”, sounds of which resonate in the Old City below.
Shop at the Getreidegasse
The heart of the Old City, or the Getreidegasse, is also the birthplace of Mozart. The busy streets today are bustling with shoppers feeding on the chain of high street fashion merchandisers, apart from locals wandering around at coffee houses, restaurants, and pubs. If you look closer, you may also see a number of aged businesses set up shop in the area.
Cruise Along the Salzach River
Experience the Salzach like you never have before! The ‘Amadeus Salzburg’ is a modern cruise boat that can carry 68 passengers on a trip. Of all the things to do in Salzburg, gazing out of this plush cruise with panoramic windows might be the most thrilling!
Lock Your Love at the Makartsteg Bridge
This pedestrian bridge is the best way to commute to the Mirabell Palace from the Historic City Center. Though the bridge itself gives breathtakingly beautiful views of the Old City, the Hohensalzburg Fortress, and the reclining Alps in the distance, the innumerable love locks on the bridge are a sight to behold too. If you’re feeling cheesy, you could lock your love in too!
Visit Mozart’s Birthplace
Mozart was born in 1756 at a modest residence in the Old City. Today, the humble quarters have been refurbished as a museum. The interior houses many 18th century artefacts aesthetically designed and placed, to give one the impression that they have been transported back in time!
You might want to spend a few minutes looking inside at leisure, post which we recommend having a look at the outside! The street houses are vibrant and lively, especially when tourists are in town.
Shop and Hop Around!
A leisurely break can quick turn into a shopping spree when in Salzburg, leaving the participants invariably glowing and unapologetic for the spree. You may also choose to sit around in one of the coffee houses, check out it’s history, and spend the evening observing the rush around you! Remember to dig into a freshly baked apple strudel too! Also, don’t forget to buy a souvenir of Salzburg as the memories of this gorgeous place are to be cherished for a lifetime.
Hike to the top of Kapuzinerberg
This meadowy expanse lies on the top of one of Salzburg’s most cherished mountains, Kapuzinerberg. To reach this oasis, hike along Linzer Gasse to Stefan Zweig Way, and continue on steep narrow lanes ahead till you reach this quiet summit. Sunny or not, this is perfect for a day’s retreat!
Check Out Hellbrunn Palace and Park
The Hellbrunn Palace is a villa built in the Baroque style. Though the palace itself does not offer a lot to the curious visitor, you might get a kick out of the fountain show, so stick around! Most Salzburg travel guides give this a skip, but we think the fountains are worth a watch!
Stroll in the Mirabell Palace and Garden
The Mirabell Palace and Gardens are a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site, and for good reason. The palace’s central banquet hall was long recognized as the most splendid of all banquet halls in the world. Home to a number of musical quarters and diplomatic offices, the Palace is now open for weddings and other occasions. The Garden sports a number of fountains in Baroque style.
Ride on the Untersbergbahn
This might be the best things to do in Salzburg. Ride this cable car to the top of a peak and view Salzburg from the perspective of a bird! Operational since 1961, the cable car witnesses huge crowds during peak season, so it might be best to pre book your tickets.
We had to wait for almost 25-30 minutes to ride the Untersbergbahn. And almost everyone around was having the Salzburg travel card so we didn’t get the express entry either.
But I assure you – it’s worth the wait.
You can plan a visit to Hallstat in Autumn. A one-day break from Salzburg to Hallstat is a good idea.
Visit the Cutesy Christmas Shop
Christmas is a special time of the year in Europe so this Christmas shop in Salzburg has to be special. Hand-decorated Christmas offerings, cute easter eggs and what not! It’s a must visit in Salzburg. Address: Christmas in Salzburg Judengasse 11 5020 Salzburg
Stop by at the Hohenwerfen Castle
The castle is as majestic as it can be. Perched high above between the Tennen- & Hagengebirge ranges, this 900 years old rock castle makes for a great day-trip from Salzburg. It’s about 40kms drive from Salzburg.
Whiz through the City on a Horse Drawn Carriage
There’s no better way to discover the old-world charm of Salzburg but on a horse drawn carriage. You’ll enjoy being chauffeured through the beautiful city like a royalty on these carriages which once served as a transportation mode for the prince-archbishops.
Well this one is an absolute must visit for travelers as tech savvy as Harsh. Take a break from the historic attractions and enter the world of racing cars and airplanes. As you enter the futuristic glass dome, you get to see cool airplanes, space equipment, formula racing cars, and what not!
What we LOVED?
- The overall vibe of this romantic city. It seems like it has come straight outta fairytale book.
- Prancing around the city in general. Discovering the local attractions and gelling with the local people.
- View from the top of HohenSalzburg Fortress. INCREDIBLE.
- Pastel coloured buildings along the Danube River promenade.
- UNTERSBERGBAHN ride – Our most favourite of the list.
- Accommodation in the Alpine setting and waking up to a tranquil environment. Simply priceless.
Well if you are short on time and cannot do all the things we did on our trip to Salzburg, just try and do the ones we loved the most. You will surely fall in love with Salzburg and crave for more. But if you have 3 days and are doing a road trip like we did – just do all of these.
Best time to Visit Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg is best visited during the summer, although Christmas assumes the status of a magnificent festival, complete with decorations on an epic proportion. The fast flowing Salzach river accompanies the Christmassy vibe downstream, carrying festivity to every part of the city. Think we’ll be back for the Christmas then.
Where to Stay in Salzburg Austria
Sightseeing in Salzburg is incomplete without leisurely driving around the city and soaking in it’s old world charm. If you are travelling to Austria via road, like we did, it’s best to drive on further and stay at the Alpine region- the Alpine Park Apartment was our choice of stay.
Frankly, your trip to Salzburg would be incomplete without visiting the Alpine Valley & experiencing it’s sheer serenity. We loved every moment of our stay at the AlpenPark Salzburg and will highly recommend the hotel to all the visitors. The views are incredible. I can only imagine how utterly gorgeous it would look during the winters.
Our Favorite Indian Restaurant in Salzburg
Wherever we go, this has to be on the list – Indian restaurant in Salzburg. Yes, we do not like to be too adventurous with our food choices and play safe. Thus, we have to try eating at various Indian restaurants around the world.
We ate at three different Indian restaurants in Salzburg – Indian Restaurant Taj Mahal, Imti’s Gastronomie GmbH and Hana’s Rasoi. Well, I would recommend everyone to try eating at Taj Mahal and Imti’s for delectable Indian meals, especially samosas and mango lassi. Skip Hana’s Rasoi as the food is pretty average and the staff isn’t friendly either.
We especially loved the ambiance of Taj Mahal Restaurant and it was easier to find free parking around as well.
Salzburg Travel Card: Benefits
Some of the best things to do in Salzburg Austria are impossible to see in a day, which is why we recommend spanning your visit out for a couple of days and getting a Salzburg travel card.
- You can explore this cultural locus at your own pace with a Salzburg travel card that lasts for either 24, 48, or 72 hours!
- Ditch the long queues at the ticket counters of prominent Salzburg attractions and get an express entry in a hassle-free way.
- You can use the public transportation for free that includes buses and trams.
In any case, we highly recommend you to take this card and explore Salzburg on your own pace. Check out more.
***We would like to thanks Salzburg Tourism Board for supporting our trip. It’s got to be one of our most favorites in the recent times.***