One Perfect Day in Salzburg, Austria

One Day in Salzburg: What to See & Do

Have you been planning a One Day in Salzburg, Austria itinerary? Then this is the perfect itinerary for you!


As avid travel bloggers with a passion for exploration, we set out on a day trip from Munich to uncover the gems of Salzburg. Our expertise lies in crafting memorable itineraries that cater to fellow travel lovers craving a taste of culture, history, and enchanting landscapes. Join us on this journey as we unravel the charm and beauty of Salzburg, guiding you through an unforgettable experience that will leave you craving more.

Getting to Salzburg, Austria

Train ride through Austria
Train to Salzburg | One Day in Salzburg

Getting to Salzburg, Austria, is a straightforward and enjoyable experience, offering various transportation options. If you’re traveling from Munich, Vienna, or Hallstatt, you can choose the mode of transportation that best suits your preferences.


Train: Salzburg is well-connected by train, providing a comfortable and scenic journey. High-speed trains link major cities like Munich and Vienna to Salzburg. Our journey from Munich  took around two hours to reach Salzburg train station, offering picturesque views of the Bavarian and Austrian landscapes.


Car: If you prefer the flexibility of driving, renting a car is a convenient option. Austria’s well-maintained road network ensures a smooth journey. The drive from Munich or Vienna takes approximately two to three hours, allowing you to enjoy the scenic countryside along the way. If you’re coming from Hallstatt, it’s only a little over an hour away by car.


Bus: Long-distance buses are also available, offering an economical travel option. Various bus companies operate routes to Salzburg from neighboring cities, providing a budget-friendly alternative for those seeking cost-effective transportation.


Air: Salzburg has its own airport, W. A. Mozart Airport (SZG), with connections to major European cities. If you’re flying from farther away, this can be a convenient option. From the airport, you can easily reach the city center using public transportation or a taxi. While this is an option, it’s not cost-effective and convenient compared to the options listed above.


Tour Packages: Consider organized day trip packages offered by tour companies like Viator or local operators. These packages often include transportation, guided tours, and curated itineraries, providing a hassle-free way to explore Salzburg.

Getting Around Salzburg

view of Salzburg
Hohensalzburg Fortress View | One Day in Salzburg

Getting around Salzburg is easy due to its compact size and pedestrian-friendly city center. The Old Town, where many attractions are concentrated, is best explored on foot. The historic Old Town area is filled with narrow streets and charming alleys waiting to be discovered. Walking also allows you to take in the beautiful architecture and sights at a leisurely pace.


The city’s efficient public transportation system also includes buses and trolleys, with the option to purchase a Salzburg Card for unlimited access. The Salzburg Card also includes one-time  admission to all of the most famous city tourist attractions and museums. Taxis and bike rentals are also readily available for convenience. Consider a Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour for a guided experience. 


Horse-drawn carriages also offer a charming and romantic alternative within the city center. While a car isn’t essential within the city, if you’re renting one it may be convenient for also exploring the surrounding areas, though parking in the Old Town can be challenging

One Day in Salzburg, Austria

1. Salzburg Old Town

Strolling through old town of Salzburg
Salzburg Cathedral | One Day in Salzburg

Starting your One Day Salzburg itinerary, we will explore the Old Town! Salzburg is split into two parts by the Salzach River, with the “New Town” located on the East end, and the “Old Town”, or Altstdat, located on the West end. Salzburg’s Old Town is probably the most preserved city we’ve ever been to. The Old Town is a timeless piece of historical grandeur, artistic inspiration, and captivating charm. 



Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, along with strict preservation laws by the government, it’s no wonder why walking through the cobbled streets of Old Town feels like something out of a fairy tale. Don’t forget to walk by the famous Salzburg Cathedral because it is so unique and beautiful. With so much to see and do, it’s easy to spend a whole day exploring the Old Town.

2. Mirabell Palace

Mirabell Palace | One Day in Salzburg

One of the most iconic landmarks in Salzburg’s Old Town is the Mirabell Palace, built in 1606 by prince archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau for his mistress. The palace and its gardens were meant to rival Versailles in France, and it certainly lives up to its reputation. The Mirabell Gardens boasts meticulously manicured flower beds, captivating sculptures, statues, and charming fountains. Among these, the iconic Pegasus Fountain stands out, a symbol often found in postcards and photographs. 


The Mirabell Gardens offer a magical stroll, complemented by performers singing “The Hills are Alive,” a nod to Salzburg’s cinematic history as the original filming location for “The Sound of Music.” This classic movie holds a special place in our hearts, particularly for Maddy, who fondly recalls it as her first musical performance as a child. The Mirabell Gardens, where the timeless “Do-Re-Mi” sequence was filmed, evoke a sense of nostalgia and joy. Here, visitors can witness people adorned in traditional Austrian attire, savoring local food, and reveling in the beauty of native music. For those who also love the movie, a visit to The Nonnberg Abbey, another filming location, takes you even further into the iconic scenes of “The Sound of Music”.


Within Mirabell Palace is also the famous Marble Hall. The Marble Hall is one of the most popular wedding and classical music concert venues in the world and was built as the symbol of infinite love. There is so much to offer at this beautiful palace and it is an absolute must-visit on your one day in Salzburg!

3. Lunch at St. Peter Stiftskulinarium

St. Peter Stiftskulinarium | One Day in Salzburg

While you’re in Salzburg, you absolutely MUST eat at the oldest restaurant in the WORLD, St. Peter Stiftskulinarium This restaurant was first documented in the year 803 can be found in the heart of Old Town. The dining experience at St. Peter Stiftskulinarium is a fusion of tradition and modernity. The menu pays homage to age-old recipes and culinary techniques, crafted with local ingredients from the Salzburg region. From hearty Austrian classics to refined international flavors, each dish was so elegant and refined (You would hope after 1,200+ years in business). 


The restaurant’s setting is equally remarkable, offering an array of charming spaces that cater to different preferences. Whether you choose to dine within the medieval chambers decorated with antique tapestries, beneath the serene arches of the inner courtyard, or under the open sky in St. Peter’s Square, every setting adds a layer of charm to the meal. The St. Peter Stiftskulinarium is a living testament to the historic spirit of Salzburg and if you’re a history enthusiast, a fan of fine dining, or a traveler seeking a unique Austrian experience, a visit to the St. Peter Stiftskulinarium is an absolute must.

4. Hohensalzburg Fortress

Hohensalzburg Fortress on a beautiful sunny day
Hohensalzburg Fortress | One Day in Salzburg

Hohensalzburg Fortress is a magnificent medieval castle that overlooks the city of Salzburg, Austria. It is one of the largest and best-preserved medieval fortresses in Europe and is a prominent landmark in the city’s skyline. The fortress is perched atop the Festungsberg hill and offers stunning panoramic views of Salzburg and the surrounding landscape. The fortress was originally built in 1077 by Archbishop Gebhard as a defensive structure. Over the centuries, it was used for both military and residential purposes. 


Visitors can reach Hohensalzburg Fortress by taking a funicular railway, the Festungsbahn, which departs from the Festungsgasse near the Old Town. While at the fortress, you can visit various rooms and chambers that are open to the public. Some areas, such as the Golden Hall and the Rainer Regiment Museum, provide insights into the fortress’s history and the life of the archbishops. The exterior of the fortress will give you the best view of the city and is one of the best views in all of Austria. While we were there, we laid down in many of the adjustable lounge chairs and just enjoyed the beautiful weather with a view. Hohensalzburg Fortress was easily one of favorite things to do during our One Day in Salzburg. 

5. Mozart's Birthplace

Mozarts Birthplace
Mozart's Geburtshaus | One Day in Salzburg

Mozart’s Geburtshaus, or birthplace, is a must-visit for any music lover or history buff. This is the house where famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born. Mozarts family resided in this building between 1747 and 1773. The house has since been turned into a museum, showcasing memorabilia and artifacts from the composer’s life. You can see Mozart’s childhood violin, original sheet music, and even his childhood portraits. The museum also offers guided tours that provide more in-depth information about Mozart’s life and work. 


Located on Getreidegasse, one of Salzburg’s most beautiful streets, it’s hard to miss this iconic yellow building with its ornate iron sign with the inscription “Mozart Geburtshaus”. A visit to Mozart’s residence will give you a better understanding of the life and times of this musical genius.


While we were there, we relaxed at this outdoor seating area listening to Austrian street performers. It was the perfect way to embrace Austrian musical culture, while being accompanied by a remarkable historical monument.


6. Salzburg River Cruise

Salzach River aerial view
Salzburg Aerial View | One Day in Salzburg

After exploring the city on foot, we decided to take a break and see Salzburg from a different perspective – by boat! We hopped on the popular Panorama Boat Tour, which takes you along the Salzach River past iconic landmarks such as Mirabell Palace, Hohensalzburg Fortress, and St. Peter’s Abbey.


The tour also provided us with an audio guide that gave interesting historical facts about each landmark. It was a great way to learn more about the city’s rich history while enjoying stunning views of Salzburg from the water.

7. Eat delicious Mozartkugels!

Mozartkugels | One Day in Salzburg

Cafe Konditorei Fürst, located in the heart of Old Town, is a renowned pastry shop and café famous for its creation of the original Mozartkugel. Cafe Konditorei Fürst was established in 1884 by the Fürst family and has been crafting delectable pastries, cakes, and chocolates for over a century. The Mozartkugel was created by Paul Fürst in 1890 and has since become an iconic sweet treat associated with the city. 


So, what is a mozartkugel? A Mozartkugel is a delicious chocolate-covered marzipan confection named after the iconic composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. These were honestly one of our favorite confections we’ve ever had! Once you buy one, it’s hard to stop eating them and we still crave them all the time. Unfortunately, they do not deliver to the United States!


Best Time to Visit Salzburg

The best time to visit Salzburg for travelers planning a trip there is during the late spring and early summer months, typically from May to June. This period offers pleasant weather with mild temperatures perfect for walking around all of Old Town and exploring the city’s charming streets and historic sites. The city comes alive during this time, with blooming flowers adding to the picturesque scenery, making it an ideal time to soak in the culture and beauty of Salzburg. Additionally, visiting during the shoulder season allows you to avoid the peak tourist crowds while still enjoying all that the city has to offer.


If you’re a fan of the holiday season, then visiting Salzburg during Christmas market season is a great option! The city’s main square, known as Residenzplatz, transforms into a winter wonderland with over 90 wooden stalls selling traditional Austrian crafts, warm glühwein (mulled wine), and delicious local treats like pastries and roasted chestnuts. The markets typically start in late November and run until Christmas Eve, offering visitors the chance to experience true festive cheer while browsing unique gifts and souvenirs. If European Christmas markets are your thing, Salzburg is definitely a great option for your bucket list! 


Salzburg is also known for its various festivals throughout the year, making it an exciting destination for arts and culture enthusiasts. The most famous event is the Salzburg Festival, held annually in July and August, which celebrates classical music and opera. Other notable festivals include the Mozart Week festival in January, the Easter Festival in April, and the Whitsun Festival in May.

Where to Stay in Salzburg

For those who plan on staying in Salzburg overnight, below are a few hotels highly rates hotels:


Hotel Sacher Salzburg – The most famous hotel in Salzburg. This luxury 5 star hotel offers beautiful views of the Salzach River and Hohensalzburg Fortress. It also features a spa, restaurant, and famous café known for its delicious Sacher-Torte (Chocolate Cake).


Altstadt Hotel Stadtkrug – Situated in a historic building in the pedestrian-only area of Old Town, this boutique hotel offers comfortable rooms with traditional furnishings. Guests can also enjoy the Altstadt Hotel Stadtkrug Restaurant.


If you’re looking for a more affordable option, you can opt to stay in the MEININGER Hotel Salzburg City Center. 

FAQs About Salzburg, Austria

1. What are the must-visit attractions in Salzburg for a one-day trip?

For a one-day trip to Salzburg, make sure to visit Mirabell Palace and Gardens, Hohensalzburg Fortress, Mozart’s Birthplace, and take a stroll around the Old Town to experience the city’s charm.


2. What’s the best way to get around Salzburg for a one-day visit?

Walking is ideal for exploring the city center, but consider using public transportation or renting a bike to cover more ground efficiently.


3. Is it possible to visit the filming locations from “The Sound of Music” in one day?

While a comprehensive tour may take longer, you can visit some iconic filming locations like Mirabell Gardens and Nonnberg Abbey in a day, offering a delightful glimpse into the movie.


4. Where can I enjoy traditional Austrian cuisine for lunch in Salzburg?

For a taste of authentic Austrian cuisine, consider dining at St. Peter Stiftskulinarium, the oldest restaurant in the world, located in Old Town. Make sure to try local specialties like schnitzel or strudel at one of the many charming cafes or restaurants.


5. How can I make the most of my one day in Salzburg?

To make the most of your day trip itinerary in Salzburg, start early to avoid crowds, consider joining a guided tour to learn more about the city’s history, and don’t forget to take breaks to enjoy the scenery and soak in the atmosphere of this beautiful city. Additionally, prioritize your must-see attractions and plan your route accordingly to maximize your time. Don’t be afraid to try local food and drinks for a true taste of Salzburg’s culture. Finally, don’t forget to capture memories with plenty of photos.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Salzburg was one of our favorite places we’ve EVER been. It honestly shocked us at how a place so underrated could be so amazing. If you’re in the area, please do not miss out on a visit to this beautiful and historic city! One Day in Salzburg certainly is an unforgettable experience. 

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