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How to Spend 24 Hours in Salzburg

Picture of Kate Jackson
Updated: 23 June 2017
Given Salzburg’s intimate size, many of the most popular sites can be seen in a day. Here’s the best way to spend your time.

Morning

Start your day off in one of Salzburg’s traditional cafes. Austrian breakfasts tend to be conventionally continental; usually including a boiled egg (sometimes served in a glass and sprinkled with chives), toast, jam, and plates of cold meats. Coffee is an absolute essential, and caffeine lovers will feel very at home here. There are plenty of great cafes and coffee shops to choose from, with some similar to the traditional coffee houses that can be found in Vienna.

Café Tomaselli, founded in 1705 on the Alter Markt, is one of the finest – decked out with wood paneling, marble topped tables, and waiters in tuxedos serving coffee on silver trays. Over the years, it has been a famous meeting place for some of Austria’s most renowned residents, including Salzburg-born Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. As well as a beautiful garden where you can relax in the shade beneath the chestnut trees, there is a balcony where you can sit and watch the world go by as you as you sip your coffee. Cafe Mozart is another favorite with tourists and is similarly traditional.

Cafe Mozart on Getreidegase Salzburg
Cafe Mozart on Getreidegase Salzburg | © Österreich Werbung, Photographer: Herzberger

Afternoon

The Mirabell Gardens, opposite the Old Town, is one of the city’s must-visit locations; perhaps most famous for being one of the settings in The Sound of Music – the steps by the entrance and the circular pond is where the end of the Do-Re-Mi scene was shot. After you’ve spent an hour or so here, take a 15-minute walk down the road and across the river to the Festungsbahn railway station in the Old Town. This takes you up to the medieval Hohensalzburg Fortress, the dramatic structure gazing out from on top of a small hill. From here, you can enjoy incredible views over the city and picturesque Alpine surroundings – a fantastic place from which you can figure out where the central landmarks of the city are.

Hellbrunn Palace and gardens (around a 20-minute cycle along the banks of the river, or on Line 25 from the train station) are also worth checking out. Once the summer residence of the Archbishop, this 17th-century building has some delicately decorated interiors and spectacular fountain gardens.

Alternatively, you could head to the Museum of Modern Art – of which there are two locations – and admire one of the best collections of contemporary work in Austria.

Mirabell Palace in Salzbur
Mirabell Palace in Salzbur | © Österreich Werbung / Diejun

Evening

St Peter Stiftskeller in the Old Town is one of the city’s most famous restaurants, notable for being one of the oldest in the city and for hosting guests such as Emperor Charlemagne. On the menu are some of the quintessential Austrian dishes, such Wiener Schnitzel and Tafelspitz (a broth with boiled veal or beef) and for around €40 you can sample a three-course meal. Another option that isn’t quite as tourist-ridden is Bärenwirt, which also serves local cuisine.

Salzburg isn’t hugely renowned for possessing a buzzing nightlife, however, it is surprisingly lively after hours. One of the most popular places to find a bar along is Steingasse, an old cobbled street located across the river from the Old Town. Head to Saitensprung or Little Grain for cocktails, or for a more refined evening of local wines, try Enoteca Settemila on Bergstraße.

Meal at St Peter’s Stiftskeller
Meal at St Peter’s Stiftskeller | © thisisbossi / Flickr