This will not be a cultural or the typical tourist guide for Salzburg, Austria. If you want to know where to go or what to see you can simply purchase and download my Salzburg Customized Itinerary. This will be a post and an article about my experience in Salzburg and its surrounding areas. I think you’ll like it!
Travelling to Salzburg…
Reaching Salzburg is easier than it seems! There is a small airport and an excellent train station. FlixBus also operates routes to Salzburg from different E.U. cities. I decided to fly to Munich and then hopped on a train to Salzburg. It took me almost 2 hours, but the train ride is definitely worth it.
The OBB (German railway system) offers spacious, quiet, fast and clean trains. Wifi equipped and most have a charging station at the seat. The train passes thru some picturesque German villages and once you cross the border with Austria, which you will never know you did, you are at Salzburg. The only thing I did not like is that the announcements on the train, as well as t Munich Hauptbanhoff (train station) are only in German. Once you are in Austria the announcements are made in both German and English.
Salzburg is Austria’s prettiest town! I am not saying this just because I loved it so much there, but because it truly is. Salzburg is Austria’s fourth largest city. The first three are Vienna, Graz and Linz. I have been to Vienna too — very beautiful city — but does not have the coziness and calmness of Salzburg.
Today in the city itself live about 150, 000 people and about 500, 000 total: city + surrounding areas. Famous for Wolfgan Amade Mozart’s birthplace, Salzburg attracts thousands of tourists every year. Home to three universities, marvelous and excellently preserved cathedrals, surrounded by the Alpine peaks and world famous ski resorts, Salzburg makes for a perfect vacation spot any time of year.
Everything is clean, everyone is polite, public transportation is cheap and extremely easy to use — you can see anything inside or outside the city by riding the trolley buses. Everyone speaks English. Fresh air, gorgeous landscape, but paid public toilets. Don’t jump out of the chair now! There are paid public toilets in many places around the world, but the Salzburg ones are super clean and even heated. Toilets run between 0.50 – 1.00 euro. Coin machines are installed at each location. Recommended to have exact change.
Being a tourist in Salzburg…
The city has so much more to see but Mozart’s house! In five days I managed to visit 15+ locations inside and outside of the city. Don’t worry it’s doable and my legs are fine. 🙂 But before I dive into my perfect touristy experience in Salzburg let’s start with first things first.
You need a good accommodation. You are visiting one of the world’s prettiest cities, so you want to stay in some place nice. Nice doesn’t mean overly expensive. Hostels in Salzburg are highly ranked but they are still hostels, so you know what to expect.. 😉 With the COVID-19 explosion hostels are a NO GO ZONE! In my opinion, hostels are not a nice place to stay for more than 1 night anyways. Hotels in Salzburg are good too and most of them are conveniently located, but it is a hotel room and that’s all the space you get. In fact, hotels are more expensive than AirBnbs. You can get an entire flat to yourself, have a washing facility and kitchen for cheaper nightly rate than a hotel. This is what I did! I spent hours researching different options for accommodation and found a great AirBnb. It was located on the way to the airport. Bus top right in front, two major grocery stores within 5 min walking distance each and gas station within 1 min walk. What other place can beat that? I also had perfect quiet nights, looking at the Alps every morning when I woke up, a local host and really got to experience a true feel of the city. Of course, if you are a party monster you would much more enjoy staying in a hotel downtown or in one of Salzburg’s more modern neighborhoods.
The 15+ locations I visited are…
There are many places to visit, things to do and experiences to take part of! I honestly did not know Salzburg had so much to offer! You can visit museums, visit a Salt Mine, go zip lining 120 km/h down the Alps, do a summer sledding in the Alps, jump on a cable car and reach 1800 m in the Alps, visit the Zoo etc, etc, etc…There are activities suitable for people of all ages. Again, all reachable by public transit.
For the best value vs cost I used the Salzburg Card. It cost me $45 for a 72 hour card that gave me free entrance to all the places I wanted to see, unlimited rides on all public transit lines within the city, great discounts for additional tours and visits.
Places to visit & things to do with the Salzburg Card
BIBLE WORLD: An interactive center where you can explore the treasure of the Bible. You will visit a 600 sq.m. oriental market, walk across a 40 sq.m. of the Mediterranean and discover the message of Jesus.
CABLE CAR – UNTERSBERG: A 40 min ride on bus #25 from the center. The bus stops right in front of the cable car ticket office. You will find yourself in a beautiful alpine village with fresh air and abundance of natural beauty. The cable car takes 7-10 min and takes you 1800 m high in the Alps. The view from there is incredible! Hiking trails available, but wear sturdy warm shoes and layers of clothing.
DOMQUАRTIER SALZBURG: A museum that conveys the interplay of 1300 years of rule, art, music and architecture. It features fascinating Baroque rooms and a journey of discovery in the footsteps of the prince-archbishops In addition to the state rooms, displays include European painting, the treasures of the cathedral, as well as of St. Peter’s Abbey, the oldest in the German speaking world. You can see the inside of the cathedral from on high, as well as a great panoramic view of Salzburg’s center and Mozart Platz.
HOHENSALZBURG FORTRESS: Central’s Europe largest, completely preserved fortress dating from the 11th century. It really show the history of growth and wealth in Salzburg. The city has been tossed between German and Italian ownership for most of its archaic life until Austria was finally formed as a country on the world map – the way we know it today. The prince archbishops built this fortress for their own protection and with money earned from the Salt Mines near town. Take the funicular and enjoy the beautiful panoramic view of Salzburg and the Saltze River.
MOZART’S BIRTHPLACE & MOZART’S RESIDENCE: You can’t miss that! Why did you come to Salzburg if you don’t visit Mozart’s homes? Right? J Mozart’s Birthplace is a house located in one of the two most popular walking and shopping streets in Salzburg. The apartment where the musical genius was born was rented by his father and exhibits a patch of hair of Mozart’s, his first violin, the exact room he was born in and other significant items closely depicting his life and talent. The “Mozart’s Residence” is a place where Mozart grew up. A nice, big house, centrally located. It was in this house that some of Mozart’s most popular musical pieces were created. Both places are definitely worth visiting!
THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART: The Museum of modern art is place on the opposite hill from the Hohensalzburg Fortress. Its balcony and outstanding view of the city is its best part (my opinion). The art exhibited inside was a bit too pornographic for my views, but some of you may like it.
SALZBURG MUSEUM: This is a museum you do not want to miss. Located at Mozart’s Platz and right across the Tourist Information Center, the Salzburg Museum offers interesting insights into Salzburg’s history, art and culture, as well as changing special exhibitions in the art halls of the magnificently renovated New Residence. It is a winner of the European Museum Price for 2009.
SALZBURG ZOO: Who said the Zoo is only interesting to children? The Salzburg Zoo exhibits animals from every continent. From brown bears scratching their backs on a piece of wood to arctic wolves and a lion, the Zoo is beautifully located on the outskirts of town. It is best to go there on your way TO or BACK from the cable car ride. Bus #25 takes you to both places.
SOUND OF MUSIC WORLD: Have you heard of the von Trapp family? Well, if you haven’t you will anywhere you go in Sazlburg. Popular for their singing talent the family has served a great deal to Salzburg’s reputation of authenticity, classicism and culture.
CLASSIC CONCERT IN MIRABELL CHURCH: You have seen Mozart’s birthplace and residence, now you need to hear his music in his home town, right? There are multiple locations offering Mozart’s and classical music concerts. I visited the one at Mirabell Palace. The Palace today serves as an office building, but was originally built by the prince archbishop for his lover. The gardens are beautiful and the Church, where the concert is held, is excellently preserved.
SALZBURG WALKING TOUR: Salzburg walking tour will help you see the city from every angle. The tour guides are informative and take you to wonderful sights. Highly recommended!
These are the places I visited using the Salzburg City Card. There were few that were not open, like the Salzburg Christmas museum, and others closed due to COVID-19.
OUTSIDE OF SALZBURG
As I said German railway is excellent and well used within Austria, so I jumped on a 20 min train ride to Hallein and toured the salt mine there. The tour was excellent! It was my first time visiting a mine (of any kind) and sliding down deep into the mine or riding the miner’s train in and out of the mine is a very fun and happy experience.
Since Salzburg was in and out of Germany (Bavaria) throughout the centuries you will actually cross into Germany during your tour. No worries! You are crossing the border underground, so no passports necessary. 🙂
Salt is cheap today, but back then was the “white gold”. It offered employment to the villagers and peasants while the ruler gained wealth. It all started with the Celts. A Celtic village exhibit is right next to the Hallein salt mine, next to a beautiful waterfall, that will take you back in time and show you things as they were.
While in Hallein, do not forget to visit the “Silent Night Museum”. Yep, everybody’s favorite Christmas song was written there. It was written to give hope to the people who live there at the time that the hard times will pass. The museum is new and you will see first-hand the original paper and text by Franz Xaver Gruber.
A World Heritage village, Hallstatt can easily be rated as the most beautiful village in the world! Quietly situated on a lake shore in the Alps the town has an annual population of 600 people and a seasonal population of 500,000 to a 1,000,000. The town has an Art School, which keeps it alive during the winter months, but the breathtaking views, fresh air and oldest salt mine are enough to keep it well visited (in my opinion) too.
The bonehouse (unfortunately closed due to COVID-19) is a must see attraction. The two churches, the center of the town, taking the funicular to the salt mine entrance and the panoramic platform is an once-in-a-lifetime experience. I had an excellent guide from Panoramic Tours – a highly reputable tourist company! Hallstatt will leave you breathless and you will always want to return…or never leave. 🙂
Salzburg is a wonderful city to visit, study, live and work! Austria is a great country with stunning nature and I highly recommend you to visit it – any part of it. I hope my experience has awaken a new sense of adventure and thirst for traveling. 🙂
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