What to do with 48 hours in Salzburg? Plenty! Enjoy this beautiful city’s rich history and natural setting.
It’s been over 50 years since Julie Andrews pranced through the verdant mountains in iconic movie “The Sound of Music” but Salzburg still celebrates this movie for putting this little Alpine city on the international map. Birth place to Mozart and with a medieval old town, Salzburg is one of Austria’s prettiest cities (yes there are a few), but retains the charm of an historical small town with its friendly atmosphere and local treasures.
Surrounded by three stunning mountain peaks, Salzburg is situated on the River Salzach, with a Medieval old town on one bank of the river and the rest of the town dating back to the 19th century. A prominent Roman settlement for salt mining (the town’s name means “Salt Fortress”), the city became wealthy, and for a few hundred years between Bavarian and Austrian rule, was an independent state. Excitingly modern Salzburg retains a lot of charm through its UNESCO listing and many of the historic buildings can still be enjoyed.
Have a day to explore Mozart’s birthplace with a little hill climbing (you are in Austria after all) and some rewarding coffee and cakes around town. Salzburg has some great view points so climb up the medieval heights of the Fortress and Bastion for the best views of the city spires. Salzburg’s old town is a beautifully preserved medieval town with the 900 year-old Festung Hohnensalzburg (fortress) perched above the winding streets. From here you can see the Domkirche Cathedral (the dome is 71 m tall), the palaces and the Mozartsteg Bridge.
If you’re visiting during the annual Salzburg Festival in the summer then there is a programme of musical and cultural events taking place in the castle grounds, and throughout the year concerts are hosted here. Check the programme to see what’s on.
Head to the Mozartplatz by the Salzburg Museum to see the statue of the city’s most famous resident in the heart of the old town. For Mozart fans you can see his childhood house and place he was born – Mozart Geburtshaus – which still has lots of memorabilia including, of course, instruments that he played as a child.
Don’t miss having a stroll down Goldgasse – the fanciest shopping street in Salzburg and full of desirable boutiques. For something sweet, try the famous local Salzburger nockerl cake – it’s made to look like the three peaks nearby and sold all over town.
Round off your day with enjoying a local aperitif – there are a variety of fruit schnapps or try the aromatic blended herb liquors. For dinner check out the famous St Peter Stiftskeller – it dates back to 803 AD. The signature dish is the tafelspitz and this restaurant has had a lot of time to perfect the dish being one of the oldest in Europe!
Salzburg is in an area of such natural beauty that the mountain peaks surrounding the city will make you want to explore further. In winter you can go skiing, in summer enjoy hiking, and for most of the year (except winter) you can see the famous ice caves. If you want to do something more local then check out the oldest brewery in town.
We could spend a whole day at the Stiehl-Brauwelt brewery enjoying the history, and, I guess, the beer too. It’s the oldest in town at 525 years old and has a lovely beer tower to climb! There are tastings everyday at 3pm and a cinematic experience to learn all about the beer making process – you can find out how the brewery delivered all the beers around town by horse until recently!
If you have time then visit the stunning ice caves. They are filled with thousands of sculptures made of ice forming an underground labyrinth. These ice caves are the largest in the world and the pathways through the caves and almost 30 miles long. These are above the nearby village of Werfen and open from May to October. They’re deep underground and very cold even in summer so stay warm! Find out more here
You can also go skiing in the Austrian Alps from Salzburg if you’re quick! There are free shuttle bus transfers from the ski slopes to the centre of Salzburg from December until March 19th.
If you’re visiting Salzburg book your bed at the much loved and fun Yoho International Youth Hostel – not only is it located right in the centre of town and with a late night bar and modern spacious rooms, but they also play The Sound of Music every single day. Yep, every single day!
We hope you enjoyed our tips on what to do with 48 hours in Salzburg! Book your bed at Famous Hostels