10 best things to do in Salzburg

You know I love Salzburg, right? I could probably create a whole new blog dedicated to the city- Becky Bedburg?- but that might be taking niche a little too far. Instead, I'll just pop up the odd post dedicated to Salzburg. I'm starting with my ten favourite things to do in true countdown fashion. It's worth noting that I obviously haven't done everything there is to experience so this may well change in the future. Most of the attractions in Salzburg are free with the Salzburg Card, which I really recommend getting (not an ad, just my opinion!) but I've listed the standard full price for adults. I've also popped in a little link to my posts about each item so you can read my experience.

Best things to do in Salzburg
10. SALZBURG CATHEDRAL

The cathedral- or Dom- is located in the old town and is the perfect example of Salzburg architecture with its pale walls and teal roof. The huge dome was destroyed in the Second World War so was rebuilt and you would never know that it's only 70 years old. Standing underneath it and looking up to the skylight right in the centre is so powerful. There is also beautiful art lining the walls. 

Cost: Entry to the cathedral is free in theory, but you do pass a booth on the way out where somebody collects donations.
My post: Salzburg Cathedral 

9. SALZACH RIVER CRUISE

Ok, admittedly the cruise doesn't really go anywhere. It's a little jaunt up the river, turn around and then go back the way you came. However, I experienced it on a sunny day and it was lovely to get a different perspective of the city. The tour guide was really engaging- giving the information in English as well as German- and they choose two people to sit at the front and be the 'captains'. You're also allowed to stand up and take photos through the front windows so you can get completely unobstructed views. There's a cute little touch at the end but I'm warning you that it may not be suitable if you get motion sickness or dizzy!

Cost: Free with Salzburg Card / €15 without
My post: Salzach River Cruise

8. PANORAMA SOUND OF MUSIC TOUR

If you love The Sound of Music, I really recommend going on a Panorama tour. There are a few different tour companies but I went on this one and it was seriously incredible. Our tour guide was absolutely hilarious and amazingly well-informed, and you get to see a huge number of locations from the film, including the wedding church in Mondsee which is a bit of a pain to reach otherwise. Yes, you can do it yourself cheaper (especially since the tour isn't covered by the Salzburg Card), but it's worth it for the ease and the feel good fun. You can't have a singalong when you get any old bus out of the city! Make sure you book well in advance as it's very popular.

Cost: €42
My post: Panorama Sound of Music Tour

7. MIRABELL GARDENS

The Panorama tour starts and ends near the Mirabell Gardens, but it's not included as part of the tour. Make time to visit as this is where the majority of the Do Re Mi scene was filmed. The pegasus fountain, the foliage arch, the funny little dwarf statue... it's all here. That includes the famous steps from the end of the song. If you're not a fan of the film, it's still fun to watch tourists recreate the dance, running up and down the steps in turn. During the summer, it's a nice place to sit and chill out for a bit, although it does get busy so it's not exactly peaceful.

Cost: Free to all 
My post: Mirabell Gardens (towards the bottom)

6. PETERSFRIEDHOF (CEMETERY)

Some people say this is where the cemetery scene in The Sound of Music was filmed. It's not but it's certainly very similar and possibly the inspiration. I know cemeteries aren't everybody's idea of a good time but it's super peaceful and the ironwork of the graves are stunning. There's also a pretty chapel in the centre of the cemetery and catacombs cut out of the mountain face, with a lovely view from the top.
Cost: Cemetery: Free to all. Catacombs: Free with Salzburg Card / €2 without
My post: Petersfriedhof

5. MÖNCHSBERG 

The Mönchsberg is one of many mountains in the city area and it's well worth a trek. There is a very easily walkable road along the top, connecting the Hohensalzburg fortress to the Modern Art Museum. The inclines are very gentle- virtually nonexistent, in fact- and it's a gloriously peaceful wooded area with beautiful houses dotted around. Then there's the stunning view from the terrace outside the museum which, FYI, is another Sound of Music location. If you don't want to walk up, you can get to the top in two different ways- either get the funicular at fortress or take the Mönchsberg lift at the end of Griesgasse. Both routes have their downsides: To use the funicular, you need entrance to the fortress but that's no bad thing (see below). On the other hand, the lift is just that- a literal lift. An elevator. That you have to pay for. Getting back down to the city gives you the same three options: walk down, get the funicular or take the lift.

In my opinion, the best way to do this is to take the funicular up to the fortress, experience that first, then walk along the Mönchsberg to the Modern Art Museum (going the other way means you have to walk up a very long, very steep path to get to the fortress. There are no uphill stretches on the other route). If you have a Salzburg Card, you can go down the lift for free. If not, get a drink at the M32 restaurant attached to the museum. You get to sit on the loveliest drinks terrace in all of Salzburg and they give you a voucher to use the lift for free. 

Cost: Walking: Free to all. Funicular: Free with Salzburg Card / €6.80 without. Lift: Free with Salzburg Card or purchase at M32 / €2.30 single trip without
My post: Salzburg Mönchsberg 

4. HOSENSALZBURG FORTRESS

As I said, if you're walking along the Mönchsberg, I recommend visiting the Hohensalzburg Fortress first. The 900 year old fortress is on top of the mountain overlooking the city so it completely dominates the skyline. You can walk up if you prefer but I'd recommend getting the funicular because a) it's easier and quicker, and b) it's fun looking out of the glass window and seeing the city get smaller. Tip: When you board the train, try to get a spot in front of the big window at the lower end because that's the best view. Once you get to the top, there are beautiful views over the city rooftops and lots of little hidden-away areas to explore. If you get hungry, there are two restaurants, although one of them is closed through the winter. That's no problem because the one that's open all year round- Burgschenke- is the best. It's inside the castle and the waiters wear medieval tabards so it's almost like you're going back in time. Inside the fortress, there are also a number of different museums and state rooms to visit. You can't really visit Salzburg and not go to the fortress.

Cost: Free with Salzburg Card / €12 without (includes ascent and descent in funicular)
My post: Hohensalzburg Fortress

3. EXPLORING THE OLD TOWN

Salzburg is such a pretty town that, to be honest, you'd probably be good just wandering the streets without actually doing anything else. The old town takes up half of the city centre on the west side of the river and it's filled with that signature Austrian architecture- all tall pastel buildings and iron signs. As well as plenty of independent, traditional stores you can also find chain names and designer stores here. The best way to experience it is to just wander around with no destination in mind, peeking in all the courtyards and venturing down the alleyways. You never know what you'll find hidden around the corner. Oh, there's also a Starbucks here. You're welcome.

Cost: Free to all 
My post: No specific post here because it's part of the overall Salzburg experience 

2. SCHLOSS HELLBRUNN TRICK FOUNTAINS

OK, so I only went on the trick fountain tour because the ticket lady wouldn't accept that I only wanted to explore the palace, and it was one of the best things I did! I won't say too much about it because I don't want to spoil the surprise, but you can read my post below for more detailed information. The tour is only available between April and September but for good reason- you will more than likely get soaked! The tour guides are really funny, speak English as well as German, and if you're lazy like me, there are plenty of places to sit down while they talk. It's only half an hour but I promise it will be one of the most fun experiences of your time in Salzburg. Our tour ticket includes entry to the palace but you can also explore the grounds for free if you prefer not to go on the tour. During the winter months, it's still well worth a visit as the palace is home to the best Christmas market in the city. It's a little distance out so you'll have to get the bus (which is also free with a Salzburg Card) but you won't regret it! 

Cost: Free with Salzburg Card / €12.50 without
My post: Schloss Hellbrunn Trick Fountains

1. UNTERSBERG MOUNTAIN

There are many places in Salzburg where you can see the Untersberg mountain rising in the horizon. In fact, when you land at Salzburg airport, it's one of the first things you'll see. It's about 13 miles away from the city centre but super easy to reach by bus and it's an amazing experience. You can hike all the way up if you're into mountain climbing but if not, the cable car operates every half an hour. I'm not gonna lie- it's terrifying! It takes less than 10 minutes though and the view is astounding. Once you get off the cable car, you can either chill out in that vicinity or go for a little wander. The peak is about 15- 30 minutes climb away, depending on your fitness levels and I really recommend that you go for it. I managed it so it can't be that difficult and you'll feel like you're standing on top of the world. On clear days, you get the most incredible view for miles and miles around and if it's cloudy, you find yourself right in the clouds which is also cool! I didn't think I was a nature girl until I visited. It's just the most magical experience and it's hands down my favourite thing to do in Salzburg.

Cost: Free with Salzburg Card or if hiking / €23.50 return without
My posts: Untersberg in Summer / Untersberg in Winter

There is still so much that I have to experience in the city that I'm sure this will change but, for now, that's a fairly decent overview of the best things to do. There are some notable exceptions, such as Mozart's house, which I wasn't particularly keen on but you may love them. My tip is to experience as much as you can. Salzburg is a very compact city so if you wake up early, you can get a lot done in one day. One of the many reasons I love it!

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5 comments:

  1. Great post! I love Salzburg too :) Up until last year, I'd only been during the winter, but we visited in summer last year and it just gave it such a different twist - especially being able to see all the fountains uncovered! I LOVED the Hellbrunn Trick Fountains too (so much fun!).
    Have you ever visited the "Egg Shop"? I'm sure it has a proper name, but I'm not sure what! My mum and I always pick up a painted egg or two every time we visit :)
    Sian xx Rebel Angel

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    1. Haha I know the exact shop you mean! (Unless there's more than one of them, that is!) I bought my mum a painted egg for Christmas!

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  2. Id especially love to do the sound of music tour as I used to love that when I was a young girl!

    Isobel x

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  3. I think Untersberg Mountain and Mirabell Gardens are definitely high on my list of things to do in Salzburg, they both look stunning, but I kind of want to do all of these things here, haha! :D - Tasha

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  4. Salzburg is high on my must-visit list (thanks in no small part to your posts!) and I really want to do the Sound of Music tour, but its great to know there is so much more to do there too!

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