Salzburg 2 Days Itinerary
Confession: I’ve only watched “The Sound of Music” once and barely remember it. So I feel a bit guilty writing a two day guide to Salzburg Austria! I know, I know. Embarrassing. I need to track down the classic film on Amazon or something.
So, I wanna apologize in advance to fans of Dame Julie Andrews! Salzburg and “The Sound of Music” go hand-in-hand. I know. To make matters even worse, I didn’t even take a movie tour during my two and a half days in this adorable Austrian city. Maybe next time?
So yeah, check elsewhere if you’re wondering which “Sound of Music” tour is worth your time and money! I figured you deserved a fair warning before I break down the other places to see in Salzburg in two days.
Moving on from that disclaimer, if you’re planning an Austrian vacation, then Salzburg is probably on your list, right? Of course it is!
Last summer, Salzburg was one of many stops on my epic Central European backpacking trip. Salzburg came at the very end of my journey. I’d already been trekking on the road for a good six weeks. At this point, my throat and sinuses hated my guts, and my achey joints desperately wanted sleep for 10 years.
Still, Salzburg excited and surprised me! There are so many things to visit in Salzburg that it’s hard for any traveler to feel bored. Hence the creation of this guide to Salzburg Austria!
Here are a few highlights I hope you can add to your own Austrian adventure. Enjoy! For more help, you can always trust Lonely Planet’s Austria Guide.
Day #1: Consider Old Town vs. New Town
Ahh, an endless debate. Which is better? Both parts have their perks.
When you visit Salzburg, you’ll spend all of your time in either its Old Town or New Town. Salzburg lies on two sides of the river Salzach, with the Old Town south and the New Town north. Both are central locations and scenic in their own unique ways. If you’re not too picky, you’d be fine basing yourself in either location, especially since they are walking distance from one another. Honestly Salzburg’s core isn’t that big. But I’m sure you want more specifics, yeah?
So the Old Town or Altstadt is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is pretty darn cool. This area of Salzburg is literally packed with medieval and baroque buildings, quaint cobblestones, a spire-filled sky, chocolate, and more! I loved every second I spent in the Old Town. Truly.
But as for where you ought rest your head at night? Well. I need to be honest. The Old Town would’ve been too packed with tourists for my tastes. I like sleeping in less commercial zones, I suppose.
So I personally enjoyed staying in Salzburg’s New Town. More room to breathe, you know? And you’re still central, perfectly within walking distance to all the sites in the Old Town. The New Town also had many lovely old buildings, making for scenic strolls, and a lot of cool restaurants and cafes.
For accommodation, my Busabout pals and I booked rooms in Yoho International Youth Hostel. This hostel is both clean and centrally located. Plus it’s a place that attracts backpackers of all ages. I saw gap year kids and families, older solo travelers and small groups of friends. Not a party hostel, but a nice mixture of people.
And Yoho’s staff showed “The Sound of Music” every night, haha.
Of course, since Salzburg draws so many travelers, the city boasts a variety of hostels, hotels, and apartments to suit every person’s needs and interests. Book whatever is best for you. Just be prepared for higher prices in the sunny summer months.
So how about attractions? Like I said, I’m not a huge “Sound of Music” fan, but still discovered so much in this incredible place!
Day #1: Salzburg Cathedral
This guide to Salzburg wouldn’t be complete with including the Salzburg Cathedral. I’m sure this shocks no one, haha. After all, most European cities and towns boast soaring cathedrals located in smack in the middle of their main squares. These intricate and glittering buildings suck air from my lungs, lemme tell you. Salzburg Cathedral is no different.
Wander around Cathedral square, take in architecture, and go inside to see the intricate art. Admission is free, but like most religious sites, donations are accepted and appreciated. Give what you can. It is a sweet gesture.
Fun fact: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptized inside the Salzburg Cathedral. More about him later, haha.
Do you want even more amazing shots of Salzburg Cathedral, beyond what you can see standing in the square? Then you’ll have to climb into the clouds and soak in Salzburg’s charming skyline. There’s a simple way to gaze down and admire the city like a flying bird. A very simple way. Onto our next Salzburg attraction, woohoo!
Day #1: Hohensalzburg Fortress
Hohensalzburg is – in my opinion – the best attraction in all of Salzburg. If you’re only here for an afternoon or a day, then do yourself a favor and make Hohensalzburg your main priority. As for those of you who have extended time in Salzburg, spare a few hours for your visit and enjoy everything the fortress has to offer without rushing through it! I promise you, you won’t regret it.
Inside Hohensalzburg, you learn all about daily life in the fort. It’s cool for history buffs, but that’s not all included on your visit! The interior also boasts an interesting Marionette Museum, which is included in the cost of your ticket, and very fun to check out. I’d avoid it if dolls and clowns scare you, though.
Now, keep in mind, Hohensalzburg Fortress can be crowded in the summer months. To maximize your visit, I would aim to visit the Fortress either early in the morning or later in the afternoon prior to closing. You want to enjoy the best part of the fortress without being jostled by tourists.
Which leads me too …
But the absolute best part of Hohensalzburg, in my humble opinion, are the spectacular views at the top.
See for yourself, wayfarers! The blue skies, Salzburg’s skyline, mountains. Be still my beating heart. Go on a clear day and your camera will smile.
Hohensalzburg isn’t the only place to savor the beauty of Salzburg, however. Since I visited in summer, music and flowers filled all the parks I came across while exploring every crevice of the city. Free concerts are easy to stumble upon and I encourage you to take a break from your sightseeing schedule and enjoy the music.
And speaking of parks? My favorite green space won’t come as a surprise to anyone who already knows about Salzburg’s top tourist attractions, haha.
Day #1: Mirabell Palace and Gardens
Ahhh, yes, another one of my favorite places to see in Salzburg Austria! Mirabell Palace and Gardens are super famous and popular especially with tourists. On my own visit, I understood the gardens’ appeal to visitors! It’s quite the scenic place.
And, as a throwaway for my “Sound of Music” fans, apparently several scenes were filmed in these gardens. I don’t know what scenes, so feel free to tell me in the comments! I could always use an education.
As an added bonus, you can savor a stunning and free view of Hohensalzburg, while smell the purple and pink flowers. Lovely!
Where else can you find blooming flowers in Salzburg? At a very historically rich cemetery, of course! No, I haven’t gone crazy. It’s true. A cemetery is another one of my favorite places to see in Salzburg Austria. Normally, graves of all sorts freak me out, but you’d be silly to skip over the next attraction, which also happens to be free.
Day #2: St. Peter’s Cemetery
Okay, as I’ve already stated, cemeteries freak me out. Full disclosure. I don’t like them at all, because I hate being reminded that death exists. It’s a total anxiety thing. I’m still shocked I survived wandering through the catacombs in Paris without falling into a total shaking and sobbing mess.
But, despite all my apprehensions, St. Peter’s Cemetery was actually enjoyable for me, because the bright flowers, adorning every grave site, celebrated the vivaciousness of life far more than death’s emptiness. The atmosphere was positive and peaceful, and if I’m in Salzburg again, I’ll definitely go back.
Furthermore, St. Peter’s Cemetery isn’t just colorful, but it’s also the oldest gravesite in all of Salzburg. Believe it or not, its origins date all the way back to 700! Yes, I did not lie about that year: 700.
As an American, I can’t even wrap my brain around such an old burial ground. Finally, lots of notable people are buried here, too, including Mozart’s elder sister Maria.
And last but not least! Music lovers flock to Salzburg for a very, very, very good reason.
Day #2: Welcome to “Mozart Land”
Salzburg’s most famous resident is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. We all know him. We’ve all heard his music. We all love him. And he’s a gigantic reason why Salzburg receives so many annual tourists!
If you’re interested in music, particularly classical, then pay a visit to Mozart’s Childhood Home or Mozart’s Geburtshaus. It’s a small museum so wandering through the rooms won’t eat too much of your time. Some cool items on display include personal letters and Mozart’s childhood violin.
Now I love Mozart and music has a special place in my heart. I was a member of the choir in high school, after all.
Nonetheless, I’ll be honest, I felt like Salzburg is a bit “over the top” when it comes to the world renowned composer. I don’t think I’ve ever see so many Mozart dolls, candies, postcards, etc. in my life. You can even find him holding a selfie stick in souvenir shop windows!
Day #2: Relax in a Beer Garden
The summer months in Salzburg means it is ideal to relax in a beer garden. The sun doesn’t set until late either, which makes a beer garden an even more perfect idea. In the evening, check out Augustinerbräu – Kloster Mülln. I had a really great time at this place.
This tremendous beer garden is a bit of a walk for most visitors, considering it is located well outside of Salzburg’s Old Town, but I promise a visit is totally worth your time and effort. The outdoor seating is plentiful. Augustinerbräu – Kloster Mülln is actually Austria’s largest beer garden if you can believe it!
Still, make sure to keep your eyes peeled. This wonderful outdoor garden gets packed very quickly especially in high season.
Even if you are not a drinker, Augustinerbräu – Kloster Mülln is a great place to “wrap up” your trip and enjoy the unique atmosphere of musical Salzburg.
In conclusion, I loved Salzburg and want to come back again. Salzburg is one of those destinations where you can roam the streets, shop, pop into random museums, and discover a fun beer garden (again, my favorite was Augstinerbrau!).
As you spend two days in Salzburg, please remember you don’t need to kill yourself with research or set a specific plan. You can simply enjoy the musical atmosphere rather than rush through a bunch of museums or historical buildings. Have fun!
As you can see, there are so many places to see in Salzburg over the course of two days! Have a great time on your visit.
Are you visiting Salzburg in the near future? Did you enjoy your trip? What suggestions add to this guide to Salzburg? Finally, if you want more information on travel to Austria, make sure to read my post on why I fell in love with Vienna and Grünau im Almtal. And don’t forget your guide!
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