Salzburg - View from Kapuzinerberg
How many days to spend in Salzburg

Although Vienna is Austria’s capital, when you envision Austria you’re probably picturing the city of Salzburg and it’s surrounds. This is thanks to the images put in our minds from The Sound of Music (if you’re of the generation who knows what that is, as it’s over 50 years old now!). Salzburg’s other major claim to fame is that it’s the birthplace of Mozart. Due to its location Salzburg is a good place to use as a base for a couple of days to explore the beautiful surrounding region, however the city itself is very compact and the main sights in town can be covered in one full day, or stretched out to two if you’d like more time to soak up the atmosphere and venture to some sights a little out of town.


Morning Hohensalzburg Fortress
Afternoon Old town
Evening Augustiner Bräustübl Mülln / Old town
Hohensalzburg Fortress

Looking south from Hohensalzburg Fortress

The best way to truly appreciate Salzburg’s stunning location is to see it from the Hohensalzburg Fortress. This is one of the largest and best preserved castles in Europe, and one of Salzburg’s most popular sights (think long lines in summer, so it’s good to get there early). You can get there via the funicular, or if you’d like a good challenge you can also reach the top by foot. There’s a number of attractions to take in once at the top, such as a few small museums, chambers and a theater. How much you can fit in will depend on the length of the lines, although the view over the old city in one direction and the alps in the other will likely be the most memorable part of your visit.
After coming down from the fortress, spend the remainder of you morning and early afternoon exploring the old town (Altstadt). There’s lots to take in, all in close proximity. You could start with the massive Salzburg Dom which would have stood out when taking in the view from the fortress. The old town is small, so by just meandering through the streets without too much effort you’ll pass by all the major attractions such as the DomQuartier (which comprises of the Residenz, Salzburg Museum, Franciscan Church, St. Peter’s church and more), numerous platz’s (which often have food, art & souvenir markets), and Mozart’s birthplace Geburthaus. Consider dropping into one of the ticket booths to get tickets to a classical concert or a marionette show this evening at Marionettentheater .
Salzburg - Mirabell Gardens

Mirabell Gardens

Later in the afternoon, cross the Salzach river via one of the many foot bridges to the Mirabell Palace and Gardens. The garden is one of the more popular and obvious locations that featured prominently in The Sound of Music. It’s beautiful in summertime with lots of great photo opportunities (although busy!). The Hedge Theater and Dwarf Garden are closed in winter. If you went into Mozart’s birthplace and want an encore, there’s also the Wohnhaus on this side of the river (where Mozart grew up).
In the evening head to the Augustiner Bräustübl Mülln beer garden, back on the south side of the river. Depending on how long you wish to linger there, you might also have some time to walk along Getreidegasse, look in some shops and have dinner in the old town, but leave plenty of room for dessert!


Follow the Globetrotters itinerary for Day 1.


Morning Hellbrun Palace
Afternoon Untersberg/Kapuzinerberg
Evening Salzach river
Salzburg - View from Kapuzinerberg

View from Kapuzinerberg

After spending a day exploring the old town, today you’ll be heading a bit further out. Get Bus 25 to see the Hellbrun Palace (400 year old summer palace of the Prince-Archbishop) and its Water Garden with ‘trick fountains’ and water powered features which is a big hit for those traveling with kids (there’s a zoo close by too). The famous gazebo from The Sound of Music is located just outside of the palace grounds.
Whilst you’re out of town, in the early afternoon you may also want to consider going on the cable car up the Untersberg mountain. This is another Sound of Music location with stunning panoramic views over Salzburg. Or if you’re travelling with a good level of fitness, head back to town and go for a walk along the Kapuzinerberg which has numerous historical sights along the way including the Kapuzinerkloster and Kapuzinerkirche church, plus some great views overlooking the old town & river.
In the evening you could consider going on a dinner / evening cruise, or just walk along the river by foot. In the summer months there’s always something going on near the river. Find somewhere to chill out along Steingasse or Rudolfskai.

Culture Buffs

There’s a number of museum’s in town that would warrant Culture Buff’s to stay an 3rd day in town before venturing further afield. Start with the Globetrotters itinerary for Day 1. In the old town art buffs will likely want to dedicate more time to the DomQuartier sights and therefore may not be able to tick off all of the Day 1 sights in a single day. In which case, start Day 3 with the attractions missed on Day 1.


Art buffs with in interest in modern art should check out the Museum of Modern Art. For history buffs there’s the Museum of Natural History (Haus der Natur). In fine weather,  history buff’s may also enjoy the walk/hike along the Kapuzinerberg walls up to Franziskischlössl. When you’ve had enough of art, music & history, one of Salzburg’s more unexpected sights is the Red Bull Hangar 7 at Salzburg airport, which would be enjoyed by those with an interest in aviation & F1 cars.

Got more time? Consider these day trips

After seeing all the sights around town, if you have more time up your sleeve why not venture to some of these fascinating destinations within close proximity:



Hallstatt. The picture above speaks for itself. An idyllic small lakeside town known for its salt mine. Sure it’s popular with tourist and tour groups, but with good reason! It takes a while to get there via train (plus the short ferry trip) so consider staying overnight to really appreciate its tranquil location after the tour groups head back to Salzburg.
- Berchtesgaden in Bavaria, Germany. Another salt mining town with some Nazi history. South of town is Hitler’s Eagles Nest, a retreat on a high rocky outcrop.
- Dachstein Ice Caves
- Munich. If you’re not already heading in this direction in your travels, you can pop over to Munich for a day and cover most of the city’s sights in a single day.

Days mapped out

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Ever wondered how long you need to spend in a particular city or place? You can spend hours crawling the web trying to find a well informed answer.

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