What to do in Salzburg in One Day
Salzburg, Austria is beautiful city a stone's throw away from the eastern alps. If you are staying in Munich, Vienna, Innsbruck or Graz, consider a Salzburg day trip! Wondering what to do in Salzburg in one day?
There are so many things to do in Salzburg! This city is the birthplace of Mozart, the backdrop for the Sound of Music, and has magnificent palaces featuring beautiful gardens and 400 year trick fountains, all under the watchful eye Hohensalzburg Fortress perched high above.
When visiting Salzburg it is a great city to explore by foot. The city has two great pedestrian streets, Gretreidegasse and Linzergasse. These are what you think of when you think Europe.
These are the classic European narrow streets designated for foot traffic only, lined with boutique shops, quaint restaurants and cafes, all marked with their wrought iron signs hanging overhead.
Street performers are a common sight. Keep an eye out for the "statue of Mozart" that might just smile at you.
You should also take a cruise on the blue waters of the Salzach River for a unique perspective. No matter what you choose, you'll find so many great things to do in Salzburg!
Oh and don't forget to try some Mozartkugeln! They are pistachio marzipan and nougat wrapped in a delightful dark chocolate, an iconic Salzburg treat! They also make a great small gift to bring home for friends and family.
Who's heading to Salzburg, Austria? Here's what to do in Salzburg in one day!
In this post you will learn:
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Where is Salzburg?
Salzburg, Austria is just over the Austrian/German border, 145 km from Munich. This is why it is one of my favourite day trips from Munich. It was easily done as a day trip from our vacation home just outside of Munich.
You can do a day trip to Salzburg from Vienna, Innsbruck and Graz also. Each city has its own "best way" to get there, as highways, and trains routes, all vary from each location.
You'll be surprised how different each can be. So it ultimately comes down to cost and time. Which is most important to you? Let's find out.
How to Get to Salzburg
If you are planning your trip to Europe and you are going to cities in Austria or southern Germany, Salzburg is a great place for a day trip. It is uniquely situated between cities that people like to visit and stay in like Munich, Vienna, Graz and Innsbruck.
My number one choice is taking the train.
Getting there is quite easy and there are lots of different options. In this section you'll learn the different ways to get to Salzburg and you can then make an informed choice matching your travel style and budget.
One of my absolute favourite sites to check for transportation is Omio (It used to be called GoEuro).
Why I love it (and you will too), is that it compares flights, trains and buses within Europe. Such a time saver, with lots of options and always has great deals.
Below is a chart of the travel times to Salzburg from different cities. As you can clearly see, Munich is the closest and will be the fastest route to get to Salzburg overall.
Travel Times to Salzburg
Munich to Salzburg
Innsbruck to Salzburg
Graz to Salzburg
Vienna to Salzburg
1:45 hr - 2:20 hr
If you are taking the train from either Innsbruck or Munich to Vienna or Graz (or visa versa), Salzburg is on the way in either direction. You could always, get there early, and put your luggage in a locker at the Salzburg Hbf for between € 2.00 - € 4.50 for the day.
Driving to Salzburg
Where to Rent a Car
If you are looking to rent a car in Europe, my go to place is Auto Europe. They compare rates for you between many popular car rental companies.
I find it saves me so much time and headaches by showing me all my options on one page. It saves me from jumping page to page and trying to remember who offered what.
Check it out for yourself. I'm sure you'll love them as much as I do.
In order to drive on Austrian roads you will require a "vignette' or toll sticker. Your car rental company may have them available for you. Make sure to ask if they have them available or if they are included in the car rental. If not, you will have to purchase one.
If you are driving from Germany to Austria you can get physical stickers at any gas station or at the border. Here is a good resource for more information from the Austrian National Tourist Office.
Driving From Munich to Salzburg
If you plan on driving from Munich to Salzburg, you can easily do this in a day. I've done this trip and it was a nice simple drive without any issues.
The A8 will take you right from Munich to Salzburg in about an hour and a half. Things that will slow you down are unforeseen accidents or construction. In the winter months the A8 can slow down due to all the people heading to the Austrian Alps for fun on the slopes.
Driving in Germany along the Autobahn is super fun, but don't go crazy. I found on average people drove about 120-130 km/h and that's what I felt most comfortable doing too.
Driving From Vienna to Salzburg
Driving to Salzburg from Vienna will take about three hours on the A1. If you have already rented a car for your trip, just keep in mind that six hours of your day will be spent driving. Add to that all the walking in Salzburg you may want to do. The drive back can be tough after a long day.
Insider Tip: If you haven't rented a car in Vienna, consider taking the train for your Vienna to Salzburg day trip. It can actually be a little quicker than by car.
Driving From Graz to Salzburg
Driving from Graz to Salzburg will take the same amount of time as from Vienna, about three hours each way. You have route options from Graz:
You can take the A9 to the B320 then onto the B145 all the way to Salzburg. It will take you a little over three hours, but definitely is a nice scenic route through the mountains.
The easy option is the A9 north then head west on the A1 and follow it into Salzburg.
Driving From Innsbruck to Salzburg
Driving from Innsbruck to Salzburg is a beautiful drive through the Austrian Alps. If you take the quickest route it will take you through southern Germany to Salzburg in two hours. Just make sure you can take your car rental into another country.
Take the A12 heading east out of Innsbruck and switch on to the A8 in Germany, which takes you straight to Salzburg.
Salzburg by Train
Getting to Salzburg by train is probably one of the most cost effective ways to go. The combination of the time being on par with a car, and the price of train tickets being reasonable, it's one of my go to ways to get around Europe.
One big advantage is that you don't have to deal with traffic. If there is a "Stau" (Sh-t-oww - German for traffic jam) on the Autobahn, you'll be waving at the cars as you cruise on by on the train.
If you are travelling on a Eurail Pass (non-European resident) or Interrail Pass (European resident) you can just hop on wherever you are and get off at Salzburg Hbf. Just remember high-speed or overnight trains may require a reservation. On the Rail Planner App you can select "Avoid trains the require reservations" and then it will show you those trains.
Where to Find Train Tickets in Europe
If I am looking to find cheap train tickets in Austria and Germany, I always check two places to start. Omio and Rail Europe. They seem to have the most options.
Munich to Salzburg by Train
When you are looking at getting trains from Munich to Salzburg, double check the amount of connections. A direct train from Munich Hbf to Salzburg Hbf will take about 1 h 45 mins. Trains with multiple stops can take up 2 h 20 mins and you will have to change trains in another town or city.
Vienna to Salzburg by Train
If you plan on doing a Vienna to Salzburg day trip, look into taking the train. You can find trains that are quicker than driving by car.
Another big reason the train from Vienna Hbf to Salzburg Hbf is a good option is the distance. Taking the train in the morning will allow you to get to Salzburg early.
Use the train ride to relax, enjoy the scenery, have a coffee, or take a nap. Even take a coffee nap! (It's a thing...I'm not making this up...google it....but after you read this post)
Coming back to Vienna will be the same. You'll be tired from a full day of exploring. It will be a welcome relief that you don't have to drive. Plus you can get up and enjoy the cafe or restaurant on board.
Graz to Salzburg by Train
The train to Salzburg from Graz is not the best use of your time. 8 hours of your day will be spent on the train for a return trip. Also, the earliest you could get there is between 11am -12pm, which really cuts into your sightseeing time.
Don't get me wrong it's a beautiful scenic ride, and one of my favourites. If you are heading to Munich from Graz, stop for one day in Salzburg . Then continue on in the evening or next day to Munich.
Innsbruck to Salzburg by Train
Innsbruck, Austria is another one of my favourite cities to visit in Europe. There are so many things to do in Innsbruck, but most people don't know that doing a day trip to Salzburg is actually quite doable.
The train is the best option. Going from Innsbruck Hbf to Salzburg hbf takes about 1 h 45 mins (direct) to 2 h 20 mins (one change).
Now You Know!
What does Hbf mean? It's a German abbreviation for Hauptbahnhof, which means Main Train Station.
What does ZOB mean? It stands for Zentraler Omnibus Bahnhof, which means Central Bus Station.
Salzburg by Bus
Getting to Salzburg by bus is often the cheapest way to go. The travel time by bus is not always the best. So look at the options and decide if this is a good option for you.
Where to Find Bus Tickets in Europe
I like two sites when looking for bus tickets. Omio of course is my go to for trains, buses, or flights within Europe. They compare the three with price and travel time.
Flixbus is another great site to check. They have one of the biggest bus networks in Europe. They also have great deals like the InterFlix 5 cities for 99€.
Click on the logos to check prices and routes.
Munich to Salzburg by Bus
Getting to Salzburg from Munich by bus will be your cheapest option. You can get bus tickets to Salzburg return for around $20 USD. A lot of buses in Europe now have WiFi too, so that time will fly by.
The trip takes about 2 hours each way, so for a Munich to Salzburg day trip, this is good comparable option to the train.
Vienna to Salzburg by Bus
I wouldn't recommend taking the bus from Vienna to Salzburg for a day trip. It takes too long and the train is cheaper.
Graz to Salzburg by Bus
The bus ride from Graz to Salzburg is 3 h 50 minutes. This doesn't make it a viable option for a day trip.
If you are travelling on a budget and making your way on to Munich by bus or train, this can be a budget friendly option. Flixbus has a bus going there starting at €9.
Innsbruck to Salzburg by Bus
Much like Vienna to Salzburg, I wouldn't recommend taking the bus from Innsbruck to Salzburg for a day trip. The bus ride is 5 h 15 mins. The train takes 1 h 45 mins. Please, if you love yourself, take the train.
The weather is generally pretty nice, just bring your trusty travel umbrella in case of rain. June, July and August can have an average of 20 days of precipitation.
“There isn't inappropriate weather, just inappropriate clothes.”
Things to do in Salzburg
There are lots of amazing things to do in Salzburg. If you are in Salzburg for a one day only, you are going to want to use your time efficiently.
Salzburg City Card 2019
The Salzburg City Card is fantastic for 1-3 days visits. This pass will save you money. If you have a 1 day pass for example, it gives you 24 hours in Salzburg to use the card. The card gets activated from the first time you scan the card in a museum.
It gives you free admission in ALL the Salzburg museums and free use of Salzburg public transport. It also includes panoramic boat cruises on the Salzach River, a ticket up the Funicular Railway up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress (a Salzburg must see!) and admission into the Fortress itself.
You can see a lot of sights with this card. If you are planning your own tour of the city, this is your best bet. Get it here!
Salzburg River Cruise
A unique way to see Salzburg is by boat on the Salzach River. Tours usually run about 45 mins. These can be bought onsite at a variety of vendors.
Panoramic boat cruises are also included in your Salzburg City Card (really your best deal for 24 hours in Salzburg).
You can also get your individual mobile tickets in advance for boat rides so you can just scan and go. Get your advance Salzburg boat ride tickets here!
Salzburg in One Day: Your Own Tour
Free Walking Tour of Salzburg - Self- Guided
I've put together this self-guided free walking tour of Salzburg that I've done myself. This self guided walking tour will take you past a lot of the popular things Salzburg is known for.
I highly recommend you get the Salzburg Card. It will get you on the buses to the starting part of the tour, and admission to any museum along the way. You'll save a ton of money, compared to doing everything individually.
There are many things to see and do along the way. Explore what interests you. Some have free admission, some require tickets or the Salzburg Card.
You can go as fast or slow as you want. It's about a 3 km route. If you just walked it without stopping it would take about 35 mins. This walking tour and everything on its route, is a great one day Salzburg itinerary.
Getting to the Start
Your walking tour of Salzburg will start at Sebastian's Church at Linzer Gasse 41. Linzergasse is one Salzburg's beautiful pedestrian streets.
From the Bus Station
From the Busterminal Salzburg Süd walk north to Salzburg Justizgebäude (Nonntaler Hauptstraße 2) and take Bus 25 to Salzburg Makartplatz (Theatergasse). From there find Linzer Gasse.
From the Train Station
From the Salzburg Hbf find Südtiroler Platz. From there you can take:
Bus 120, 130, 131, 140, or 150 to Salzburg Hofwirt (Schallmooser). Walk west and on the road and you will find Linzer Gasse.
Bus 25, O-Bus 1, O-Bus 2, O-Bus 3, O-Bus 5, or O-Bus 6 to Salzburg Makartplatz (Theatergasse). From there find Linzer Gasse.
Using This Map
If you have Google Maps downloaded on to your smartphone, you can click on the symbol in the upper right of the map below and the map will open in Google Maps on your phone.
From there you can follow along as you explore. If your location services are on, the GPS on your phone will show you on the map and you can navigate beside the route.
Sebastianskirche & Friedhof - St. Sebastian's Church & Cemetery
Your self-guided walking tour starts here. Sebastian's Church is a late baroque style church, adorned with a onion dome on top of it's tower.
Buried in this cemetery are Salzburg's most important families, including Mozart's father and wife.
After you can walk down Linzergasse, one of Salzburg's great pedestrian streets, on your way to Andräkirche.
Daily 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (summer: until 6.30 p.m.)
Andräkirche - St. Andrew's Church
Andräkirche - St. Andrew's Church is a large parish church in Salzburg's New Town. The original St. Andrew's Church was destroyed to make way for a wider road. The new and current version you see today was consecrated in 1898.
Open: M-F 8am - 7pm / Sat 9am - 7pm / Sun 7am - 9pm
Schloss Mirabell - Mirabell Palace & Marble Hall
This Salzburg palace was built around 1606. Inside you will find the Angel Staircase which leads up to the Marble Hall, which is a popular place for weddings.
You will often see horse drawn carriages departing from this palace in Salzburg out the front down Mirabellplatz.
Mirabelle Palace and Angel Staircase: Daily 8am-6pm
Marble Hall: M-W-Th 8am - 4pm / Tu-F 1pm-4pm (Not open during events)
Mirabellgarten - Mirabell Gardens
Mirabell is a mix of two Italian words: Mirabile "admirable" and bella "beautiful". That definitely describes this place. The gardens were redesigned in 1690. Looking southeast you can see the Hohensalzburg Castle overlooking the city.
Here you will also find the Pegasus Fountain. This famous fountain was originally installed in 1913. It was one of The Sound of Music locations in the film, when Maria and the children dance around it singing "Do Re Mi".
Open: Daily from 6am to dusk
The Mozart Residence is not to be confused with the Mozart birthplace (#8 on the tour). This is where the Mozart family moved to in 1773, when their original place in Salzburg on Getreidegasse (#7) was too small for them.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived here until 1781, before he moved to Vienna. If are going inside the Mozart Residenz museum, plan to spend about an hour and half here.
There is a combined ticket available with Mozart's birthplace onsite
One time Free admission with Salzburg Card
Open: Daily 9am-5:30pm July & August daily 8:30am - 7pm
Markartsteg - The Love Lock Bridge
This is a pedestrian bridge crossing the Salzburg river (Salzach). The bridge is covered in "Love Locks". Great view of the old and new town of Salzburg while crossing the Salzach River.
Salzburg's famous pedestrian street (from about 1150) in the historic Salzburg old town and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1966. This is the street that Mozart was born on and lived here until he was 17 years old. You'll find lots of shops along this narrow street mixed with old architecture. This is a beautiful walk.
Mozart Gebursthaus - Mozart's Birthplace
No. 9 Getreidegasse is where Mozart was born here on 27 January 1756. This was the Mozart house from 1747 to 1773. He lived here until he was 17 years old. It is now a museum.
There is a combined ticket available with Mozart's residence onsite.
One time Free admission with Salzburg Card
Daily 9 am - 5:30 pm
July, August: daily 8:30 am -7 pm
Dec. 24: 9 am - 3 pm
Altmarkt and Der Florianibrunnen
Der Florianibrunnen is a fountain in the middle of the historic Altmarkt (Old Market). The oldest part of the fountain is the metal fence from 1583. The centre pillar dates back to 1687, and the statue is from 1734.
Until 1800 young butchers who had finished their training as apprentices partook in an initiation ceremony here. They would jump into the fountain, symbolizing the washing of their sins. After they became part of the butcher's guild.
Residenzplatz in Salzburg was originally started in 1587. On April 30, 1938, this was the site of Nazi book burning. The Residenzbrunnen (Residence Fountain) was erected between 1656 to 1661.
In the middle you'll find the Residence Fountain with it's imagery of horses, dolphins, and a Triton. One of Salzburg's many fountains, it is considered one of Europe's finest.
Mozartplatz - Mozart Square
Here you will find a bronze statue of Mozart that was completed in 1842.
Need some information when in Salzburg? Nearby at No. 5 Mozart Square is the tourist office.
Neue Residenz- New Residence
Inside the Neue Residenz you will find the Salzburg Museum and the Panorama Museum. In the clock tower is a Glockenspiel that is a big draw. The Glockenspiel plays at 7 am, 11 am, and 6 pm.
Combined ticket to Salzburg Museum & Panorama Museum available onsite
One time Free admission with Salzburg Card
Open: Tue-Sun 9 am - 5pm
Jan 1 11am -5pm
Closed: Nov 1, Dec 25
The Salzburg Residenz is one of the many things to see in the DomQuartier. This building was the residence of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg starting around 1120. Today the museum within one of the most popular attractions in Salzburg.
You can get a DomQuartier ticket which gets you into five different museums here including the Catherdal Museum, St. Peter's Museum and much more.
One time Free admission with Salzburg Card
Until Jan 6: daily 10 am - 5 pm
Jan 7 until June: Wed - Mon 10 am - 5 pm
Jul, Aug: daily 10 am-6 pm
Sep - Nov: daily 10 am-5 pm
Salzburger Dom - Salzburg Cathedral
The first church was built here in 774, what you see here was completed in 1628. Mozart was baptized here the day after he was born. This impressive cathedral is worth checking out.
Free admission, donation required
Jan, Feb, Nov: Mon -Sat 8 am - 5 pm, Sun & holiday 1 pm - 5 pm
Mar, Apr, Oct, Dec: Mon -Sat 8 am - 6 pm, Sun & holiday 1 pm - 6 pm
May-Sep: Mon - Sat 8 am - 7 pm, Sun & holiday 1 pm - 7 pm
No visit during masses.
Kapitelplatz - Chapter Square
In Kaptielplatz you will find people playing a game of chess with oversized chess pieces. It is also home to the gold sphere art piece, "Sphaera," a work of art by Stephan Balkenhol. There is a great view of the Hohensalzburg Castle above.
Petersfriedhof - St. Peter's Cemetary & Catacombs
A fantastic little cemetery and catacombs, with the Margarethekapelle (another beautiful Salzburg church) at the heart. This one of the oldest burial grounds in all of Europe.
This was also the backdrop for a scene in The Sound of Music, when the family is being chased by the Nazis. This is where they hid.
Adults € 2.00 / Children/youths (6-18 years) € 1.50
One time Free Admission with Salzburg Card
May-Sep: daily 10 am - 12:30 pm, 1 pm - 6 pm
Oct-Apr: daily 10 am - 12:30 pm, 1 pm - 5 pm
St. Peter Cemetery Open:
Summer 6:30 am - 7 pm (winter 6:30 am - 5:30 pm)
Stiftbäckerei - St. Peter's Bakery
Salzburg's oldest bakery and has been standing here for over 700 years. The original wood burning oven is still used. The waterwheel is a great photo opportunity. Take a break and try the popular sourdough!
Mon & Tue 8 am - 5:30 pm
Closed on Wednesday
Thu & Fri 7 am - 5:30 pm
Sat 7 am - 1 pm
Festungsbahn Hohensalzburg - Funicular Railway
The Festungsbahn was originally opened in 1892. This is your elevator to Hohensalzburg Castle in just 54 seconds! You can walk up to the fortress or take the famous Salzburg cable car and take a tour of the castle.
You can get tickets for both this and the Fortress itself below.
Festungs Hohensalzburg Fortress
This is one of the best things to do in Salzburg. You can see the Salzburg fortress over look the city from the Mirabell Palace which makes for a great photo.
An even better photo, is the view from the fortress itself over looking Salzburg Altstadt, and DomQuartier.
With your ticket you can do an audio tour which is great way to learn about the history of the fortress. I really enjoy this audio tour.
The view overlooking Salzburg from the fortress is one of my favourites.
One time Free Admission with Salzburg Card
Jan - Apr: 9:30 am - 5 pm
May - Sep: 9 am - 7 pm
Oct - Dec: 9:30 am - 5 pm
Salzburg in One Day: Guided Tours
If you are the type of traveller who would rather do a guided tour Salzburg than wander around yourself, there are lots of options.
The nice this is that some of the tours also provide the transportation from Munich or Vienna and a tour guide.
For example, there are tours from Munich to Salzburg. You don't have to figure out how to get from Munich to Salzburg, just meet at the Hauptbahnhof (Main Train Station) and you will be guided there!
Sound of Music Tours in Salzburg
Want to hear an interesting fact? A lot of Austrians have not seen or heard of the Sound of Music. The ones that know about it, aren't that fond of it. Why? Because the images in the movie don't portray true Austrian culture. Just make sure when you are in Salzburg, explore a bit, get to know the city, it's culture and have some great local food!
If you are a fan of the Sound of Music, you can go enjoy some of the sites from the movie around the city. A lot of these Sound of Music tours are around 4 hours. This gives you plenty of time to explore great places like Linzergasse and Getreidegasse before or after.
Schloss Hellbrunn Palace
The great thing about Salzburg is that a lot of the things you want to see and do are concentrated in and around the Altstadt. This makes it a great city to walk and it is easily can been seen in a day.
The one exception is Schloss Hellbrunn (Palace). It's 3 km from from the heart of Salzburg, but easy to get to and definitely worth a visit. Try and fit it in if you have time in your day.
Hellbrunn Palace is a fantastic place to check out. This will be loved by everyone. If you are looking for things to do in Salzburg with kids, this is one of them.
The kids (old and young alike) will love the Trick Fountains that have been entertaining people for over 400 years. They will surprise and entertain you. Just plan to get wet! Its a great way to cool off on a hot day.
Expect to spend about 2.5 - 3 hours here.
Getting to Hellbrunn Palace
The Hellbrunn Palace is about 3 km from Salzburg city centre. There are a couple of options when it comes to getting here.
Bus 25 and the Salzburg City Card
If you already have the Salzburg City Card, you have public transportation included. Just hop on the Bus 25 from Salzburg Altstadt and it will take you to the Schloss Hellbrunn Salzburg bus stop in 13 minutes. From there it is a short walk to the palace.
One time admission to Hellbrunn and the water feature is included in the Salzburg City Card.
Tour to Hellbrunn Palace
You can also book a tour. See Salzburg from the Salzach River on a boat ride to Schloss Hellbrunn, then a ride on a classic double decker bus to and from the palace.
Admission is included into the palace, and quick entry to the trick fountains.
Special thanks to Salzburg Tourism for the use of some of their great photos.