Exploring the Enchanting City of Salzburg: Must-Do Activities and Attractions (2023)
This summer we took a short trip to Salzburg, Austria for a weekend. Little did we know before heading there that Salzburg had so much more to offer than just Sound of Music and Mozart. Once in Salzburg we decided to not take any tours and explore this quaint walled city in Austria on foot. Although after returning we feel that we could have easily used more time to explore the surrounding areas in Salzburg, there’s plenty of things to do in Salzburg, Austria.
Weather and best time to visit Salzburg, Austria
The best time to visit Salzburg, Austria, largely depends on your preferences. Here’s a breakdown of the weather and ideal times for different experiences:
1. **Spring (April to June)**:
– Weather: Pleasant with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F).
– Best for: Exploring gardens, hiking, and enjoying outdoor concerts. Spring blooms add charm to the city.
2. **Summer (June to August)**:
– Weather: Warm to hot, with temperatures between 20°C and 25°C (68°F to 77°F).
– Best for: Festivals, outdoor activities, and exploring Salzburg’s beautiful lakes and mountains.
3. **Autumn (September to October)**:
– Weather: Mild with temperatures around 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F).
– Best for: Enjoying fewer crowds, hiking, and experiencing the rich autumn colors.
4. **Winter (November to March)**:
– Weather: Cold with temperatures often below freezing, especially in December and January.
– Best for: Christmas markets, winter sports in nearby regions, and enjoying the cozy ambiance of Salzburg.
5. **Christmas Season (December)**:
– Weather: Cold and often snowy, creating a picturesque holiday atmosphere.
– Best for: Experiencing Salzburg’s enchanting Christmas markets and festivities.
In summary, the best time to visit Salzburg depends on your interests. Summer offers outdoor activities and festivals, while winter brings a festive spirit. Spring and autumn provide a balance of pleasant weather and fewer tourists, ideal for exploring the city’s cultural heritage and natural beauty.
Things to do in Salzburg Austria (landmarks, historic buildings and fun places to explore)
Here are the sights not to be missed in Old Salzburg
Although we decided not to take the Sound of Music tour, I knew I had to sing my way into Mirabell Gardens – “Do Re Mi”. If you’ve watched sound of music you know exactly what I am talking about. If you haven’t then do me a favor and watch this song before you head to Mirabell Gardens. The gardens are landscaped with colorful flowers and well-trimmed trees.
Check out the gorgeous Mirabel palace and Gardens
Salzburg Catherdral (Dom)
Dom is the biggest cathedral in Salzburg. And for our love of old churches, we walked into this dove colored cathedral looming over the tiny old town. The gothic timeless interior of Dom was one of the best in Europe. We were surprised by the high decorated ceilings.
Check out this tour of Salzburg Cathedral below
You simply can’t miss spotting Hohensalzburg as this white fortress sits on top of a hill overlooking the city. There are two ways to get to the fortress, either by hike or taking the funicular. We chose to take the funicular to save time and to get an adventure ride. Once at the fortress we were speechless by the panoramic views in all directions. From Alps on one side to the aerial views of Salzach River cutting through Salzburg, we almost didn’t feel like checking the fortress out from inside. But then not to miss on it, we took the audio tour of the fortress which was quite interesting.
Inside Hohensalzburg Fortress
Here’s a guided tour of Hohensalzbur Fortress
St. Peters Abbey
Here’s an off the beaten path of Salzburg musical addition. At St. Peter’s we explored the Monastery, Cemetery and the Catacombs. You will have to pay a fee to enter the Catacombs where as the cemetery is free to walk by. This hidden treasure is located very close to Salzburg Fortress.
St. Peters catacombs and abbey
Let’s check out St Peter’s Abbey
Strolling around the narrow streets in Old Salzburg you will stumble upon a tall yellow building with almost always a bunch of people below it. That it, this building is the birthplace of famous composer Mozart. However, let me tell you this is not the house he grew up in. Mozart Wonhaus across the river is a Museum now where they give you a tour of the house he actually grew up in Salzburg.
Here’s a tour of Mozart’s home and birthplace
Museum der Moderne Salzburg
After seeing incredible views from Fortress Salzburg, we were hunting for spots with higher elevation to get a view of the fortress in it. We were recommended to hike Kapuzinerberg (the hill opposite the fortress) for those incredible views but then we had very limited time in Salzburg. And then we struck gold with Morderne Museum. If you are interested you can certainly view the museum as well but we just bought the tickets to the elevators to go up to their rooftop deck where there is also a restaurant one level up. On that note, you can just hike to the rooftop which will be free of cost. Since we got here right before sunset we couldn’t get ourselves to leave till the sun went down. So we decided to eat supper at the rooftop restaurant. Talk about dinner with a view!
Check out the Modern Art Museum of Salzburg
Try the local special foods and dishes of Salzburg and local drinks
Salzburg, Austria, offers a delectable array of local specialties and dishes that reflect its rich culinary heritage. Here are some must-try foods and drinks in Salzburg:
1. **Salzburger Nockerl**: This iconic Salzburg dessert resembles fluffy peaks and is a sweet soufflé made with eggs, sugar, and flour, often served with berry sauce.
2. **Schnitzel**: Enjoy a classic Wiener Schnitzel, a breaded and fried veal or pork cutlet, served with lingonberry jam.
3. **Kasnocken**: A hearty dish of Austrian dumplings cooked with cheese and served with crispy onions.
4. **Brettljause**: A traditional Austrian snack platter featuring cold cuts, cheeses, and rustic bread, perfect for sharing.
5. **Mozartkugel**: Named after the famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, these are chocolate pralines filled with marzipan and nougat.
6. **Tafelspitz**: A dish of boiled beef served with horseradish sauce and root vegetables.
7. **Salzburger Bierfleisch**: A flavorful dish of slow-cooked beef marinated in beer, typically served with a rich gravy.
8. **Salzburger Bauernkrapfen**: Sweet, yeast-based pastries filled with apricot jam or other sweet fillings.
9. **Kaiserschmarrn**: A fluffy pancake dessert, often torn into pieces, caramelized, and served with powdered sugar and fruit compote.
1. **Stiegl Beer**: Sample the local brews from Stiegl, one of Austria’s oldest breweries. Their lagers and wheat beers are popular choices.
2. **Salzburger Nockerl Liqueur**: A sweet liqueur inspired by the Salzburger Nockerl dessert, offering a delightful mix of flavors.
3. **Almdudler**: A popular Austrian herbal lemonade with a unique taste that’s both refreshing and slightly spicy.
4. **Austrian Wines**: Austria produces excellent white wines, including Grüner Veltliner and Riesling. Explore local vineyards and wine bars for tastings.
5. **Mozart Liqueur**: Indulge in the Mozart brand liqueurs, including Mozart Gold Chocolate Cream Liqueur and Mozart White Chocolate Vanilla Cream Liqueur.
6. **Schnapps**: Try Austrian fruit schnapps, known for their pure and intense fruit flavors. Common varieties include apricot and pear schnapps.
When dining in Salzburg, embrace the opportunity to savor these local flavors, whether it’s indulging in sweet treats, sipping Austrian wines, or enjoying hearty traditional dishes.
Explore the various old cobbled streets and squares in Old Salzburg
Since the old town is not very big in area it’s perfect to explore it on foot. We took a map of the old town from our Bed and Breakfast before heading down there. But we ended up randomly walking on streets and only looking at the map when we needed to head to a certain place. Depending on what time of the year you go, you are in for some festivals. We saw a traditional music festival happening in Salzburg in the summer time. Because of all these different festivals in the summer we saw a lot of traditionally dressed ladies in the old town area.
Here’s a fun Old Town tour of Salzburg below
Day trips from Salzburg
We didn’t limit ourselves to the town of Salzburg especially given the white gold aka salt history associated with this town. To know more about the salt history we went to the Salt Mines at Hallein which is located only half an hour away from Salzburg. Although we drove ourselves to Hallein and bought our own mine tour ticket, there are many tour operators that can take you to Hallein from Salzburg. Once inside the salt mines we traversed our way under the Alps crossing borders from Austria to Germany and back hundreds of feet underground. Not to give away the thunder of this place, all we can say is that it is a very adventurous and informative tour of the salt mines.
Another day trip from Salzburg would be the Sound of music tour where they will take you to the famous filming locations of that movie. If you are a big fan of this movie then I am sure you will enjoy this tour a lot. Like I said before we were on a tight schedule so we couldn’t afford to spend an entire day on the tour but we did have a rental vehicle so we could explored the mountains around Salzburg ourselves.
Why not do the Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg below
More inside tips to visiting Salzburg, Austria
Explore the Historic Old Town: Take a stroll through Salzburg’s enchanting Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Discover its charming narrow streets, beautiful squares, and architectural gems like the iconic Salzburg Cathedral.
Visit Mozart’s Birthplace: Step into the world of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by visiting his birthplace in Getreidegasse. Explore the museum showcasing his life, musical genius, and personal artifacts.
Take in the Views from Hohensalzburg Fortress: Ride the funicular or hike up to Hohensalzburg Fortress for panoramic views of the city. Explore the fortress grounds, visit the museums, and enjoy the captivating historical atmosphere.
Discover Mirabell Palace and Gardens: Marvel at the beauty of Mirabell Palace and its splendid gardens. Don’t miss the opportunity to walk through the exquisite gardens, featuring vibrant flower displays, fountains, and the famous Pegasus Fountain.
Attend a Classical Music Performance: Salzburg is renowned for its musical heritage. Experience the magic of classical music by attending a concert or opera performance at one of the city’s magnificent venues, such as the Mozarteum or the Salzburg Festival.
Indulge in Salzburg’s Culinary Delights: Sample the culinary specialties of Salzburg, such as traditional Austrian dishes like schnitzel and apple strudel. Don’t forget to try the local Mozartkugel chocolates, a sweet treat named after the city’s famous composer.
Explore the Sound of Music Sites: Fans of the iconic movie “The Sound of Music” can embark on a tour to visit the filming locations around Salzburg. Discover the Von Trapp family’s former residence, gaze upon the scenic landscapes, and relive the musical moments.
Take a Day Trip to the Salzkammergut Region: Venture beyond Salzburg and explore the breathtaking Salzkammergut region, known for its stunning lakes and mountains. Visit the picturesque village of Hallstatt or take a boat ride on Wolfgangsee for a memorable day trip.
Embrace the Festive Spirit: If you visit during the holiday season, don’t miss the magical Salzburg Christmas Market. Immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere, browse the stalls, and savor the traditional treats and mulled wine.
Get Off the Beaten Path: Explore Salzburg’s lesser-known corners and hidden gems. Wander through the charming streets of Linzergasse, discover the Baroque beauty of St. Peter’s Cemetery, or hike up Kapuzinerberg for panoramic city views.
By following these insider tips, you’ll be able to make the most of your visit to Salzburg, embracing its rich history, musical heritage, and captivating beauty. Enjoy an unforgettable experience in this charming Austrian city.
Where to stay in Salzburg
A Salzburg experience wouldn’t be complete without a wonderful stay at a unique inn or hotel that starts off your experience with a nice sleep. Check out these fantastic places around Salzburg for just that perfect place to stay for your visit.
Hotel Goldener Hirsh – a beautiful historic hotel located in the Old Town, filled with charm, old world details with modern amenities, great customer service and a generous breakfast
Hotel Sacher Salzburg – located on the banks of the Sacher River with nice views of the old town and fort, this elegant hotel offers classic details and charm with stylish rooms, excellent buffet breakfast and quality service.
ArtHotel Blauegans Salzburg – located in the heart of the old town, this refurbished hotel boasts individual rooms done tastefully and well appointed modern lines. Good breakfast service with attention to details handling visitors needs.
For more reviews and current prices, check out Trip Advisors 10 ten list here and for availability when you plan on visiting.
More cool and fun things to do in Salzburg
Salzburg Salt Mine tour – No visit to Salzburg is complete without visiting the Salzburg Salt Mines and the underground Lake Boat ride, a very unique experience following the white gold of Salzburg
Baroque Hall dinner and Mozart concert – what would be more ideal than a classic dinner and Mozart concert in the famous Baroque Hall in Salzburg, a one of kind experience
Salzburg Card – get free entry at the top attractions around the city and unlimited public transportation use when touring the city.
Check out these other posts on visiting Austria
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We are Gaurav and Richa, the couple behind MyTicklefeet. Working professionals by the day and travel bloggers by night, we like to travel at every chance and holiday we get. That means maximizing the most out of our limited vacation days. Based out of Washington DC, we are also professional photographers who are always seeking new adventures in new places in the world. You can find more of our articles and photos on our website http://www.myticklefeet.com/
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