Salzburg, Austria. Home to Mozart and The Sound of Music, Austria’s fourth largest city is perhaps its most famous. With a population around 150,000, this small city more than doubles in numbers during summer months when popular music festival come to town. This historical city is surrounded by mountains and has a quaint old town district that is easily walkable and will leave you wanting to run through the charming streets singing “Do-Re-Me.” Follow along on this 24-hour Salzburg itinerary to see the best of the city in a day!
24-Hour Salzburg Itinerary
With compact sights, Salzburg is a perfect destination for a weekend or two-day trip. Spend one day exploring the city center and reserve the second for the original Sound of Music tour that takes you to the surrounding lake district. With a well-informed plan you can surely hit the must-sees in one day. Here’s my recommended itinerary.
Your first stop of the day should be a Salzburg Tourism Office. Pick up a free map to mark your route and purchase the Salzburg card. For 23 Euros (26 during high season), this pass gets you access to most of the city’s main attractions for 24 hours and free access to public transport.
In the heart of Salzburg’s Old Town is Mozart’s Birthplace, a small apartment that blends in along the street. The museum, though tiny, provides a plethora of exhibits that will bring this famous composer to life. The city’s many gift shops are overflowing with Mozart souvenirs, and a visit to the birthplace is essential to understand why.
From Mozart’s Birthplace, head to Salzburg Fortress, known to locals as Festung Hohensalzburg. This is the largest and best-preserved fortress in Central Europe and is quite an impressive sight. From Old Town, take the cable railway to the top of the hill. Enjoy stunning look out points and wandering around the historic grounds that date back to 1077.
Descend the cable railway and head to the Salzburg Cathedral, just a short walk from the cable exit. The Roman Catholic chapel still contains the baptismal font that was used to baptize Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptized here and the interior offers fine baroque architecture.
By this point in the day it is time for a late lunch. Walk along the streets in Old Town and browse at the shops. There are many cafes to choose from, but Café Tomaselli, just a few steps from the Salzburg Cathedral, is a classic choice. Founded in 1705, this is the oldest Viennese coffee house. Go figure, the oldest one isn’t in Vienna.
While wandering the streets be sure to make a stop by Mozartplatz, a square dominated by a large statue of Mozart that makes an excellent photo opportunity.
Post lunch, head to the Salzburg Museum. Housed in the New Residence, this is a great place to learn more about Salzburg’s rich and long history. The Archeology and Medieval Collection is particularly impressive.
By this point the day is almost over, but you can’t call it quits without visiting the Mirabell Palace and Gardens. Many statues and gardens here were used in scenes for the “Do-Re-Mi” sequence in The Sound of Music, perhaps the most noticeable is the Pegasus fountain.
As darkness falls over the city it may be time for dinner or rest at your hotel, but you can’t head to bed without taking a peak at the sparkling city lights from the rooftop bar at the Hotel Stein. A drink at Steinterrassee is on the expensive side, but a worthy price for the sweeping view. Gaze down at Mozartsteg Bridge, also featured in The Sound of Music, and congratulate yourself on conquering the best of Salzburg, Austria in a day.