Top Things to See and Do in Salzburg, Austria
10 Sites to See in Stunning Salzburg!
1. Let’s start with the basics. Take a stroll through old town. It’s my first recommendation in most European cities. Most cities have one, and they are typically full of narrow, quaint cobblestone streets, lovely monuments, colorful buildings, and a main square.
Salzburg is no different. The architecture here is beautiful, the streets are very clean, and the squares are beautifully designed with the most intricate of details. Most of the main attractions in Salzburg can be found either in the old town or by walking through the old town. There are a lot of cute little restaurants and cafés as well to stop at for coffee or plenty of shops for a little shopping trip. You could easily spend all day just wandering around the old town.
The best way to truly see everything is by walking around a city. This is a great start to your trip in the old town. Make sure to wander down Getreidegasse, the famous pedestrian street, for shopping. The buildings along this street are adorable, colorful, and charming.
2. When walking to old town – depending where you stay – walk over the Love Lock Bridge. This is the same idea as Paris. The bridge is full of locks on fence squares where people have devoted their love to one another and thrown away the key. The view is lovely, and this is also a great spot for some photos.
3. Stay at one of the best hotels in Salzburg like I did. Imlauer Hotel Pitter Salzburg, is a gorgeous hotel right in old town, across from Mirabell Palace and Gardens. It has a great rooftop bar and restaurant. The drinks are as fabulous, as are the panoramic views over the old town and historic sites. You don’t get a better hotel view than this in Salzburg.
The rooms in Imlauer Hotel Pitter Salzburg were very modern and clean, and the bathroom was huge and immaculate with amazing toiletries. They also serve a pretty amazing breakfast buffet up there, with everything you could want, including a live omelet and waffle station. There is also a cozy and authentic bar in the downstairs, called the “Pitter Keller” that has Austrian décor, and a great selection of beers.
The fitness area and sauna, at Imlauer Hotel Pitter are on the rooftop, which is great for a little workout session and sauna after. I loved this hotel, because the rooms were huge, beautiful, and had great views over the fortress. They had great toiletries and a huge bathtub. The staff were attentive and great with making restaurant recommendations. The rooftop bar and views alone really make this the spot to choose in Salzburg.
4. Do the Sound of Music tour. Even if you didn’t see or like the movie, the views on the tour are insanely spectacular. Let me just tell you, that you will feel as though you are in a real-life Bob Ross painting when you see the mountains. You can follow the Trapp family’s filming locations all over Salzburg and its surroundings. You can even visit the original film sets and pretend to be back in the making of one of the highest grossing movies of all time that truly has grown a cult following.
5. Visit the Salzburg Fortress. It’s also known as Hohensalzburg Castle. It sits on top of Festungsberg Hill and has breathtaking views on both sides of the castle of Salzburg and the surrounding mountains.
There is so much to explore up here, so many views to take in, and even a restaurant with great Austrian food where you can have a glass of wine in the sun while enjoying the scenery.
This fortress played a leading role to rulers of Salzburg for hundreds of years. The walk uphill can become incredibly tiresome, so there is a cable car that can take you up and down. Unless you just want the exercise, that is. And the walk is well worth it. There are some really lovely things to see on the way up the fortress.
I would say this is one of the top attractions to see, and the photos of it from other viewports also make incredible photos like one from Hotel Imlauer and from the bridges.
6. Visit Mirabell Palace and Gardens. During the spring and summer, this place is gorgeous and full of life with colorful and lush greenery in lovely flowerbed designs. The garden is quite romantic.
The palace inside has been home to many concerts. Mirabell was one of the most breathtaking concert halls I have ever been to with marble for days.
The view from the garden is also spectacular. I suggest walking through here on your way to the city. It’s also a place for magical photos. It’s one of the finest palaces and gardens in Austria. As an added bonus, if you stay at Hotel Imlauer Pitter, it’s right across the street.
7. Trivia question. What famous composer was born in Salzburg? Mozart was! I had no idea I was visiting his birthplace. Once I arrived, I saw just how much of the city is dedicated to him and his work. His influence is alive and thriving all over.
One great way to get your fill of all things Mozart is to take a visit the fantastic museum in honor of him. You can also visit the house he was born and raised. The house has been reconstructed as close to his as possible. It’s called “Mozart’s Wohnhaus” in Makart-platz. If you’re a true Mozart fan, then you must check out this museum filled with incredible memorabilia, photos, and biographies of the family. I would even stop in Mozart Café for a coffee.
While you’re at it, be sure to stop in a souvenir shop and buy a little dangling Mozart bobblehead puppet. You will see them in all the shop windows with their adorable heads bobbing up and down.
If you truly want to be immersed in his music, I highly recommend attending a Mozart concert. The venue also serves dinner, so it’s an all-around great experience. There are different packages available on websites if you have a chance to look, or you can ask your hotel concierge for the best package and price. It’s a good excuse to get dressed up and have a fancy night in Salzburg.
8. Go sit in Mozartplatz in the center of old town. It’s a charming square with beautiful statues, horse carriages, and various museums and cafés. It’s a lovely atmosphere to just sit and people-watch. Afterwards, you can wander down to squares around the corners, the Residenplaz and the Domplaz.
9. Visit the Salzburg Cathedral and St. Peter’s Abbey. Both are fine examples of Baroque style, and they’re located in a lovely historic square. The cathedral has been rebuilt several times since its original birth. Don’t let the simple and humble exterior fool you. The interior of the cathedral will be more than you ever expected after seeing the outside. Go inside, or you’re simply missing out.
St. Abbey’s Cathedral is so enchanting on the inside with its gold and marble decorations. Even the ceiling is jaw dropping. The details are so beautifully intricate. There are also catacombs and a graveyard to explore when visiting the Abbey, along with what’s known as “The Long Gallery,” which includes many large, beautiful paintings. There’s a library filled with thousands and thousands of books. The library is only accessible with certain guides, so if this part is something you’re interested in, you should ask your hotel to help set that up. I didn’t get set up for this tour, but I’ve heard it’s very impressive and even inspiring.
10. If you want to get out of the historic city, check out the Eagles Nest, which was a third Reich-era building in the mountains that was originally used as a getaway. The nest is only accessible by walking and is about a 2-hour hike, but the views of the Bavarian Mountains are amazing. Once you get to the top, you get to relax on the top of the mountain, eat at the restaurant, and have a few drinks. The history and beauty here are well worth making a day trip from Salzburg. If you don’t want to go so far but enjoy the outdoors and hiking, I would recommend visiting Gaisberg Mountain. You can get here by car or bus outside of the Mirabell Palace. You can hike here, paraglide, ride bikes, and just truly enjoy some beautiful views of the mountains and the outdoors. It’s a little bit of a change to wandering the city.
Salzburg is truly stunning. It’s a city that feels quaint and not so big. You can see everything in a couple days if you get on it. The locals are lovely and the views are incredible all around. It’s a romantic, cute city everyone should visit while trekking through Europe. It has its own charm, character, and so much history. You won’t be disappointed visiting this stunning city in the mountains of Austria.