I was lucky enough to have a friend from the states visit the other weekend, but unlucky in that we only had Saturday and Sunday to actually travel. We decided we would go down to Salzburg, Austria, and we saw so much despite the short time!
Salzburg is a wonderful city for walking, and many of the sights are easy to stroll by. Even though I was in the car for about 3 hours that morning, I still got over 20,000 steps in! There is so much history (and Sound of Music filming locations!) to see in Salzburg, and a self-guided walking tour makes for a very budget-friendly trip, too.
If you’re ready for a whirlwind tour of the beautiful old city, get your comfy shoes ready and here we go.
P.S. There’s a Google Map at the end of the post with all the spots marked!
As soon as you walk into old town from across the Salzach river, you will practically run into Getreidegasse, making it our first sight of the city. It’s Salzburg’s main shopping street with boutiques large and small, old and new. Since we were there on a Saturday, it was all hustle and bustle with shoppers and tourists. The coolest part about this street is the use of vintage-looking signs. Can you see the Tommy Hilfiger and McDonald’s signs in the left photo? Even they look antique!
Keep in mind if you want to shop that most stores are closed on Sundays.
Did you know Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756? Yep. You can visit the house he was born in and lived in right on No. 9 Getreidegasse. You probably don’t even need to worry about looking for it, since it’s bright yellow and there will be tons of people out front snapping photos. It’s a natural stop as you pass by the shops on Getreidegasse.
If you’re interested in touring the museum, see the Mozarteum information page for hours and admission.
Gasthof Wilden Mann
For lunch we stopped at Gasthof Wilden Mann, which is off of the busier Getreidegasse in a quieter courtyard. This is a great stop for local Austrian food, and my veggie strudel was on point.
The best part of my meal, though, was the grapefruit radler. If you haven’t heard of a radler, it’s beer mixed with either lemonade or lemon-lime soda. This one, though, was beer mixed with grapefruit soda. So refreshing and tasty!
After lunch we finished walking west down Getreidegasse and made a left towards a large fountain called Pferdeschwemme. Pferdeschwemme loosely translates to ‘horse pond’ in English, and it’s where the prince-bishop’s horses used to be groomed and washed. Which explains why there are so many horse frescoes and statues! It was built back in 1603.
If it looks familiar at all to you, it’s probably because it was in a scene from the Sound of Music where the Von Trapp children and Maria pass by singing.
I know this is a very weird thing to say, but I think St. Peter’s cemetery was my favorite sight in Salzburg. It was unlike any cemetery I’ve ever seen, with ornate headstones, overflowing flowers, and winding paths. As we made our way towards the fortress we couldn’t help but stop in and check it out.
The abbey dates from the 7th century, and the oldest tombstone here is from 1288. An interesting tombstone here belongs to Harry J. Collins, a former US Army Major General who led the unit that liberated the Dachau concentration camp during World War II. He eventually retired in Salzburg, and was buried here upon his death in 1963.
And again, if this place looks familiar at all to you it’s thanks to the Sound of Music. In the film the Von Trapp family evades capture by the Nazis by hiding in the cemetery.
If you have more time than I did you should consider touring the adjacent catacombs.
Next stop: Fortress Hohensalzburg. It’s is the most notable building in the Salzburg skyline, and climbing up to it gives you wonderful views of the city. It was originally built in 1077 and gradually improved upon until 1500, giving it the appearance it has today.
You can either walk up to the fortress or take the festhungbahn to the top, but I do highly suggest a walk. First of all, it’s free, and second of all, you can enjoy the views as you walk up. Rascal really enjoyed it 🙂
There are so many things to see at the fortress. There are several museums, a restaurant, and princely chambers to visit. You can see as much or as little as you’d like with your entrance ticket, and then move along to the next stop.
Since I had Rascal with me I wasn’t able to tour any of the indoor parts of the fortress, but you can walk among the courtyards, bastions, and old walls outside with a dog.
You can check out the Hohensalzburg Fortress website for more info on hours and ticket prices.
After all the walking it was time for a refreshing drink in one of Salzburg’s most famous brewhouses and Austria’s largest beer inn, Augustinerbräu. It’s HUGE. As you walk in there are various stalls to grab food, similar to a food court, and spacious indoor rooms for eating. But if the weather is nice, bring your chow and beer to the large courtyard.
The brewery was founded by monks in 1621 and they still make beer today according to the old tradition. It’s served in cold stone mugs directly from wooden barrels. You just grab a mug off the wall and fill up (after paying of course!).
Mirabell Palace Gardens
We made our way back across the Salzach River to explore the Mirabell Palace gardens. They are free to wander and the flowers and are just beautiful this time of year. And again, some Sound of Music scenes were filmed here!
You can tour Mirabell Palace if you’d like, which was built in 1606 because the Prince-Archbishop was tired of the old city streets and wanted a place for he and his mistress to reside. The Marble Hall is a highlight, where many fancy events have taken place, including the marriage of Eva Braun’s sister in 1944.
View from Kapuzinerberg
After grabbing some dinner we waited for the sun to go down so we could get a great view of Hohensalzburg Fortress and the old town from the area surrounding the Kapuzinerkloster Monastery. How pretty is the city lit up at night?
You might want to check out the Google Map for help getting to this spot. As you walk north east on Linzer Gasse, you’ll see a covered alleyway on your right with a sign for Kapuzinerberg. Follow the road up and you will see the pathway that takes you along the old city wall with 14 watchtowers.
There are a few benches up here to relax while you admire the city, so consider bringing lunch or a drink to enjoy.
I want to make two final notes on places to stay and bringing your dog to Salzburg.
- Since I booked this trip late, there weren’t many affordable options in the city center. We ended up staying at the Holiday Inn Salzburg City and it was a great choice. It was probably the nicest Holiday Inn I have ever stayed at, with clean, updated rooms and friendly staff. They have a paid parking garage underneath the hotel, but there are about 10 parking spots right out front that are FREE! They are on the smaller side but I fit my Jeep Grand Cherokee there with help from my ground guide and we were thrilled that we wouldn’t have to pay for parking for the weekend. If you choose the Holiday Inn, get there a little early so you can get one of these free spots!
- Rascal came along for every part of this trip, restaurants, gardens, fortress, and all! The city is dog friendly, but I didn’t go inside Mirabell Palace and parts of the fortress since he wasn’t allowed. There were signs at some sights saying that muzzles were required for dogs, however no one told us we needed one or forbid us from entering. That being said, it probably would have been better to have one just in case.
Even if you only have 24 hours, you can still experience so much in Salzburg! Don’t let a short timeline stop you from enjoying this historic city.
Have you been to Salzburg for a quick trip?