Salzburg Itinerary: How to Spend a Perfect 2 Days in Salzburg

I’m someone who likes to jam-pack her vacations with as many awesome places as possible.

But I also struggle with the FOMO that comes with only giving yourself a day or two in each place.

Luckily, I can say with confidence that two days in Salzburg is genuinely the perfect amount of time to see what the city is all about. 

gardens in front of a palace in salzburg on a sunny day
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This two day itinerary touches on a bit of everything that makes the city the incredible destination that it is.

From the salt mines that gave the city its name to the famous “Sound of Music” filming locations (which you can take a half-day tour of), your trip will be filled with unique adventures that leave you feeling content… and stuffed!

Salzburg Itinerary, Day One: Tour of the City

Indulge in a sweet breakfast.

A fruit-filled austrian strudel pastry with a beverage served on an outside table during the morning

One thing I learned after spending a few weeks in Europe is that it isn’t unusual to give in to your sweet tooth first thing in the morning. In fact, it’s practically encouraged! 

Of all the countries that I have been to, Austria ranks high up there with some of the best pastries I have ever had. 

Sticky and delicious, there’s a huge range of options to choose from.

When in doubt, just point at the one that looks the most appetizing.

(I still don’t know the names of half of the pastries I ate, but I do know they were all amazing). 

Still stuck on choices? You can never go wrong with a strüdel… like, ever.

My favorite bakery in Salzburg is Bäckerei Holztrattner, but I also found great success with the sniff and follow method.

It’s always exciting when you stumble upon an off the map hidden gem!

Take the funicular to the fortress.

View of the Hohensalzburg Fortress up on a hill, with houses at its base and lots of trees on the hill that the fortress is built on, in spring or summer

Now that you’re all fueled up on sugar, it’s time to start sight-seeing!

What better way to begin your Salzburg itinerary than with the largest fully preserved fortress in Central Europe?

The Hohensalzburg Fortress dates all the way back to 1077 and by 1500, it had received all of its finishing touches.

So, when you explore this fortress, you’re literally walking into a time capsule dating back more than 500 years. Furniture and original detailing included! 

The interior of the Hohensalzburg fortress, with intricate ceiling work and wall detail

As if that weren’t enticing enough, the historic significance starts before you even get there!

The funicular that takes you up to the fortress has been transporting visitors since the late 1800s. 

Luckily, thanks to modern day renovations, the journey now takes under a minute. 

the funicular in salzburg that takes you up to the fortress on a sunny day in the summer

Once you get up to the fortress, you may have a hard time deciding what to do first but don’t worry! You’ve got all morning to explore! 

Before you start shuffling from one awe-inspiring museum to another (the Marionette Museum is my favorite), take a minute to enjoy the view. 

From the fortress, you have panoramic views of the city and the mountains that surround it. It’s a view like no other in Salzburg.

Good to Know: You can buy a 48-hour for 35 euros and it’ll get you into all the museums and historic sites in the city.

Considering the fact that the ticket to the fortress alone is about 14 euros (book online to save time!), it’s definitely something to consider! 

If you do get the Salzburg Card, make sure to get to the fortress before 11 AM for free entry into the state rooms!

Enjoy lunch at Restaurant Stiegl-Keller.

Photo Credit: Mattes, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Directly in your line of sight from the fortress, a short 10-minute walk will take you to one of the best restaurants in Salzburg, maybe even all of Austria!

The menu is as authentic as it gets… and the beer list does not disappoint! 

The food had me seriously debating whether I could just eat Wiener schnitzel for the rest of my life.

I especially have to sing the praises of the parsley potatoes and cranberries.

I’m not even a cranberry person and the thought of Stiegl-Keller’s cranberries has me ready to hop on the next flight out to Salzburg. 

But wait, there’s more! 

As if food perfection wasn’t enough to earn this place an award, they seal the deal with one of the most spectacular views of the city. What more could you want? 

Plus, if you want to tour the brewery facilities, you can do that too, before or after your meal — and throw in a beer tasting to boot!

Book your Stiegl brewery tour and tasting here!

Explore the St. Peters catacombs. 

Steps leading to St. Peter's Catacombs, Salzburg, Austria

It’s safe to say you’ll probably be feeling a bit lethargic after your savory lunch, so wake yourself up with a visit to the catacombs!

What’s more exciting than a mountain-carved cemetery?!

To get here, you will need to walk through St. Peter’s Cemetery, which means you can say you walked through the oldest Christian cemetery in the country! 

Plus, as odd as it sounds, the cemetery is extremely peaceful, and picturesque as well!

Gravestones, flowers, and pathway in the picturesque St. Peter's Cemetery which has kept its present form since 1627

After you’ve snapped a few photos, make your way up to one of the two catacomb chapels. 

These chapels date back to the 1100s and the impressive caves that house them are carved directly into Mönchsberg Mountain!

P.S. If you have one, your Salzburg Card will get you into this site for free, too! 

Explore all things Mozart.

yellow building that says mozarts geburtshaus, the birth house museum that showcases where mozart was born

As the hometown of the iconic composer, it only makes sense that you’d want to take a Mozart tour during your time in Salzburg.

There are nearly a dozen Mozart-related things to choose from and each one offers a unique experience. 

Here’s just a few of your options:

Sit in Cafe Tomaselli and sip coffee in the same place Mozart did (we’ll do that first thing tomorrow!)

Take a tour of the house where he was born (Birth House Museum) and the home where he spent his teenage years (Mozart’s Apartment Museum in Salzburg). 

Admire the larger-than-life statue of him at Mozart Square.

The statue of mozart at mozart square in salzburg.

Head to the Salzburg Cathedral where he was baptized or opt for the church (St. Peter’s Abbey) where he first performed his famous Great Mass in C minor. 

You can go to a Mozart concert at the fortress, complete with a romantic and delicious dinner.

Or do something really weird (and personally, this one’s my favorite)… Go check out his skull! 

The skull has been at the Mozarteum since 1902 and had been showcased up until recently.

But while the skull is no longer on display due to some queasy guests, you can always request a viewing!

Walk around Getreidegasse. 

One of my favorite things to do in Salzburg is just walk around the Old Town.

Getreidegasse is overflowing with historic character, and it won’t even let a McDonald’s get in the way of that. 

The shops here all boast wrought-iron guild signs (McDonald’s included!), and the many tight alleys are an urban explorer’s dream come true.

You can spend all day zigzagging through the streets, stumbling upon charming courtyards, and checking out the endless shops along the way. 

scheffer clock in the old town

Other charming streets in the area to explore are Linzer Gasse (look for the famous Scheffer clock sign!) and Sigmund-Haffner-Gasse with its great view of the clocktower.

Side note: If you happen to be visiting in December, the streets of the old town are transformed into a traditional Christmas Market! Just keep your eyes out for Krampus…

Have dinner at Zipfer Bierhaus.

sign that says restaurant zipfer bierhaus in salzburg austria with christmas deocorations
Photo Credit: Photo: Andreas Praefcke, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When your stomach starts rumbling, make your way over to Zipfer Bierhaus on Universitätsplatz for the perfect end to your day.

This traditional bierhaus can feel slightly intimidating when you first walk in since it’s more of a local scene, but trust me, that’s a good sign!

The waiter knew enough English to take my order but aside from that, I was the only English speaker there. 

I spend a lot of time (and I mean a lot of time) exploring side streets when I’m traveling, looking for this exact atmosphere (local crowd, mom and pop style, menus I need to translate) so I always pride myself when I find it.

If you want authenticity, you’ve come to the right place!

The food was even better than I thought it would be and the beer was plentiful. Sometimes a simple, home-cooked meal is all you need!

Salzburg Itinerary, Day Two: A Deeper Dive

Blend breakfast with history. 

Photo Credit: JoJan, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons (cropped)

You’re in Salzburg, a city bursting with culture. It only makes sense that even the place you go to breakfast has some historic significance! 

Cafe Tomaselli has been run by the same family for more than a century and it has had many famous visitors (including Mozart himself). 

As you stand there deciding between the many eye-catching pastries and make your way over to a table with a specialty coffee in hand, you’re living through history. 

Besides, how else could a cafe stay open for over 150 years if it wasn’t worth visiting?

Just get here early because the wonders of Cafe Tomaselli are no secret!  

Journey through a salt mine.

river with a salt mine on the edge of it with green trees surrounding it

At first glance, a salt mine tour doesn’t sound too exhilarating, but I assure you that it will be one of your fondest memories from Austria.

That’s because you’re not just walking through a salt mine, you’re taking part in an immersive experience!

The Berchtesgaden salt mine has been in operation since the early 1500s and even when the mining stopped, it continued to draw people in from all over the world.

It wasn’t just to get a glimpse at history, but to feel like you were actually a part of it.

When you get to the mine, you’ll be given a pair of old mining overalls to better prepare you for your journey.

tourist wearing old mining overalls entering a mine in salzburg

Once dressed, the mine train will take you deep within the famous Salberg Mountain where the real adventure begins. 

Your guide will tell you everything you need to know about the history of the salt mine as you make your way through tunnels and into grand rooms like the Salt Cathedral. 

To make things that much more exciting, you will also have the opportunity to slide down various long miners’ slides and even take a raft out on a subterranean salt lake. 

abandoned mine shift in salzburg mine

The salt mine is less than 15 miles from Salzburg but there is also a bus (No. 840) that can take you there if you didn’t rent a vehicle.

If you don’t want to deal with public transportation, there are tours you can book — they’ll take care of getting to and from the mine for you, and they’ll also give you guidance while you’re there.

Book this guided tour of the salt mine here!

Make sure to book your tour in advance because this is an experience you don’t want to miss!  

Have a grab-and-go lunch at Grünmarkt.

Austrian sausages on a farmer's market in Salzburg

One of my favorite ways to experience local cuisine is at an open-air market where you can try a variety of street foods at usually reasonable prices.

Plus, I always have a hard time deciding which delicious thing I should eat, so with this method I get to eat a variety!

The good news is that the Grünmarkt is open every day (except Sunday) and it’s always jam packed with stands selling everything from fresh bread to spirits and everything in between.

As you walk through the market, you’ll be struck by a variety of different delicious smells, so just let your nose guide you in the right direction(s). 

If your open-air market day happens to fall on a Thursday, I’d also consider going to Schrannemarkt instead!

This weekly market is one of the largest and most-talked about markets in the country and it’s not hard to figure out why. 

On top of the variety of delicious food you can buy, there are also local vendors selling anything from crafts to flowers. 

Just do yourself a favor and try the clear fish broth! And a sausage, of course! 

Visit a different kind of palace.

Visiting Schloss Hellbrunn near Salzburg, Austria, a. bright yellow palace with blue shutters

Designed by a prince who doubled as an archbishop, the Hellbrunn Palace is one of a kind… and it’s nothing like you’d expect. 

Markus Sittikus had one goal in mind when building his palace and that it would be a place of pure pleasure.

It just so happens that his idea of pleasure is playing jokes on everyone who came to visit — mostly with tricky, hidden water fountains!

hidden water fountains next to marble chairs

So, as you walk through this grand palace, its five grottos, and impressive grounds, prepare to be a target to one of the many, intricate trick fountains. 

It won’t be enough to soak you but enough to catch you by surprise if you aren’t paying attention…. especially since you just never know when a trick fountain is going to claim its next victim!

Trick fountains aren’t the only thing Sittikus focused on. He wanted every inch of his palace to represent the joys of life.

unicorn statue at Hellbrun palace near salzburg

As you walk through the “Grand Delight,” you will find quirky additions like unicorn statues and creative water automats!

You can easily spend all day here but make sure you keep an eye on the clock (and your rumbling stomach) because dinner awaits you! 

It’s important to note that this is another destination where you will need to take the bus (No. 25) if you don’t have a vehicle, but that’s part of the Salzburg experience — enjoying Austria’s extremely efficient public transit!

Alternately, you can get there by boat and enjoy a scenic cruise of Salzburg along the way before having a guided tour of the palace.

Book your boat cruise and Hellbrunn Palace tour here!

Have a final farewell dinner in Salzburg.

traditional sign for a restaurant in austria
Photo Credit: Werner100359 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When I visit a new country, I want to pig out on traditional food and nothing else. Wouldn’t you agree? 

I hope so because your last meal in Salzburg will have you missing Austrian food for years to come. 

Bärenwirt is easily one of my favorite restaurants in Austria and it’s not just because I had the best fried chicken of my life here (but it definitely helps).

The sausage melts in your mouth and the bread dumplings follow suit!

As an added bonus, there’s an outdoor patio that offers spectacular views of the city and the surrounding mountains. 

Just make sure you make a reservation in advance, because seating is limited and anybody who knows what’s up will be coming here for dinner! 

Take a late night stroll in Mirabell Gardens.

Amazing night view of illuminated fountain, in the shape of horse in Mirabell Palace, Salzburg, Austria

All of the Sound of Music lovers out there will be happy to know that their farewell to Salzburg takes place in one of the most iconic filming locations!

But even if this famous musical doesn’t strike your fancy, a late night stroll through Mirabell Gardens is still sure to impress. 

This is one of the most popular tourist locations so it can get pretty hectic during the day but at night, everyone seems to disappear and you’ll be left with Mirabell Gardens all to yourself. 

I spent hours here walking amongst the Baroque statues and mesmerizing fountains!

The warm street lights provide just enough of a glow to see the dark streaks that give way to the statues’ age, without it feeling like an eyesore. 

In my opinion, there is no time more magical to see the gardens. Besides, you have to walk off that dinner somehow!

Where to Stay in Salzburg

With only 2 days on this Salzburg itinerary, you’ll want to pick somewhere central.

All these hotels are in the Aldstadt neighborhood right in the heart of the city and close to all the places on the itinerary.

$: Altstadthotel Weisse Taube

Nestled in the charming labyrinth of narrow cobblestone lanes of Salzburg’s old town, Altstadthotel Weisse Taube combines its historic roots with contemporary, fun design.

This historic hotel has been transformed with a modern, funky minimalist design, an unexpected blend of traditional and modern.

The guest rooms of Altstadthotel Weisse Taube have a funky minimalist design, each with its one character: some are decorated with vibrant floral wallpaper; others, a bold striped pattern.

With its fun design and affordable price tag for its central location, this is the place to be for convenience that’s relatively budget friendly.

Check availability, prices, and reviews here!

$$: Altstadthotel Kasererbräu

Boasting roots dating back to 1342, Altstadthotel Kasererbräu offers guests a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in living history!

This charming hotel, set within the pedestrian zone of the city’s old town, features both modern rooms as well as suites that preserve the building’s past like a time capsule you can spend the night in.

One of the hotel’s highlights is the junior suite, which not only features a luxurious hot tub for a relaxing soak but also original architectural details that set it apart.

The suite’s stunning embellished ceilings, with their intricate design and craftsmanship evoking a sense of the past, are gorgeous to look at while taking a soak in the tub!

Check availability, prices, and reviews here!

$$$: Hotel Sacher Salzburg

Does its name sound familiar for some reason? The Hotel Sacher Salzburg is as historic as it is beautiful, a branch of the same hotel in Vienna that created the now-world-famous Sacher torte.

Having opened its doors in 1866, this historic hotel is steeped in tradition, yet each room is personally decorated by the hotel’s owner for an individualized touch that sets it apart.

The decor is a thoughtful mix of timeless elegance and modern comforts. The suites are especially spacious, with ample seating and some even featuring fireplaces or terraces.

With its on-site restaurant, cafe, and bar featuring live piano music, it’s a little world in itself, tucked away from the busy streets of Salzburg’s Old Town.

Check availability, prices, and reviews here!

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