Salzburg is a city in western part of Austria known for being the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and also as a filming location of “The Sound of Music” movie. Salzburg is located on the Salzach river and surrounded by green hills and mountains.
We spent a few days in Salzburg exploring the city and surrounding area during summer time. If you have at least one day in Salzburg, here is a list of the top attractions of this nice Austrian city.
Walk along Salzach river
Salzburg stands on rivers banks of Salzach and both sides of the river have nice green areas with footpaths and promenades. There are few bridges crossing the river within the city, so you can easily go from one side to another enjoying the views from both riverbanks.
Altstadt – the old town – lays on the left bank of the river and Neustadt – the new town – lays on the right bank of the river.
One of the bridges – Makartsteg – is a footbridge covered with love locks. You can buy a lock right there, engrave it with names and put it on the bridge as a sign of your love.
Have a rest at the green area above the river, or in one of the riverside cafes.
On some weekends from May to September there is an art market along the river – Salzachgalerien. There are many stalls with different art and crafts on the Altstadt riverbank. I even saw a stall selling New Zealand salt! Didn’t know that it’s so famous and brought across the globe to be sold in Austria 🙂
Getreidegasse in the Altstadt
Getreidegasse is one of the oldest and prettiest streets in the Altstadt and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a pedestrian zone with many shops and small passageways, cafes and restaurants – pretty busy there I must say. There is a house where Mozart was born on Getreidegasse street.
What I liked the most about the street is all those iron guild signs hanging from the houses on both sides of the street. Very charming.
Mozart’s birthplace and residence houses
House number 9 at Getreidegasse – Mozarts Geburtshaus – is the house where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born. You can easily find this bright yellow house by the crowds of people taking photos in front of it. There is a museum in the house if you wish to go inside to see the place where Mozart grew up.
Mozart-Wohnhaus is another museum in Salzburg dedicated to Mozart and his family – Mozart’s residence. Mozart-Wohnhaus at Makartplatz 8 is a house where Mozart’s family has moved after children grew up.
Mozartplatz and Residenzplatz
Mozartplatz and Residenzplatz are two popular squares located next to each other in the old part of Salzburg. Mozartplatz has a statue of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and few shops and cafes around it. It’s practically merging into Residenzplatz – a big public square with a fountain in the middle (Residenzbrunnen).
If you visit around Christmas time you will find one of the city’s Christmas markets there. We were there at summer and enjoyed surrounding architecture, huge marble fountain and simply nice atmosphere of the old city.
Salzburg Cathedral and St. Peter’s Abbey
Right next to Residenzplatz you will find Salzburg Cathedral (or Salzburger Dom). Go inside and admire the baroque style cathedral where Mozart was baptized. Next to it is St. Peter’s Abbey – one of the oldest monasteries in this part of Europe.
Kapitelplatz (or Chapter Square)
If you keep walking from Salzburg Cathedral in the opposite direction from Residenzplatz you will get to Kapitelplatz square with a sculpture of a man standing on the golden globe (‘Sphaera’).
Here is the example of the walk visiting all the places listed above:
Hohensalzburg Fortress in Salzburg is one of the largest well-preserved medieval castles in Europe. The castle is open to visitors all year around and inside it has a museum, arsenal exhibition, puppet museum and beautiful views to Salzburg city.
Hohensalzburg Fortress sits on top of Festungsberg hill and you can get there either by foot or take a funicular – Festungsbahn – to the top. Entrance to the Festungsbahn is not far from Kapitelplatz at the beginning of Festungsgasse.
We have booked tickets to the castle online to avoid queuing in the ticket office. Ride up and down the funicular is included in the entrance tickets (which helped us to skip the line to the funicular ticket office too).
You can book tickets to the fortress online.
Once at the top there is a viewing platform with spectacular views of the city. Don’t miss it.
Inside the castle there are many expositions, narrow passages and spacious rooms, prince’s chambers and torture room, exhibition of old puppets, access to the top of a watching tower and spacious courtyards within the fortress walls. Definitely worth a visit!
Mirabell Palace and Gardens
Mirabell Palace and its gardens are located on the opposite side of the river from the old town. It’s open to the public and access is free. If you are into old classic movies then definitely visit the gardens – this is where some of the scenes from ‘The Sound of Music’ were filmed.
We went there in the evening and even though we haven’t seen the gardens in the daylight, we enjoyed them with less crowds than usual.
If you are travelling with little kids, there is a playground next to the Mirabell gardens – Zauberflötenspielplatz. Also Dwarf Garden with many small dwarf statues, which can be interesting to explore with children. And a bit further is another nice green area to walk around – Kurgarten.
Salzburg by night
If you are staying for the night in Salzburg then go for a walk in the evening – when the sun has already set and the city is illuminated by the street lights.
Is Salzburg worth visiting?
Our answer is Yes, absolutely! You will find here activities and attractions for any taste – historical, cultural, outdoor and nature, just to name a few. We truly enjoyed Salzburg itself and it was a convenient base point for a few short trips around it.
How many days to spend in Salzburg?
Although this guide is for One day in Salzburg, we would advise to spend at least two days in the city. While you still will be able to see Salzburg’s top attractions in one day, adding a second day to your visit will allow you to enjoy it at a slower pace.
We stayed at Salzburg for 4 days – explored the city, visited Hohensalzburg Fortress and made a few day trips.
What are the best day trips from Salzburg?
Read our dedicated post for the best trips from Salzburg: 5 Best Day Trips from Salzburg
Where to stay in Salzburg?
We always use Booking.com to book accommodations for our travels:
Where to go after Salzburg?
After Salzburg we would advise visiting beautiful alpine city of Innsbruck that has lots to offer at any time of the year. On the way there take a small detour and stop at Hallstatt – you won’t regret it!
Of course as Salzburg is located very close to German border it’s only logical to go to the nearby Munich and start exploring Bavaria region from there.