24 hours in Salzburg: BEST things to do in Salzburg (in 2024)

Planning to spend 24 hours in Salzburg and wondering what to do? Here’s my itinerary for one day in Salzburg.

Salzburg is so quaint and has much to offer. Mozart, the Von Trapp family, snow-capped mountains, lush green hills, and tasty deserts so there’s plenty to keep you busy for a whole day.

In this article, I’ll give you all the travel info and tips for the best things to do in Salzburg, Austria. From restaurants and beautiful attractions to the best hotels in town.

Let’s get started.

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Introduction to Salzburg

Salzburg is the fourth-biggest city in Austria (after Vienna, Graz and Linz).

It’s a popular tourist destination, known for its medieval baroque UNESCO Old Town; as the birthplace of Mozart; and as the place where the movie Sound of Music was shot.

Salzburg is incredibly beautiful and packed with history and charm. It’s also a great base for visiting nearby attractions like Berchtesgaden, Liechtensteinklamm, and Hallstatt.

24 hours in Salzburg, Austria

Is 24 hours in Salzburg enough?

Yes, 24 hours in Salzburg is enough to see everything. However, if you DO have time, stay for a few more days to take it all in. 

Here’s a list of the top things to do in Salzburg, and everything can be done in one day in Salzburg. 

🇦🇹 Things to do in Salzburg in one day

Morning

Have breakfast

Start the day with an amazing breakfast at 220 Grad, which is located in Salzburg Old Town (Altstadt). The food is fresh and the coffee is great!

Stroll through Salzburg Old Town

After breakfast, head out into the Old Town.

It’s very pretty – no wonder it was awarded a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. I’d say it’s on the same level as the old towns in Tallinn, Strasbourg, and Colmar, which are the best in Europe.

The Old Town is paved with cobblestone streets and you’ll pass street performers, musicians, and old-fashioned Austrian houses with historic architecture.

There’s music everywhere and statues of famous musical composers.

Salzburg, Austria
The gold ball at Kapitelplatz

Salzburg Dom and Kapitelplatz

Salzburg Old Town is such a beautiful place to wander around. Especially the area surrounding the Salzburg Dom where you can get a clear sight of the Salzburg Fortress (Festung Hochensalzburg).

If you’re interested in film locations from the Sound of Music, you’ll find the first one right across Kapitelplatz. It’s the Residenz Fountain where Maria splashes around and sings: “I have confidence in me”.

If you continue through the gates, you’ll see the towering Salzburg Dom; a 17th-century Baroque cathedral, dating back to 774. Inside is a majestic main organ and the baptismal font where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptized.

So much history here.

Salzburg, Austria
Residenz Fountain
Salzburg, Austria
Reverend Mother
Salzburg, Austria

St. Peter’s Cemetery (Petersfriedhof)

Right next to the cathedral is Petersfriedhof (or St. Peter’s cemetery).

I like to visit cemeteries when I travel because they tell you something about what the local community values (just like the one in Hallstatt). You can learn a lot by visiting a country’s cemeteries.

This particular cemetery is unique for two reasons:

  1. Dating back to 1627, it’s the oldest in Austria.
  2. In Sound of Music, this is where the Von Trapp family hides from the Germans.
Salzburg, Austria
The oldest tombstone is from 1288

Find Mozart’s birthplace

After wandering through the cemetery, go visit Mozart’s birthplace, which is located on the busiest street in the Old Town: Getreidegasse.

The Mozart family lived on the 3rd floor in the mid-1700s, so this is a must-visit on your Salzburg itinerary!

Salzburg, Austria
Mozart was born here on January 27, 1756

Afternoon

Lunch at the Daily Market (Grünmarkt)

From Mozart’s Geburtshaus, head towards the University Square. It’s less than a minute away.

There, you’ll find the Grünmarkt where you can buy a pretzel, strudel, or regional cheese. It’s closed on Sundays.

Getreidegasse & Linzergasse

After lunch, it’s time for a little retail therapy.

There are two main shopping streets in Salzburg. The most famous is the busy Getreidegasse in the heart of Salzburg Old Town; the less crowded is Linzergasse.

Getreidegasse is super charming and historic, but I prefer Linzergasse because it’s longer and less touristy.

Make sure to notice the medieval guild signs hanging over every shop. It makes the city so quaint and charming. Even McDonald’s has one!

The practice of guild signs began in the Middle Ages and has continued to this day. They are everywhere on Getreidegasse and Linzergasse.

Salzburg, Austria
One of the unique medieval guild signs – here’s McDonald’s

Have a Mozartkugel at Fürst

If you’re a devoted cake-devourer like yours truly, you’ll need to try the world-famous Mozartkugel. It’s one of the top Salzburg attractions!

This delicious piece of heaven is a powerful little ball of nougat, pistachio, and marzipan, covered with dark chocolate. It’s soooo good.

While you’ll see Mozartkugels all around Austria, there’s only one original! You’ll find it at Fürst café, where you can also try their heavenly strawberry tarts!

Salzburg, Austria
The Mozartkugel was created by Paul Fürst in 1890

Mirabell Gardens and palace

The next stop is Mirabell Gardens and Palace. This is the place where Maria and the Von Trapp children sang “Do-Re-Mi”.

The garden is crowded as can be expected, but with a little patience, you can get a clear shot of the Do-Re-Mi stairs.

This beautiful baroque masterpiece built in 1606 is also the perfect place to get a great view of the Hohensalzburg Fortress. 

Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg, Austria

Hohensalzburg Fortress

Once you’re done exploring the gardens, find the funicular to Hohensalzburg fortress (€ 6.80), which is placed on a hill above the town.

Besides the castle, there’s a torture tower and an amazing view of Salzburg to the north and mountains and meadows to the south.

Salzburg, Austria

Find the best viewpoints in Salzburg

Salzburg is one of those cities you just HAVE to see from above. So, if you have time, put it on your list of things to do in Salzburg! 

There’s a really good view from the Hohensalzburg fortress, but I preferred a skyline that included the fortress.

The best viewpoint is from the top of the Mönchsberg building which you can access by elevator. It’s really great for sunsets. 

Also, I liked the Kapuzinerberg viewpoint, which can be found just off Linzergasse. It’s quite hidden and overlooked by tourists so you’ll have it almost to yourself – if you can find it. It took me some time. 

Other great viewpoints include the Mirabell Gardens and the walkway across the Makartsteg Bridge.

Salzburg, Austria
View from the Mönchsberg building
Salzburg, Austria
View from Hohensalzburg Fortress

Evening

See the love locks at Makartsteg bridge

Your 24 hours in Salzburg are almost up, but first, let’s go to the entrance of Salzburg Old Town.

Here, you’ll find Makartsteg Bridge; a place where hundreds of lovers have announced their romance to the world with a padlock. The bridge is also a great viewpoint.

Salzburg, Austria

Dinner at Bärenwirt

It’s time for dinner and Bärenwirt is a favourite among locals.

If you like fried chicken, you’ll love this place (it’s said to have the best in Austria)! Enjoy the view from the veranda before you call it a night.

Where to stay in Salzburg

New Town

I stayed at the Austria Trend Hotel in the new part of town. I loved staying there and as you can see ↓ the view from the hotel is perfect – the best in Salzburg!

The best thing about the hotel (aside from the view) is that it’s located 10 mins walk from the train station. The downside is that it’s a bit far from the Old Town (30 mins walk). 

Old Town

If you’d like something a little more central, I recommend the Star Inn. It’s located right in the heart of the Old Town, just 200m from Mozart’s residence. Find the latest prices here.

Salzburg, Austria
View from my hotel in Neustadt (the new part of town)

Many thanks to Tourismus Salzburg for hosting me on this trip to Salzburg. As always, all opinions are my own.

FAQ – Things to do in Salzburg

What is Salzburg best known for?

Salzburg is famous for a few big things: it’s where Mozart was born, it’s packed with stunning old buildings, and it’s where they shot a lot of The Sound of Music.

Is 1 day enough for Salzburg?

If you’ve only got one day in Salzburg, you can definitely see the main spots like Mirabell Palace and Mozart’s Birthplace, but you’ll need to keep things moving.

Is 2 days enough for Salzburg?

Two days in Salzburg? That’s better. You get to take your time a bit more, check out the fortress, and wander around the old town without having to rush.

Is it worth visiting Salzburg?

Should you visit Salzburg? Absolutely. It’s not just about the history or the music; it’s got a unique feel that’s worth experiencing. It’s a place that sticks with you.

Ask me anything about your 24 hours in Salzburg!

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18 Comments

  1. Hey Miriam,

    Pretty sure this is the first time I’ve read anything about Salzberg. I think my favourite view is from your hotel room! I wander if you could’ve have gotten onto the roof of your hotel…hmmm.

    It’s so cool how Europe has been able to preserve the old towns yet them enjoyable in day to day life. Exploring the nooks and crannies of Riga was awesome.

    New Zealand is still young, but we are really struggling to preserve older buildings thanks to being so earthquake prone, it’s a shame!

    1. Hi Jub,

      That’s such a shame, but thankfully you have out-of-this-world nature! I’ve always wanted to visit New Zealand. My husband and I have even talked about moving there.

      Ps. I went to the top of the hotel, but couldn’t access the roof. My room was on the second highest floor 🙂

  2. Actually, the wedding (in the movie) took place in the cathedral in Mondsee. (Was one of the few cathedrals that would let them shoot inside.)

  3. Hello Miriam!

    Wow – a really great article of my home town! Your pictures are amazing!
    I will put a link to your site from my blog (German language).

    Thanx
    Horst

    P.S.: It is Getreidegasse, not GETRIEDEGASSE

  4. Hi, Miriam,

    I enjoyed reading your article about Salzburg. In fact I visited it in end of 2016 during my Eastern Europe tour. I wish to know if the photos shown here were taken by you. If it were, I wonder if I can have some of the photos in HIGH resolution sent to my email as I am now in the midst of preparing a photo album but I don’t have the great photos as shown at different angles. You might wonder it’s not a problem at all for me by just copy and paste but the resolution of the photos here are low and I can’t blow it up in my photo album. The photos I need to have are the first 3 photos of Salzach River shown here and the one showing guild signs. Appreciate if you can help me. Thank you.

    1. Hi Max,
      Thanks for reading and for stopping by. I’m glad you like my photos, but they’re not meant to be downloaded or distributed. They’re my personal photos. Thanks for understanding.

  5. I love to see those padlocks! I have a wish to go there to announce our romance to the world with a padlock. It would be a great experience for both of us (me & John). Thanks and keep it up dear!

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