Ask anybody from Vienna for a holiday recommendation and there’s a big chance they will tell you to visit Salzburg.

Salzburg is one of the most picturesque and interesting cities in terms of architecture and environment in Europe.

If you are planning your trip to the city where Mozart was born, then you’re in luck! In this full guide, we’ll give you our personal recommendations for the 9 top things to do in Salzburg. Make sure to read until the end!

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Best Months to Travel to Salzburg

Although June and August are the best months to visit Austria, with ideal weather for outdoor activities, the best time for Salzburg is from September through October.

During these months, the summer crowds are gone and you may enjoy the well-kept gardens at a comfortable temperature. 

Is Salzburg Worth Visiting?

With a distance of nearly 300 kilometers from Vienna, is Salzburg really worth the trip? It is a lovely old city with a small enough radius to see in a few days. 

The historic area is a joy to simply stroll through and maybe take the quick funicular ride up to Hohensalzburg for spectacular views of the city. With all the things to do in Salzburg, it is definitely worth visiting. Head over to the old city and see the fort as well as the typical tourist attractions.

How Long Should You Stay in Salzburg?

As a general rule of thumb, four full days is the ideal length of time to spend in Salzburg. You’ll have enough time to enjoy the monuments, the attractions, and have more freedom to see some of the less touristy sights and of course some of Salzburg’s hidden gems.

9 Top Things to do in Salzburg

By Stefan from Trips and Tricks

Whether you’re spending only a day in the city or planning a whole itinerary, these are the best things to do in Salzburg, Austria.

#1 Fortress Hohensalzburg

At the heart of the city, you will find Fortress Hohensalzburg. The castle was built back in 1077 and was renovated in the 1500s. To reach the fortress, you can hike for 20 minutes from Old Town or use the famous funicular railway from Festungsgasse.

You can see several things in Fortress Hohensalzburg, such as the courtyard that has the tiny St. George’s Church (Georgskirche) from 1502 and the well-known Salzburg Bull (Salzburger Stier), an organ dating from 1502. The organ plays every day and appears to replicate the carillon in the Neugebäude.

You can also see the Fortress Museum and the Rainer Regiment Museum in Fortress Hohensalzburg. If you are unsure regarding the direction of the tour, there are local guides that are willing to help you. They are paid guides though and do it to earn a living so if you go with them don’t forget to tip/pay them!

#2 St. Peter’s Church

St. Peter’s Church was built in 1143 and then restored in 1625. Those well-versed in traditional architecture would know that the building was decked using Rococo style between 1757 and 1783 during the completion of its tower.

The Romanesque west doorway, which dates from 1240, is located inside the porch beneath the tower. The Romanesque basilica’s layout may still be seen within the area. Worry not, as you can see it along with artifacts like St. Rupert’s rock-hewn grave. 

Lastly, there are also Early Gothic frescoes and “modern” frescoes dating from 1755.

There’s a lot of history to see in this church!

#3 The Residenzplatz

The Residenzplatz can be found in the center of Salzburg’s Old Town at the left bank of Salzach. Due to its strategic location, The Residenzplatz is one of the recommended starting points for exploring the city because of its central location.

The highlight of The Residenzplatz is its magnificent Residenzbrunnen. The marble was created by an Italian sculptor back in 1661. It remains the most significant and best fountain in the area. 

The 15-meter fountain has images of the magnificent brave horses and the deity Atlas carrying his plates and accompanied by dolphins. At the top, tourists can see a Triton holding a conch shell.

#4 Hellbrunn Palace and Fountains

Markus Sittikus, the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, commissioned this palace in 1613, intending to use it as entertainment. Although Hellbrunn Palace was not built as a residence, it is still very awe-inspiring. 

Along with a local tour, you will be able to explore the splendid entertainment palace and see how the nobles spent their free time in the olden days.

The palace’s park is known for the gazebo, inventive mountains, gorgeous flowers, and tall trees used for the production of the Sound of Music. Every December, the locals hold a spectacular Christmas Market that offers free admission and a tour to a local folk museum.

#5 Mirabell Palace and Gardens

You simply can’t visit Salzburg without visiting Mirabelle Palace and Gardens. The magnificent Mirabell Palace in Salzburg was another location used to produce The Sound of Music (Schloss Mirabell). 

The garden’s palace has multiple terraces, marble sculptures, fountains, and many flowers neatly decked and treated in the park. Between 1721 and 1727, there was a reconstruction of the palace using the Baroque style. Still, later it was restored to the more straightforward Neoclassical form that we see today.

There is the beautiful Grand Staircase that was built in the 18th century. The staircase features sculptures by Georg Raphael Donner along with his apprentices’. Apart from the stairs, you can also witness the Marble Hall and the Schloss Mirabell Baroque Museum. Both are still occasionally used until now for gatherings and events.

#6 Mozart’s Birthplace

A visit to Salzburg wouldn’t be complete without visiting Mozart’s Birthplace. Mozart was born in his family’s home on January 27, 1756, is a must-visit if you are a fan of classical music.

The museum houses a variety of intriguing items, such as Mozart’s violin used during his childhood, family pictures, Mozart’s original scores, and the apartment that Mozart and his family once used.

You can also find exhibits that show costumes, set designs, models, and snippets from his performing days. The exhibition also brings us closer to his family. It introduces his family members and their lives displayed next to Mozart’s masterpieces. You can arrange an exploration of the house using a local guide.

#7 Salzburg’s Festival Theaters

Salzburg has a long history of music festivals. We can see it by the number of ancient theatres and concert halls in the city. 

The three buildings that made up the Festival Theaters are the massive Festspielhaus and the minor Haus für Mozart, linked by a lobby with exquisite murals. The third building is the Karl-Böhm Hall that is commonly used for exhibits and festivities.

The stunning 17th-century frescoes deck the renowned Salzburg Festival which is usually held on the said buildings since 1925. During this legendary five-week summer festival, many artists and actors showcase their talent through music and drama.

#8 Altstadt Salzburg (Old Town)

Photo of old town Salzburg.
Photo by Sarah Mutter

In the old town of Salzburg, you can find ancient medieval mansions that are as tall as five stories. You can see antique stores in the Old Market, such as the 13th-century Court Pharmacy (Hofapotheke) and the 17th-century St. Florian’s Fountain.

Judengasse and the Chiemseehof are two other Old Town highlights you can explore. The said areas are known for their narrow, twisting alleyways. The Prince Bishops of Chiemsee resided in the latter until 1806; it was established in 1305, making it a historical area worth seeing.

#9 Hallein and the Celtic Museum

Last but not least, we have the historic Celtic village of Hallein located on the River Salzach. This village is only a 10-minute drive from the city is one of the many exciting places to explore near Salzburg. The town is embellished with small pathways, gates, statues, and historic buildings built in the typical Salzach architecture.

There are several facts and things you can see/know about Hallein. First and foremost, Franz Xaver Gruber, the creator of Silent Night, was born here in Hallein. Second, the Celtic Museum (Keltenmuseum Hallein), which houses some of the complete Celtic art and history, is also located here. 

There is also a reconstructed Celtic farmhouse which was used to be a 17th-century orphanage. The orphanage is built using Celtic building structures and uses utensils used by Celt settlers.

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Enjoy these things to do in Salzburg Austria

Our list is not rigid, meaning that you can modify it according to the time available and what you prefer – you’re going to love Salzburg regardless!

Have fun!

Dom & Jo
Red White Adventures

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