Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Salzburg (Austria), along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Mirabell Palace and Gardens
The Mirabell Palace and Gardens were built in the 17th century and are some of the most romantic sites in all of Europe.
The highlight of the splendid palace is the Marble Hall, which is often considered the most beautiful wedding hall in the world and served as the stage for famous musicians like Mozart.
Possibly even more impressive are the fantastic adjacent gardens which are a typical example of Baroque pleasure gardens featuring clearly recognizable geometrical forms.
Both the palace and the gardens should not be missed when coming to this part of Austria and are symbols of Salzburg.
Salzburg’s Cathedral is one of the most significant religious buildings in all of Europe and is known for its marvelous twin-tower design and its mighty dome.
The cathedral is so large and impressive that since its construction in 1614 it has become a big part of Salzburg’s skyline and can be seen from many places in the city.
Along with the Mirabell Palace, it is one of the city’s must-visits as there is so much to discover, including the fantastic baptismal font, the crypt, and the cathedral’s many treasures.
There is also a museum to be explored here that is very interesting. Due to the volume of interesting artifacts and architectural details it makes sense to take part in a guided tour around this glorious sight.
The famous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg and his birthplace is today one of the main attractions of the city. The house in which he spent years of his childhood is today a museum offering a collection of Mozart’s first instruments and personal artifacts.
This museum is most of all a great place to learn about this great artist and understand what made his work so special.
Salzburg’s Toy Museum is known for its collection of antique toys and is one of the best of its kind in all of Austria. Despite the age of the toys on display visitors are welcome to try many of them out for themselves, making the museum much more interactive than you would expect.
Underlining this, as the museum’s concept of ”Games”, ”Experience” and ”Fascination. There are also fun games like a Carrera track that can be tried out or a maze.
Hohensalzburg Fortress is another highlight of Salzburg and sits on top of a mountain rising to 506 meters above sea level overlooking the city and its surroundings.
The fortress is a time capsule back into medieval times and is extremely well conserved attracting a huge number of visitors every day. Many hours can be spent here, enjoying the mysterious insides of the castle as well the beautiful courtyards within its thick walls.
There are many interesting chapels, fortification towers, and exhibitions to be explored at the Hohensalzburg Fortress but the panorama from up here is worth a visit alone.
Heilbrunn Palace is a fantastic Baroque residence built in the 17th century. It is named after the spring located here and was initially meant as a summer day-time residence for the Archbishop.
What the Schloss Heilbrunn is most famous for are its beautiful fountains and water games. The gardens of the villa are characterized by beautiful ponds and it’s especially relaxing here during the summer months.
The Wasserspiele of Heilbrunn is the highlight of every visit to the Schloss Heilbrunn. They are adjacent to the villa and impress everyone with their creative fountains and the often surprising movements of water.
The Wasserspiele Heilbrunn consists of a number of Water automats, grottos, and fountains which, at the time of their construction, were considered a real engineering marvel.
In medieval times the water games served as a status symbol for the archbishop but today everyone visiting the city can enjoy them.
Haus der Natur
The so-called ”Haus der Natur” (House of Nature) is considered Salzburg’s most popular museum and is dedicated to present nature in the most exciting ways possible.
There is a fascinating underwater aquarium as well as an extraterrestrial collection of outer space and kids will love the colossal dinosaurs. Moreover, there is also a section dedicated to the anatomy of the human body.
The museum is very modern and many exhibits are interactive, making a visit, not just educative but also fun and adventurous.
St. Peter’s Abbey (Stift St. Peter)
The St Peter’s Abbey, called Stift St. Peter in German, is a Benedictine monastery known for being one of the oldest monasteries of Europe’s German-speaking countries.
It was founded in 696 and is one of the most important religious buildings in the city. The highlight of the monastery is its Abbey Church which is built in a beautiful Romanesque style.
It was built in 1130 and is dedicated to Saint Peter. One of its key characteristics is its beautiful onion dome and the Rococo style of its furnishings. The best view of St Peter’s Abbey can be had from the Hohensalzburg Fortress.
Old Town (Salzburg Altstadt)
Salzburg’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is famous for its ensemble of medieval and baroque buildings. Millions of people come here every year to enjoy the historic structures and atmosphere.
Salzburg’s Altstadt, as it is known in German, stretches along the Salzach River and a walk across the Staatsbrücke (a bridge) is a great way to get an interesting 360° panorama of the beautiful historic streets and landmarks.
The Untersberg is a mountain south of Salzburg that acts as a popular destination for residents and tourists alike. The well-known Untersbergbahn, a cable car leading to the summit, is the best gateway into the mountain range.
The cable car allows easy access to many hiking trails, caves, and viewing platforms. The ground station of the Untersbergbahn is located in Gartenau.
Red Bull Hangar 7
Red Bull Hangar 7 is a unique collection of historic airplanes as well as Formula 1 cars and hosts the so-called Flying Bulls aircraft fleet. The exhibition space is very modern and there are also temporary art exhibitions held here.
The hangar is one of the most impressive modern buildings in Salzburg and was only recently inaugurated. Another highlight of the site is its Michelin-star awarded restaurant serving first-class cuisine.
Residenz Neugebäude is a palace located opposite of the Residenz Palace at the Domplatz and Residenzplatz, right in the historic center of the city.
It used to serve as the home of the Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau and was used for private purposes. It was also used as a representative building for the royal monarchy.
While the Residenz Palace today serves as a museum, the Residence Neugebäude is mainly known for its fantastic “Glockenspiel”, consisting of 35 bells. If you want to experience this beautiful tradition you need to come here at either 7 am, 11 am or 6 pm as this is the time when it comes into action.
Gaisberg rises to nearly 1300 m and is only a few kilometers away from Salzburg’s city center, making it one of the top recreational spots around the city.
The Gaisberg offers a fantastic view of Salzburg and is also known for its extensive network of cycling and climbing trails. Paragliding is also a very popular activity here and guided tandem flights are a popular activity for local thrill seekers. The Gaisberg is accessible by public transport.
Salzburg Festival (Festspiele in Salzburg)
Salzburg Festival was founded almost 100 years ago and is today more popular than ever. This fantastic music festival is held annually and lasts for several weeks each summer (usually in July).
It is known for its broad artistic program and offers a variety of operas, concerts and drama. It doesn’t matter if you come here for Mozart or modern music, you will not be disappointed.
Apart from the great music another main attraction of the festival is its fantastic historic setting, what better place to enjoy classical music than in Salzburg’s beautiful Old Town.