Salzburg is a beautiful city in Austria, bordering Germany with spectacular views of the Eastern Alps. The city is divided by the Salzach River, with medieval and baroque buildings of the Altstadt (Old City) on its left bank, and the 19th-century Neustadt (New City) on its right. It’s a small city with a big heritage, famous for Mozart and the Sound of Music.
With a well-planned itinerary, it is very possible to see Salzburg in one day! Its compact size means it’s easy to see the main sights within the city center, but also has amazing day trip options for those wanting to stay longer.
Check out our vlog below to see what we got up to during our day in Salzburg, and keep scrolling if you would like to read more on what to do during a visit here!
Within Austria, Salzburg is well connected to Vienna by rail. We caught the train from Vienna with our Eurail Pass and 2.5 hours later we were in the heart of the city – easy!
Within Europe, Salzburg is easily accessible from Munich and Zurich by rail. If you are heading in from somewhere else we suggest flying into Munich or Vienna and from there catch the train for the simpliest journey.
Where We Stayed
Knowing that we would only be spending one night in Salzburg we decided to splurge a little and stay at a hotel we had always dreamed of – Schloss Leopoldskron Hotel. This is the first time we can say that we spent the night inside a palace!
Located 20 minutes walk or 10 minute taxi ride from the center of Salzburg, this hotel is the perfect spot for a little getaway, set in a stunning 17-acre park. The palace and lake is a famous location for the Sound of Music film, but the main gates remain closed to casual visitors, ensuring privacy for guests – which we loved!
One of our favourite things about our stay is that nowhere is off limits. We were able to explore the palace, from the lavish ballroom to the floor to ceiling book-filled library with its very own secret staircase. The Great Hall, where the breakfast is served, is seriously a reason alone to stay at least one night!
Sound of Music Tour
We aren’t going to lie – we are massive SoM fans and this may have been a major factor in our decision to head to Salzburg for the day. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we spent half our time here on an amazing Sound of Music Tour with Panorama Tours.
First, we headed to Schloss Leopoldskron which was where they filmed the outside scenes for the Von Trapp Family home – and if that hotel name sounds familiar, yes that is the very hotel we stayed at!
Next we headed to one of the most iconic spots: the gazebo – and of course, we sang “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.” Along the way we drove past the actual Von Trapp family home, which they used for any outdoor scenes showing the house.
After, we began our drive into the hills passing by stunning lakes and quaint towns, all which appear during the first moments of the film showcasing the beauty of the area. An hour later we arrived at Mondsee which is a cute town where the wedding scenes were filmed. Cathedral of Mondsee was the building they used for the ceremony, which was constructed in the 15th century.
After spending some time walking through the colourful streets and eating a little too much apple strudel we were taken back to Salzburg and ended the tour at the beautiful Mirabell Palace and gardens. This is the scene where Maria and the children are singing “Do-Rei-Mi” on the steps. You’ll also see the vine-covered tunnel (though it lacked the vines as it was still winter when we visited) and the large fountain they sing around.
Other Must Do’s
Mozart Geburtshaus (Mozart’s Birthplace)
Salzburg is not only famous for the Sound of Music, it is also the birthplace of Mozart. Mozart’s Birthplace is a very surreal experience, where you are given an insight into the childhood of Mozart himself and into his journey to becoming one of the most gifted and talented musical composers of all time.
Walk along the Salzach River
Take an afternoon walk by the Salzach River. The river provides some of the most beautiful views of the city and has some great photo spots.
Fortress Hohensalzburg (Salzburg Castle)
One of the most popular attractions to visit in Salzburg is the Salzburg Fortress. During our visit we did not have a clear day as it was snowing, however we have heard that the fortress provides amazing views overlooking Salzburg.
Hellbrunn Palace and Trick Fountains
If you are visiting in during the warmer months you must go here. The palace is over 400 years old, however the main reason to visit is the tour of the trick fountains. You will need to book a tour to experience the fountains, and also be prepared to get wet!
Quick Tip: We recommend getting yourself a Salzburg Card, which provides you with free admission to all places mentioned and more, plus free use of the public transport system!
Where to Eat
Salzburg has some incredible food markets that you must visit during your stay! There is a weekly market at Schranne, a daily at Grünmarkt, and a weekly organic market at Kajetanerplatz. These are all great places to try the local produce such as cheese, meat, vegetables, bread, and fish. They also sell typical Austrian foods from the area like fish soup, deep fried chicken, sausages and of course cake!
As we were in Salzburg on a weekday, on a very cold day there were only a few stalls open at the Grünmarkt, but we did find a lady selling amazingly large pretzels that filled our hungry bellies.
READ NEXT: 48 HOURS IN VIENNA | TOP THINGS TO SEE & DO