I have a soft spot for Salzburg because of the amazing Erasmus exchange I did there but also, simply because it’s a very beautiful part of the world! There is so much to do in and around the city that a weekend away really isn’t long enough to experience it all but I have done my best to select the most important bits! I actually found there was too much to include in one post so I have written a separate post for the 10 Best Day Trips from Salzburg which include trips to Konigsee in Germany, Hallstatt and many other beautiful locations. I hope you find this weekend guide to Salzburg interesting/ helpful! Let me know if you’re planning a trip soon and I will suggest more specific things to do depending on the season you’ll be visiting in.
WHERE TO STAY
Salzburg isn’t a huge city so as long as you are on this map, you will be fine! You will mainly get around by foot as well so location really isn’t an issue. However I do highly recommend Hotel Goldgasse. It is in the centre of the old town and the restaurant serves the best schnitzel in the city! The hotel is stunning, cosy and the staff go out of there way to be helpful when asked!
WHAT TO DO
I lived in Salzburg for 7 months which gave me plenty of time to explore all the city has to offer. Below I have listed my top 11 sights/attractions which I think are essential for and amazing weekend in Salzburg. I also recommend you check out the restaurant in Hotel Goldgasse even if you don’t end up staying there and a restaurant called Barenwirt where you will find delicious traditional Austrian food served in a beautiful Alpine esque setting.
1. NOCKSTEIN HIKE
The base of this hike is very easy to reach by car or bus from Salzburg city centre. This is the best map I can find online but you can always ask where you’re staying for more information on how to get there. The views of the surrounding mountains and city from the peak are amazing.
2. MARIA PLAIN
Again, very easy to reach from the city centre. I actually cycled to Maria Plain which was lovely in the sun and part of the reason I enjoyed going. The church itself is a famous pilgrimage site but the main attraction for me is the view of the city you get from the hill.
3. HANGAR 7
Hangar 7 is where the Flying Bulls (aka the drink, RedBull) exhibit their planes and formula 1 cars. It is pretty random but worthwhile visiting. There are two bars, a Michelin star restaurant and obviously the planes to see. The building itself is also very cool, I’d recommend going at night for the full effect.
4. GAISBERG HIKE
I’d actually recommend you drive to the top of Gaisberg rather than hike! This may seem a little lazy but it’s the view from the top that is worth seeing rather than the hike itself and on a short trip you’d be better off saving your time for another hike in the area. But as you can see it is an amazing view! There is also a traditional Austrian restaurant up there which if you do hike it, is the perfect place for a victory/recovery beer!
5. AUGUSTINER BRAU
Augustiner has the best beer garden in Salzburg. It’s a traditional Austrian/German beer hall with lots of food options to check out too. You get a stein, wash it out in a huge water fountain and then have someone fill it with beer. Quite a cool experience!
Hellbrunn is a very pretty palace in Salzburg which is especially nice to visit during Christmas market season! There is also a nice little hike you can do to an Untersberg viewpoint. It’s around a 20min cycle from the city centre with lots of beautiful views along the way.
This is a lovely place to walk and is right in the city centre so you get beautiful views of the old town and river. There is a lift from the centre that takes you directly to the modern art museum on Monchsberg and from there you can walk to Hohensalzburg Fortress or back down into the town.
8. HOHENSALZBURG FORTRESS
There is also a lift/ funicular railway up to the Fortress although the walk up is nice too. Salzburg skyline is made recognisable by the castle overlooking the old town and river so it seems only right I include it on my list of things to see/do. And it is quite interesting to walk around or if you’re precious like me sit and have a drink at the outdoor bar overlooking the city!
9. THE OPERA/ FELSENREITSCHULE
One of my favourite things to do in Salzburg is visit the Opera at the Felsenreitschule. You may recognise it from The Sound of Music! The best performance I’ve seen here was Carmen which you can see a little bit of here. It was amazing, the atmosphere is incredible and I love to see the locals dressed up in their traditional clothing which many do when going to the Opera.
10. NIGHT OUT
Salzburg isn’t a very big city but there is a huge student population (just did a little research to backup my claim: 6 universities according to Wikipedia!). This means a night out there is always interesting so I’d recommend at least one evening spent in either a nice cocktail bar, one of many Irish pubs or a nightclub! All venues are within walking distance of each other.
11. THE ALTSTADT
Last but not least for things to do in Salzburg I obviously have to mention the city itself or the Altstadt. It was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1997 thanks to the beautifully preserved baroque architecture. Spend lots of time wandering around and enjoying it. Make sure to visit Kapitelplatz, Salzburg Cathedral, Getreidegasse, Schloss Mirabelle and Mozart’s House.