What to Know Before Visiting Salzburg: What to Do, Where to Eat and More!
What to know before visiting Salzburg! Salzburg is a beautiful city split by the Salzach river and backed by the Austrian Alps and marked by the fortress overlooking the city. In all honesty, it made our list becuase Elizabeth is obsessed with the Von Trapp family and the Sound of Music. However, being one who only watched the Sound of Music on the airplane from the US to Munich, there is enough to do and see to make Salzburg a great city to explore for anyone!
This guide to Salzburg will include:
- What to do
- How to get around
- Where to eat
- Where to stay!
- How many days are needed
What to do in Salzburg
Salzburg is not only gorgeous, but has a great beer scene and a lot to do. Here are the top 10 things to do while you are there!
1. Walking Tour
I love seeing new places. However, I love it even more when I can learn the history and significance of what I am seeing while I see it. A free walking tour is a great way to do this! Unfortunately, while we were in Salzburg we found no free walking tours. I believe it was the time of year; we traveled in October, which is offseason. Click here to see availability with this popular company who provides tours around Salzburg.
If not, you can do a self-guided walking tour! There is an app that provides a map and a voiceover of each location you visit on the route around Salzburg.
2. Climb to Hohensalzburg Fortress
You will notice the fortress high on the hill as soon as you arrive in Salzburg. Hohensalzburg is one of the largest medieval fortresses in Europe. The fortress was built to protect the prince bishops, but was actually never sieged. Now it is open to the public and offers a great view of the city of Salzburg.
It coasts 12 euros to take the funicular to the top and get into the museum. You can also hike up to the top, but be aware that it is an uphill climb and takes about 30 minutes to get to the top.
3. Stop at Stieglkeller Restaurant and Brewery
If you decide to take the walking route up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress, you will pass by the Stiegl Keller brewery. The beer is locally brewed in Austria and has been locally owned since 1492. Stop, eat and have a beer! There is beer garden with seating outside that overlooks the city. If you hiked up, you earned it!
4. Place a lock on the love lock bridge
No matter how cliche’, I love a good love-lock bridge. Makartsteg Bridge is the love-lock bridge of Salzburg. If you’re visiting with your lover, initial a lock and slap it on. From the bridge you also get a good view of the Hohensalzburg Fortress, and the bridge is also quite functional to get from the Old City to the newer city :).
5. Have a Beer at Augustiner Brewery
Beer-lover or not, you need to visit the Augustiner Brewery. Originating in Munich in the 1300’s by monks, it dates well-before Hofbräuhaus in Munich. Opening in Salzburg in 1621 (😮), it is one of the oldest breweries in the area. Continue the tradition; grab your own mug from the shelf, clean it off in the fountain, pay for your beer and fill up your stein with the only beer on tap available! The brewery has a beautiful beer garden to sit and enjoy your centuries-old tradition.
P.S. You can be served other drinks via a waiter if you prefer.
6. Mirabell Gardens and Palace
Stop and visit the Mirabell Palance and gardens. Aligned to draw your attention to the fortress in the background, the grounds are truly beautiful and eye-catching. The gardens are beautiful for the average traveler. However, if you are Sound of Music fan, they will probably hold more value for you! You may notice the pegasus water fountain in the center as the fountain that Maria and the Trapp children sang around in the Sound of Music. Either way, visit the palace and its gardens for beautiful views.
7. Mozart's Birthplace and Museum
As someone who is not a fan of classical music (I’m sorry and no offense to those who are) I can still appreciate the history and significance of Salzburg being the home of Wolfgang Mozart. You can’t miss the bright yellow building when walking down Getriedegasse. However, if you are a fan of the music, you can go inside and visit the museum where you can get a feel for his childhood and see his first violin in the museum.
Elsewhere in Salzburg there is also a museum at The Mozart Residence, where he lived from 1773 to 1780. Click here for information and tickets for both museums!
Residenzplatz is a large square in historic salzburg named for the Residenz building of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg. You can also see the Salzburg Cathedral in the square. The fountain in the center is one of the first things you notice as is one of the largest of its kind outside of Italy. You can also frequently find local artists in the square selling drawings and paintings, which I enjoyed looking at.
9. Shop along Getreidegasse
I say “shopping” lightly, as the street is actually filled with high-end shops that are out of my budget. But the street is very famous and very historical. It has been an important route through the city since Roman times and has always been a place of trading and wealth. If you look above the majority of the shops, you’ll see most are still labeled by wrought-iron guild signs that dates back to a medieval tradition of using visual literacy when there was a high number of people who couldn’t read or write.
10. take a "Sound of Music" Tour
A guide to Salzburg probably isn’t complete unless it mentions the Sound of Music Tour! Salzburg is commonly known as the birthplace of Sound of Music. If you are one of the huge fans of the movie, take a guided tour around different filming locations for the movie. Elizabeth and her sister decided to the tour through Panorama Tours. The tours are around 50 euros and take about 4 hours to complete. Expect to be on the bus driving from Salzburg to s few locations out of town and also expect some Von Trapp singing along the way!
How to get Around Salzburg
Salzburg is EASILY a walkable city. All the main attractions and everything mentioned above is within walking distance from each other (aside from the Sound of Music tour 🙂).
If you are staying a little outside of Old Town and don’t feel like walking miles, there are other options! Salzburg does not have a metro system, however, it is highly connected by a bus system within the city as well as a trolley that are affordable.
Where to stay
Again, Salzburg is an easily walkable city if you stay close to the center! I recommend staying in or around Salzburg Old Town in order to be in walking distance of all the major attractions. You can really stay on either side of the river and still have easy access and a bearable walk to your main sights.
If you are looking for a specific recommendation, we chose to stay at Hotel-Pension Alderhof which is a family-run B&B that included free parking, free breakfast and was in walking distance to everything we wanted to see. The room was about 136 euros ($159.97) per night, which is more than we typically spend a night; however, we appreciated the small, family-owned atmosphere and that it was in walking distance of everything we wanted to see!
Click here for more information on booking accommodations!
Where to Eat
Salzburg gives Munich its run for the money on food and beer! The food in Salzburg is similar to that of Germany due to its close proximity to the border; expect some weinerschnitzel and sauerkraut to be on most menus! There are a lot of options for dining, but finding somewhere to eat was actually a feat for us. Turns out, it wasn’t quite as easy as we thought it would be to just meander into a restaurant to eat, so here are two options we ate at and enjoyed!
I recommend making reservations if you can due to having difficulty finding somewhere to eat on the first night. No matter your choice, you’ll likely find delicious food in Salzburg!
How much time should be alloted for Salzburg?
Salzburg is a quaint Austrian city. Although gorgeous and full of amazing views, it doesn’t take a lot of time to see the city. We arrived in Salzburg a couple of hours before sunset then spent two nights in Salzburg with one full day to explore the city. We were able to walk the entire city and see everything we wanted to see. I’d recommend at least two days to be able to explore the city without rushing, but unless you plan to take day trips from Salzburg, I don’t recommend staying too many more nights. Austria is full of beautiful towns, so make sure you see more than just Salzburg!