Attractions in Salzburg: Things to See in the City of Mozart
Attractions in Salzburg: Things to See in the City of Mozart

Attractions in Salzburg: Things to See in the City of Mozart

Salzburg is a city steeped in history, art and culture located in the heart of the Austrian Alps. The city is known worldwide for its famous prodigy son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Salzburg is a city steeped in history, art and culture located in the heart of the Austrian Alps. The city is known worldwide for its famous prodigy son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Salzburg, the Baroque jewel of Central Europe, is world-renowned for its fascinating history and spectacular sights. This charming Austrian city is the birthplace of iconic musician Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and celebrates his proud legacy at every turn. Between sky-reaching mountains and dazzling architecture, Salzburg offers visitors a wide range of attractions to explore and enjoy any time of the year.

The Top Attractions to See in Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe
Salzburg is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe

This article will take you on a tour of the top attractions to see in Salzburg, revealing hidden secrets in the baroque city and offering valuable tips on how to make the most of your visit.

1. Altstadt: Salzburg’s Old Town

Salzburg Altstadt - What to see in Salzburg
Salzburg Altstadt – What to see in Salzburg
The historical center of Salzburg is a charming area
The historical center of Salzburg is a charming area

Altstadt, translated as Old Town or Historic City Center, is Salzburg’s historical and cultural heart. This elegant district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known for its beautiful cobblestone streets, baroque architecture, and lively atmosphere. It is a must-see for any traveler interested in architecture, history, or music.

Altstadt is located in the center of Salzburg, on the banks of the Salzach River, and is perfectly connected to other areas of the city thanks to public transportation, such as local buses and the central train station (Salzburg Hauptbahnhof).

The charm of the narrow streets and squares of the Altstadt is the area’s main attraction. Here you will find historic bars and cozy cafés where you can enjoy Viennese coffee with a slice of typical Viennese cake. The Altstadt also hosts many cultural events, from concerts to open-air festivals.

Some of the main attractions of the Old Town include the majestic Hohensalzburg Fortress, which dominates Salzburg from above, Mozart’s Birthplace and its namesake square, and Getreidegasse, the neighborhood’s most famous shopping street.

The Salzburg Cathedral is also a must-see, both for its imposing presence and for its artistic and historical richness.

2. Hohensalzburg Fortress

Rising on the Festungsberg hill, the imposing Hohensalzburg Castle is a historic stronghold in the heart of Salzburg, Austria.

What to see in Salzburg - Hohensalzburg
Attractions in Salzburg – Hohensalzburg

Built in 1077 by the order of Archbishop Gebhard von Helfenstein, the Hohensalzburg Fortress has witnessed numerous events over the years. Although it was initially conceived as a defensive fortification, it has served various functions; archbishops’ residence, temporary accommodation for emperors and prisoners, and now a museum.

With its architectural style combining Romanesque and Gothic elements, Salzburg’s fortress is a must-see. Its main sights are its courtyard, from where you can admire the pointed towers, the ornate main gate, and the Reisszug museum, which houses historical artifacts.

From its belvedere, you can enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views of the city framed by the Alps.

You can take the Festungsbahn funicular from the city to reach the citadel.

3. Mirabell Palace and Gardens

Mirabell Palace is located in the heart of Salzburg, Austria, a short distance from the Salzach River. This magnificent site is easily accessible on foot or by public transportation from anywhere in the city.

Mirabell Palace, What to do in Salzburg, Austria
Mirabell Palace, What to do in Salzburg, Austria

Built in 1606 by Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau for his mistress Salome Alt, Mirabell Palace has witnessed centuries of transformations and aristocratic intrigues. Subsequently, it underwent several alterations and was partially destroyed by fire in 1818, but it was rebuilt and renovated in a neoclassical style. Today, the palace houses administrative offices and ceremonial rooms.

The main attraction of the Mirabell complex is undoubtedly its dazzling garden. Designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach in 1689 and considered one of the finest examples of European Baroque landscaping, the gardens are famous for their lush flowerbeds adorned with colorful flowers, mythological statues, and ornamental fountains such as the Pegasus Fountain.

4. Salzburg Cathedral (Salzburger Dom)

Salzburg Cathedral, also known as Salzburger Dom, is an impressive masterpiece of Baroque art in the heart of the Austrian city of Salzburg.

Salzburg Cathedral
Salzburg Cathedral

It was designed in the 17th century by the Italian architect Santino Solari and is an outstanding example of Baroque architecture combining Italian and German design elements. It was here that the famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptized in 1756 and where he served as a musician and organist. Its location dominates the view of the Domplatz in the heart of the old town and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The splendid and balanced design gives a unique feeling of light and spaciousness, displaying the ornamental art typical of the Baroque period.

During your visit, you cannot miss the spectacular main organ, the main altar, where an 18th-century white marble statue of the Virgin Mary is located.

Dome of Salzburg Cathedral from the inside - Attractions in Salzburg
Dome of Salzburg Cathedral from the inside – Attractions in Salzburg

In the immediate vicinity of the cathedral, you will find many interesting places worth visiting, such as the Prince-Archbishops’ Residence, St. Peter’s Cemetery, and the Mozart House Museum. We recommend you tour these historical gems and immerse yourself in Salzburg’s unique atmosphere during your stay.

5. Mozart’s House

The charming Mozart House (Mozart Geburtshaus) is a magnet for music lovers and history buffs. This picturesque residence boasts a vivid yellow facade and an impressive collection of musical memorabilia inside. It is easy to understand why it stands out as one of the top sights to visit in Salzburg.

Mozart's House-Museum in Salzburg
Mozart’s House-Museum in Salzburg

Born in 1756, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart grew up with his family on the third floor of number 9 Getreidegasse. He composed many of his early masterpieces in this space, where he spent much of his life before moving to Vienna.

Today, this house museum offers a privileged glimpse into the world of the brilliant composer. Its treasures include original musical instruments, personal documents, and personal objects belonging to Mozart. In addition, family portraits and temporary exhibitions provide information about the artist’s life and work.

The museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (last admission at 5:00 p.m.). Prices vary according to age: the general rate is 12 €, students under 27 years, the disabled and seniors pay 11 €, young visitors (15 – 18), 6 € and children under 15 years, 4 €.

6. Franziskanerkirche Church

Visiting the Franziskanerkirche is one of the things to do in Salzburg
Visiting the Franziskanerkirche is one of the things to do in Salzburg

Franziskanerkirche is a little-known church in the heart of Salzburg. Located near the busy Residenzplatz, the Franziskanerkirche was inaugurated in the 13th century. It stands out for its mixture of Romanesque and Gothic styles, harmonizing perfectly.

This Franciscan church and its slender tower are integral to Salzburg’s cityscape. Structurally, it consists of a basilica nave of Romanesque origin and a delicate late Gothic choir with ribbed vaulting.

The history of the Franciscan Church dates back to the early days of the Christian city of Salzburg. However, while the opulent cathedral represents the immense power of the church, the Franziskanerkirche was the church of the people.

7. Salzburg Christmas Market

The Salzburg Christmas Market, or Christkindlmarkt, is a unique and magical experience on the charming Residenzplatz and the historic Domplatz.

Christmas markets are a tradition in Austria
Christmas markets are a tradition in Austria

This Christmas market, a must-see attraction in Salzburg if you visit the city in November or December, gives the city a festive atmosphere.

The Salzburg Christmas Market has a tradition that dates back to the 15th century. With its wooden stalls adorned with sparkling lights, garlands, and stars, this market embodies the Christmas spirit in its purest form. Among the items you can find in its stores are handcrafted nativity scenes, scented candles, wooden toys, and delicious treats such as Lebkuchen cookies or Glühwein mulled wine.

In addition to its picturesque stalls, the Salzburg Christmas Market also offers various activities for the whole family to enjoy. During your market tour, don’t forget to stop and listen to one of the Christmas choirs that liven up the atmosphere with traditional Christmas carols. For the little ones, there are workshops where they can create their own Christmas decorations and typical Austrian handicrafts.

8. Toy Museum

Spielzeugmuseum Salzburg - El Museo del Juguete de Salzburgo
Spielzeugmuseum Salzburg – Salzburg Toy Museum | Credit: Tourismus Salzburg GmbH

The Salzburg Toy Museum (Spielzeugmuseum Salzburg), is an unmissable place to visit in the charming city of Salzburg if you travel with children. This fascinating museum is located in the Bürgerspital Palace in the heart of the old town.

The Spielzeugmuseum is noted for its impressive collection of antique toys, which have been collected over the years and carefully preserved. Visitors of all ages can explore a wide range of toys ranging from dolls and miniature trains to mechanical objects and traditional games.

The Salzburg Toy Museum also stands out as an interactive space where young and old can have fun together while discovering different eras and cultures through the wonderful world of toys.

9. Residenzplatz

Residenzplatz - Qué visitar en Salzburgo
Residenzplatz – What to visit in Salzburg

Residenzplatz, located in the historical heart of Salzburg, is one of the city’s most emblematic and captivating squares.

Residenzplatz is the perfect place to begin a Salzburg adventure, surrounded by distinctive Baroque architecture and magnificent Alps views. The square owes part of its charm to the fact that it was designed by the renowned Italian architect Vincenzo Scamozzi in the late 16th century.

One of the highlights of Residenzplatz is the splendid Residenzbrunnen Fountain, the largest Baroque fountain in all of Central Europe. Built in 1661 under the direction of Tommaso di Garona, the impressive monument captures attention with its intricate details.

In addition, the square’s north side is dominated by the Neue Residenz, an extension of the Residential Palace created for the powerful Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau. This palace complex was the home and administrative center of the rulers from the 16th to the early 19th century.

10. Petersfriedhof

Petersfriedhof Church - Salzburg
Petersfriedhof Church – Salzburg | Credit: Ragesoss assumed (based on copyright claims), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Very close to the historic center of Salzburg lies the ancient and mystical Petersfriedhof. This picturesque cemetery is undoubtedly one of the most interesting hidden treasures of the Austrian city.

Founded in 1627, Petersfriedhof is the oldest Salzburg cemetery. It’s located next to St. Peter’s Church and the impressive Benedictine Monastery. The ancient tombs and mausoleums enriched with unique sculptures and engravings turn this space into an open-air gallery of European funerary art. Its illustrious “guests” give it a unique historical value. Prominent personalities such as Michael Haydn, younger brother of the famous composer Joseph Haydn, or the inspiring Trapp family, protagonists of the musical “The Sound of Music”, have found their final resting place in this necropolis.

11. Lake Wolfgangsee

Wolfgangsee is one of the must-see attractions around Salzburg
Wolfgangsee is one of the must-see attractions around Salzburg

Surrounded by the majestic alpine mountains, Wolfgangsee is a lake located in the vicinity of Salzburg and the Salzkammergut region. Famous for its breathtaking mountain scenery, this Austrian corner is the perfect retreat for those looking for a getaway to discover the natural charms of Austria just 30 kilometers from the city.

Legend has it that the lake owes its name to St. Wolfgang, who, according to legend, founded a monastery here in the 10th century.

Its privileged location makes it an ideal destination for those who wish to combine cultural tourism and outdoor activities. Lake Wolfgangsee has charming villages, such as St. Gilgen and St. Wolfgang, where beautiful baroque churches and picturesque streets will be found.

12. Salzburg Zoo

The Salzburg Zoo (Salzburg Zoo) is located on the slopes of the majestic Mount Hellbrunn, covers 14 hectares, and houses about 120 species of animals from around the world.

Salzburg Zoo is a must-see attraction if you visit with children
Salzburg Zoo is a must-see attraction if you visit with children

Salzburg Zoo was officially founded in 1961 but dates back to the 17th century when Archduke Johann Ernst Thun established a private zoo on the grounds of Hellbrunn Palace. Over time, the collection of animals grew and became a popular attraction for visitors. Today, the zoo remains dedicated to the care and protection of wildlife, constantly expanding its facilities and enhancing the experience for animals and visitors.

Salzburg Zoo is noted for its thoughtful design and dedication to conserving the natural habitat. Its facilities carefully reflect the animals’ ecosystems and allow the public to get as close as possible to the animals without invading their spaces.

You can reach the zoo by bus 25 from the city center to the “Salzburg Zoo”. The zoo gate is only a few steps from the bus stop itself.

13. Boat trips on the Salzach River

A boat trip on the Salzach is one of the best things to do in Salzburg, Austria
A boat trip on the Salzach is one of the best things to do in Salzburg, Austria

One of the most captivating experiences you can have in the Salzburg region is a boat trip on the Salzach River.

Departing from the city’s heart, this water adventure will allow you to appreciate the panoramic views of its monumental buildings and towers. As the boat stealthily moves along the meandering river, you can also enjoy the splendor of the lush hills and mountains that embrace the historic city of Salzburg.