Situated right in the heart of Austria, Salzburg was an independent state from the rest of the country until 1816. It is synonymous with music as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born here. It hosts the annual Salzburg Festival, which showcases many operas and attracts millions every year. Salzburg is also where ‘The Sound of Music’ was filmed.
Located in the centre of the country, Salzburg is Austria’s fourth largest city. It’s an extremely picturesque city, surrounded as it is by mountains. Salzburg’s old town is a shining example of baroque architecture and is so well-preserved that it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Straddling the river Salzach, this city has a long history. Even though Salzburg was founded by Saint Rupert in the 700s, there is evidence of settlements in the area dating all the way back to Neolithic times.
Nowadays, Salzburg combines this rich history with a vibrant nightlife and a large number of annual festivals, making the city a really popular destination among tourists.
Scattered throughout the city on both side of the river, you’ll find a lot of different attractions from Mozart’s birthplace to Mirabell Gardens, where some scenes from ‘The Sound of Music’ were filmed. Taking a short trip up to Mönchsberg, which overlooks the city, you’ll find the Hohensalzburg Fortress and the Museum of Modern Art.
From classical music to club nights, Salzburg’s varied nightlife provides something to suit every taste. There are a huge number of restaurants, bars, cafés and clubs across the city.
Whether you’re looking to sample some traditional Austrian fare, Italian, or a quick snack, there are a huge number of restaurants and cafés all over the city serving many different types of cuisine. Depending on where you choose, you can find some very reasonable prices. Look out for Mittagsmenüs (mid-day menus) as these often offer a cheaper option.
The streets of the Alter Markt area, as well as Getreidegasse, Griegsgasse and Linzer Gasse all sport many different places to choose from. During the various festivals held in the city, most notably the Salzburg Festival in the summer, places are a lot busier.
If you plan to cook your own food while visiting the city, there are some great markets where you can find lots of fresh local ingredients. Two of the most popular are the Universitätsplatz market (open Mon-Sat) and the market close to Mirabellplatz (open Thurs). Here you’ll find vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and more.
In terms of fast food, Bosna is probably the most popular local dish. It originated in Salzburg and consists of two bratwursts, onions, mustard and a sprinkling of spices on a white bun. Vendors throughout the city offer this classic version of Bosna, along with various other toppings.
Ice-cream is a big deal here too. All around you’ll see signs proclaiming ‘Eis’ is available and it’s a lovely treat on a warm summer night. If you’re in the mood for a bit of opulence with your ice-cream, Café Tomaselli is a great choice. Styled like an old Viennese coffee house, the prices here are very reasonable and the house speciality sundaes come in large portions. Like many of Salzburg’s cafés, this is a great place to people watch from the large number of tables outside.
By air: Salzburg W.A. Mozart International Airport is located 4km from the city centre. You can get the no. 2 bus from the airport to the Hauptbahnhof. The journey lasts around 20 minutes and it costs €1.80 for a single ticket.
By train: The Hauptbahnhof is the main train station in Salzburg and is around a 15 minute walk from the city centre. Regular train services to destinations in Austria and across Europe run from here.
By bus: Frequent bus services connect Salzburg with other parts of Austria, as well as many locations around Europe. Many of these buses also leave from the Hauptbahnhof.
On foot: As a lot of Salzburg’s compact city centre is pedestrianised, it’s an easy place to walk around. Many of the main attractions are within walking distance of each other.
By bus: Salzburg has an environmentally friendly network of trolley-buses. These Stadtbus services run frequently on over 20 lines all across the city and into the surrounding areas until about midnight.
The city’s Old Town is filled with spectacular examples of baroque architecture. This can be seen in the Salzburg Cathedral, along with a host of other buildings. Also in the Old Town, you’ll find Getreidegasse. This is Salzburg’s main shopping street and is famous for the often ornate, wrought iron guild signs displayed by each store. Also on this street, you can see Mozart’s birthplace.
One of the mountains overlooking the city is Mönchsberg. It’s a short trip from Old Town using the funicular and up here you’ll find breathtaking views of the city, the Hohensalzburg Fortress and the Museum of Modern Art. In the fortress you can visit the Fortress Museum and the Marionette Museum, while the Museum of Modern Art is filled with interesting displays and exhibits.
Salzburg is famous for its musical associations. As well as being the home of Mozart, it’s the city where the much loved movie ‘The Sound of Music’ was filmed. Wandering around the Mirabell Gardens, you’ll recognise some of the locations used in the film. These gardens are a great spot for a stroll. You can check out the dwarf garden and the hedge theatre or just sit beside one of the many fountains.
If you want to spend some time outside the city, Hellbrunn is a great choice. There are lots of things to see here including the Summer Palace, the trick fountains and the zoo. The trick fountains are especially enjoyable. A little further past Hellbrunn, you’ll reach the Untersberg. It’s possible to get to the summit of this 1.86 km high mountain by using the cable car. Spectacular views and many hiking trails await you at the top.
Attractions in Salzburg
Mozartplatz 1, Salzburg, Austria
This museum has a very modern, swanky interior and displays a huge selection of art and artefacts from cloths to letters to paintings. Famous citizens from Salzburg are also featured in the interesting exhibits and, given that Salzburg is the home of Mozart, music is also a big thing here.
Open Tues-Sun 9am-5pm, Thurs 9am-8pm, Mondays in July, Aug, Dec 9am-5pm. Admission €7, €5.50 on Sundays.
Mönchsberg 32, Salzburg, Austria
Overlooking the city from one of Salzburg’s high hills, you can reach this museum by using the bank of lifts on Gstätengasse. Once you get up there, you’ll find a great view of the city. The museum itself is big, bright and airy, with a host of interesting exhibits. These include video installations and a room where kids of all ages can make some modern art of their own.
Open Tues-Sun 10am-6pm, Wed 10am-8pm. Closed Mondays. Admission €8.
30 mins from city centre, Salzburg, Austria
The Untersberg mountain, located near the picturesque town of Gartneau, is around 1.86km high. You can get to the top by using the cable car. At the top, you’ll find amazing views that are well worth the trip up even on cloudy days. There are various different hiking trails you can follow all over the mountain top and also a few places to eat and drink.
St. Peter Bezirk, Salzburg, Austria
St. Peter’s Cemetery, close to the exit of the fortress funicular, is filled with very ornate graves, complete with lanterns to decorated headstones to flowers. Some of these markers are very old, and belong to many notable citizens of Salzburg including members of Mozart’s family. You’ll also find interesting Catacombs here.
Open Apr-Sept 6.30am-7pm, Oct-Mar 6.30am-6pm. Admission to the cemetery is free, catacombs cost €1.
Mirabellplatz, Salzburg, Austria
Try not to burst into song as you wander around Mirabell Gardens, where you’ll recognise locations used in the movie ‘The Sound of Music’. These beautiful gardens were first opened to the public in 1854 and today are filled with colourful flowers, stone statues and large fountains. You can stroll through the hedge theatre or go check out the 28 dwarf statues in the dwarf garden.
Open daily, 6am-dusk. Admission is free.
off Linzer Gasse, Salzburg, Austria
Here you’ll see where Mozart’s widow Constanze is buried. There are lots of unique headstones around the graveyard and memorials all over the walls surrounding the cemetery. The church itself is also worth visiting, with many statues and paintings to see.
Open Summer 9am-7pm, Winter 9am-4pm. Admission free.
South side of Residenzplatz, Salzburg, Austria
When you get inside the Cathedral, you won’t be able to help craning your neck up to check out the design on the ceiling and also the dome, visible as you head towards the altar. Ornate pews and organs are on display here as well, and once you get back out to the doors, take a look at the detail of the leaves on them. There’s also a Cathedral Museum located in the vestibule, housing art and artefacts from the Middle Ages to the present day.
Open Cathedral , Museum Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sunday and public hols 11am-6pm. Admission to Cathedral is free, Museum costs €5.
Hofstallgasse 1, Salzburg, Austria
Home to the most major events in Salzburg, this building was originally a stables. Today it can be visited either when there is a performance on (it can accommodate up to 2,300 people) or when a tour visits.
Open daily with 2-3 tours running throughout the day. See local listings.
Getreidegasse 9, Salzburg, Austria
On January 27th, 1756 Mozart was born in this house which is now a museum. Highlights in the house include his violins, portraits and his clavichord (early key instrument).
Open daily 9am-6pm, admission €5.50.
off Makartplatz, Salzburg, Austria
Constructed under Prince-Archibishop Wolf Dietrich in 1606, some of the original features of the building can no longer be seen. Today it is home to the city’s mayor.
Mönchsberg 34, Salzburg, Austria
Located atop one of the hills surrounding the city, is definitely worth a visit. The cable railway, which is located on Festungsgasse and is Austria’s oldest funicular, will take you straight up or else you can brave the steps. As well as offering spectacular views out over the city, there’s a lot to do in the fortress itself such as the Fortress Museum. The Marionette Museum is really interesting too, even if some of the dolls are a little creepy.
Open Jan-Apr & Oct-Dec 9.30am-5pm, May-Sept 9am-7pm. Combined admission to funicular and fortress is €10.
Wiener Philharmonikergasse 9, Salzburg, Austria
Showing both temporary and permanent exhibits, the Rupertinum Gallery is a showcase for some of Austria’s lesser known artists.
Open 9am-6pm daily, and until 9pm on Wednesdays (times may vary between seasons). Admission €4-€5.
Fürstenweg 37, Salzburg, Austria
Dating back to the 17th Century, this palace was built as a home for Prince-Archbishop Markus Sittikus. Some of the palace’s biggest attractions are the trick fountains in the gardens and the city zoo.
Residenzplatz 1, Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg’s state rooms date back to 1120 and it is where the seat of the Salzburg prince-archbishops was. The Residenz is made up of 15 opulent state rooms, showcasing lots of renaissance and baroque treasures from tapestries to chandeliers to ceiling frescos. Mozart gave his first court concert here when he was 11. As you walk in you can pick up an audio guide in a number of different language. This guide will tell you all about the rooms, the Prince Archbishops of Salzburg who used them.
Open Tues-Sun 10am-5pm, closed on Mondays. Admission €8.20.
Burgerspitalgasse 2, Salzburg, Austria
If you want to release the ‘inner child’ in you this is the best place to do it! The toy museum provides an interesting insight to what children played with in the past.
Salzach River Right Bank, Salzburg, Austria
On the right bank of the river, this forested area is one of the best places to go for a panoramic view of the city.
The locals themselves like to stay at the dinner table even after they’ve finished their meal to have some drinks, so if you eat out in the city you’ll see a lot of that. Coffee houses and cafés are also incredibly popular and a lot of them serve alcohol as well as a wide selection of hot drinks. With some of these opening until 11pm or midnight they provide a nice alternative if you’re looking for a quieter evening. In the summer, it’s nice to sit outside one of the many cafés throughout the city, sip a coffee or a beer and watch the world go by.
Beer gardens are quite popular here too, especially during the summer when the nights are warm and pleasant. You’ll find a really popular beer garden at Die Weisse and Sudwerk. This micro-brewery makes its own beer, also called Die Weisse, and you can sit outside and sample one of the bottles or tall glasses.
Considering Salzburg’s association with music, a nice way to spend an evening is to keep away from the watering holes and go to one of the many classical concerts held throughout the year across the city. If classical music isn’t your thing, there are also some great rock clubs. Most notable amongst these is the Rockhouse. This live music venue hosts various local and international acts and also has its own bar.
Salzburg is a student town with three universities, so you’ll find a lot of bars offering drinks or promotions. One such place is Murphy’s Law, a really popular Irish bar.
Entertainments in Salzburg
Anton Neumayr Platz 2, Salzburg, Austria
A bar, club, café, restaurant and venue, the Republic has something for everyone. From its live music brunches on Sundays to club nights ranging from dance to salsa, it earns its 300,000 visitors each year. You can party inside at the funky bar areas or enjoy a drink outside under one of the many yellow, tree-like umbrellas.
Open Sun-Thurs 8am-1am, Fri/Sat 8am-4am.
Gstättengasse 33, Salzburg, Austria
This Irish bar is a very popular spot, which might have a lot to do with its happy hour every day from 7pm-8pm. During this time all beers and ciders are half price. Small and with a lively atmosphere and friendly staff, it’s got tables outside too. With the bar’s beer card, if you buy nine pints you get the tenth free. Jugs of sangria are available for only €10.
Open 7 days, 2pm-2am. WiFi available with purchase.
Rupertgasse 10, Salzburg, Austria
Die Wiesse and Sudwerk are part of the same building. Die Weisse is also the name of this micro-brewery’s self-brewed beer. It comes in bottles or tall glasses and you can buy six bottles in the accompanying shop for €14.40. The atmosphere is lively here, with loud music, lots of conversation and a big beer garden to sit out in on warmer nights. On Fridays and Saturdays mojitos are €4.90 all night. Shots are good value too, with a kamikaze costing only €2.50.
Open Mon-Wed 5pm-2am, Thurs-Sat 5pm-3am. Closed Sundays.
Augustinergasse 46, Salzburg, Austria
This beer garden is one of Salzburg’s most famous and has been on the social scene in the city since 1622. Divided between an indoor area and an outdoor ‘biergarten’, when full there can be anything up to 2800 people here.
Leopoldskronstraße 5-7, Salzburg, Austria
Built into the Rainberg mountain, this club really is a cave! At the weekends it is a good place to go if you enjoy dance music.
Schallmooser Hauptstrasse 46, Salzburg, Austria
For live rock music, the Rockhouse is a great place to check out when in Salzburg. Both local and international acts play gigs in this venue, which also has its own bar. With stone walls and lots of exposed piping on the ceiling, the bar’s interior is dark and loud. The long bar area has a large drinks menu on the boards behind it and DJ decks set up at the back of the room.
Open Mon-Thurs 6pm-2am, Fri-Sat 6pm-4am. Closed on Sundays.
Rudolfskai 24, Salzburg, Austria
Vis à Vis will suit those looking for a quiet evening, yet still don’t want to be going to bed too early!
1 Herbert von Karajan Platz, Salzburg, Austria
Named in honour of Salzburg’s most famous maestros Herbert von Karajan, this is a stylish bar with people often drinking champagne as well as beer.
Rudolfskai 12, Salzburg, Austria
The Shamrock Bar is a popular Irish bar not far from Getriedgasse. Inside it looks kind of cave-like, with stone walls and lots of nooks and crannies. There are lots of places to sit, sports on the TV and lots of high stools at the bar. Live music is played here every night from 10pm and a pool competition is held every Sunday at 9. Pints cost around €4.50 here and a larger will set you back €3.50. Shots range from €3 and many of the cocktails cost €6.
Open Mon-Sat 12pm-2am/3am/4am. Closed Sundays.
A-5071 Walzsezenheim, Salzburg, Austria
The casino is the best place to go in Salzburg if you are feeling lucky! Even though there is a cover charge, you will be given casino chips upon entering.
Neutorgasse 34, Salzburg, Austria
This tavern (Heurigen) is steeped in Salzburgian history and has been around for years. It is is full of character and always has a good atmosphere.
Schwarzstr. 3, Salzburg, Austria
When the crowds of a pub don’t seem appealing, this café close to the River Salzach stays open until 11pm and presents a good alternative.
Schwarzstraße 24, Salzburg, Austria
Seating 350 people, operas, plays and ballets frequent the stage. If you are looking for some true Salzburgian culture then this is one of the city’s best place to sample it.
EU, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and US citizens can stay for a period of up to ninety days with a valid passport without a visa, but if you intend staying for a period which extends this you will need to obtain a visa.
Citizens of South Africa are among the nationalities that do need a visa to enter Austria and this should be obtained from the Austrian Embassy in advance of travelling.
If you are in any doubt as to whether or not you may need a visa to enter the country or wish to work while you are in Austria, you should also contact the Austrian Embassy in your home country.
The currency used in Austria is the Euro which is made up of 100 Cent. Notes come in denominations of €100, €50, €20, €10 and €5 and the coins in use are €2, €1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c and 1c.
The official language is German and there are many regional dialects. English is also commonly spoken throughout Salzburg.
Salzburg has an Alpine climate, which means warm, sunny summers and cold winters. Come prepared for sudden showers of ‘string rain’, a phenomenon particular to this city. Highest temperatures generally happen in July and August, with temperatures in January and December often dropping below zero.
Visitors from EU countries are entitled to medical treatment under the EU Reciprocal Medical Treatment agreement. Before you travel you should collect an E111 form from your local social security office. This form may also be obtained in post offices also.
Salzburg is in the Central European Time zone and is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
In general shops are open from 8.00am to 6.00pm from Monday to Friday and from 8.00am until midday on Saturday with the exception of the first Saturday of every month when they open until 5.00pm. Larger department stores and shopping centres remain open until 7.30pm and until 5.00pm every Saturday but most stores remain closed all day Sunday.
Banks vary from branch to branch but as a general rule, they open between 8.00am and 12.00pm and again from 1.00pm until 4.00pm from Monday to Thursday and from 8.00am until 1.00pm on Friday.
Salzburg’s tourist offices are the best place to get information on the city and its tours. The city’s main office is at Mozartplatz 5. There is also one located in the Hauptbahnhof.
In Austria value added tax (VAT) is calculated at a rate of between 20% and 34%. This is usually included on a quoted price but you should confirm this prior to purchasing anything to avoid any confusion when it comes to payment. For non-EU residents, however, the good news is that you can get the tax back on any item for which you pay over $1,000. In order to avail of this incentive, you need to complete a U-34 form when you are making your purchase. When you’re leaving the country, you present both the item and the cheque at customs. The officials will stamp it for you and you can then cash your cheque at any of the booths with the Tax-Free logo and Cash Refund sign. This is only applicable where you are leaving the country within three months.
While traveller’s cheques are widely accepted, there are some places which will refuse to do so, particularly in more remote parts of the country. Therefore, it is advised that you change them into euro as soon as you arrive.
Electricity in Austria is 220 volts AC, 50Hz.
The country code for Austria is +43 and the area code for Salzburg is (0)662. Austrian phone booths are plentiful and easy to use. Most have instructions in four languages (including English). It is also worth noting that Austria’s telephone system is one of the most expensive in the world so be prepared, even when making a local call. A lot of telephones take phone cards (Telefonkarte), which are available from all post offices, tobacconists and some other shops.
Post offices are located all over the city and change currency as well as performing normal day to day post office duties.
Because the service charge is normally included on most bills, tipping is not compulsory. If the service you receive is particularly good, however, it is customary to leave a small additional amount. If the service charge is not included a tip of between 10% and 15% is sufficient. With regard to taxi drivers, it is usual to tell them to keep any small change.
It is worth noting what Austria’s public holidays are before travelling, as the majority of businesses, banks and shops shut for the day.
In Austria they take place on New Year’s Day (January 1st), Epiphany (January 6th) and Easter, Labour Day (May 1st), Ascension Day (May 29th), Whit Monday (first Monday in June), Corpus Christi (June 19th) , Assumption (August 15th), Austria’s Notional Day (October 26th), All Saints Day (November 1st), Immaculate Conception (December 8th) and Christmas.