11 Reasons to Visit Salzburg, Austria

With all the obvious European City Break destinations ticked off the list, I’m all about seeking out the lesser-known options now. If you dare to go a little more ‘off-piste’, you can often end up in a city with double the charm and half the crowds. If Vienna is Austria’s famous Plan A, then Salzburg is most definitely its lesser-known Plan B. I got to spend two nights and one full day in Salzburg as part of my 5-day Austrian adventure which took me through Graz, Salzburg and Innsbruck. I immediately fell in love with Salzburg, so much so that I wanted to dedicate an entire blog post to it. So here are 11 reasons to plan a city break to Salzburg.


1. The Streets are Full of Music

Salzburg is famous for being the birthplace of the famous composer Mozart. Because of this, Salzburg has become somewhat of a mecca for classical music and you can feel Mozart’s influence all around the city. The streets are alive with beautiful live music and there are talented musicians around every corner. You’ll often see Music students rehearsing in the street and violinists and harpists fill the historical squares with music. Even if you don’t think classical music is your thing, you can’t help but appreciate it in such spectacular settings.


2.The Mountains are On Your Doorstep

I remember my guide saying, “Although Salzburg is the fourth largest city in Austria, it can never grow in size”. I love small cities, so I loved this fact. Salzburg is dramatically framed by snow-capped mountains, which means the views are spectacular at every angle of the city. It also means that the mountains are right on your doorstep, so you can combine a day in the city with a day of adventure along one of the many hiking routes. Salzburg locals take to the mountains every weekend to hike, bike, run or ski depending on the season.


3.It’s Beautiful at Any Time of Year  

Although most people may consider Salzburg to be a winter break destination, I can confirm that it’s incredible in summer too. I visited Salzburg in June when the skies were blue and the weather ranged from 26-28 degrees. The surrounding mountains were lush and green, I got to see the famous Mirabell Gardens in full bloom and enjoy the al fresco culture. I would love to return again in winter to enjoy the Christmas market and see the festive lights. I can imagine it to feel even more magical.


4.It’s where The Sound of Music was Filmed

If, like me, you are a Sound of Music fan you will find it fascinating to see all of the filming locations dotted around Salzburg. Super fans can go on The Original Sound of Music Tour with runs daily from 9.30am to 2.30pm. The official tour takes you to the filming locations a little further out of the city but there are plenty of filming spots you can independently find on foot and in the heart of the city such as the Mirabell Gardens.



5.The Pretty Coloured Houses and Baroque Buildings

If you’re a sucker for pretty buildings and baroque architecture, you will be in heaven in Salzburg. When exploring the city, always remember to look UP to appreciate the perfectly preserved and historical baroque architecture. Mozart’s famous birthplace building is bright yellow and the iconic pastel buildings along the riverfront provide the perfect photo opportunity.


6.The View Points are Epic

The best way to see Salzburg is from above and there are plenty of viewpoints to get your bearings. The Hohensalzburg Fortress towers over the city below and has some spectacular vistas of Salzburg. On one side there’s a stunning birds eye view of the city and on the other there’s a mountain panoramic. Head up to the Museum of Modern Art for another perspective of the city, where you can stop for lunch or coffee with a view at M32 Restaurant.


7.It’s Incredibly Romantic  

Along with the music-filled streets and quaint architecture, Salzburg also has other qualities that make it incredibly romantic. Thousands of coloured ‘love locks’ decorate the modern Makartsteg Bridge and horse and carriage rides operate through the pedestrian-only parts of the city. Salzburg is also known for its romantic pink sunsets which draws in quite a crowd at the top of the Imberg Steps close to Kapuzinerberg Monastery. Couples and friends make the climb to see a pink panorama of the city below.



8.It’s Home to Authentic Austrian Cuisine

Austrian cuisine is surprisingly delicious and incredibly fresh. Salzburg is home to some incredible restaurants but as it’s a city filled with tourists, it pays to do your research. Be sure to check out Zwettler’s on Kaigasse 3 for the best Schnitzel in town and head to local’s favourite Paul Stubm on Herrengasse 16. This hidden Biergarten is tucked away on a narrow alleyway and is the Austrian’s version of a pub. It serves a full menu of delicious food as well as signature Austrian drinks like Aperol Spritz and “The Hugo” (a refreshing cocktail of prosecco or wine with elderflower cordial , mint and soda water). For an indulgent lunch or dinner, order the Spaetzle topped with onions and bacon. It’s like the Austrian version of Mac ‘n’ Cheese.


9.It has a Christmas Museum

Even if you plan a city break to Salzburg in the summer months, you can still get a taste of Christmas magic at the zany Christmas Museum. The Salzburger Weihnachtsmuseum is open all year round and is dedicated to all things Christmas. What’s not to love about that?


10.It’s the Home of Dirndl Fashion

Another tradition that is embraced in Salzburg is the Austrian dirndl, which simply translates to ‘dress’ in English. The dirndl is typically made up of a white blouse, buttoned up dress and a colourful apron. Women still proudly wear their dirndls today and the streets become a catwalk to show them off. They’re usually worn for special occasions but some women still like to wear them in every day life. Be sure to check out the luxurious Dirndl boutiques on Getreidegasse and the Waagplatz where local women go to have their dirndls tailor-made.



11.The Mozartkugel Balls

These little chocolate treats have become somewhat of an emblem of Salzburg. So much so that people speculate that the golden ball sculpture in the Kapitelplatz is supposed to represent them. The Mozart Balls were created in 1890 by Salzubrg confectioner Paul Fürst and are made of pistachio, marzipan and nougat then covered with dark chocolate. Salzburg is the only place in the world that you can buy them, including at the famous Fürst café.



Where to Stay

I stayed at the 4-star Hotel Amadeus during my trip to Salzburg and would highly recommend it for a Salzburg city break. The hotel is stylish, boutique and surprisingly affordable. It only has 26 rooms so the service is very personal and the location is fantastic. Book Here

Top Tip: The Salzburg Card

If you’re thinking of planning a city break to Salzburg, it’s a great option to buy a Salzburg card. The card gives you all-inclusive one-time access to all of Salzburg’s top tourist attractions, museums and public transport (including a river tour and the funicular). The card is available for 24, 48 or 72 hours.


For more useful information about Salzburg visit Salzburg.info

What did you think of my 11 reasons to plan a city break to Salzburg? Do you know the city well or do you feel inspired to visit? If you enjoyed this post, please leave me a comment in the box below. Jess x

Want to read more about my time in Austria? Check out

This blog post has been sponsored by Visit Austria as part of the #UncoverAustria campaign. All photos, recommendations and views are my own.


Jessica Ruth Gibson is the Founder and Editor of Travelista and an award-winning travel content creator of 10 years. She lives in York, UK with her son and has travelled to over 50 countries; her favourites being Italy, Canada and Vietnam.


  • Thanks for the tips, I’m hoping to spend a day in Salzburg at the end a ski trip in March, it looks beautiful x

    • Hope you get to visit Rachel! It’s so beautiful and is definitely an underrated European city break destination. I’d love to go back x

  • My Feet Will Lead Me

    Girl, I LOVED Salzburg! My bf and I went for my birthday last January and it was magic (and damn cold). We did a road trip from Bavaria, Germany to see the castles and then to Hallstatt (have you been?! It’s so cute!) then Salzburg and Munich. Did you happen to take the lift to Untersberg mountain? It’s incredible. The views are insane and there’s an adorable restaurant up there. In the winter it was freezing but gorgeous. We also went to a free classical music concert at the university where Mozart produced his first concert. So special. And we totally ate schnitzel at Zwetters too:)

    • Love this comment, thank you! Your road trip sounds absolutely epic! What a great thing to do. I didn’t go to the Untesberg mountain but that’s a great tip for other people reading this! Will try and get there next time as I know I will definitely return some day. What a special trip you had – and so glad you went to Zwettlers too! I still dream of the schnitzel today 🙂

      • My Feet Will Lead Me

        Thanks, haha! How did you like Innsbruck compared to Salzburg? I read as many opinions as possible before choosing Salzburg. Seems a little more scenic.

  • I would love to go to Salzburg one day. It looks amazing with the great views!

    • The views are spectacular from every angle! Thanks for your comment 🙂

  • vdaltonbanks

    It looks like the perfect destination for a city break! My brother is currently living in Vienna and so I’m really hoping to go visit him over the Summer, I’m definitely going to try and tag on Salzburg for a few days!!
    Vicky x

    • Thanks Vicky! Definitely make the most of your brother in Vienna! A dual destination trip to Vienna and Salzburg would be magical and honestly its so so beautiful in the summer time – with half the crowds! xx

  • Girl I’m LOVING your snaps – the food looks so, so good! Also I love the fact that the Sound of Music was filmed there, I really want to go now! Completely agree that it looks super romantic! Another one added to the bucket list – you travel enabler you 😉

    Hayley xo

    • Yes girl! So glad you love the Sound of Music as much as me haha! That is reason in itself to go 😉 Very romantic, perfect for a trip with your BF x

  • Charlotte Mueller

    I am a Salzburgerin living in the US. Nice review of my hometown.

    • Hi Charlotte. I am so pleased you liked this review of your home city 🙂

  • That was such a great review of my favourite European city! 🙂 I visited a few years ago with my dad and was absolutely blown away by it’s beauty. As a MASSIVE sound of music fan (reason my dad brought me there) it felt like I was literally walking onto the Film set. Nothing had changed it seemed because it looked EXACTLY like it does in the movie. I intended on returning this year but looks like it’s going to be next year instead. I didn’t know about the chocolate shop or the Christmas museum so will definitely take them in next time. Thanks for promoting Salzburg so wonderfully 🙂

    • Thank you Aine! I am glad you think I did your favourite city justice with this post. It definitely felt like walking into the Sound of Music filmset – so magical for fans! I would have loved to do the proper tour. I hope to return at Christmas time next 🙂

      • I highly recommend the tour. It is so much fun and the sites and scenery are simply breath taking. I didn’t know about the Christmas Museum. I must check it out when I go back next year 🙂

  • Insight.yum@gmail.com

    Very informative! I like the post! Thanks!

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment, you’re welcome! 🙂

  • Love this! We visited Salzburg during the Christmas season a couple years ago and had a blast. Seriously one of my favorite places!

    • Thanks Rachel! Ahh I bet you had the most amazing time there at Christmas. I think it would be the perfect winter break destination. Imagine wrapping up warm and having a horse and carriage ride… so romantic 🙂 x

  • Umm..Christmas museum?! Sounds fab!! I really want to visit, Salzburg looks super cute!

    • Thanks Angie! I only found out about the Christmas Museum on my last night so didn’t get chance to go! Would have definitely gone if I had known sooner. I think you’d love Salzburg xx

  • I love Salzburg (been three times!) and it always confuses me that more people haven’t considered visiting! The Mirabell Gardens are gorgeous and I love the views from the fortress. Not a fan of Mozart Balls unfortunately but they do make a good gift for people back home.

    • Hey Nicola! Glad you’re already a fan of Salzburg 🙂 I can’t believe it took me this long to get there myself. I think the views from the Fortress were also my favourite, although from the Museum of Modern art you can see the Fortress itself. It’s such a special city and I really want to go back in winter! I took a couple of the Mozart balls back for my BF xx

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