A city break to Salzburg, Austria

As a little late Summer getaway before our baby girl arrives and to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, we chose to escape to Salzburg, Austria for a few days in September.

We flew to Munich with Eurowings, a really affordable option, and then rented a car for the two and a bit hour drive across the border to Salzburg. With an early morning flight, it meant that we arrived at our airbnb late afternoon so had a nice bit of downtime in the evening while it was still light to explore and find our bearings.

I’m going to do a full blog post about the incredible food we ate on our trip, so I’ll save the restaurant recommendations for then, but I thought I’d share our city highlights if you’re planning a visit to Salzburg in the future –

First up, get a Salzburg card. This tourist card gives you free admission to many of the main attractions of the city and includes all travel on public transport. You can choose from a 24-, 48- or 72  hour card and buy either online or at most hotels, tourist offices and bus or train stations. Online or with the brochure, you can see of all the entries to different attractions that are included in the card price so you can plan your days to make the most of it.

All of our highlights below were included in the price of the 48 hour card and some also allow you to skip the queues, which is worth bearing in mind if you go at high season –

  • Cable car, Untersberg
    • We drove to Grodig, about 25 minutes outside the city, to take the gondola ride to the Geirereck mountain station at 1776m. Its a short, 10 minute ride but if you pick a clear day for it there are panoramic views from the top – to Salzburg, Berchtesgaden and beyond – and you can hike a little higher to take in some of the summits
  • Hellbrunn palace and trick fountains
    • We did this on the same day as the cable car, above, as they’re just a short drive apart. I think this was my favourite afternoon of the trip just because it was so nice to wander around the beautiful gardens in the sunshine and relax. When you arrive you’ll be given a time for the guided tour which is a must – a previous archbishop of Salzburg designed these unique trick fountains, using the Hellbrunn mountain as its natural source of water, around the palace to entertain his guests, and today they definitely keep both children and adult visitors on their toes!
  • Mozart’s residence and birthplace
    • Two separate museums across the river from one another, but both worth a visit to get to know more about this amazing musician and character. The exhibitions include some of Mozart’s original documents and portraits, as well as his violin and fortepiano.
  • Museum of modern art
    • Set high above the rooftops of Salzburg, we walked here from the fortress which I’d highly recommend for the views. The museum itself is set over four levels and rotating exhibitions are stylishly presented in unique open spaces.
  • Hohensalzburg fortress and museums
    • The ‘castle on the hill’ is the emblem of Salzburg and built in 1077 it changed the city’s skyline forever. It is Central Europe’s largest fully preserved castle and it certainly feels like it as you work your way around all of the rooms and many museums within. You can walk to the fortress on foot from the Baroque historical district, or take the Fortress Funicular, which is also included in the Salzburg card.

Other things we loved but didn’t have an entry fee were

  • Kapuzinerberg tower – this defence tower is a nice walk up the other hill in Salzburg, not the one that the fortress stands on, and is much quieter. There are lovely views on the way up and down and a restaurant on top for a well-deserved drink
  • Mirabell Palace gardens – right in the heart of the city, these gardens are a joy to wander on sunny day
  • Cafe Tomeselli – perfect for a bit of cafe culture, visit one of the most highly reputed coffee houses in Europe in the stylish and traditional cafes of the Old Town


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