Snuggled in the laps of the Alps, Salzburg is a beautiful city in Austria. I remember singing “Do Re Mi” as a child, and therefore Salzburg had always been on my bucket list. I travelled to Salzburg from Vienna and spent 2 days exploring the city. The baroque architecture, cobbled streets, luxuriant gardens and the unruffled water the Salzach River made me fall in love with the city. Here is my 2 days Salzburg itinerary – How to spend 48 hours in Salzburg, Austria.
2 DAYS SALZBURG ITINERARY – THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN SALZBURG IN 2 DAYS
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DAY 1 IN SALZBURG
Watching over the city of Salzburg is Hohensalzburg Fortress. In 1077 the Fortress was built for protection from enemies, and it severed the purpose perfectly, as it has never been captured. Today it is the largest fully preserved fortress in Central Europe.
There are two ways to reach the Fortress: Take the Fortress Funicular or walk your way to the entrance.
The funicular takes you to the fortress in seconds, but if you decide to walk your way, you will be greeted with some of the beautiful views of the city and a steep road.
Once you reach the fortress, you can launch into the past while taking tours of the rooms and museums. But for me, the highlight of the visit was the incredibly breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the countryside.
ST. PETER’S ABBEY
St. Peter’s cemetery is one of the oldest and most beautiful cemeteries of the World. And if you are a “Sound of Music” fan, you will in no time recognize the place from the movie.
It is the resting place of many artists, scholars and famous personalities, including Nannerl (Mozart’s sister).
Salzburg Cathedral, the most significant religious building of the city, lies in the heart of the old town. The baroque building is remarkably colossal and can be seen from a considerable distance. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A public square called Cathedral square lies in front of the Cathedral. At the centre, the Marian Statue is located. The square is a famous venue for various events and the legendary Christmas Market in winters.
RESIDENZPLATZ AND MOZARTPLATZ
Residenzplatz is a large Square near Salzburg Cathedral. It is one of the most famous locations in Salzburg. The highlight of Residenz Platz is the beautiful Residence Fountain. The upper basin has a Triton statue, ejecting water in the air while three dolphins balance the upper basin. The fountain is one of the most significant baroque fountains in Europe.
Mozartplatz is another famous public square near Residenz Platz. Enthroned in the middle of the square is the Mozart Monument. The Statue was unveiled in 1842 in presence of Mozart’s sons and the Bavarian King Ludwig I.
Kapitelplatz is a bustling public square, south of the Cathedral. It is well-known for a game of oversized chess, Sphaera – an artwork with a man standing on a golden ball and Kapitelschwemme.
In earlier days a horse pool would be at the centre of the Kapitelplatz, but in 1732 a new horse pool was constructed. The pool carries sculpture of the Neptune, the sea god holding a trident on a sea horse.
Franciscan Church, a must-visit gothic church is one of the oldest churches in Salzburg. It is perhaps older than the Salzburg Cathedral. A very unique thing to observe in the church is the “Hand of Asylum”, apart from its interior. It is located on the right side of the entrance door. Whoever touched it, was allowed to enter the church.
Alter Markt which translates to “old market” is located in the historic city centre of Salzburg. In the past, the market was more than a marketplace, as it also served as the venue for festive celebrations and events.
At the centre of the square, Florian fountain is located with the sculpture of St. Florian at the top. The square is surrounded by old burgher houses. Some of the most famous buildings to look for in the Alter Markt are old archepiscopal apothecary (located at its current location since the end of 16th century) and the smallest house in Salzburg with a width of only 1.42 metres.
The famous Café Tomaselli and Café-Konditorei Fürst (inventor of the world-famous Mozart – Kugel chocolate) are also located in Alter Markt.
DAY 2 IN SALZBURG
SOUND OF MUSIC TOUR OR HELLBRUNN PALACE
A trip to Salzburg would be incomplete without “The Sound of Music Tour”. The guided tour allows you to relive the scenes from the movie. You can visit the famous Leopoldskron Palace, Lake Wolfgang, St. Gilgen and much more. Even if you are not a fan of Sound of Music, the tour is worth taking as it gives you an opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful and picturesque landmarks of Salzburg.
If you are not interested in taking the tour for some reason, you can visit the Hellbrunn Palace.
Salzburg’s Prince-Archbishop Markus Sittikus built Hellbrunn Palace as a day residence in summers. The Palace was built for pure pleasure and recreational purpose. It is most famous for its impressive gardens and trick fountains. As the name suggests the Trick Fountain surprises its guest and sprays water on them when they tour the place. This is a perfect place to enjoy in summers, especially if you have kids.
MIRABELL PALACE AND GARDENS
Mirabell Gardens is a must-visit and one of the most iconic places of Salzburg. Spend your afternoon strolling the garden.
The Marble Hall in Mirabell Palace is considered to be one of the most beautiful banquet halls in the world. In earlier days, Mozart would perform in the hall. Now it hosts concerts, weddings and other ceremonies.
Sound of Music lovers will recognize Pegasus Fountain from the movie. Do not forget to visit the Dwarf Garden. When the rest of the garden is packed with people, one can find peace here. It is one of the oldest Dwarf Gardens in Europe.
Salzach River flows through the city, dividing it into two. Take a scenic stroll along the river for a panoramic view of Salzburg. There are around 12 bridges in the city. The Makartsteg Bridge also known as the love locked bridge is an attraction on its own. It is not the bridge, but the views from there that make it so unique.
W.A.Mozart was born in House No. 9 in Getreidegasse in Salzburg. Now, this house has been converted into a museum. A visit to the museum takes you back to the Mozart days. You can find some of his original instruments, including Mozart’s violin and clavichord as exhibits.
Getreidegasse is the most celebrated street of Salzburg. Apart from being famous for Mozart’s Birth house, it is also well known as a shopper’s paradise. The shops here cater to the needs of every individual. From international brands to traditional shops, you find here everything. A distinctive feature of this street is the fancy guild signs jutting out the building.
WHERE TO EAT IN SALZBURG
Café Mozart: Located on Getreidgasse, a perfect place to indulge in Austrian Cuisine. They also serve vegetarian and gluten-free meals.
Restaurant Seven Senses: Taste international cuisine while enjoying spectacular views of the city. Features a rooftop bar.
Braurestaurant Imlauer: Enjoy your meal in a perfect garden setting. Do not forget to pamper your taste buds with their special Austrian desserts.
Goldene Kugel Bankhammer’s Wirtshaus: Want a cosy atmosphere with perfect beer? Think no more.
Bärenwirt: This is one of the oldest inns in Salzburg and is a must-visit for anyone who wants to taste the best Backhendl in the city.
IS THE SALZBURG CARD WORTH IT?
Salzburg Card is a tourist card which allows free entry to tourist attractions and museums. It is valid for 24, 48 and 72 hours. With this card, you can also use public transportation for free.
With my above 48 hours Salzburg itinerary, the card breaks even in terms of money. But I recommend buying the card because it saves a lot of time as you do not have to wait in queues to buy a ticket.
BEST TOURS TO TAKE IN SALZBURG
Salzburg Highlights: This is one of the best ways to tour the major attractions if you only have a few hours in the city.
Grand City Tour and 24 Hour Salzburg Card: First take a guided tour and learn about the city. Later discover the city on your own while enjoying the benefits of the Salzburg Card.
Sound of Music and Salt Mines Tours: Experience the world of Salt Mines and visit Sound of Music movie locations.
Interactive Puzzle and City Exploration Tour: Perfect for a group of friend or family members who want to explore the city in a fun way.
Salzburg Walking Tour: There is no better way to know a city than exploring it on foot. Take this walking tour to experience the rich culture of Salzburg.
Concert at Mirabell Palace: Enjoy the most beautiful pieces by Mozart in the beautiful and renowned Marble Hall.
HAVE MORE TIME TO SPEND IN SALZBURG?
If you have more than 48 hours to spend in Salzburg, I recommend a visit to the Untersberg. Untersberg is Salzburg’s famed mountain. A cable car brings you to the top of the mountain in about 10 minutes. In bright and sunny weather, you can enjoy a picturesque view of Salzburg city and a part of Germany too.
The cable car ride to Untersberg is free for Salzburg Cardholders. You can easily reach the cable car station using public transport, which again is free for Salzburg Cardholders. In other words, the Salzburg Card is a must buy when Untersberg is on your list.
An alternative option is to go to Hohenwerfen Castle. It is an impressive 900-year-old castle in Werfen. The local railway (S Bahn) connects Salzburg to Werfen. The journey lasts approximately 45 minutes. Salzburg Cardholders can avail discounts on tickets to the castle.
DAY TRIP IDEAS FROM SALZBURG
The most popular day trip idea from Salzburg is a visit to the gorgeous Hallstatt. Hallstatt is a small village located on Lake Hallstatt. The village is exceptionally charming and therefore overly crowded. Reach here as early in the morning as possible to enjoy the beauty of the place. The place is very tiny and can be easily explored on foot in a couple of hours.
Eagle’s Nest and Berchtesgaden
Another day trip idea from Salzburg is a visit to Eagle’s Nest and Berchtesgaden. Berchtesgaden is a gorgeous town in Germany on the borders of Austria. It is famous for its limpid lakes, impressive natural beauty and Eagle’s Nest. Eagle’s Nest is a Third Reich era building, which has now been converted into a restaurant. It sits atop of a huge rock and therefore serves as a breathtaking panoramic viewpoint. Book your ticket to Berchtesgaden and Eagle’s Nest here.
BEST TIME TO VISIT SALZBURG
Salzburg is an active tourist destination throughout the year with July and August being the busiest. November to April are the off-season months of the year, and hence all the tourist attractions are less crowded.
Salzburg in summer
Summer days in Salzburg attract thousands of tourists. The days are long and are perfect for outdoor activities. During July and August, it is common to see outdoor seating in restaurants, walking tours and open-air events, such as Jedermann.
Salzburg in winter
Winters in Salzburg are cold, and snowfall is very common from December to February. Christmas Markets come to their full glory by late November and provide for a perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway. The smell of the mulled wine and delicious waffles makes the atmosphere even more captivating. In winter, consider attending the Winterfest.
VISITING MORE PLACES IN AUSTRIA?
If you plan to explore more of Austria, check these out
3 Day Vienna Itinerary: What to do in Vienna, Austria in 3 days
Salzburg to Hallstatt day trip – The Ultimate Hallstatt travel guide
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