Salzburg is one of my most favourite cities in all of Europe. Why? Well, firstly because it has everything a tourist would like to see in a city. Secondly and more importantly, it can be easily visited on a budget. So, let me share with you the top things to do in Salzburg. At the end of this list of things to do in Salzburg, I will also share with you some tips on how to do all those things on a super small budget.
10 SUPER AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN SALZBURG
1. Hohensalzburg Fortress
This enormous fortress overlooks the entire city of Salzburg. It is one of the largest fortresses in the world. The 11th-century architecture of this fortress is highly impressive. In order to go up on this fort, you need to use a funicular that is bound to get the child within you excited. Once on top, you will be treated to breath-taking panoramic views of the entire city of Salzburg. Make sure you click lots of pictures!
2. Salzburg Cathedral
The Salzburg Cathedral combines the magic of divinity and human hard work in the best possible ways. The bold baroque style of this cathedral makes sure all eyes are instantly drawn towards it once you are in the Old Town. Its highlight is its huge 80 metre high dome. Once inside, you will also immediately notice the glowing hue of the light passing through the roof.
3. Mozart’s Birth Place
One of the primary reasons why Salzburg is such a popular town among tourists is that it has a rich musical heritage. The musical legend Mozart was born in this city. His birthplace, now converted into a museum, has been made open to tourists. You will see some of the musical instruments on which he composed his evergreen music still preserved here. This place is sure to give goosebumps to music-lovers. Take a guided tour here for an in-depth insight into the life and achievements of Mozart.
4. Mozart’s Residence
Whether or not you were a fan of Mozart before your visit to Salzburg, you will become one as soon as you learn about him on your visit to his birthplace. Follow that up with a quick visit to his residence. His residence will provide you with a glimpse into his family life. You will also learn about his musical journey, compositions and concerts through the exhibits put up here.
5. Mirabell Palace and Gardens
Located across the famous Salzach river, outside the Old Town is the Mirabell Palace. The Mirabell Gardens are right next to it. While you cannot enter the palace, the gardens are open to tourists. The gardens are tastefully decorated with numerous types of colourful flowers and fountains. Fans of the movie ‘Sound of Music’ will be delighted to visit this place as it is also one of the filming locations of Do Re Mi.
6. Hellbrunn Palace and Salzburg Zoo
Hellbrunn Palace is about a twenty-minute drive away from the Old City. The Palace is famous for its incredible trick fountains. There is an open lawn area here which is ideal for relaxing in the middle of a busy day. Sound of Music fans will be thrilled to see the gazebo here which is the place where ‘I’m Sixteen going on Seventeen’ was filmed. Within the Hellbrunn premises, you will also find the Salzburg zoo that has exhibits of animals from all the continents. Of all the things to do in Salzburg, children will particularly enjoy visiting this place. During the tourist season, on certain days, the zoo is also open at night and can offer an interesting experience.
7. Mount Untersberg
45 minutes away from the main city, Mount Untersberg will welcome you. This mount is quite literally one of the ‘top’ things to do in Salzburg. Take a ropeway to reach the top of the mount. Once on top, you will immediately notice the difference in altitude. The airplanes landing on the runway strip will look like tiny ants from up here. To maximise the thrill of being on top of Mount Untersberg, make sure you hike all the way up to the top. You will be transported straight into the clouds.
8. Cruise in the Salzach River
The Salzach river divides the city of Salzburg. The Old Town is on one side and the contemporary part of the city is on the other. The cruise offers an exhilarating experience as you get to travel through the flowing river. The captain of your cruise will entertain you with his commentary while also giving you a bit of knowledge about the history of Salzburg. The view of the Old Town with the fortress as the backdrop, especially in the evening, will be one to remember forever!
9. Shopping in the Old Town
There is something magical about walking through the lanes of Old Towns. You will see plenty of old shops lining the sides of these lanes. Take your time going through the many items sold here which include books, souvenirs, fashion, jewellery, etc. The Getreidegasse is the most famous shopping lane in the Old Town.
10.Food and drinks at cafes and beer halls
A visit to Salzburg is incomplete without hanging out at one of the many cafes here. The Cafe Tomaselli is the oldest cafe in Austria and sits right in the heart of the old city. Order a coffee and spend a quiet afternoon people-watching. If coffee doesn’t spark joy, head to Augustiner Braustubl – Salzburg’s biggest beer hall. The vibe of this place is perfect. You pick a mug, clean it under a tap and then have someone pour beer into it. Drink your beer at peace while socialising with strangers seated around you. Apart from the cafes and the beer halls, in terms of food, the highlight of Salzburg is the chocolate, pistachio confection named after Mozart – the Mozartkugel. Eat the authentic ones at Cafe Konditerai Furst. I promise, the taste will blow your mind and it will turn out to be the highlight of not only your Salzburg trip but probably will also be one of the best things you would do in Austria!
Tips for visiting Salzburg on a budget
Now, if you feel the doing the things mentioned in the list above will cost you a bomb, you are wrong. Just use the below tips and you will be able to easily stay within your budget.
1. Buy a Salzburg Card
The Salzburg card allows you a one-time entry to all the major tourist attractions in Salzburg. Some places even grant you express entry, thus not only saving your money but also your time of waiting in long queues.
Public transport across all of Salzburg will be free with this card. So you can easily access places that are away from the Old Town like Hellbrunn Palace or Mount Untersburg without spending any additional amount.
The real steal of this card is that the Salzburg River cruise will also be free for you once you purchase this card.
Depending on the length of your stay, you can either buy a 24 hour, 48 hour or a 72 hour Salzburg card.
(You can read all about the inclusions and exclusions of the Salzburg Card including details about where to purchase it and the amount of money you will save thanks to it in this detailed post exclusively about Salzburg Card)
2. Shop outside the city centre
If you feel that the shops in the Old Town Market (Alter markt) are expensive, just visit the shops that are slightly away from the city centre. You will find everything that’s sold in the main market here but at a much cheaper price.
3. Carry your own food
The beer hall in Salzburg sells super cheap beer but should you choose to eat there, the food will cost you a lot. However, what most people do not know is that you can carry your own food here. So pack some food before you head to these beer halls and save a lot of money.
4. Buy Mozartkugels in supermarkets.
The Mozartkugels sold in Cafe Konditerai Furst or for that matter in any of the souvenir shops in the Alter Markt are super expensive. You can find a cheaper, yet equally delicious variety of these for a fraction of its price in any of the supermarkets in Salzburg, thus saving unnecessary expenses.
5. Do your own ‘Sound of Music’ Tour
Most of the places where Sound of Music was filmed are located inside or near tourist attractions. Instead of taking an expensive Sound of Music tour, read up about the places in advance (you will get plenty of information online) and go to these places by using the public transport. It will not only save your money but will also be one of the highlights of your list of things to do in Salzburg.