I haven’t been to Salzburg in years, even though I used to live about 2 hours from there. While visiting my family in Munich, it was time to go back. We took the train (Meridian) from Munich Central Station, which takes about 2 hours to Salzburg Central Station. If you are only staying for one day, make sure to buy the “Bayern Ticket”, which allows you to use any regional train as well as local trains (S-Bahn, U-Bahn) and most Busses in Bavaria for a whole day. And yes, Salzburg is in Austria, but since it’s right on the other side of the border, it is still integrated in the “Bayern Ticket”. The ticket is 25 € for one person (whole day) and 6 € for every additional person (up to 5 people per ticket). I will post the link for buying this type of ticket at the end of the post. Of course you can use the ticket for every other adventure within Bavaria as well.
Our main goal was to visit the Hohensalzburg Fortress, old town Salzburg as well as the Mirabell Palace. Originally, we wanted to visit the Hellbrunn castle, but it is closed during the winter month (4th of November until April). After arriving at Salzburg Central Station, we bought a 24h pass for the public transport, which is only 4 € per adult. There is a tourist info in the station, where you can get maps of the city and bus lines. We took the bus into old town (Rathaus station) and walked to the entrance of the “Festungsbahn”, which is a cute little train (funicular), that takes you up to the fortress. It is possible to walk up there, but it rather steep, so make sure to wear suitable shoes. Since for us, the “Festungsbahn” was part of the adventure, we bought an all-inclusive ticket online (13.20 €). If you buy your ticket online before your trip, you can save 2 €, I will include the link for the ticket website at the end of the post. The all-inclusive ticket includes the ride with the “Festungsbahn”, an audio guided 30 min. tour, as well as a self-guided tour including the princes chamber, the magical theater, the castle museum, the Rainer Regiment museum and the puppet museum. After we exited the “Festungsbahn” we looked at the old town from up there: the view is amazing, even though it was a misty day you could see the Alps.
When we arrived at the info point of the fortress, they told us, that the audio guided tour is a kind of guided tour in a group, where everyone has audio guides. Which sounds weird and it was: in a group of 38 we were brought into the first room where we listened to the first audio guide number and then had to wait until they let us in the second room. The guide told us, that this is due them not having enough staff. The tour itself was great, the info was superb but having the feeling of being cramped in a tiny room (etc. the torture chamber) with 36 other people was super uncomfortable. The guided tour includes a 360-degree view from the top of the tower, which was breathtaking. Be aware, that you will have to climb multiple stairs and there is no elevator. After the guided tour, we went to the self-guided tour through the magical theater, the princess chamber and the museums. You will learn about the history of the fortress starting in 1077, which was the home of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg. We spent about 2.5 hours up there, which gave us enough time to explore everything. Starting end of November, there will be a “Christkindlsmarkt” (Christmas market”) in the courtyard of the fortress.
After taking the “Festungsbahn” back down, we wandered around old town Salzburg and visited the Getreidegasse and the birth house of Mozart. The streets are super cute, and you could wander around for hours. Since we were there on a Sunday, most shops were closed, so we enjoyed the houses and the architecture.
Located right in the center of old town, the cathedral is a must-see. The entrance is free, but you can donate something exciting the cathedral. The windows and the beautiful ornaments as well as the statues make it one of a kind. The biggest “Christkindlsmarkt” (Christmas market) is right in front of the cathedral on the Residenzplatz as well as the Domsplatz.
After leaving old town, we “hiked” up the “Mönchsberg” to get to the Augustiner Brewery. The brewery itself is great and if you are hungry, there is a huge food hall where you can buy different traditional Austrian and Bavarian food. You will also be awarded with an amazing view of old town, the Salzach River and the fortress.
Our last stop for the day was the Mirabell Palace and its gardens. The palace is only a short walk from old town: just cross the river via the Makartsteg and you’re almost there. It was built around 1606 and was the summer home of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg. The gardens are beautiful and even though it was mid-November, there were still flowers flourishing. Sadly, tourists can’t visit the palace itself, since it is home to the mayor’s office and several government departments.
Restaurant tip: if you like to eat good Austrian food, you should definitely check out Sternbräu in old town Salzburg (right next to Getreidegasse). The food was delicious and they even brew their own beer.
Of course, five hours are not nearly enough to see everything in Salzburg, but it was great to see the main attractions. I was able to get a glimpse of the beauty and a reason to come back and explore more.
Link for buying the “Bayern Ticket” online: https://www.bahn.de/en/view/offers/regional/regional-day-ticket-for-bavaria.shtml
Link for buying the all-inclusive Ticket for the Hohensalzburg Fortress: https://www.salzburg-burgen.at/en/hohensalzburg-castle/plan-visit/tickets/
If you have any questions or feedback please comment down below or contact me, I’m always looking forward to hearing other people’s experiences or answer questions. If you want to see more pictures, please check out my Instagram Account as well.