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Discover Austria: How to explore Salzburg in one weekend

Hayley Maguire
Hayley Maguire - [email protected]
Discover Austria: How to explore Salzburg in one weekend
Salzburg, in Austria (Photo by Heinz Klier / Pexels)

Salzburg is a classy city with a rich cultural heritage and beautiful architecture. Here’s how to make the most of a weekend trip to the city where Mozart was born.


For a weekend getaway filled with art, culture, shopping, nature and gastronomy, Salzburg ticks all the right boxes.

Located near the border with Bavaria in Germany, Salzburg is easy to reach from Vienna, either by train (around 2.5 hours) or car.

The city’s train station is also well connected to other cities across Austria like Innsbruck and Graz. As well as further afield locations in neighbouring Germany and Italy.

To help you plan for a weekend city trip, here’s The Local’s guide of what to do and where to go in Salzburg.


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Art and culture

Classical music plays a big role in Salzburg, from Mozarts Geburtshaus (birthplace of Mozart) on Getreidegasse to concerts at Mozarteum University and Salzburg Cathedral.

As a result, any trip to Salzburg would not be complete without discovering some of this cultural heritage, whether visiting the museum at Mozarts Geburtshaus (entry is €12) or attending a lunchtime concert at Salzburg Cathedral (tickets are €6).

The city also hosts the annual Salzburger Festspiele, which is a celebration of music and drama. This festival is held between July and August and tickets for events have to be purchased in advance, especially for the performance of the famous Jederamann play.

Then there is Salzburg Castle (Festung Hohensalzburg) that sits on a cliff top overlooking the city. It was built in 1077 and is one of Europe’s largest mediaeval castles.

Visitors can reach the castle either by walking (around 20 minutes uphill) or with a cable car. Tickets to enter the grounds start at €10.30 for an adult or from €13.30 with the cable car. If visiting in the winter, there is also a Christmas market held in the castle grounds.

And for those that like to stay on lower ground, Mirabell Palace (Schloss Mirabell) is well worth a visit – even if just to walk through the beautiful gardens before heading down to the river.

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Salzburg is a beautiful city with many attractions (Photo by Free Walking Tour Salzburg on Unsplash)


Salzburg’s Old Town (Altstadt) is home to pretty weaving streets, all linked by narrow passageways dotted with boutiques and cafes. 

On Getreidegasse, you can find shops like Mango, Tommy Hilfiger and Liebeskind, as well as wine shops and stores selling souvenirs. For antiques, art and jewellery, head to Goldgasse – a winding street tucked away near the cathedral.

Salzburg also has a McArthurGlen Designer Outlet, but this is located outside of the city centre on Kasernenstrasse. It has brands like Diesel, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors and Calvin Klein.

Top tip: shops in Austria are closed on a Sunday, so make sure you get any shopping done before then.

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Food and drink

There are two breweries to add to your Salzburg weekend itinerary: Sternbraü and Augustiner.

Sternbraü was founded in 1542 and is located on Griesgasse, just a short stroll from the river in the Old Town. It has a large outdoor beer garden with trees, which is great if visiting in the warmer months. 

The brewery also has a food menu with Austrian favourites like Schnitzel and Schweinsbraten (roast pork), as well as healthier options like chicken salad and soups.

Augustiner is actually a Bavarian beer but it can be found on Lindhofstrasse in Salzburg where beer has been brewed since 1621. The beer is served in stone mugs and can be enjoyed indoors or in the vast beer garden.


You can also sample Augustiner beer at the Goldene Kugel on Judengasse (just off Goldgasse). This is a cosy, traditional-style restaurant serving a blend of Austrian and Bavarian cuisine, with dishes like Weisswurst (sausage made from minced veal and pork) and Leberkäse (meatloaf made from corned beef, pork and bacon) on the menu.

Or for a healthier option, head to the Afro Cafe on Bürgerspitalplatz. As the name suggests, Afro Cafe serves African-inspired dishes but also vegan and vegetarian meals, all in a modern setting.

Plus, the Afro Cafe has an outdoor terrace to watch the city go by while having a coffee.

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Hikes around town give you beautiful views of the city and surroundings. (Photo by Qamar Mahmood on Unsplash)

Hiking in the city

Salzburg sits at the base of the Kapuzinerberg and the Mönchsberg mountains, so it’s possible to combine a cosmopolitan city trip with some hiking.

For a winding city walk, head towards the Kapuzinerberg. The trail provides panoramic views over the Old Town and loops back down past the Capuchin monastery.

Alternatively, the Mönchsberg route takes you past the Nonnberg monastery and continues on to the castle. After that, you can head back to the city past the Augustiner brewery or the Salzburg Museum of Modern Art.

Both hikes are around 4km and take around one and a half hours to complete.

Got a recommendation for our Salzburg city trip guide? Let us know in the comments section below or email [email protected].


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