Salzburg is the home of Mozart and The Sound of Music – and not once while you are visiting will the city let you forget that. Souvenir shops are filled to the brim with Mozart-themed toys and keepsakes, and the famous chocolate Mozartkugel is sold all around the city. You’ll be sure to hear the familiar tunes from The Sound of Music playing just as ubiquitously. But Salzburg is more than its biggest moneymakers. Situated beside the rushing Salzach River, Salzburg is a grand city with graceful domes and spires, a formidable fortress, and monumental squares. With all the sightseeing, museums, biking trails, shops, and restaurants, there is plenty to do and see in 48 hours in Salzburg.
♦ Hotel & Villa Auersperg. We arrived in Salzburg via train just before noon and walked from the train station to our hotel. The Hotel & Villa Auersperg is a charming boutique hotel located in the center of the city. We booked a standard room, which was spacious with a dedicated seating area and large walk-in closet. The customer service at the hotel was excellent and the staff was thoughtful. Perks included free breakfast and bike rentals and evening access to the roof deck sauna and relaxation area (which we used everyday!). Things to consider before booking – no air conditioning, which could be an issue in the summer, and location. The hotel was situated away from the more popular areas near the Salzach River, and it took us 15-20 minutes to walk to the Old Town, which is why Hotel & Villa Auersperg isn’t rated higher in my book.
♦♦♦ K+K Restaurants am Waagplatz Salzburg. For lunch, we wandered over to the Old Town area to K+K Restaurants am Waagplatz Salzburg, which specializes in serving traditional Austrian dishes. The Salzburger Schnitzel I ordered was delicious. We dined in the outdoor patio area overlooking Mozartplatz, which was perfect for people watching on a sunny afternoon.
♦♦♦ Old Town. The Old Town of Salzburg is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, and perhaps the largest in terms of area covered. This well-preserved city is home to several ancient monasteries and the Salzburg Cathedral, as well as shops and restaurants lining winding streets. One of the oldest streets, Sigmund Haffner Gasse, dates back to 1140. In Old Town, you’ll also find Mozart’s birthplace.
Hotel Auersperg Relaxation Area
K+K Restaurants am Waagplatz Salzburg
A View from Lunch
Salzburg Old Town
Fontana della Residenza
Sigmund Haffner Gasse
♦♦♦ Salzach River Bike Ride. We began our second day in Salzburg by taking the hotel bikes on a ride along the Salzach River. Salzburg is one of the most biker-friendly cities I have ever visited with ample trails and bike lanes to explore. We took an easy bike ride 10 miles south along the west bank before turning back along the east side. The views were breathtaking the whole way.
Be sure to turn off around halfway back following the signs to Hellbrunn Palace to ride along a tree-lined path surrounded by farms and mountains.
♦ Hellbrunn Palace. The Hellbrunn Palace is an early Baroque villa constructed in the early seventeenth century. The parks surrounding it were nice and also house the gazebo where Rolf and Liesl sang “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” in The Sound of Music (my favorite song from the movie)! The grounds were expansive and beautiful, but it is a bit out of the way. Worth a stop if you are a fan of The Sound of Music or if you want to take an enjoyable bike ride and relax in the park.
Biking Along the Salzach River
View from the Bike Ride
More Biking Views
Biking to Hellbrunn Palace
Hellbrunn Palace Entryway
“Sixteen Going on Seventeen” Gazebo
Farmlands in Salzburg
♦♦ Triangel. For lunch, we stopped in at Triangel, a restaurant frequented by locals serving a delicious fish soup. The weather was beautiful so we were able to sit in the outdoor area while dining and enjoying our wine.
♦♦♦ Hohensalzburg Fortress. After lunch, we made our way to the Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg’s most iconic landmark. We opted to take the walk up rather than ride the funicular to enjoy the views along the way. Although uphill, the walk only took about 15 minutes, and we were able to take pictures of the city below.
Inside, we marveled at the 900+ years of history contained inside the fortress walls. At the top, we were able to see Salzburg and its surroundings for miles. Highlights inside the fortress include the Golden Hall and the Salzburg Bull.
Walking up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress
Inside the Hohensalzburg Fortress
The Top of the Hohensalzburg Fortress
View from the Hohensalzburg Fortress
♦♦♦ Unversitätsplatz & Farmers Market. After visiting the Hohensalzburg Fortress, we walked towards Unversitätsplatz to explore the farmers market located there. We found various vendors there selling everything from speck sandwiches to donut pretzels. This was definitely a fun place to shop for souvenirs or sample some Austrian snacks.
♦♦ Das Restaurant Wasserfall. We visited Salzburg at the tail-end of our week-long tour of Bavaria, and by the last night of our vacation we were craving something besides schnitzel and potatoes. Luckily, the Das Restaurant Wasserfall was located near our hotel on the Linzergasse and served delicious Italian food. Definitely recommend this restaurant for a change of pace.
♦♦♦ Linzergasse. If you’re craving some nightlife, you will find many small bars along and around Linzergasse.
Unversitätsplatz Farmers Market
♦♦♦ Mirabell Palace and Gardens. With only a few hours left to explore Salzburg in the morning before we had to stop by the Mirabell Palace and Gardens. Built in 1606, the palace is a part of the Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg UNESCO World Heritage Site and where several scenes from The Sound of Music’s “Do-Re-Mi” were recorded.
Heading Home. Salzburg’s airport is located near the city center (20 minute cab ride or 30 minute bus ride). We chose to take the bus, which picked us up outside of our hotel and dropped us off right in front of the airport. Keep in mind that the Salzburg Airport is tiny, and while it has a duty-free shop, there is not much else to keep you occupied, so don’t get there too early!
Mirabell Palace and Gardens
Mirabell Palace and Gardens
Salzburg is truly a beautiful city, and after 48 hours in Salzburg, I understood why millions of people visit each year. Salzburg had it all, from the rich culture and history to great bars and restaurants, all against a mountainous backdrop offering biking and running trails for those who want to soak in some nature. A great city to add to a trip to Munich or Vienna, Salzburg is a place I’d be happy to visit again any time.