The views of Altstadt Salzburg Austria from Stiegl-Keller Restaurant

One Perfect Day in Salzburg

Salzburg is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in Europe. Even if you only have one day – go! Luckily, Salzburg is a compact city allowing you to experience most of it in one day. Salzburg sits close to the German border, with spectacular views of the eastern Alps in the background. It’s a popular day trip for those travellers who are touring Bavaria.

So how do you spend just one perfect day in Salzburg you ask? Well, follow along as I share how you can make the most of your day. 

The Altstadt in Salzburg Austria

The morning

Start your day at Mirabell Palace and Gardens…

One of the most beautiful sites, and one you will want to enjoy all to yourself, is Mirabell Palace. 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 it to impress his mistress. And, it’s definitely impressive. The best part of all – it’s free to visit. 

Mirabell Palace & Garden in Salzburg Austria

Salzburg, Pegasus, Horse, Fluegelross

Pegasus Fountain

If you’ve seen the Sound of Music, you will likely recognize the rose garden and the Pegasus Fountain where Maria and the von Trapp children dance around singing “Do-Re-Mi.”

Mirabell Garden in Salzburg Austria
I love visiting gardens when in Europe. They just get it right. From the flowers to the hedges, the fountains to the statutes - they make everything look so perfect. But onward we must go. Do you recognize this hedge tunnel from the Sound of Music? We took it as we exited this palace to see more of the city.

Stroll by Mozart’s residences…

Just across the park south of the Mirabell Palace you will find Mozart’s residence. 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. We simply strolled by admiring the pretty pink façade of the residence. 

Visit the birthplace of Mozart in Salzburg Austria

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 is a small museum, that we didn’t explore. On we went to explore more of the city.  

Getreidegase in Salzburg Autstria
Getreidegasse (or Grain Lane) aside from being the street where Mozart lived, is also a busy shopping street. The narrow street is characterized by numerous high town houses side by side with its wrought iron guild signs. We actually returned to this part of the street in the afternoon, when it was lively and full of people.

Visit the most visible landmark…

Sitting up high above the city dominating the skyline is Hohensalzburg Castle.  We elected to walk up the steep hill to get to the top, although you can opt to take a funicular.

Views of the Salzburg Fortress. An easy day trip when you are in southeastern Bavaria

Built in 1077, it was once the largest castle in Europe. We decided not to tour inside, based on time and interest, but the views are incredible and definitely worth the climb to the top. If you do decide to tour the castle, go close to opening hours to beat the crowds.  

Views from the fortress of the Salzburg Austria

Lunch time

Directly below the Hohensalzburg Castle is the Stiegl-Keller restaurant. This restaurant offers the best views on their large terrace over looking the city. Sit under a trellis of flowering vines and enjoy a delicious meal with your favourite Stiegl beer. 

The views of Altstadt Salzburg Austria from Stiegl-Keller Restaurant

The afternoon

Wander through Altstadt…

There is nothing better than simply wandering through the Altstadt (or old city). Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, here are some landmarks you are bound to see. 

Residence Square in Salzburg Austria
Residence Square is in the heart of the Altstadt. It is bordered by the New Residence with its carillon, the Cathedral, the Old Residence and a continuous row of townhouses. It's also where you may take a tour of the city by horse and carriage.
Residence Square in Salzburg Austria
The archway connecting the Residence and Dom squares together.
The 17th century Salzburg Cathedral
The Salzburg Cathedral is a Baroque-style 17th century cathedral dedicated to Saint Rupert and Saint Vergilius. Saint Rupert founded the church in 774 on the remnants of a Roman town, the cathedral was rebuilt in 1181 after a fire. Highly recommend touring the inside of the Cathedral to see the gorgeous domed ceiling.
The Chapter Fountain in Salzburg Austria
On your way to the fortress, you cross through Kapitelplatz (or Chapter Square). This spacious square is bordered by the Cathedral and church palace. Right underneath the fortress sits the pretty Kapitelschewemme (or Chapter Fountain) built in 1732. The brightness of the water colour is a striking contrast to the surrounding pastel colour buildings.
Salzburg Austria, spending one perfect day should include visiting Friedhoff
Be sure to stroll through Salzburg's oldest cemetery, Peter's Friedhof. It is so peaceful. Its origins date back to about 700, when the adjacent St. Peter's Abbey was established. The abbey's cemetery has the oldest tombstone dating back to 1288.
Mozart Square in Salzburg Austria
Most people go to Mozart Square to see its' focal point - the bronze Mozart statue - erected in 1842. Me? I couldn't help but admire the beautiful buildings and architecture lining the square.

As a holidaymaker…

Just in case you weren’t convinced that Salzburg isn’t one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in Europe. Here is a little dose of some pretty pink buildings you will find in the Altstadt. Any city that uses an abundance of pink will always capture my heart. So, there you have it. How to spend one perfect day in this beautiful city. 

The pretty buildings in Salzburg Austria
The Altstadt of Salzburg Austria

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How to make the best use of your time when you are visiting Salzburg Austria
How to make the best use of your time when you are visiting Salzburg Austria


  • Sue

    Salzburg looks lovely! I have to admit I only visited once, back in 1994 as part of my interrail adventure. I only went because I knew it was home to the Sound of Music! I remember going up to the castle & little else but having read this I feel I need to go back & do it justice!

  • Jamie Italiane

    I had a magical day in Salsburg with my father 20 years ago. We chased Sound of Music sights, many of which you have covered. The best part of the day was nighttime in a random empty church with monks singing vespers in the background. It is a magical city.

  • Linda (LD Holland)

    We enjoyed a few days in Salzburg when we visited. And got to do a day trip out to Hallstatt because we had extra time. Even with the extra time, we are sorry we did not enjoy more of the music history or take in a concert. We often visit cemeteries but we missed this one. All good reasons why we would love to go back to Salzburg.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      You’re so right Linda, I would love have taken in a concert while there. It’s something we always do, but didn’t have the chance while we were there.

  • Riana Ang-Canning

    Ah this is bringing back such sweet memories of Salzburg. I love that city! Definitely agree with your recommendations, and wish we had spent more time exploring churches and cemeteries. If you have a bit more time, I highly recommend heading up to the fortress as the views really are incredible!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thanks Riana! Totally agree, the views from the fortress are the best, we just didn’t do the tour inside!

      • Brooklyn

        Salzburg just seems so charming! Being a Sound of Music fan I’ll have to go one day, and I think this is a great one day itinerary for seeing the major spots!

  • Eric Gamble

    I LOVE SALZBURG!! We spent several days there exploring all the major locations in this magical city and home of Mozart. I love your perfect 1 day guide cause you hit all the major spots. I think my favorite was riding the funicular up to the Hohensalzburg Castle. The castle itself is really cool too and the views of the entire city are amazing. Of course we loved checking out both of the Mozart houses and just walking the streets. I also recommend you eat your weight in Mozartkugel! They are soo YUMMY!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Eric! We ate our weight that’s for sure! So many choices delicious choices. My favourite was the sachertorte.

  • Jas

    I love visiting gardens too and I’ll definitely have to put Mirabell Palace and Gardens on my bucket list. (Although I might have to rewatch Sound of Music as it’s been awhile and I don’t think I recognize the scenes.) Exploring Mozart’s residences sounds fun as well. I used to study music so seeing Mozart’s birthplace would be pretty cool! I’m totally convinced that Salzburg is one of the most beautiful European cities and will definitely have to plan a visit soon!

  • Emma

    What an amazing looking city, I really want to visit Austria. It’s so good that the palace is free, no wonder it gets busy. Love the views over the city and all the colorful buildings

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thanks Emma for dropping by and commenting. I just want to point out that the castle is not free, but the views from around it are :).

  • Jeff Albom

    I loved Salzburg and even have a photo of my 2 girls skipping through the hedge tunnel. The city is so pretty and I love the history there. The family spent a lot of time strolling through the streets.

  • Smita

    Salzburg really is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and so underrated! I was there years ago and was blown away. Getreidegasse is so charming and so quintessentially European!

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