Salzburg, Austria lies on the country’s northern border with Bavaria, Germany. It’s a small city with a big heritage, famous for Mozart and the Sound of Music. It’s rich German, and Austrian-Hungarian cultural influences permeate the town, from the classically Baroque architecture to the winding streets, the dominating fortress, and the quick-flowing Salzach River. There’re so many things do in Salzburg, like cathedrals, museums, and elaborate palaces. Read on for a short itinerary for one day in Salzburg, Austria!
Places to visit in Salzburg in 1 day
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. Some of the main things to see in Salzburg in one day include the famous Hohensalzburg Castle, known as Festung Hohensalzburg, the Mirabell Palace and Gardens, and Mozart’s birthplace. Walking through the Old Town, which is on the left bank of the river, introduces visitors to the fascinating architecture of Salzburg. The pedestrian-only Altstadt is a great place to stop for a coffee, lunch, or a late afternoon beer. If you plan the day right, you’ll be able to see all of the main attractions and more with this Salzburg one-day itinerary.
One day in Salzburg – Morning
Being your day at Mozart’s birthplace, located within the Altstadt. This typical Austrian apartment blends into the street – except for the crowds of people who come to celebrate the life of this famous composer. The museum inside is quite small but offers a variety of exhibits that reveal how his early life shaped his future. Nearby, just across the river and around a corner, is his adult residence, which is also a museum about Mozart’s life. It is known as Mozart’s Wohnhaus in Makartplatz.
From Mozart’s birthplace, head toward the Hohensalzburg Castle. Along the way, you can pass Mozartplatz, a large square with a statue of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. If you don’t see it, it’s relatively easy to find during your wandering of the Old Town. Hohensalzburg Castle – one of the most well-preserved medieval fortresses in Central Europe – dominates the skyline of Salzburg. To get there, take the funicular railway from just behind the cathedral, which makes the trip to the top of the 506m escarpment in just one minute. It’s possible to walk up as well; it will take about twenty minutes. There’s a lot of history inside these walls, but don’t miss the panoramic views from the castle grounds.
After your descent from the castle, stop in at the Salzburg Cathedral. Located in the heart of the Old Town, the Salzburg Cathedral was founded on the remains of a Roman town in 744. It was rebuilt in the 12th century, after a fire, and rebuilt once again in the 17th century into its present Baroque style. The interior of this Roman Catholic church is just as ornate as the exterior and visitors can see the baptismal font where Mozart was baptized.
One day in Salzburg – Afternoon
Make your way back through the Old Town, perhaps stopping for lunch at a local coffeehouse, to the Mozartplatz. The Salzburg Museum is located in a historic residence, but today houses an expansive collection of artwork and rich displays on Salzburg’s history and culture. You can access the nearby Panorama Museum via a subterranean passage that doubles as an exhibition space for archaeological artifacts.
Across the Salzach River, in the 19th century Neustadt, or New Town, is the Mirabell Palace and Gardens. The beautiful Baroque gardens are most famous for the musical The Sound of Music, specifically the scene in which Maria and the children sing Do Re Mi. While they were redesigned in the 17th century, the geometric layout is still clearly visible. Of the various fountains and sculptures in the gardens, the Pegasus Fountain is one of the most famous.
The Mirabell Palace, once the medieval home of Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich’s wife Salome Alt, is home to the current municipal offices and mayor’s office, as well as playing host to modern weddings. The gardens are the perfect backdrop for romance. As Salzburg is a city of music, visitors will discover that there are events nearly daily, all year round. The Mirabell Palace does host concerts throughout the year, harking back to the times when Mozart performed here with his sister.
After the Mirabell Palace and Gardens, cross back over the river and end the day by enjoying a pitcher of beer at the Müllner Bräu beer garden. Known formally as the Augustiner Bräustübl, the biergarten is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike! A liter of beer is known as a Maß, and you get it by purchasing a token, which you exchange for a stein. Then, you get to fill your stein up and relax under the chestnut trees! The brewery is a short walk from the Altstadt, along the river.
You might also want to check out: Things to do in Salzburg recommended by locals.
Where to stay in Salzburg
If you decide to spend the night in Salzburg I recommend the following hotels:
Radisson Blu Hotel Altstadt
This 5-star hotel dates back to 1377 and is perfectly located in the heart of Salzburg’s Old Town. The hotel was recently renovated and it’s centrally located to the sights.
Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Salzburg
This traditional hotel is conveniently located near the Mirabell Palace. The Vier Jahreszeiten is within walking distance to the train station and Old Town.
As you can see, there are plenty of places to see in Salzburg in one day, but with a little planning, you’ll be able to visit everything on this list and have time to enjoy the rest of the day! Salzburg, with its stunning Baroque architecture, friendly locals, compact Old Town, and rich heritage, has a lot to offer its visitors. Even if you only have one day in Salzburg, you will be able to see the major attractions.
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