Salzburg is one of the most renowned cities of Austria, famous for the beautifully preserved old town and baroque architecture. It’s also the birthplace of Mozart and the shooting scene for the world-famous movie The Sound of Music.
This picturesque city is one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a unique place, worth visiting and exploring.
Salzburg is filled with architecturally rich cathedrals, museums and palaces built under the influence of German and Austrian-Hungarian culture. At every step, you’ll find something to admire, from the stunning Hohensalzburg Fortress to the beautiful winding streets.
If you’re planning to spend one day in Salzburg, the city surrounded by majestic mountains, you’re in the right place. In this article, I’ll share with you everything you need to know when planning your Salzburg itinerary.
1. Tips & tricks
To make your life easier, I’ve been searching for useful tips & tricks that will help you during your trip to Salzburg. Here they are.
- You can store your luggage in the luggage lockers at the train station
- If you’re on a budget, try to avoid hotels and restaurants in the city center. They’re the most expensive.
- I recommend buying a Salzburg card for 24 h. You’ll get free entrance to the city’s main tourist attractions and free transport.
- If you decide not to buy a Salzburg card, make sure to buy your bus tickets from tobacco shops or from the stations. They’re cheaper than buying directly from the driver.
- Put on your most comfortable shoes and don’t forget your camera home!
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2. One day in Salzburg itinerary
If you’re going to follow this itinerary, you’ll discover some incredible places during your one day in Salzburg. The city is pretty compact and you can easily walk from one attraction to the other.
If at the end of the day, you’ll feel a bit too tired, you can skip the hike to Kapuzinerberg. Even though the view is amazing, you’ll get the chance to admire the city throughout the day.
We’ll start the day with a stop to the famous Hohensalzburg Fortress and then we’ll make our way through Altstadt. We’ll end our day on the other side of Salzach River at Mirabell Palace.
Built in 1077, Hohensalzburg Fortress is one of the must-see places in Salzburg. If you want to skip the long waiting lines, I recommend visiting this fortress as early in the morning as possible.
Good to know – if you’re visiting the fortress before 10 am, you can get a discounted entrance ticket.
To get to it, you can either walk to the top or take the funicular. If you’re on a budget, I recommend walking to the top. However, if you want to save some time, I recommend taking the funicular – the ride is about 50 seconds long.
The best part about visiting the fortress is the view of Salzburg. Take a few moments to admire the city and the Alps and then, if you’re passionate about history, you can head to the museum where you’ll find several beautifully decorated rooms and historical objects.
Opening hours – May through September – 8:30 am to 8 pm; October through April – 9:00 am to 5 pm
Entrance fee – basic ticket is 12,4 EUR for adults and free for children. You can save money by buying your tickets online.
After exploring the Hohensalzburg Fortress, it’s time to discover the Old Town of Salzburg, also known as Altstadt. It’s home to beautiful historical buildings and very well preserved squares surrounded by quaint streets and buildings constructed in Baroque style.
St. Peter’s Abbey
Right near the funicular going up to the fortress is the beautiful St. Peter’s Abbey. Built in 696, the abbey is the oldest monastery in the German-speaking area and it houses the oldest library in Austria with more than 100,000 volumes.
While you’re here, don’t hesitate to also visit the graveyard with beautifully decorated gravestones and the catacombs. You might remember this place from The Sound Of Music.
Good to know – Right near the abbey is St. Peter’s Bakery (Stiftsbäckerei St Peter). Grab some fresh pastries or bread and you’ll thank me later!
Opening hours – for the updated opening hours, click here.
Entrance fee – 2 EUR for visiting the catacombs, free with the Salzburg card.
Lunch at the oldest restaurant in Central Europe
If you’re looking for a unique experience and you’re ready to splurge on an unforgettable meal, I recommend having lunch at St. Peter Stiftskeller (it opens daily at 11.30).
The restaurant has 11 rooms, 2 of which are carved into stone, right under the Hohensalzburg Fortress. It’s one of the most prestigious restaurants in Salzburg and it even offers weekly “Mozart” dinners.
If you want to enjoy a traditional Austrian lunch, in a unique setting, a visit to St. Peter Stiftskeller is a must.
Salzburg Cathedral & Residenzplatz
The Salzburg cathedral is a fine example of Baroque architecture. The cathedral was initially built in 774 but it has been rebuilt several times since then.
It’s one of the most beautiful buildings in the city and a must-see on a Salzburg one day trip. Don’t hesitate to visit its beautiful interior and admire the organs, one of which Mozart played.
Opening hours – the opening hours vary depending on the month. To check the updated schedule, click here
Right near the Salzburg Cathedral is the beautiful Residenzplatz, the biggest square in the city. With a beautiful fountain sitting right in the center of the square and beautiful buildings surrounding it, Residenzplatz should be on your itinerary.
Don’t hesitate to also stop for a few minutes at Domplatz, another beautiful square worth visiting.
Another famous yet smaller square is Mozartplatz. The focal point of this square is the bronze Mozart statue, erected in 1842.
From this square, you can directly head to the Salzburg Museum, the Traklhaus and The Salzburg Christmas Museum.
Mozart’s Birthplace Museum
For music lovers, visiting the birthplace of Mozart is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If you’re curious to see where Mozart grew up, the violin he played as a child and other instruments, you have to visit this museum.
Opening hours – 9 am – 5.30 pm
Entrance fee – €12 for adults and €4 for children
Dinner at Burgerista
After so much sightseeing, it’s time to grab a bite at Burgerista. We still have a few places to visit at the end of this one-day itinerary of Salzburg and having lunch at a traditional restaurant would take too long.
At Burgerista you can enjoy a delicious burger for just a little over 5 EUR and they also have veggie options. Now it’s time to head to our next destination.
Mirabell Palace and Fountains
It’s time to leave Altstadt, and cross the Salzach River to the other side of the city on Makartsteg Bridge. This bridge is perfect for the romantic travelers who want to admire the thousands of love padlocks.
Right after crossing the bridge, head right and stop by Cafe Sacher. You can’t leave Salzbourg without trying a delicious Sachertorte.
After indulging in this delicious cake, continue your journey to Mirabell Palace and Fountains, another filming location for The Sound of Music.
Good to know – There is even a Sound of Music tour, where you’ll have the chance to visit filming locations outside the city such as Mondsee Cathedral and Lake Fuschl.
Mirabell Palace is a famous destination, known for its mesmerizing fountains and lush gardens. The palace was built in the 1600s and is now being used as a venue for concerts and events. Also, Salzburg’s municipal offices and the mayor’s office are located here.
From the gardens, you’ll get a beautiful view of the fortress and part of the old town. Make sure to bring your camera with you!
Opening hours – 8 am to 6 pm
Entrance fee – Free
For those who aren’t tired yet, I have one more stop for you before ending the day – Kapuzinerberg, a 640 meters hike at the end of which you’ll be rewarded with the most incredible view.
You’ll pass by beautiful abbeys, churches and, at the end, you’ll admire the best view of Salzburg and the Alps. After the hike, take a few moments to enjoy a stunning sunset.
3. How to get around Salzburg?
If you’re planning to visit Salzburg in a day, I recommend exploring it on foot. The city is beautiful and at every step, you’ll discover beautiful gardens, hidden alleys, and awesome souvenir shops.
Don’t waste your time waiting on buses or spending precious minutes stuck in traffic. Put on your comfortable shoes and explore the city on foot!
However, if you feel that walking is too tiring, you can always hop on the bus or call a taxi.
4. Is one day in Salzburg enough?
One day is enough to visit the main tourist attractions in the city. You’ll have enough time to visit the old city center and catch a glimpse of Salzburg’s culture and history.
However, if you’d like to visit everything that Salzburg has to offer, I’d recommend spending at least 2 days in this charming Austrian village. You can even visit other nearby cities as a day trip such as Hallstatt and Hohenwerfen Castle.
5. Where to stay
If you’re planning to spend the night in Salzburg, I’ve been searching for the best hotels in town, for every budget. Here are my recommendations.
- Budget – Alstadt Hotel Hofwirt – quiet location, modern rooms, breakfast included, good value for money
- Mid-Range – Hotel Elefant – great location, clean rooms, breakfast included, friendly staff
- Luxury – Hotel Schloss Monchstein – great location, awesome views, elegant and spacious rooms, great amenities, breakfast included
6. What to visit beyond Salzburg
If you still have time to explore more of Austria, there are a few places I’d recommend visiting. One of them is among the most beautiful cities in Europe and it’s called Hallstatt. The other one is the beautiful Hohenwerfen Castle. I’ll tell you more about each of these destinations below.
-> Read my Hallstatt travel guide here
This 900-years old fortress is located in the Pongau region near Salzburg and is surrounded by the Berchtesgaden Alps. The fortress can be visited and from the top, you can admire the jaw-dropping surrounding views.
7. Final thoughts
I hope that you enjoyed these things to do in Salzburg in one day. Salzburg is a beautiful city, with a rich culture and history, perfect to explore on foot.
Keep in mind that the city is very crowded during the summer. If you’d like to avoid the crowds, try visiting it at the beginning of autumn or during the winter. If you have any questions about spending one day in Salzburg, let me know in the comments section below.
If you’re planning to visit Vienna too, read my awesome travel guide. 🙂
May the travel bug bite you!