View of Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg Itinerary: How to Spend One Day in Salzburg, Austria

March 31, 2024

The second most popular destination in Austria, after Vienna, is Salzburg. Salzburg is a picturesque city in the western part of Austria, near the German border. It became famous mainly for its artistic, especially musical, achievements. For example, this city is the birthplace of Mozart and still hosts significant artistic education.

It is also a significant tourist destination, especially as it is located near the northern border of the Alps, close to various attractions such as the popular Hallstatt or the beautiful places of the Bavarian Alps.

Salzburg is an ideal place for a day trip if you are in the area. Additionally, it can be an important part of a tour covering either Austria or more German-speaking countries. It’s worth spending one day in Salzburg, exploring the city, enjoying the magnificent mountain scenery, learning about its history, and admiring the viewpoints.

So, in this article, we’re presenting a one-day trip to Salzburg. We’ll show you how we think it’s best to explore Salzburg in one day, and we’ll also give you ideas on what else to visit in the area if you have more time.

First, let’s see what’s generally good to know about a short trip to Salzburg, and then we’ll move on to the one-day itinerary with the best things to see in Salzburg.

Overview of the Salzburg one-day itinerary

Morning: Salzburg Cathedral, Hohensalzburg Fortress
Afternoon: Kapuzinerberg, Mirabell Palace
Evening: Dinner in the old town

FAQ: About a one-day trip to Salzburg

Is it worth visiting Salzburg?

If you’re in the area, yes, it’s worth it. Salzburg is a beautiful city, well worth a visit, spending a few hours or a day.

Is one day enough in Salzburg?

We think one day is enough. In fact, if you’re only interested in the views and not so much in the culture or history, just a few hours could be sufficient.

Best time to visit Salzburg

The spring and fall are particularly beautiful times to visit Salzburg. Although Salzburg is open for visitors all year round, we would recommend May, June, and October as the best months. We suggest spring for the blossoms and fall for the colorful foliage.

How to get to Salzburg

Salzburg is situated at an important transportation hub, making it easily accessible from multiple directions. You can reach the city from Vienna and Linz via the A1 highway, and from Munich via the German A8 highway. Additionally, it is reachable from Villach via the A10 highway.

Similarly, trains connect Salzburg with these same cities, albeit with slightly longer travel times compared to driving.

How to get around Salzburg

If you’re traveling by car, it’s advisable to park your car in the city center. Parking can be a bit challenging in the old town, so it’s better to look for parking in underground garages.

Otherwise, the attractions we list are quite close to each other. So, you can easily walk from one attraction to another.

Local public transportation is mainly needed if you’re unable to walk long distances or if you want to reach areas outside the old town.

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Salzburg Card

In Salzburg, you can purchase a so-called Salzburg Card, which provides free public transportation, free entry to city attractions, and discounts on events and tours for a specified period.

Is the Salzburg Card worth buying?

The price isn’t too high, but we mostly recommend it for those who will take full advantage of the card’s benefits. So, if you plan to visit many places, use public transportation, and all of this would cost more than 30–35 euros, then it’s worth buying the card.

Our basic itinerary doesn’t include enough entrance fees to clearly justify the card, but if you plan to visit the optional extra attractions as well, then it’s better to purchase the card.

Where to stay in Salzburg

In Salzburg, there are many highly-rated hotels, but we would highlight two of them:

One day in Salzburg itinerary: What to see in Salzburg in 1 day

Now, let’s see the best sights and things to do in Salzburg if you only have one day to explore the city:

Morning: Salzburg Cathedral, Hohensalzburg Fortress

Let’s start the morning with the southern part of the old town, which offers the city’s oldest and most famous attractions.

Salzburg Cathedral

We start the one-day itinerary with the cathedral, but there are more attractions nearby.

The Salzburg Cathedral, also known as Salzburger Dom, is a magnificent Baroque-style cathedral located in Salzburg’s old town. Dedicated to Saint Rupert and Saint Vergilius, it stands as one of the city’s iconic landmarks.

Built in the 17th century, the cathedral boasts stunning architectural and sculptural masterpieces. One of its highlights is the dome, visible from many points in the city.

Near the cathedral, you’ll also find Mozartplatz and Residenzplatz squares, where it’s worth taking a stroll.

Hohensalzburg Fortress

The Hohensalzburg Fortress is one of the most important historical and cultural landmarks in Salzburg.

Built in the 11th century on the Festungsberg mountain overlooking the city, it is one of the best-preserved medieval fortresses in Europe and an extraordinary example of medieval fortification architecture.

Hohensalzburg Fortress is a popular tourist destination where you can explore medieval fortifications, museums, and enjoy scenic views of the city and surrounding mountains.

It also frequently hosts cultural events and concerts.

You can either walk to the fortress through Mönchsberg Street, which is a bit hilly and requires some effort, or you can take the Festungsbahn funicular. The funicular requires a fee. It’s recommended to purchase the ticket along with the castle admission or to get the Salzburg Card, which includes it.

For lunch, it’s worth planning to dine at one of the restaurants located in the fortress, such as the Panoramarestaurant zur Festung Hohensalzburg, or any other restaurant in the old town. A good choice is also the Restaurant Stiegl-Keller, which offers a great view of the city.

Afternoon: Kapuzinerberg, Mirabell Palace


The Kapuzinerberg is a 640-meter-high mountain in Salzburg, located on the northeastern bank of the Salzach River. It’s worth hiking up here, as fortunately, the best viewpoints are relatively close to the old town.

From certain viewpoints, such as Aussichtsplatz Klostermauer, you can almost see the entire city of Salzburg.

If you’re up for it, the park on the mountain offers excellent opportunities for longer walks in a wooded environment.

Mirabell Palace

A 17th-century palace with manicured gardens and a splendid ballroom, where classical music concerts are regularly held. However, the interior of the building is mostly used as offices.

What’s particularly worth a visit is the garden. The beautiful garden of Mirabell Palace (Mirabellgarten in German) is stunning from spring to autumn. Take a walk here and enjoy the wonderful view.

Visiting the garden is free of charge.

Evening: Dinner in the old town

In the evening, it’s free time. We suggest dining at a local restaurant, enjoying Austrian cuisine, and relaxing after a busy day. Top-rated restaurants for this purpose are:

If you still have energy, take a stroll in the old town, along the riverbank, and admire the city in the evening. Salzburg is a very safe city, so you can spend your time outdoors in the evening without any worries.

Optional extra activities


If you have more time, visit Getreidegasse, which is a charming narrow street filled with historic buildings, shops, and cafés. It’s perfect for leisurely strolls and soaking in the atmosphere of Salzburg’s old town.

Mozart’s Birthplace

Additionally, in the area, you’ll find Mozart’s Birthplace, which is now a museum. It’s primarily recommended for those interested in classical music.

Mozart Residence

If you’re a classical music fan, don’t miss Mozart’s former residence. Like his birthplace, it functions as a museum today.

Stroll along the banks of the Salzach river

If you still have time and energy, take a walk along the river that runs through the city. The Kaipromenade runs along the western bank of the river, offering a comfortable stroll with fantastic views. Additionally, from the bridges like Marko-Feingold-Steg and Müllnersteg, you can enjoy views of the fortress, the cathedral, and many other buildings.

Mönchsberg Viewing Point

Take the Mönchsberg Elevator up to the Museum der Moderne, where you can not only explore an interesting museum but also enjoy excellent views of Salzburg. The view from Mönchsberg is also popular in the evening, when you can see the illuminated city. Next to the museum, there’s a restaurant called M32, which offers the same excellent view.

For The Sound of Music fans

In Salzburg, fans of The Sound of Music can indulge in various activities related to the iconic film:

  • The Sound of Music Tour: Join a guided tour that takes you to the filming locations featured in the movie, such as Mirabell Gardens, Leopoldskron Palace, Nonnberg Abbey, and Mondsee Abbey.
  • Attend The Sound of Music performances: Enjoy live performances of “The Sound of Music” in Salzburg’s theaters and concert halls. Many venues host special tribute concerts and stage productions of the musical throughout the year.
  • The Sound of Music World: Explore The Sound of Music World in Salzburg, which houses memorabilia, costumes, and exhibits dedicated to the making of the film. You can learn about the history behind the real von Trapp family and the filming process.

These activities offer a delightful way to immerse yourself in the magic of The Sound of Music while exploring the charming city of Salzburg.

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So, this was the one-day Salzburg itinerary we put together to show you how we think you should spend a day in Salzburg. Salzburg is a real gem of Austria, worth visiting even for a short time if you’re in the area. Although it has only a few major attractions, but the stunning views, the developed but not overly industrialized urban environment, and the well-preserved charm of the old town all make it a more fulfilling part of an Austrian or even a larger trip.

We hope our itinerary has provided enough inspiration on how to spend 1 day in Salzburg and that we have shown you the best places to visit in Salzburg. Whether you take a day trip to Salzburg from Vienna, Hallstatt, or Munich, you can have a fulfilling day exploring the city’s highlights.

We recommend spending a day visiting Salzburg if you can, or even more if possible, as the region has even more must-see attractions. Below, we’ll introduce them to you to make your trip to the area truly complete.

Day trip destinations from Salzburg

As mentioned, Salzburg is situated in an area surrounded by numerous other attractions in the countryside. Some of the most well-known ones include:

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Hallstatt, a lovely village near Lake Hallstatt, is a prime spot for day trips from Salzburg. With its fairy tale charm and traditional Austrian buildings, it’s a must-see. Surrounded by stunning mountains, it’s ideal for outdoor adventures and scenic views. From exploring history to enjoying nature, Hallstatt offers an authentic Austrian experience. Starting from Salzburg, it’s easy to visit this enchanting village for a day trip and soak in its beauty and culture.

Austrian Lake District

The Austrian Lake District, also known as Salzkammergut, offers plenty of attractions beyond Hallstatt. If you have time in the area, visit the Gosau Lakes, a hiking area with three lakes offering fantastic views. Additionally, check out other lakes such as Traunsee and Mondsee, or take a train ride to the Schafberg lookout. Another favorite is the picturesque Almsee and the nearby hidden gem, the Großer Ödsee. The Austrian Lake District is a paradise for nature lovers and hikers.

Zell am See

Zell am See is one of Salzburg’s most famous and popular holiday regions. On crystal clear Lake Zell, next to the white-peaked Kitzsteinhorn. An endless variety of sport and leisure activities. Alpine hikes, family hiking trails, bike and mountain bike tours, golf and water sports.


Kaprun is a famous ski resort in winter and a popular hiking destination in summer. In summer, it is worth going up to the two high mountain reservoirs. Just getting to the top is an adventure in itself, a bus ride through a long tunnel, a 100-plus person lift and then another bus ride. The views on the road are stunning too. It takes about 40–50 minutes to get to the top, and you can spend hours at the top. Walking on the dam, sitting on the benches, taking pictures of the beautiful scenery. From the lakes you can also see the snow-capped Grossglockner, the highest mountain in Austria.

On your way up to the Kaprun reservoirs, you should also stop for a while at the Klammsee lake, which also offers fantastic views, especially the Sigmund-Thun Gorge next to it.

Grossglockner High Alpine Road

The Grossglockner High Alpine Road is the highest mountain pass in Austria with really fantastic views. The most famous lookout point is on the Edelweißspitze, from where you can see Austria’s highest mountain peaks, including Austria’s highest mountain, the Grossglockner. You can drive up the Grossglockner High Alpine Road from both directions: from East Tyrol/Lienz and from Zell am See. The road has toll gate, the fee changes almost every year. The Grossglockner High Alpine Road is very winding, which is why we only recommend driving up with a car in excellent condition. Seriously, we had a brake pad burnt out on our 2-year-old car coming down the mountain! Along the way, you can meet groundhogs, some of whom are not afraid of humans, so you can take close-up photos and videos of them.

And if you are also heading to Lienz, we recommend you visit the village of Heilgenblut on the way.

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