The Best One Day Itinerary for Salzburg, Austria

Even if you're just passing through, you can see some of the best sights with this One-Day Itinerary for Salzburg, Austria!

While you’re exploring Europe, taking advantage of the travel days and long layovers is the best way to optimize your experience. If Salzburg is that place for you, check out how to spend a day seeing the best parts of Salzburg with this one-day itinerary for Salzburg, Austria!

Salzburg, Austria -translated to ‘salt-castle‘, is a well-preserved historic city in Central Europe. It is at the junction of diverse cultures from Bavaria, Hungary, with a special influence from the Catholic Church, which has created world-renowned achievements. Salzburg was constructed with an elegant Baroque style courtesy of the Church during the 10th century. Salzburg is an influential city; home of Mozart and a massive fortress that looms over the historic city. 

Salzburg’s central location makes it a perfect pit stop on your European travels. If you’re passing through Salzburg, Austria, try to fit a few spare hours into your day to see what the city has to offer. 

 

Snow falling on the Getreidegasse street in Salzburg, Austria

Table of Contents

Check out what Slow Travel is all about, and how you can incorporate it even on your shorter trips!

24-Hour Salzburg Card

Salzburg, Austria has a prime tourist card with access to museums, attractions, public transport, and more around the historical city. There are 31 included attractions, as well as the ability to skip the line when there is one! All attractions have an easy scanner at the entrance so you don’t need to wait in the ticket queue, just scan from your phone and you’re in!

The best part is you don’t need to make any stops at the tourist office to get these cards! They are available for purchase online, where you will immediately receive an email so you can download them straight to your Apple Wallet. There are additional discounts for children aged 6-15, and kids under 6 are free! If you travel in the low season, the cards are discounted even further. As a sustainable traveler, I also elect to travel in the off-season to distribute the load on an area from tourism, and the cost savings are a huge plus!

Salzburg Card Prices

  • 24-Hour / €27
  • 48-hour / €35
  • 72-Hour / €40

What you can expect in a day

The Salzburg Card has a TON of free access around the city, but it isn’t really possible to see it all in 1 day! This list is based on what I did in Salzburg for a day while trying to hit the most unique and best experiences, and skipping what didn’t appeal to me as much! Check out the full list of attractions to see what else you might be interested in fitting into your day! 

This itinerary starts and ends at the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof (Central Station), where most trains and buses stop. Save yourself some time and pre-purchase the 24-Hour Salzburg Card before your arrival so you can explore this beautiful city without the extra steps! 

Landing in Salzburg

This guide is centered around starting and ending at the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof (Central Station), used by most trains and long-haul buses. When you arrive, Salzburg Station has affordable luggage storage ranging from €3-4.50 for 24 hours. They have lockers ranging from personal items to 6-foot skis, so you can drop your things for the day to explore! Check out the map below at the yellow and green icons for all of the attractions you should see in a day!

Almost everything on this itinerary can be reached by foot, as it is all around the Historic City Center, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. This itinerary is dependent on purchasing the €27 Salzburg 24-Hour Card to gain access to most attractions and use FREE City Transport!

Must See - Salzburg Card

Included in Salzburg Card & Included in a 1-day itinerary

Must See

NOT included in Salzburg Card
Included in 1-day itinerary

Additional Attractions

Included in Salzburg Card, NOT included in the 1-day itinerary

Free Transport = Unlimited Exploration

As mentioned above, most of the city is accessible by walking, but the availability of free public transport adds some peace of mind that you easily make it back to the station to catch your departure. After a long day of walking, nothing beats grabbing a cold beer and enjoying every moment in a beautiful new place without needing to sprint back to the train. 

Enjoy having one less thing to think and plan about!

1. First Stop - Mirabell Gardens

As you leave the train station, you’re just a short walk from the historic center. By heading south towards Mozart’s residence, take a walk through the public gardens at Mirabell Palace. Created with swirling designs of color, the gardens are a peaceful place to walk and a beautiful reminder to enjoy your present moment. In the winter, the statues create a beautiful contrast with the designs in the snow.

2. Mozart's Residence

When you come out on the far side of the gardens, a few more blocks and you’ll come to Mozart’s Residence beside a large Catholic Church in a plaza. This is the location where the Mozart family lived for 15 years in the late 1700’s. Although 2/3 of the building was destroyed from a bombing during WWII, the reconstruction was done to resemble the authentic construction when it was occupied by the Mozart family.  Now, it houses his fortepiano in the great hall, some original documents and portraits, and an interactive music experience.

Mozart's Residence is a must see in a one day itinerary for Salzburg, Austria.

3. Fortress Hohensalzburg

Fortress Hohensalzburg is one of the best attractions in the city for its sheer size perched above the city. Constructed in the 11th century as a means of protection for the Archbishop, it is the largest fortress in Central Europe with a 360-degree view over the old city. You definitely can’t miss the chance to check it out! 

The first thing you’ll notice about the fortress is that it’s up a pretty steep hill. Luckily, the 24-Hour Salzburg Card grants you access to the funicular (steep train car) located at the base of the paved trail to save you time and a steep climb. The ride takes you up in about 1 minute, whereas walking takes 20 minutes to get to the fortress gates. As you get to the top, open up your virtual card, scan it on the reader, and explore where you want! 

The fortress has multiple museums and showcases inside featuring authentic armory, weapons, housewares, and history of the ages. Of all of the museums, you have access to the Fortress Museum, Marionette Museum, Rainer Regimental Museum, courtyards, chapel, and staterooms. There are other things available for purchase, so if you want to see it all check out the additional ticket options

You must enter the fortress before 11 a.m. for use with the Salzburg Card! I don't know how strict this is, especially since we traveled in the off-season with way fewer tourists, but prioritize it sooner rather than later, it's worth it!

4. Catacombs of St. Peter's abbey

Located just left of the funicular is the Cemetery of St. Peter. Although most people glance over cemeteries as a place to visit (although they are super fascinating and a view into a culture’s relationship with life), this one is different. This cemetery is home to 12th-century catacombs, dug from the side of Monchsberg Mountain. The catacombs were created and used as a hermitage and burial site during antiquity by Christians to avoid religious persecution. It only takes about 15 minutes to walk up the steps into the various caves for worship, with great views of the central city square! 

 

Stone staircase in the Catacombs in St. Peter's Abbey

5. Salzburg CAthedral

The second-most incredible building in Salzburg is the Salzburg Cathedral. Located in the center of the historic district, it is also the center of the local culture over the past few centuries as Salzburg was the seat of the Archbishop for the Catholic Church. The Cathedral can be enjoyed from the plaza due to its incredible architecture, but once you step inside you will be transported back to the Middle Ages. 

If you time your day right and can get to the Cathedral at noon, you’ll be able to experience the domed acoustics for a 30-minute organ concert. You’ll hear 7 unique pipe organs boast their music as you get lost staring at the 137 classical paintings that cover the ceiling. It isn’t every day that you get the chance to experience the grandness of a mid-century cathedral!

Discounted with the Salzburg Card, €3.5 for entrance, €6 for the organ concert

Salzburg Cathedral is a central destination in a one day itinerary for Salzburg, Austria
Inside perspective of the Salzburg Cathedral
View inside the Salzburg Cathedral during the daily organ concert

6. DomQuartier Museum

You’re able to get up to the massive organ in the back of the Salzburg Cathedral, but only via the DomQuartier Museum. This well-preserved building was the residence of the Archbishop and religious superiors. It is connected to the Cathedral by long wings filled with historic artifacts, furniture and information about the rise and reign of Catholicism in Salzburg. Luckily, the Salzburg Card grants free access to the museum, where you can stroll through leisurely or listen to a self-guided audio tour. 

7. Mozart's Birthplace

Since you only have a day, time to make your way to the other end of the city. On the way, you can make a stop at Mozart’s Birthplace – Salzburg’s most famous residence. This was Mozart’s family home for almost 30 years before moving across the river to Mozart’s Residence. The museum showcases some original certifications, letters, portraits, and instruments owned by the classical pianist, and is totally free with the Salzburg Card!

8. Greisdasse

The street Mozart grew up in is now a well-known shopping center and a charm to walk down. Whether you’re into shopping or not, Geisdasse is fun to window shop along the curved street among the baroque structures. This area has a lot of upper-end restaurants, or it can simply be used as a fun path to make your way to the next destination. 

9. Panorama View - (Monchsberg Aufzugm)

Just past the end of Greisdasse, there is an elevator service that takes you up to the Museum of Modern Art (also included in the Salzburg Card). However, the museum isn’t the destination, it’s the lookout point at the top of the elevator before the museum entrance. Located on the far side of the city, this spot looks out over the historic city, with a view of the cathedral’s facade and the massive fortress. When we visited, it was a snowy day in January, but this view can go for miles on a clear sunny day! 

View point over a snow-covered Salzburg city

10. Augustiner Braustubl (Brewpub)

At the top of the elevator, you have the chance to stroll through a peaceful green space above the river’s western bank. If you head north, you’ll come to Augustiner Brewpub where you can take a break and refuel with authentic Austrian cuisine, and beer served in classic stone steins. This isn’t just any regular brewery, it dates back to the year 1621 and is currently the largest Biergarten in Austria! With over 400 years of experience, they not only have amazing beer, but this brewpub also offers tours, hosts events, and has a buffet of local delicacies to enjoy with your freshly poured stein. 

The hours are NOT listed on Google Maps - be sure to check their website for updated times. At the time of this writing, Augustine's hours:
Monday - Friday: 3 pm - 11 pm
Sat. Sun. & Holidays: 2:30 pm - 11 pm

Augustiner Brewpub is a great spot for lunch included in a one day itinerary for Salzburg, Austria
Image from Augustiner Brau Website

11. Hellbrunn Castle

For a relaxing destination outside of the city, check out Hellbrunn Castle and Fountains, a picturesque location built in the 1600s. At this castle, the main feature is water in the stunning ponds and fountains which are illuminated with green plants blooming between April and November. Be aware, this palace has built-in trick fountains which may go off at any moment, so watch where you sit and step! Unfortunately, this attraction is closed between November and April in the winter months, but definitely worth stopping by in the summer months! This is an idyllic location used by many locals for a wedding venue for good reason.  

If you have kids (or you’re a kid at heart) there is also Hellbrunn Zoo located on the property and included free in the Salzburg Card! 

Hellbrunn Castle and Zoo is a great stop to include in a one day itinerary for Salzburg, Austria
Hellbrunn Castle | Image from Salzburg Info

12. Untersberg Cable Car

Located 10 km south of the city is the Untersberg Cable Car, which takes you over 1,300 meters up to get a stunning panorama view. Used often by hikers, winter sports enthusiasts, and tourists, the cable car holds 50 people and only takes 8.5 minutes for the ascent. This excursion itself costs €28, so this alone would make the 24-hour Salzburg Card worth it! 

The mountain is about 30 minutes outside of the city, so you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of time to fit this in to catch your onward travel. To get to the cable car, you’ll want to take public bus 25 or 28, which is free with the Salzburg Card. Since this does take you up a small mountain, be prepared for the weather with appropriate clothing and footwear! 

Untersberg Cable Car is a must see for a one day itinerary for Salzburg, Austria
Untersberg Cable Car | Image from Salzburg Info

13. Back to the Station

What a packed day of adventures! Even if you don’t get to see everything, hopefully, you get to take some time to soak up the rich history of Salzburg. This list is what worked best for me and my partner, but please slice it up and add anything else to make it your perfect travel day! 

Save yourself some time and pre-purchase the 24-Hour Salzburg Card before your arrival so you can explore this beautiful city without the extra steps! 

The Extras & Discounts

The Salzburg Card has a few other perks that might be useful for your trip. The first is a Card Package that includes a 1-night stay in Salzburg for as low as €67 a night! If this interests you, check it out sooner than later before the cheaper hotel rooms are gone (and prices start to rise)! There are also options for a 2-night stay with the 48-hour card, and a 3-night stay with the 72-hour card.

The second perk is all of the additional discounts you can get all over Salzburg. This includes concerts, a mountain adventure, an escape room, and so many museums! Check out all of the Salzburg Card Discounts & Benefits

Summary - The Best One Day Itinerary for Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg is an underrated city in Central Europe that has been a historic landmark for centuries.  Its wealth from the 11th century helped to create an impressive city that was at the heart of culture, religion, and classical music. Whether you’re exploring all of Europe or just stopping by on a layover to a far-away place, Salzburg is a city that can’t be overlooked. 

With the purchase of the 24-hour Salzburg Card for only €27, you will be able to explore the best of the city at your own pace. Use this itinerary to see the life of pianist Mozart, ancient fortresses, a Cathedral that transports you back in time, and architecture worth marveling at for days. 

What other destinations are on your bucket list? Find your Travel Inspiration here. 

Posted by Taylor Mallaber

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