Things to do in Salzburg

Things to do in  Salzburg

Welcome to Salzburg

Classical music, a beautiful Old Town, and spectacular Alpine vistas make the Austrian city of Salzburg a top priority when visiting Europe. In Salzburg’s Old Town (Aldstadt)—an area resonate with Baroque charm and a UNESCO World Heritage Site—you’ll find the Residence Gallery (Residenzgalerie) and Salzburg Cathedral. Get the history behind these buildings and others on a sightseeing tour. Fans of “The Sound of Music” will recognize Salzburg’s castles, Baroque churches, and mountain lakes from the iconic musical movie, which catapulted Salzburg to fame in 1965. Take a “Sound of Music”–themed tour, and experience Mirabell Palace and Gardens (Mirabell Schloss und Garten); the 17th-century Hellbrunn Castle (Schloss Hellbrun); and Mondsee Abbey, used as the location for the wedding of Maria and Georg von Trapp. A visit to the Mozart Residence (Mozart Wohnhaus) and an evening concert at Baroque Hall of St. Peter are a must for Mozart fans, and tours for music-lovers highlight places of interest in his life. Other tours include a half-day trip to the Bavarian Alps and the Berchtesgaden salt mine. Day tours to Vienna, Austria’s elegant capital city, and the Salzkammergut, a region of lakes and mountains, showcase the region’s charms. Absorb the beauty of Alpine towns such as St. Wolfgang, Hallstatt, and Lake Mondsee; visit Hitler’s former mountain retreat, known as the Eagle’s Nest (Kehlsteinhaus) in Berchtesgaden; or check out Swarovski Crystal World and the Central Inn Valley on an excursion to Innsbruck.

Top 15 attractions in Salzburg

Mirabell Palace and Gardens (Schloss Mirabell und Mirabellgarten)

Part of Salzburg’s UNESCO World Heritage–listed historic center, Mirabell Palace (Schloss Mirabell) enjoys a rich royal history, as well as a place in movie legend: it was one of the filming sites forThe Sound of Music. Built by Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich in 1606, the palace is most famous for its magnificent baroque gardens.More

Salzburg Cathedral (Dom zu Salzburg)

For a touch of classic Italian baroque in Austria, head to Salzburg Cathedral, known locally as the Dom. The cathedral’s twin towers and a facade made of Untersberg marble, along with its light-filled interior and huge dome, are sure to impress.More

Salzburg Old Town (Salzburger Altstadt)

Salzburg’s Old Town (Salzburger Altstadt or Altstadt Salzburg) is the historical and navigational heart of the city, a maze of medieval streets stretching along the banks of the Salzach River. The birthplace of Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salzburg’s atmospheric Altstadt is preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage site and overlooked by the hilltop Hohensalzburg Fortress.More

Eagle's Nest (Kehlsteinhaus)

Just an hour’s drive outside of Salzburg lies the alpine town of Berchtesgaden and the historic Eagle’s Nest (Kehlsteinhaus), Adolf Hitler’s mountaintop chalet and the former southern headquarters of the Nazi party. Perched atop Mt. Kehlstein, Eagle’s Nest offers a dark history and panoramic views of Germany’s Bavarian Alps.More

Hohensalzburg Fortress (Festung Hohensalzburg)

Built in 1077, Austria’s Hohensalzburg Fortress (Festung Hohensalzburg) is one of the largest fully-preserved castles in Central Europe. Here you can enjoy incredible countryside views and guided tours of the baroque state rooms, lookout towers, and museum collections.More

Hellbrunn Palace (Schloss Hellbrunn)

Built in the early 17th century, Hellbrunn Palace (Schloss Hellbrunn) served as a summer retreat for the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. Its baroque exterior conceals an exuberant interior made for entertaining, though the real draws are the whimsical trick fountains (Wasserspiele) in the gardens, which spew water from unexpected places.More


Getreidegasse is the heart of Salzburg’s old town, and the street where Mozart was born in 1756. With its charming cafés and cozy inns, as well as top fashion brands, it's perennially popular with visitors. More

Nonnberg Abbey (Stift Nonnberg)

Best-known for being the home of troublesome novice nun Maria in The Sound of Music, Nonnberg Abbey (Stift Nonnberg was founded in the eighth century and is the oldest constantly-inhabited convent in Europe. The complex encompasses Gothic, Romanesque, and baroque styles, and features gorgeous chapels, churches, and cloisters.More

Mozart’s Birthplace (Mozarts Geburtshaus)

The house where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756, Mozart’s Birthplace (Mozart’s Geburtshaus) stands on Getreidegasse, the main shopping street in Salzburg’s Old Town (Altstadt). One of Austria’s most beloved museums, this ocher-painted town house is a must for first-time visitors to the city.More

St. Peter's Abbey (Stift Sankt Peter)

Situated in Salzburg’s Old Town, St. Peter’s Abbey is a Benedictine monastery comprising an abbey, church, and cemetery. Founded in AD 696 and renovated during the 1600s and 1700s, its church draws visitors for its gilded baroque decoration and as the setting for the debut performance of Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor in 1783.More

Mozart Residence (Mozart-Wohnhaus)

The 17th-century Tanzmeisterhaus (Dance Master's House), where Mozart lived from 1773 to 1780 and composed many of his masterpieces, is now a museum devoted to Salzburg’s most famous resident. Beautifully restored in period style, the Mozart Residence (Mozart-Wohnhaus or Mozarts Wohnhaus) takes visitors on a journey through Mozart’s life and works.More

Schloss Leopoldskron

Built in 1736, Schloss Leopoldskron is a rococo palace that stands within large, manicured grounds on the fringes of Salzburg. The lakeside palace is today run as a hotel and remains instantly recognizable to many as the Von Trapp home in the 1965 movie The Sound of Music.More

Salzburg Marionette Theater

Opened in 1913, the Salzburg Marionette Theater is one of the world’s oldest marionette theaters and celebrates the city’s long tradition of puppetry. The theater stages a range of productions using a cast of around 500 wooden puppets, from operas and fairy tales toThe Sound of Music—the 1959 movie that showcased the city and its puppetry.More

Salzburg Salt Mines (Salzbergwerk)

Beneath the glittering lakes and snow-dusted mountains of Austria’s Lake District, the subterranean world of the Salzburg salt mines (Salzbergwerk) spreads out in a network of underground mines and tunnels. Used to mine “white gold” since the Bronze Age, the historic salt mines at Hallstatt and Berchtesgaden are now popular attractions. Here you’ll find fascinating insights into the region’s salt-mining heritage, as well as fun activities such as slides, train rides, and boat cruises.More

Mozart Square (Mozartplatz)

Mozartplatz is Salzburg’s main city square, named after its most famous son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The square, lined with cafés and restaurants, draws visitors from around the world who come to pay homage to the composer.More

Trip ideas

Visiting Eagle’s Nest and Berchtesgaden From Salzburg

Visiting Eagle’s Nest and Berchtesgaden From Salzburg

Sound of Music Tours From Salzburg

Sound of Music Tours From Salzburg

Top activities in Salzburg

Salzkammergut and Hallstatt Private Full-Day Tour from Salzburg
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Salzkammergut and Hallstatt Private Full-Day Tour from Salzburg

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Sound of Music / Hallstatt Tour

Sound of Music / Hallstatt Tour

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Sound of MusicTour by minivan

Hallstatt from Salzburg - 6-hour private Tour
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Amphibious Splash Tour on the Water and on the Land in Salzburg
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Hallstatt Private Tour from Salzburg

Hallstatt Private Tour from Salzburg

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All about Salzburg

When to visit

Summer is perfect for sightseeing and hiking through flower-filled Alpine valleys (a must for "The Sound of Music" fans), but Salzburg simply dazzles in the winter months. Festive-light displays and snow-dusted monuments provide the backdrop for a cultural season filled with highlights, most notably Winterfest, the popular Christmas markets, and January's Mozart Week.


A local’s pocket guide to Salzburg

Melanie Christof

A London-based account manager at Viator, Melanie enjoys traveling the world but she is always being drawn back to Austria, her home country.

The first thing you should do in Salzburg is...

take a stroll through Salzburg’s Old Town, snap a photo in front of Mozart’s birthplace, and sample the original Salzburger Mozartkugel, a marzipan- and nougat-filled chocolate praline, at Cafe Fürst.

A perfect Saturday in Salzburg...

involves a run along the river Salzach, an afternoon enjoying Salzburger Nockerl in a café, and a classical concert in the Baroque Marble Hall of Mirabell Palace or drinks on the Hotel Stein rooftop.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

taking a The Sound of Music Tour. Even if you’re not a fan of the musical, you can enjoy stunning movie locations such as Schloss Leopoldskron, Schloss Hellbrunn, and the charming town of Mondsee.

To discover the "real" Salzburg...

go to the Schranne Market, which takes place every Thursday on Mirabellplatz. There, you can sample local culinary delicacies and admire the local arts and crafts.

For the best view of the city...

head to the Fortress Hohensalzburg which offers stunning views over the city’s spires, domes, and the mountains beyond. You can take the funicular but hiking up Festungsgasse is more memorable.

One thing people get wrong...

is thinking Red Bull is an American brand, when it’s actually Austrian. Its founder Dietrich Mateschitz is from Salzburg and if you’re into airplanes and motorcars, make sure to visit the Hangar-7 at Salzburg Airport.

People Also Ask

What's Salzburg famous for?

Salzburg is renowned for its photo-worthy Old Town: a UNESCO-protected baroque treasure overlooked by the forbidding Hohensalzburg Fortress. The city was also where the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756—his birthplace is a museum—and played a starring role in the much-loved 1965 musical, The Sound of Music.

What should you not miss in Salzburg?

Be sure to visit Mozart’s Birthplace on Salzburg’s Getreidegasse. His family’s apartment has been reconstructed and showcases his original clavichord, violin, and family letters. Sound of Music fans, meanwhile, shouldn’t miss a tour of the movie’s iconic Salzburg filming locations, including the Mirabell Gardens with their “Do-Re-Mi” steps.

How many days in Salzburg is enough?

Three to four days in Salzburg is ideal. This is enough to enjoy Old Town highlights like Salzburg Cathedral, Mirabell Palace, Mozart’s Birthplace, and the shops and restaurants hugging the cobbled streets. It also still provides time to sample the surrounding Alpine countryside of blue-green lakes, villages, and mountain scenery.

Do they speak English in Salzburg?

Over 70 percent of Austrians speak English, and because Salzburg is tourist-oriented, you’ll likely find an even higher ratio of people who speak it well. But don’t take it for granted: Locals will be delighted if you’re ready with some stock phrases from the region’s official language: Austro-Bavarian German.

Is Salzburg worth visiting?

Yes. History, classical music, and film—especially Sound of Music—enthusiasts will find Salzburg rewarding and memorable. The city’s elegant baroque architecture, stylish shops, cozy pubs, and hearty cuisine, not to mention its surrounding mountain panoramas, will add extra appeal and keep general sightseers more than happy, too.

How can I spend 2 days in Salzburg?

Explore Salzburg Old Town on day one to view Salzburg Cathedral, Mozart’s Birthplace, and more before absorbing sweeping city views from the Hohensalzburg Fortress. Day two is prime for pursuing personal interests: enjoying the shops and restaurants; taking a Sound of Music four, or admiring the region’s lake-and-mountain scenery.

Frequently Asked Questions