2 Days in Salzburg

On my last trip to Austria, I was lucky enough to visit multiple cities including Vienna, Innsbruck, and Hallstatt. However, I was so charmed and delighted by my time in Salzburg, that I’d highly recommend dedicating a few days to this city during your next visit. There are many must-see sights and things to do in Salzburg, especially in the winter season.

I’m going to share with you the best Salzburg 2-3-day itinerary, which is the perfect amount of time to spend in the city. I will help you decide on how to spend 2 to 3 days in Salzburg in the wintertime. If you are visiting Salzburg in December, I’ll share some highlights for this time of the year, as there are many wonderful Christmas activities to enjoy.

Salzburg Castle View

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Salzburg is the fourth-largest city in Austria, located on the border of Germany. In 2020, its population was 156,000. The city’s historic center features beautiful Baroque architecture and has 27 churches within it. It’s famous for being the birthplace of the composer Mozart. I loved the historic center of Salzburg, its beautiful Alpine surroundings, and many more sights which I will tell you about.

I also wrote a separate blog post about all of the things that you should know before visiting Austria. I highly recommend that you check it out, to avoid making any mistakes. Click here to read it.

How much time to spend in Salzburg?

Salzburg can be visited as a day trip if you’re short on time and is about a two and a half-hour train journey from Vienna.

You’ll be able to see all the major sites during this time, however, to appreciate its beauty to the fullest, I would suggest spending at least two or three days in Salzburg.

When you first arrive in the city, whether for one day or for a longer time, I’d highly recommend visiting the tourist information office.

You will find one in every major city in Austria. It’s a place where you can get free maps, guides, and information about the attractions and seasonal events in the area. It will help you make the most of your time in Salzburg no matter how many days you’re staying.

I went to the one located in the Hauptbahnhof, the main train station. They answered all of my questions and that’s where I got my Salzburg card, about which I’ll explain more in a bit.

Salzburg Street

How to get around Salzburg?

Salzburg is a very compact and therefore extremely walkable city. Depending on where your accommodation is based, you probably won’t even need to use the public transportation system.

However, if you still need to use it, a bus ride will cost you only two euros to travel anywhere in the city, and the system is very simple and easy to use. If you arrive in Salzburg by train, you can take a public bus from the train station to get to the city center or walk to your accommodation like I did.

Alternatively, start your touring at the Mirabell Palace, which is near, the city’s central train station.

A Pro Tip for Traveling in Austria: Download the Omio app if you are traveling between the cities by bus or train. It will help you save money on your train and bus tickets. Sometimes, they are cheaper on the app, than at the main station. One of my tickets would have been 30 euros at the train station, but on the app, I was able to buy it for only 9 euros!

Train view in Austria

Where to stay in Salzburg?

There are a lot of options to choose from when deciding which accommodation in Salzburg to book. Of course, it all depends on your budget. Here are some of my favorite places to stay in Salzburg.

  1. Imlauer Hotel Pitter Salzburg

Located only ten minutes’ walk away from the train station, this 4-star hotel has a fantastic location in the center of Salzburg. It’s perfectly placed for visiting the main sights and famous landmarks of the city. However, I think the best part of staying here is the rooftop bar and restaurant. It offers amazing dining with views over the city and is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a meal or drink after a busy day of exploring in Salzburg. The rooms here have been newly renovated and are equipped with modern facilities. They also offer an amazing breakfast buffet here!

 

  1. Hotel Sacher Salzburg

For a luxury option in the city, you should definitely choose the iconic Hotel Sacher Salzburg. It has been operating since 1866 and is a traditional and elegant hotel. It’s very centrally located and offers modern conveniences, although is still decorated with original artwork. With multiple onsite restaurants and the delightful world-famous Café Sacher, you will have some great dining options to choose from. If you are celebrating a special occasion, this is the perfect accommodation to splurge on for a few nights.

 

  1. Wolfgang’s (Managed by a&o)

This is where I stayed on my trip to Austria, and if you’re traveling on a budget, then this hostel is the perfect place for you. There is a 24-hour front desk and shared kitchen, so you can cook to save money as well. There is also a beautiful and comfortable bar and lounge area. They offer clean dorms and private rooms as well. For real, every place in this building was very clean and comfortable. The location of this place is also perfect, right next to the central train station.

Hostel photo in Salzburg, Austria

Is the Salzburg City Card worth the money?

The Salzburg City Card includes all of your tickets to all of the city’s main sights and attractions. You’re just paying for this one card and will be able to visit all of the places included in the list (more than 30) one time for free.

It will depend on what you prefer to do when traveling. If you just like walking around and don’t want to go inside any of the attractions then you probably shouldn’t pay for it. If you are rushing through the city, a good thing to remember is that you can explore some palaces and gardens without a ticket, so it will hugely depend on what you’re planning on doing.

However, if you’re planning on visiting a lot of places during your trip to Salzburg, then it’s for sure something you should consider getting.

It’s very convenient as you pay only for the card, and then you don’t have to worry about paying at every entrance. And if you combine all of the tickets that you would have paid for in the end, it will be for sure a lot cheaper if you just use the Salzburg Card.

The card will also let you use all the public transportation for free (except for s-railways and S-Bahn).  It also includes discounts on different events and concerts. Sometimes you won’t even have to stay in line to get your ticket but will be able to skip it and go straight to the entrance.

Personally, because I wanted to see as much as I could in a short period of time, the Salzburg Card helped me save a lot of money in the end.

You can get your card either at the main train station or tourist office at Mozartplatz. You can also buy it online on the official website if you want to use it immediately.

Again, the card gives you one-time FREE admission to all of the city tourist attractions and museums.

The card is available for 24 hours for €29,00, 48 hours for € 38,00, and 72 hours for € 44,00. The price is a little bit cheaper when you’re traveling offseason.

I’m not sponsored to say this. I paid for my card with my own money. I just truly love how convenient it is.

Central Christmas Market in Salzburg

What to eat in Austria?

Check out my post here with my top recommendations for what to eat in Austria. There are many great Austrian dishes, both savory and sweet that you have to try during your trip. The Austrian cuisine is so delicious that even after you return home, you will still dream about it.

I loved visiting Austria at Christmas time for the chance I had to wander around the city savoring all the tasty treats from the Christmas markets.

Money Saving Tip in Salzburg: You will see those famous Mozart chocolates being sold in almost every store. However, don’t buy them in tourist shops or in places near popular attractions as they are always overpriced there. Head to a regular grocery store like Billa and buy them for a lower price. They are also a  great present to take home for your family and friends.

Mozart Chocolates Famous Dessert

Salzburg 2 Day Itinerary

Now, with all the main things sorted out, let’s get to the best Salzburg itinerary, and help you decide how to spend the best 2 days in Salzburg.

Day 1: Museum Run

First thing this morning, I’d recommend buying your Salzburg City Card, if you want to visit all of the attractions mentioned below, as all of them are included in that card. However, I’m still going to mention the entrance prices for those of you who don’t want to buy the card. Each price mentioned is for one adult ticket.

Have a wander around Judengasse this morning. It’s a central street where you could have breakfast or coffee before starting your day.

After that head to the Mozartplatz, and if you are visiting from mid-November, you can even enjoy ice skating here. It’s also a place near which the main Christmas Market is located.

Mozartplatz Ice Skating

On this day, there are plenty of different museums you can choose to visit, depending on your time restraints and interests.

If you’re not into exploring museums and learning history I would highly suggest you skip the first mentioned places as they will probably be very boring to you.

First, I would suggest visiting The Christmas Museum located right next to the skating rink. It displays many different items and symbols of the traditional celebrations of Christmas in Austria and southern Germany. Each of the items is of cultural and historical significance and was collected by one woman during a period of almost 40 years.

Ticket price: €6

Closed on Monday and Tuesday

Christmas Museum in Salzburg

Then continue to The Salzburg Museum / New Residence . This museum offers interesting insights into Salzburg’s history, art, and culture. It celebrates the artistic and cultural history of the city. Except for regular presentations and objects, there are many multimedia displays, which makes learning more interesting.

Ticket Price: €9

Museum in Salzburg

Afterward, continue to The Panorama Museum which is connected to the Salzburg Museum by a subterranean passage. It offers a unique experience, where you can view an incredible panoramic 85 feet (26 metres) painting of the city by J.M. Sattler. The painting showcases the everyday lives of Salzburg’s residents 200 years ago. It’ll let you see the comparison between those times and the present.

Ticket Price: €4.50

Museum Salzburg Panoramic View

If you are visiting at Christmas time, I’d recommend getting lunch today at one of the stalls at the Christmas Market. These usually open at 11 am each day, so after visiting those museums take a look at what they have there and grab something to eat. It’s located in the same area.

Christmas Market in Salzburg

If you are visiting at Christmas time, I’d recommend getting lunch today at one of the stalls at the Christmas Market. These usually open at 11 am each day, so after visiting those museums take a look at what they have there and grab something to eat. It’s located in the same area.

After lunch, I’d recommend visiting the centerpiece of Salzburg the DomQuartier and its part the Salzburg Residence and the Salzburg Cathedral. These are all stunning historical venues, and the expansive Dom Quartier is great for exploring the cultural history of Salzburg.

While on your walking tour of the Dom Quartier you will see impressive artworks of Residenz Gallery, walk onto the terrace overlooking the Christmas Market, continue through the rooms of the Cathedral’s Oratory, and pass by the organ loft of the cathedral.

Ticket Price for DomQuartier: €13

DomQuartier, Salzburg
Salzburg Cathedral - Organ Loft

After all this exploring you may need a little pick me up, and I’d suggest Café Tomaselli, located in the heart of Salzburg’s Old Town. It was established in 1700 and has been run for 150 years by the Tomaselli family. This café was also known to be Mozart’s favorite.

Cafe Tomaselli in the Old Town

The Altstadt Salzburg is amazing for simply walking around. Enjoy strolling around the streets of Goldgasse and the Alter Markt which is the Old Marketplace of the city. Salzburg is filled with charming narrow streets and some great stores for browsing in. If you love shopping, you may also want to visit Getreidegasse, which is a beautiful street with plenty of shops to choose from!

Salzburg Main Shopping Street

The Grunmarkt is a wonderful farmer’s market in the city, and nearby you can check out the Kollegienkirche, which is the Church of the University of Salzburg.

Kollegienchurch in Salzburg

As you can see, there is much to do in Salzburg, so you’ll want to pick and choose your personal highlights depending on how long you’re staying in the city.

Of course, no trip to Salzburg is complete without visiting Mozart’s birthplace. It is located at No. 9 Getreidegasse, and the Mozart family resided on the third floor between 1747 and 1773. It’s a place where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756. It’s an absolute must-visit when coming to Salzburg.

Ticket Price: €11

Mozart's Birthplace

Before finishing your sightseeing today, consider visiting the Burger Spitalkirche, a beautiful Catholic Church, or the Museum of Modern Art. Honestly, I visited the Museum Modern only because it was included in the card. So, if you don’t enjoy art that much, you could skip going inside the museum. However, you still have to go at least to enjoy the Panoramic terrace at the museum, which offers stunning views of Salzburg.

Ticket Price: €8

Museum der Moderne View

This evening, if you are not too tired and visiting Salzburg in winter, take a visit to the Sternadvent mit Wintermarkt. This Christmas market has traditional stalls offering unique gifts for your family and food stalls.

Otherwise enjoy a relaxed dinner and some traditional Austrian cuisine, before heading back to your hotel.

Christmas Market in Salzburg

Day 2: Royal Times

This morning, first head to the famous Mirabell Gardens. This is probably the only place that is better visited in the summertime, because of all the beautiful flowers. Mirabell Palace was built in 1606. Sadly, you can’t go inside the palace anymore as it’s a government building. However, you can take a look at the Marble Hall and the “Angel Staircase” leading up to it. The main reason to come here is to walk around the beautiful gardens outside. Make sure to take a look at the Pegasus Fountain, Palace Chapel, the Hedge Theater, the Orangery, and the Rose Garden.

Marble Hall at Mirabell Palace
Mirabell Palace and its gardens

Next up, I’d recommend visiting the Hohensalzburg Fortress. It sits at the top of the Festungsberg, a small hill in Salzburg. It is the largest and completely preserved fortress of Central Europe, dating from the 11th century.

You can get to the fortress either by foot or by taking a funicular, which is actually the oldest funicular in Austria, built-in 1892. There is an audio-guide provided in eleven languages.

Tips for your visit:

  1. Entrance before 11 am includes access to state rooms free of charge.
  2. Every Sunday at 11:45 am, a fanfare is performed from the Trumpeter’s Tower.
  3. Children are free of charge during summertime (July 1 – September 30)

Ticket Price: €12.90

Don’t forget to go inside the Museum. It’s a very interesting and interactive place to visit to learn more about the castle in a fun way.

Pro Travel Tip: Weather can change very fast from up there, so if when you get to the top there are no views because of the fog, don’t get discouraged just wait a little bit. It will likely be clear in several minutes.

You can enjoy some beautiful views of the city while walking on Kapuzinerberg, the hill on the eastern bank of the Salzach river where the fortress is located.

Hohensalzburg Fortress
View from the Hohensalzburg Fortress

Another place that you can visit is St. Peter’s Monastery and Catacombs. It’s a Benedictine monastery and former cathedral. It’s one of the oldest monasteries in the German-speaking area of Europe. The building is quite striking and definitely worth visiting while in the city.

Ticket Price: €2

Salzburg View from the Top

Finally, to complete your exploration of Mozart’s history, I’d recommend visiting the Mozart Residence. This is where Mozart family lived from 1773 to 1780, and it’s referred to as the Dance Master’s House. The Mozart Residence is located in today’s Makartplatz. This eight-room apartment on the first floor now became a museum.

No photos are allowed inside.

Ticket Price: €11

Mozart's Residence Salzburg

After a busy couple of days exploring, make sure you take some time tonight for relaxation and to enjoy the great dining in the city!

Depending on how much time you spend in each place and how long you’re staying in Salzburg, I would like to suggest some more places that you can visit. I was able to visit them because I decided to  stay in Salzburg for more time.

  • Silent Night Museum – the world’s most famous Christmas Carol has a museum dedicated to its history and is a fascinating look at this famous tune. Located 12 miles (20 km) north of Salzburg.
  • Sound of Music World – you can’t go to Austria without celebrating this timeless movie. This fun museum is dedicated to the Von Trapp family. You can also enjoy a guided walking tour sharing the history and fun facts about the movie.
  • A Mozart concert – what better place to celebrate the music of Mozart than in his hometown? It’s not hard to find a show time during your visit, so enjoy a relaxing hour or two listening to his music.
  • Kapuzinerkloster monastery – Located on a mountain facing the old town, there are two different scenic routes you can take to visit the monastery
  • Museum der Moderne Rupertinum – if you enjoy modern art, this is another great museum to explore.
  • Haus der Natur – great for families, this interactive natural history and science museum also offers a reptile zoo and aquarium. Be prepared to dedicate a little bit more time to it, at least 2 hours because it’s huge.
  • Toy Museum – another museum for visitors of all ages, this venue has hands-on exhibits and a children’s cinema. I loved seeing the antique toys, teddy bears, and dolls on display here.
  • A guided tour of Festival Halls – a great way to get a glimpse into the most incredible venues. Visits are only possible as part of guided tours. Tickets are sold 15 minutes prior to the start of the tour. Tours are available in German in English and are 50 minutes long.
Festival Halls

Day Trip idea from Salzburg

There is another day trip idea that you have to consider when visiting Salzburg. You simply have to visit Hallstatt while you’re in this region of Austria.

The fastest and most convenient way that I was able to find is to get on the bus first and then on a train which stops at the dock where you can get on the ferry. The bus takes a little bit under 2 hours and the train around 20 minutes. The train and the ferry come right after you arrive. You can buy your ticket just as I did at the Hauptbahnhof.

Hallstatt View
Hallstatt Streets

As you can see, there is much to keep you busy and entertained during a two or three-day visit to Salzburg. From the list above, I’m sure you can see that it would be easy to fill four or five days in the city if you can afford the time on your trip. Salzburg is only a couple of hours away by train from Vienna, so it is the perfect option for a twin-center trip. I loved my time exploring this beautiful city, and I hope you do as well on your next visit.

If you’re also visiting Vienna, during your trip to Austria, I highly recommend you read my other blog post on the best Vienna itinerary, click here to read it!

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