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24 hours in Salzburg - this is what the city of Mozart has to offer

The fortress Hohensalzburg and in front of it, not to be overlooked, the golden sphere.

On our trip to Saalbach-Hinterglemm, we spent a night in the city of Salzburg with the kids. Whether we liked it here and whether we can recommend the city on the Salzach, you can find out here.

The people of Salzburg are proud of their state capital. Without wanting to prejudge anything, we can only say: rightly so! The city on the Salzach River has, in addition to a number of sights, a great deal of charm and a lot of history. With more than 20 million overnight stays per year, Salzburg is way out in front in Austria and so many visitors can't be wrong, after all. The only question is: Did we like it?

Actually, it's a shame. My wife and I had to turn over 40 to come to Salzburg for the first time. After all, the capital of the province of the same name is one of the most famous cities in Europe. In the course of a trip to the Hinterglemm valley, we decided to spend a night in the center of Salzburg with our two children. Already the search for accommodation turned out to be the first small hurdle, because we did not want to leave too much money in Salzburg and the tourist magnet is anything but cheap. Finally, we were lucky and stumbled upon a day offer of a hostel in absolute proximity to the center. We are not usually so the hostel types, but for one night, we make an exception.

A hostel for a change

The a&o hostel chain has over 28,500 beds in Europe and is also represented in Salzburg. We booked ourselves in via for only 84 euros - not bad for a 4-bed room in one of the most expensive cities in Austria. For this price, the room was perfectly fine and we also had our own bathroom. We booked breakfast for 18 euros on top - yes, for all four of us! That paid off.

We arrived in the city already at noon, put down our suitcases at the hostel and headed to the center, because that's not the only place where the proverbial music plays in Salzburg. We were lucky, because our accommodation was near the train station and the old town was within walking distance in about 25 minutes. With children, everything usually takes a little longer when traveling. Armed with enough provisions, we left the hostel and the train station behind us and marched in beautiful sightseeing weather to the banks of the Salzach - from here, you can get almost anywhere without any problems. There we also had to marvel for the first time.

We crossed the Salzach River to march into the picturesque old town.

After a few hundred meters along the river we could observe a boat that was apparently conducting tours for tourists, but was unusually crooked in the water. Finally, the "boat" changed its direction and approached the shore. Without even thinking of stopping, the captain steered it towards a concrete driveway and just a few seconds later the boat was on land - on four wheels. We did not know the Salzburg amphibian bus yet, and made big eyes. On our next visit, we will certainly take it for a spin, that's for sure.

Salzburg enchants you

Finally, we went on and crossed the Salzach over the Marko-Feingold-Steg towards the old town - Salzburg is fortunately not very extensive, so you can already visit a large part in one day. But if you want to go into detail, you should take 3 to 4 days.

Salzburg is best explored on foot - most of the highlights are easy to reach.

Via Griesgasse and the Sterngässchen, which is well worth seeing - a drink break here pays off especially on hot summer days - we finally turned into Getreidegasse, where Mozart's birthplace is located. The old town of Salzburg is a picturesque place in which there are many opportunities for shopping. Visually, this part of the baroque old town is only surpassed by the Hohensalzburg Fortress and the Mirabell Gardens including the associated castle. This is where the tourist heart feels at home. There is a lot to see here and several times you get the feeling to travel to a long gone time.

After this extensive walk, we treated ourselves to a hearty snack on one of the benches of the spacious Residenzplatz with a view of Salzburg Cathedral. After all, man does not live by bread alone.

The 17th-century marble cathedral is located in the so-called Domviertel (Cathedral Quarter), and a few steps away, on Domplatz (Cathedral Square), the world-famous Salzburg Festival takes place - you've probably heard of the legendary "Jedermann" performances, which, along with the exemplary Zart and Strauss concerts, are among the hallmarks of this important cultural festival. Incidentally, the Salzburg Festival has been held every summer in July and August since 1920 and attracts many thousands of visitors to the city.

High up, above the city

Only a few minutes' walk, via Kapitelplatz with the unmistakable golden sphere and Festungsgasse, we finally reached the fortress railroad. As early as 1892, a funicular opened here to take visitors up to Hohensalzburg Fortress. In the meantime, of course, this railroad has been renovated and modernized several times. A visit to this 900-year-old fortress, which was built in 1077 by Archbishop Gebhard and is now the largest completely preserved castle complex in Europe, is an absolute must for Salzburg tourists. Once at the top, you can take a guided tour of the old walls, see the magnificently restored fortress museum or the Prince's Room. For us, however, the absolute highlight was the magnificent panoramic view over Salzburg and beyond.

Salzburg is also beautiful to look at from above.

Flowering garden and angel staircase

After a short beer and ice cream break in one of the numerous guest gardens, we finally marched to Mirabell Palace and the Mirabell Gardens. Passing Mozart's residence, we took in the baroque pleasure garden, the magnificent roses, the famous fountain and the angels' staircase. One could think that romance was invented here - not for nothing (on the contrary) the palace and its garden are among the most popular wedding locations today. However, we can't say whether marriages contracted here last longer.

After quite a few kilometers walked, we finally went back to our hostel. You only sleep as soundly as you did that night on a full day of travel.

The gardeners have a lot to do in the Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg.

Impressive hangar and wet garden

After a surprisingly good breakfast in the dining room of the a&o hostel, reminiscent of a school cafeteria, two more Salzburg sights were on our agenda for the next morning. We packed our car full, put the kids in the back seat and headed for the airport. Our destination: Hangar 7. The futuristic glass building on the east side of Salzburg Airport was a heart project of entrepreneur and Red Bull pioneer Dietrich Mateschitz (October 22, 2022). Inside is not only a bar suspended in the air and an excellent but very expensive restaurant, but also an impressive collection of historic airplanes, helicopters and Formula 1 racing cars. And we were lucky: admission is free and on this Monday morning there were only a few visitors there - after all, the exhibition attracts up to 200,000 people every year. The same applies to Hangar 7: If you're in Salzburg, you shouldn't miss Mateschitz's legacy. We liked it very much.

In Hangar 7, not only Formula 1 fans get their money's worth. Admission is free!

After that, things got a bit more classical again, in the sense of "typical Salzburg". We went to the era of the prince archbishop Markus Sittikus and got wet despite the summer weather. In the water garden of Hellbrunn Palace, water machines, grottos and treacherous splash fountains have been entertaining guests for over 400 years. The palace is located just outside of Salzburg, but is anything but a world away.

Interesting exhibition

Before joining a guided tour of the surprisingly entertaining water garden, we visited the castle's Schaulust exhibition - audio guides are available in many different languages for visitors from all over the world. Afterwards, we were surprised by the countless hidden water features in the baroque garden. This Markus Sittikus must have been a humorous fellow who managed to entertain people for centuries after his demise. Especially with children and in good weather, a visit to Hellbrunn Palace is a good tip. The palace park in front of the water garden also invites you to linger with its water playground, climbing frames and extensive knowledge. Had we known what it was like there, we would have taken a picnic with us.

Hellbrunn Palace is best approached by car.

All excursions in this blog are without stress, but with your own car within 24 hours out. Even those who want to stay longer, find in and around Salzburg other wonderful excursions and day destinations:

  • Old salt works Bad Reichenhall

  • Car and music museum "Manro Classic

  • Eisriesenwelt Werfen

  • Hohenwerfen Castle

  • Adventure gorge Salzachklamm

  • Ferdinand Porsche adventure worlds fahr(T)raum

  • Gaisberg and Gasbergstraße

  • Gollinger waterfall

  • Gut Aiderbichl

  • Kaprun high mountain reservoirs

  • Grossglockner high alpine road

  • KTM Motohall-Matighofen

  • Lammerklamm

  • Liechtensteinklamm

  • Freilassing locomotive world

  • Berchtesgaden Salt Mine

  • Untersberg cable car

  • WasserWelten Krimml and the impressive waterfalls

  • and much more

In the evening, Max went to get sushi. You would think he had been abducted by aliens.

After this short city trip we went to the mountains of the Hinterglemm valley - a blog about this hiking week with hospital stay will follow soon!

We hope we could whet your appetite for this great city, look forward to your feedback,, and are open for lively exchange. You also want to travel, like to travel often and have a question, just write us or comment.

Best regards,

Steffi, Max and the kids

More tips for a perfect Salzburg trip:

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