The 10 Best Things to See and Do in Salzburg
Salzburg is perhaps best known for being the birthplace of musical genius Mozart, but this bustling European city is so much more than just a shrine to its most famous son. With stunning mountain scenery, 1400 years’ worth of history, and all the art, culture, and world-class gastronomy you would expect in a glamourous European city, Salzburg is one stop you don't want to miss on your Austrian adventure.
In this article, we will look at ten of the very best things to see and do in Salzburg, Austria. So, without further ado, let's get right into it and see what makes Salzburg so special.
When most people picture that quintessential, old-world, cobblestoned European city, they are unwittingly picturing Salzburg's old town. With alleys full of boutique shops, delis, artisan stalls, and some of the most picturesque cityscapes found anywhere in the world, the old town in Salzburg is one place you won't mind getting lost for a few hours.
Originally built in the 1600s as a residential villa, Hellbrunn Castle Represents the best of what was possible in terms of renaissance architecture and extravagance. The gardens and numerous fountains are sure to make for some great photos, and with a beautiful square and the Salzburg zoo being nearby, Hellbrunn Castle makes for a great stop on your way to some of the other nearby tourist destinations in the city.
One of the best examples of baroque cathedral architecture still standing in Europe, the impressive Salzburg cathedral dates back almost 1400 years to the 8th century. The simple, relatively original interior is a sight to behold, and when you first walk into the cathedral, you can't help but feel like you're stepping back in time by 1000 years. The cathedral itself is not huge, but the photo ops and the feeling of history that you get inside make Salzburg cathedral a must on anyone's itinerary.
Mirabell Palace and Gardens
Constructed in 1606, Mirabell palace is one of the finest examples of 17th-century palace architecture still standing in Europe. Inside, visitors can explore the palace's history, learn about the noble families who have called the residence home over the centuries and marvel at the ornate decor in this striking castle. No visit to Mirabell palace is complete without visiting the impressive garden grounds, which are without a doubt among the very best in Austria, if not in Europe.
St. Peters Abbey
Some people confuse St. Peter's Abbey with Salzburg cathedral. Although it's true that both are impressive examples of pre-medieval church architecture, the two boast vastly different histories, and each has something unique and special to offer visitors who stop by during their time in Salzburg. First constructed nearly 1500 years ago in 696 by St. Rupert, the Abbey still serves as a church today and is home to the largest library in Austria. For an extra memorable time, upgrade your ticket and explore the underground catacombs; the price difference is minimal and well worth it.
Known to locals as Hohensalzburg Castle, this imposing fortress has been a seat of power in the region for more than 1000 years now. The stunning white façade is breathtaking to behold no matter where you view it from in town, and inside, you can enjoy the various artifacts, stuccos, and ornate busts on display in the magnificent golden hall.
Perhaps the most famous street in Austria, this narrow cobblestone thruway is one of the best pedestrian zones in the whole city. With countless shops, restaurants, and other things to see and do, you should make sure that you head on down and explore the street, not only will you get some of the best Instagram photos of your life, but you’ll have a great chance of meeting some locals and making a few new friends.
The home of the world's most famous and beloved classical composer of all time is certainly one of the best places for tourists to visit during their time in Salzburg. Walking through the home, you can practically feel the young prodigy at work learning his instruments, and it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see and feel a unique piece of both European and musical history.
The Eagle’s Nest
Only a stone's throw from Salzburg, the nearby town of Berchtesgaden is home to the infamous Eagle's Nest, which was a Third-Reich era watchtower said to be one of the primary hideouts of Hitler during the Second World War. These days visitors who are willing to make the two-hour hike up to the top of the Eagle’s Nest will be rewarded with stunning views over the striking landscape around the site, making it one of the best and most memorable day trips that you can take during your time in Salzburg.
With all the spectacular renaissance, medieval, and pre-medieval history throughout the city, it's important to remember that Salzburg is a modern European city and as such has a number of fantastic modern art museums and other exciting things to see and do, such as the very cool Hangar 7Link opens in a new tab, located right beside the International Airport. Hangar 7 features some of the best shopping in the city, a mouth-watering Michelin star restaurant, and an ever-changing collection of modern art and interesting displays, making it a great place to stop and pick up some souvenirs before heading to the airport on your way home.
Salzburg Deserves At Least Three Days
Given everything that Salzburg has to offer, it's no surprise that millions of visitors flock to this sophisticated European capital year in and year out. So, if you're planning a trip to Austria, then be sure to leave yourself at least three days to explore Salzburg and everything that it has to offer.