The beautiful city of Salzburg is located in Austria. Salzburg shares a border with Germany and is located at an elevation of 1391 metres, providing access to amazing views. We stayed in Salzburg for 2 beautiful nights and were able to explore much of the old town and its unique experiences. Here is our 2 day Salzburg Itinerary – the best of Salzburg in 2 days.
We fell in love with the city when we visited the Hohensalzburg fortress – the views from above were breathtaking. It is a stunning resort town with history, music, chocolates, and more.
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Salzburg Itinerary 2 days: Places to visit in Salzburg in 2 days
The word, “Salzburg”, means “salt fortress or castle”. It is called salt castle due to the barges that carried salt up to the river (Salzach river). Salzach river makes the landscape of Salzburg even more beautiful and serene. There are tons of historic attractions and UNESCO World Heritage sites in Salzburg to leave you spellbound!
Did you know that Salzburg is the seventh most inspiring places to visit on earth?
We arrived in Salzburg from Vienna by road. The trip was about 3 hours long. We opted to stay in one of the low-key areas (not close to the city centre), in a 4-star hotel – Austria Trend Hotel. Although far from the city-centre, it was easily accessible by bus. The bus from the hotel to the city centre was 20 minutes.
Is 2 days in Salzburg enough?
We feel that two days in Salzburg are enough to experience the city highlights – UNESCO World Heritage sites, cruise, and more. Old Town Salzburg is very compact and walkable, and major attractions are located close-by. If you only have one day in Salzburg or exploring the city as part of your Central European road trip, you can definitely cover the old town.
As you read this itinerary, you will see how we explored the city, embarked on a river cruise, musical tour, sightseeing walking tour, and of course enjoyed dining and had a relaxed weekend.
Visiting Vienna, along with Salzburg? Read our top 10 things to see in Vienna
Salzburg 1 day Itinerary – Red Bull Hangar, Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg Dom, Salzburg Museum, Residentplatz
On your first day in Salzburg, consider visiting the Red Bull Hangar or the Hangar 7. It is an exhibition hall, located in the Salzburg Airport Terminal. Hangar Salzburg is the perfect way to start exploring the city if you are flying into Salzburg or staying in the West end of the city.
Hangar 7’s building is a unique architectural creation and it houses some of the historic Flying Bull aircraft and Red Bull/Formula 1 race cars.
If race cars are not your thing, and you love history as we do, then head to the old town or the centrum. The old town is located 4 kilometres away from Salzburg airport. Salzburg public transport buses are available from the airport (costs Euro 2.50) or you can take a taxi. You will arrive in the city centre in 10-20 minutes, depending on your mode of transportation.
Our prime interest here was the Hohensalzburg Fortress. And you can see why.
Considered as an emblem to the city of Salzburg, this stunning fortress sits on a hill-top – Festungsburg. It is also one of the largest and oldest (900 years +) castles in Europe. It is very well-maintained and offers amazing views of Salzburg.
Can you believe this fortress was built in the 11th century? It was built by an archbishop to protect the city from enemies.
Inside the fortress, there are medieval princely chambers and a fortress museum, which includes an interesting array of objects plucked from the courtly lifestyle of the prince-archbishops. (the Marionette Museum & the Museum of the Rainer Regiment are housed inside the fortress)
The fortress consists of various wings and courtyards. The Prince-Bishop’s apartments are located in the so-called “Hoher Stock” (high floor)
Rooms in the upper levels belonging to the archbishops are very well maintained. There is a vulture tower located in the castle too.
There is a restaurant as well inside the fortress. This old fortress serves as the venue for the famous Salzburg Fortress Concerts. Every Sunday at 11:45 a.m., musicians also perform a recital named “Trumpeter Tower” on the castle grounds.
The panoramic view from the fortress is breathtaking and offers fantastic insights into the city and the surrounding mountains.
One of the unique things to do is to take the Hohensalzburg Funicular to reach the fortress. The Hohensalzburg Castle is sitting at an altitude of 506 metres. The modern funicular railway leads from the heart of Salzburg´s Old Town up to the fortress in just 60 seconds. The FestungsBahn funicular runs at least every ten minutes and costs 8 Euros for a round trip.
The entry fee to the castle including the funicular ride or cable car is 15.50 Euros. Grab tickets for the Hohensalzburg Fortress here
Salzburg Cathedral or Salzburger Dom is a 17th-century Baroque style cathedral located in Old Town Salzburg. It is located adjacent to the Residentplatz and can be accessed from 3 sides – north, south, and west. The above image shows the south side.
The body of the church is made of dark grey stone and houses the second oldest bell in Austria, called the Salvator bell. The cathedral has undergone a lot of tribulations, having destroyed by fire, lightning, and the World War. A visit to the inside of the cathedral is totally worth it.
Other then the charming old-world architecture, Salzburg also has a dark page of history. A rather unknown side of Salzburg’s connection with the Nazis. Hilter marched to the Residentplatz to remove the Jews is evident from the archives.
The people of Austria, at that time, believed in the Nazi antisemitism belief (some historians believe the antisemitism feelings were strong even before Austria was annexed to Germany) and due to its close proximity with the German border, it is easily understandable why. On a side note, German is the official language of Austria.
So anyhow, we couldn’t find any museums or guided tours that focused on this side of Salzburg. You can definitely visit the Residentplatz and in the center, you might also encounter memorials for victims for the Holocaust.
Salzburg Museum, which is located close to the Residentplatz, showcases Salzburg’s early history and also conducts many interesting exhibitions on a regular basis. It is worth checking out this museum to learn more about Salzburg’s past.
Salzburg 2 day Itinerary – Sound of Music Tour, Hellbrunn Palace, Geteidegasse, Mozart Square, Cafe Konditorei Furst, Cruise on Salzach river or concert at Salzburg Marionette Theatre
On your second day of Salzburg Itinerary, start with some iconic landmarks and “things to do” in Salzburg. Have you ever watched the movie, “Sound of Music’? Did you like it? Well, this movie was exclusively shot in Salzburg. There are guided tours available in Salzburg where you can explore the movie locations.
If you haven’t watched the movie or don’t like it, it is still worth a visit as it will introduce you to the stunning landscape and landmarks of Salzburg including the Mirabell Gardens and the Pegasus fountain, Hellbrunn Palace, Wolfgangsee, Mondsee Basilica, etc.
It is ideal to take the Sound of Music tours in Salzburg, especially if you are in town only for a day or two. This tour is completed in 3-4 hours, can be done as a small group or a private tour, so an ideal one day Salzburg itinerary item. Book your Sound of Music Tour here
If you are not interested in the tour, we do recommend at least paying a visit to the Hellbrunn Palace. This summer residence with the trick fountains had mesmerized guests in the 17th century and continues that, even today.
Hellbrunn Mountains and the stunning backdrop of southern Salzburg makes the fountains fairytale-like and is such a romantic item to add to your itinerary. Book a boat cruise and visit the Hellbrunn Palace grounds.
Your trip to Salzburg should include the beautiful market place called the Geteidegasse. Geteidegasse is located in the old town. This place is characterized by beautiful doorways, flowers, and the hanging store/owners’ names in ornate designs. It looks like a Christmas paradise (minus the snow or the Christmas Square).
Another reason why this market place is so popular is due to Mozart’s birthplace, which stands at No 9 Geteidegasse.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756. This house is now a museum and is open to visitors. This Salzburg museum offers insights into Mozart’s early years, his passion for opera, and also displays some of the first instruments that the maestro used. This museum was set up in 1880.
Prior to the museum, a statue was erected to honor Mozart in the year 1842. This is also of the most photographed squares in Salzburg. Mozart Square has the Mozart monument in the middle, completely made of bronze.
This square is also historic as house no. 8 in Mozart Square belonged to Mozart’s wife – Constanze Mozart-Nissen. In and around Mozart Square, you will find tons of souvenir stores. The Salzburg Tourist center is also located here.
In the old town of Salzburg, you will also find Mozart Cafe. Mozart frequented this cafe in his early years.
Geteidegasse is also an ideal place to shop and eat. In one of the lanes of Geteidegasse, you will find this world-famous chocolatier store Furst. Called Cafe Konditorei Furst – this place is popular in Salzburg with tourists and locals alike.
The famous “Original Salzburger Mozartkugel” (or Mozart balls), was created right here by Salzburg confectioner Paul Furst in 1890. Today his grandson carries the tradition forward.
After all the dining and shopping, it is now time to relax. Salzburg gets its old-world charm due to the beautiful Salzach river that runs through the city. There are options for the Salzach river cruise in the evening to experience Salzburg at night. Some cruise options also include a dinner and concert.
If you are planning to take the cruise in the day-time, inclusions like an entrance to the Hellbrunn Palace or a city tour on the river is also an option.
An alternative option is to go to a concert in the Salzburg traditional way at the Salzburg Marionette Theatre. It is one of the oldest continuing marionette theatres in the world, running for more than 100 years. It was built in 1913.
Salzburg Travel Tips
Best Time to Visit Salzburg Austria
The weather in Salzburg Austria is pleasant throughout the year (well, from a Canadian perspective, it is pleasant). Summer activities include a lot of outdoor events. Winters – begin in late October and slows down activities for a while.
October and March months are the most unpredictable in terms of weather. These are also off-season months. Most tourist sites will be open and will be less crowded. August – September are considered the best months to travel and explore Salzburg – the summer heat withers away during this time, leading to amazing autumn colors.
In August, 3 important festivals are held in Salzburg – “Salzburg Festival” (musicals), “Fest in Hellbrunn’ (concerts), and the International Jazz festival Saalfelden.
- Things to do in Salzburg in Summer – June -July are considered prime summer months in Salzburg. These months are tourist magnets as well and walking tours will be a common sight in Salzburg city. During June it is common to see bonfires in celebration of the equinox. July is hot and swimming in the lake is an obvious popular activity. Some locals head to the mountain resorts to escape the heat as well.
- Things to do in Salzburg in Winter – Okay, so the winter temperature drops to -4 degrees Celsius (lowest). Last few years Salzburg has experienced a “white Christmas”. November is grey, wet, gloomy – so warm clothes are a must. Skiing at the Salzburg Alps starts in late November continues up to January end. December is a great month (even though it is grey-white) due to Christmas markets. If you are in town during December, considering attending the Salzburger Adventsingen – it is a theatre/play from local groups.
- Things to do in Salzburg on Christmas – December also mean Christmas in Salzburg Austria. Salzburg Christmas Markets have been organized for the past 500 years. It started in the 15th century at the Salzburger Dom. Currently, Christkindlmarkt is organized at the Dom, AlterMarkt, in front of Mirabell Gardens, Hellbrunn Palace. All of these markets are reasonably priced. The market at the Hohensalzburg castle is a tad expensive than the rest of the town. Popular Salzburg Xmas market items include – roasted almonds, hot chestnuts, Christmas toys including supersized advent calendars. Book a Christmas Concert at Hohensalzburg Fortress
Seasonal Salzburg Salzburg Activities Listing -Calendar events
Tours in Salzburg
There are many ways to explore Salzburg. You can drive to the city and then explore on your own. Salzburg tourist maps are readily in souvenir stores or at the tourist information center. Walking tours are a great option as well to explore the city, especially the tour of Mozart Square and the Old Town.
Here are some of the BEST tours to take in Salzburg
- Express tour of Salzburg 2 hours or less > Book here
- Grand City tour + 24 hour Salzburg Pass > Book here
- Sound of Music and Salt Mines Tour > Book here
- Historic Salzburg Walking tour > Book here
- Eagle’s Nest and Berchtesgaden Tour from Salzburg > Book here
- Concert at Mirabell Palace > Book here
If you are considering taking some tours, don’t forget the Sound of Music guided tour. One of the best things to do in Salzburg is to take a helicopter tour of the entire landscape.
Salzburg Card is a handy tourist pass if you are planning to explore the city at your own pace. This card allows unlimited transit rides (Salzburg public transport), valid for 24, 48, or 72 hours.
It also allows free access to Salzburg must-see sights including the funicular ride to the Hohensalzburg fortress and discounts at concerts, excursions, and theatre visits. It is definitely a cost saver. The card also comes with a Salzburg sightseeing map and a planner. Buy your Salzburg Sightseeing Card here
Need more tourist information, visit the Salzburg Tourism Website
Places to eat in Salzburg Austria
There are tons of great places to eat in Salzburg. If you are staying in the Old town or hungry while exploring Old Town, not to worry, they have options to suit every budget.
At the Salzburger Dom or the Salzburg Cathedral, you will find food stalls, selling delicious homemade pretzels for 3 Euros (Der 1. Original Brezlstand). Other options for budget eating include – Uncle Van (for Asian food in Old Town), Balkan Grill Walter (for Balkan grill, located Geteidegasse 33), Salzburger Grill Imbiss.
One of the best Salzburg restaurants is Café Tomaselli It is one of the most popular cafes and is 300 years old. Stunning interiors and great-looking servers and of course food. Try their coffee and cafe (Sachertorte)
Looking for some home-cooked Austrian food – try Altsteirische Schmankerlstube
Most recommended things to eat in Salzburg include the following – Schnitzel, Sachertorte, Pretzels, Mozart Balls (at Furst), Strudel, Tafelsplitz (boiled beef), ice cream made of sheep milk (found at Eisl Eis)
You will also find a lot of global fast-food restaurants in Salzburg Austria like Starbucks, Burger King, and McDonald’s.
Best Places to Stay in Salzburg Austria
There are a number of options for hotels and hostels in Salzburg to suit every traveler. Here are a few of my recommendations –
- Austria Trend Hotel – We stayed at this hotel for 2 nights and enjoyed it.
- It’s a 4 star hotel. Very clean and spacious rooms and lobby
- Close to the train station (10-minute drive), if you are arriving by train from Vienna or Munich.
- The airport is located 15 minutes away from the hotel
- Although far from the city centre, buses are easily available, right outside the hotel property. A 20-minute bus ride to the city centre
- Best value and great for couples.
- Breakfast was included in our hotel price.
- There is an outlet mall located very close to the hotel. There are restaurants including fast-food chains in the mall, which are open on Sundays as well. As hotel guests, you receive a 10% discount at the outlet mall.
- Book your hotel stay here
- H+ Hotel Salzburg – Rated as the #1 hotel in Salzburg.
- H+ Hotel is a 4-star hotel in Salzburg – one of the best Salzburg Hotels
- This hotel is located just 15 minutes away from the Old Town and the Mirabell Palace Gardens
- It is located just minutes away from the National Historic museum – Haus der Natur
- H+ offers good amenities like – spa, fitness rooms, great views from most rooms, parking, etc
- Free breakfast is provided as well
- Book your hotel here
- Meininger Hotel City Centre – One of the popular hotels in Salzburg City Centre.
- Located in the city centre – good location
- It is a 3-star hotel, with great value
- Includes parking, washer-dryer, bar, roof terrace, guest kitchen
- Book your hotel here
- Imlauer Hotel Pitter Salzburg – Perfect hotel, if you wish to stay in the Old Town
- Excellent 4-star hotel (hotels in Salzburg old town)
- Easy access to all historical sights, restaurants, and bars
- Salzburg Central station is 8 minutes by foot.
- Historic sights like Mozart Square, Mirabel Garden are located 5 minutes away from the hotel
- No free breakfast, but the hotel has a restaurant and there are cheap eats options in Old Salzburg
- Book your stay here
Day Trips to Salzburg from other European Cities
- Trip from Vienna to Salzburg
- You can travel to Salzburg Austria from Vienna in 3 hours by car (one way)
- Distance from Salzburg to Vienna by train is covered in 2 hours and 40 minutes (average train ride) Fastest train journey can be done in 2 hours and 22 minutes. Trains depart from Wien Westbahnnof and arrive at Salzburg Central station. It is recommended that tickets are purchased in advance. Rail Pass for Austria is a great option if you plan on visiting Salzburg from Vienna.
- Sightseeing ideas for Vienna and Salzburg Itinerary
- Trip from Munich to Salzburg (which is better – day trip from Vienna or Munich?)
- Munich to Salzburg drive is only 1.50 hours and is worth the day trip.
- Munich to Salzburg by train takes 1.50 hours (for high-speed trains). Trains start at 5:46 am and the last ride is at 11:56 pm – this makes Salzburg one day trip feasible without having to stay overnight in Austria.
- Trains operate 7 days a week. Booking at least 1 day in advance is advisable. Trains depart from Marienplatz in Munich and arrive at Salzburg Central station (Salzburg Hauptbahnhof). From the central station, it is a 15-minute walk to the Old town or a 9-minute transit ride.
- Ideas for Munich and Salzburg Itinerary – 3-5 days in Munich and 1-2 days in Salzburg.
- Munich to Salzburg day trip is ideal and can be comfortably done, instead of the Vienna. The distance being the obvious reason. After concluding our itinerary in Salzburg, we actually drove to Munich late in the evening. So it is completely doable.
- Eurail Pass (for 2 countries) is a great option if you are using trains to explore Salzburg from Munich. If you have additional time, using the Eurail pass you can also cover Vienna
- Tours: Take a day tour to Salzburg from Munich for less than $60 USD per person
- Trip from Prague to Vienna to Salzburg
- You can explore Vienna, Salzburg, and Prague by allotting 2 days in each city
- Prague to Salzburg by road is 4 hours. Trip Ideas for Prague Itinerary
- The average train ride takes 7 hours 27 minutes. The quickest train ride gets you to Salzburg in 6 hours and 23 minutes. Trains depart from Praha hlavni nadr and arrive at Salzburg central station. (services are without a change of trains. If you are okay with the change of trains, consider changing trains at Linz – you will save 40 minutes in travel time to Salzburg)
- Read our 14 day Central Europe Itinerary with Vienna Salzburg Prague Munich and Budapest
Salzburg Reviews – Is Salzburg worth visiting?
Salzburg is one of the most beautiful European cities. The views from the castle speak for themselves. Salzburg is warm, friendly and there are activities for everyone to enjoy. So yes it is definitely worth visiting.
If you are planning a trip to Austria or somewhere in central/eastern Europe, consider visiting Salzburg for one day or two and I am sure you won’t be disappointed. I have highlighted some of the travel options to Salzburg from nearby regions.
For Salzburg, a one-day itinerary, feel free to modify the suggested itinerary above. Most Salzburg landmarks are not located far from each other and so it makes a viable option for a one day tour as well. Also, the 24 hour Salzburg card will come in handy.
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