Spend one day in Salzburg Austria and you’ll know why everyone declares it one of the most romantic cities in Europe!
Maybe it’s because of the stunning Baroque architecture, or the hilltop fortress with the Austrian Alps in the background. Or, maybe it’s because it is the birthplace of Mozart the famed composer, or the filming location for The Sound of Music.
With the city of Salzburg receiving UNESCO World Heritage status, you know it’s full of well-preserved history and worthy architecture.
With so many things to do in Salzburg, how do you plan what to see and how to spend your time? This guide shares a suggested 1 day Salzburg itinerary that covers off the top sights you shouldn’t miss.
I’m not going to lie, if you plan to visit Salzburg in one day, you won’t be able to experience it all. You might be able to see a lot, but it may be at a faster pace than you like.
If you plan well and use this guide to places to visit in Salzburg in 1 day you’ll see all the “musts”. But, I’ve also included some time to simply soak up the atmosphere, and enjoy some local specialties. Better yet, if this guide convinces you to stay longer, I’ve added some bonus things to do and answer all of the commonly asked questions about the beautiful city of Salzburg. (Updated: January 2023)
So, let’s go to Salzburg – for the day!
Table of Contents
One Day in Salzburg – Top Things to Do
Stop #1: Mirabell Palace and Gardens
Begin your day in one of the most beautiful places to visit in Salzburg, Mirabell Palace. You’ll want to enjoy this place all to yourself. To beat the crowds, start here first as it will get crowded.
This UNESCO World Heritage site dates back to 1606 when Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau built the palace to impress his mistress. And, it’s definitely impressive!
Of all the highly-rated tourist attractions this one is a must. One of the impression rooms of the palace is Marble Hall.
Equally as impressive as the Palace is Mirabell Gardens.
If you’ve seen the Sound of Music, you’ll likely recognize the rose garden and the Pegasus Fountain where Maria and the von Trapp children dance around singing do-re-mi.
Be sure to visit here as it’s one of the best free things to do in Salzburg. This beautiful garden has it all – from the flowers to the hedges, to fountains and statutes.
Hours: The gardens are open from 6 am to dusk. The palace is open from 8 am to 6 pm. The marble hall is open from 8 am to 4 pm Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday and from 1 pm to 4 pm on Tuesday and Friday
Stop #2: Birthplace of Mozart
Across the park south of the Mirabell Palace, you’ll find the residence of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
From 1773 to 1787, the Mozart family lived in the so-called Dance Master’s House, formally a dance hall, on Makartplatz.
For classic music enthusiasts, the entire 8-room apartment has been turned into a museum dedicated to Mozart. Stroll by and admire the pretty pink façade of the former residence to Mozart’s birthplace.
Next, make your way to Mozart’s birthplace at No. 9 Getreidegasse. Along the way, you will pass through a lovely square called Linzer Gasse Platz.
You can’t miss the bright yellow Hagenauer Haus where Mozart was born in 1756 and lived his first 17 years. There’s a small museum offering tours at specific times of the day.
Cost: Adults €12, children 6 – 14 years €3.50, youth 15 – 18 €4
Hours: 9 am to 5:30 pm, last entrance at 5 pm
Stop #3: Getridegasse Famous Shopping Street
One of the best things to do in Salzburg is to walk Getreidegasse or Grain Lane.
Aside from being the street where Mozart lived, this famous street is known for its shopping. The narrow street is characterized by numerous high townhouses side by side with wrought-iron guild signs. This lively street is a must when visiting Salzburg in one day.
Hours: opening hours of stores varies, typically 10 am to 6 pm
Stop #4: Hohensalzburg Castle
Sitting up high above the city dominating the skyline is the city’s most visible landmark – the Hohensalzburg fortress.
Of all the places to visit in Salzburg in 1 day, this needs to be top of your list.
Either walk up the steep hill to get to the top or take the funicular.
Built in 1077, it was once the largest castle in Europe.
Decide whether you tour the interior, but don’t skip going to the top. You’re not going to want to miss those views. At the top, you’ll have a bird’s eye view of the entire city.
Cost: All-inclusive ticket is €16.60
Hours: October through April 9:30 am to 5 pm; May through September 8:30 am to 8 pm; 9 am to 6 pm
Entrance Ticket: Purchase your tickets online in advance to avoid waiting in the ticket line
Stop #5: Best Restaurant with a view in Salzburg
Directly below the Hohensalzburg Castle is one of the best restaurants Salzburg – Stiegl-Keller.
This restaurant offers the best views of the city from the large terrace overlooking the rooftops. Sit under a trellis of flowering vines and enjoy a delicious meal with your favourite Stiegl beer.
Stop #6: Old Town
The Old Town is the heart of any European city. And, the Old Town, or Altstadt in Salzburg is wonderfully romantic.
Leisurely stroll through and admire the elegant architecture.
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there are many landmarks in Old Town you’re going to want to add to your 1-day Salzburg itinerary
- Residence Square – a large stately square, and one where you can take a carriage ride from
- Kapitelplatz, or Chapter Square and its fountain – a pretty square built in 1732
- Salzburg Cathedral – 17th-century Baroque cathedral, be sure to see the interior gorgeous domed ceiling
- Peter’s Friedhof – the oldest cemetery in Salzburg dating back to 700 when the adjacent St. Peter’s Abbey was established (and is Salzburg hidden gems)
Stop #7: Best Salzburg Cafe
Be sure to add to your one day in Salzburg a leisurely afternoon break and take part in the local tradition of kaffee und kuchen, or coffee and cake.
One of the specialities that Salzburg is known for is Sachertorte. This dense chocolate cake is layered in the middle with apricot jam and a dollop of fresh cream.
The best Salzburg restaurant to go to is Cafe Sacher which is part of the elegant Hotel Sacher Salzburg with views of the Salzach river.
Stop #8: Boat ride to Hellbrunn Castle and Trick Fountains
One of the best places to visit in Salzburg lies just outside the city – the beautiful Hellbrunn Palace.
This 17th-century Italianate villa served as a relaxing summer palace for archbishops. One of the unique things to do in Salzburg is to see the trick fountains on the grounds of Hellbrunn.
There is another Sound of Music connection with the famous gazebo scene between Liesl and Franz and the duet of “Sixteen going on Seventeen” takes place on these grounds.
The best way to arrive at Hellbrunn Palace is by boat. Take a boat ride on the Salzach river to Hellbrunn with a guided tour. The entrance tickets to the Palace, gardens and boat are all included, but do require to be booked in advance.
Stop #9: Dinner
Here are some of the best restaurants to end your one day in Salzburg with a delicious meal.
- St Peter Stiftskulinarium – is the oldest restaurant in Salzburg and the rest of Europe, dating back to 800
- Johanneskeller – a casual restaurant serving classic Austrian specialties like Weiner Schnitzel
- Andreas Hofer – a traditional Austrian restaurant, one of the oldest, serving classic dishes in a casual atmosphere
- Zum Eulenspiegel – is a tiny unassuming restaurant opposite Mozart’s Birthplace – with a unique atmosphere and fine dining experience
Before or after dinner, the best viewpoints in Salzburg for sunset watching are Kapuzinerberg and Monchsberg.
Stop #10: Mozart Concert
It’s impossible to go to Salzburg, even if just one day, and not attend a classical music concert of the city’s most famous composer.
End your one day in Salzburg, where you started with a Mozart concert at Mirabell Palace. Reserve your spot, and book your tickets in advance.
1-day Salzburg Itinerary Overview
|Time||Place and Location|
|8:30 am||Mirabell Palace and Gardens|
|9 am||Mozart Residence|
|9:30 am||Mozart Birthplace|
|10:30 am||Hohensalzburg Fortress|
|1:30 pm||Old Town|
|3 pm||Cafe Sacher|
|4 pm||Boat ride to Hellbrunn Palace|
|7 pm +||Dinner and Mozart concert|
FAQs About Salzburg
What does Salzburg mean?
In English, Salzburg means salt fortress. For centuries, the Salzburg area has been mining salt. Salt, or white gold, made Salzburg a powerful trading city throughout history.
How do you get to Salzburg?
Getting to Salzburg is easy as Austria borders seven other countries. Whether you arrive by car, bus, train or plane your best starting point is Mirabell square as it’s close to city parking, bus and train depot. Salzburg sits very close to the German border, with spectacular views of the Bavarian Alps.
How do you get around Salzburg?
Salzburg is a small, compact, walkable city making it very easy to get around and navigate. That makes it easy to visit Salzburg in one day as all of the top sites worth seeing are in close proximity to one another.
Is 1 day enough in Salzburg?
Yes, one day in Salzburg is enough to see all the must-see sights like the Mirabell Palace, Hohensalzburg fortress, Old Town and Mozart’s birthplace. However, if you were to make Salzburg your home base, it would allow you to see more of the nearby destinations.
What should you not miss in Salzburg?
The unmissable things to do in your one day in Salzburg
1. Mirabell Palace and Garden
2. Hohensalzburg fortress
3. Getridegasse and Mozart’s birthplace
4. Indulging in Sacher Torte in a coffee house or cafe
5. Salzburg Cathedral and St Peter’s Abbey in Old Town
What are tips for visiting Salzburg?
If you are planning one day in Salzburg, make the most of your time by booking entrance tickets in advance to avoid any long lines. That includes making lunch and dinner reservations for the restaurants of your choice. And, wear comfortable shoes.
What is the best time to visit Salzburg?
The best time to visit Salzburg is in the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) when the average temperatures are between 15 to 20 degrees (60-70 F) and there are far fewer tourists. The warmest months of July and August are also the busiest. Visiting the Christmas markets in late November into December is a magical time to visit Salzburg.
Best Day Trips Nearby to Salzburg
Salzburg is central to some incredible destinations and things to do. Beyond your one day in Salzburg, here are some popular day trips.
- Spend the day in the Bavarian Mountains in Germany with a tour of the Eagle’s Nest (former retreat of Adolf Hitler), a Salt Mine and Konigsee (King’s Lake)
- Visit the picture postcard village of Hallstatt on this day trip from Salzburg
- Sound of Music fans will want to take this all-day tour to see the picturesque countryside and locations from the famous movie
- Experience the salt mines and an incredible subterranean lake that miners’ used when searching for the “white gold,” as the highly valued rock salt used to be called
Related reading and resources if you’re travelling beyond Salzburg:
- Guide to Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany
- Touring the Alpine Road in Germany
- Guide to Munich
- How to Spend One Day in Innsbruck
- Salzburg or Innsbruck: Which is Worth Visiting
- Guide to Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic
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As a holidaymaker
This 1-day itinerary for Salzburg will have you see all the “must” sites. But it also includes some relaxing breaks where you can enjoy a delicious meal and some of the country’s specialties. I hope you have the opportunity to spend one day in Salzburg just as I have done.