If you only have a day in Salzburg what should you do to make the most of your time? Well obviously it depends on you and your preferences but here we will pick out some of the best choices so you can take your pick!
Getting to the Old Town
No matter how you arrived in this wonderful city, make for the Old Town (Altstadt). Salzburg is well served with bus routes and it is relatively easy to get to the centre of the action:-
From the airport – get the Stadtbus number 27. The stop you want is Ferdinand-Hanusch-Platz right in the Old Town next to the River Salzach. Keep an eye on the information screen in the bus to see where you are and the next stop. Cost is €2.
From the Main Train Station – get the Obus number 3 and get off at the Rathaus. The information screen in the bus will tell you the stops. This is also right in the Old Town next to the River Salzach. Cost is €2.
If you are arriving by car there are many carparks in and around the city. Be aware that carparks in Salzburg can be expensive if you park in the centre. There are 4 park and ride sites around the city where you can park the car and get discounted bus fares into the city.
If you plan to go round some of the museums and up to the Fortress, the 24 hour Salzburgcard will save you a lot of money. It costs €29 for adults and €14.50 for children 6-15 during May to October. At other times it is €26 for adults and €13 for children 6-15 .
The card gives you free access to:-
Mozarts Birth Place
Dom Quartier museums
The Fortress Funicular and Museum
The Monchberg Lift
You can buy it online before you go or buy it on the day from hotels, ticket offices and tourist information centres. If you buy online you will receive a voucher that you need to exchange at the Tourist Information Centre in Mozartplatz.
Making a Start
The centre of Salzburg is quite compact and pedestrianised so it is easy to get around. I am assuming that your a starting your tour from the river, it is easy to adapt if you are coming in from another direction.
On the main road that borders the River Salzach you need to head to one of the entrances to the Old Town, these are between or under the buildings fronting the river. From the bus stop at Hanusch-Platz, cross the road at the crossing and make your way towards the main bridge over the river. Just before this you will see an arched passage on your right called Hagenaueplatz. Go through here and immediately in front of you you will see the yellow building that is Mozart’s Birthplace (Geburtshaus). If you have got off the bus at the Rathaus, walk through the passage and then turn right. You will see the Geburtshaus on your right in about 100m.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born at number 9 Getreidegasse on 27th January 1756. Their apartment was on the 3rd floor and is now one of the most visited museums in the world.
The Mozart family lived in the house from 1747 to 1773. They then moved across the river to what is now known as the Mozart Residence (Wohnhaus) in Makartplatz. Mozart spent his childhood and much of his youth here together with his father Leopold, Mother Anna Maria and his sister ‘Nannerl’.
The house itself was built in the 12th century and was owned by the Hagenauer family. The museum occupies the second and third floors and introduces visitors to Mozart’s early life. The exhibits include his first musical instruments together with portraits, documents and early additions of his work. On the second floor you will find the clavichord on which he composed The Magic Flute.
Opening Times: Daily 09:00 to 17:30. In July and August it is open until 19:00 (Last entry 30 mins before closing)
Cost: € 11,- (€ 18,-) for adults. Young Adults (15-18 years) € 4,- (€ 6,-). Children (6-14 years) € 3,50 (€ 5,-) . Prices in brackets are a combined ticket for both the Birthplace and Wohnhaus.
More Information: http://www.mozarteum.at/en/museums/
When leaving the Geburthaus turn right and continue along the main shopping street. In about 400m you will come to Mozartplatz.
In the centre of Mozartplatz is the imposing statue of Mozart. This was finished in 1842 and was unveiled in the presence of Mozart’s two sons, Karl and Xavier. Mozart’s wife, Constanza, lived in Mozartplatz at number 8 but although she saw the monument being built she died before the unveiling. From the statue you will see the next square, Residenzplatz.
The square is dominated by the Cathedral and the Residenz Palace to its right. Opposite the Residenz is the Salzburg Museum with its Carrilon tower. If you fancy a coffee at this point then MozArts cafe underneath the carrilon is recommended. In the centre of the square is the famous Horse Fountain dating from 1661. From Residenzplatz you can visit the World Heritage Site of the Dom Quartier.
If you are interested in history and culture then a tour of the Dom Quartier of Salzburg is a must. It includes the State Rooms of the Residenz Palace, the Cathedral Museum and the Monastic Museum of St Peters Abbey. In all there are over 2000 exhibits covering 1300 years of Salzburg History.
Opening Times: Daily during July and August. At other times of the year it is closed on Tuesdays. 10:00 to 17:00 (18:00 in July and August)
Cost: Adults €13, Children over 6 €5 Children under 6 are free
Leaving the precinct of the Dom Quartier entrance, turn right through arches to the cathedral.
The cathedral is impressive inside with ornate decorations and chapels. In the crypt you can see the foundations of previous buildings and parts of Roman mosaics found during excavations. Inside you can also see the font in which Mozart was baptised.
The baroque façade of the Dom has four large scuplted figures of the saints. Facing the cathedral is Domplatz, an enclosed square that contains the impressive column of Maria Immaculata.
Coming out of the cathedral turn left and through arches into the magnificent Kapitalplatz.
The first thing you will see, apart from the Fortress, is a large golden sphere with a man on top. This is famous work of art by Stephan Balkenhol called Sphaera.
Dominating the square is the Hohen Salzburg, one of the best preserved medieval castles in Europe. On the other side of the square in the Chapter Fountain dating from 1732, a horse pond used for washing horses. at the far corner of the square is a small road that takes you to the Funicular Railway that takes you up to the Fortress.
A visit to the fortress is a must and will transport you into a different world. The existing fortress dates from the 15th century with later additions in the 17th century. It consists of various wings and courtyards and in addition to the state rooms of the Archbishops. You can also visit the Puppet Museum and see the Salzburg Bull. This is a large aerophon of more than 200 pipes that was built in 1502 and still played every day.
At the front of the fortress you will have magnificent views over the city. At the rear you can see down the Salzach valley right down to the mountains at the Salzach Gap. You will have a grandstand view of Salzburg’s own mountain, the Untersberg, which rises to over 6,000 ft.
Opening Times: Daily January to April and October to December 09:30 to 17:00, May to September 09:00 to 19:00.
Cost: €15.50 which includes the cost of the funicular up to the castle
On returning from the Fortress, walk back down to Kapitalplatz but turn left immediately you enter the square. Go between the gap in the buildings in the corner and you come to the old bakery complete with water wheel. Opposite the bakery is the gate through to the cemetery and catacombs.
St Peter’s Cemetery
This such a beautiful and peaceful place in the centre of the town. It is the monastic cemetery of St Peter’s Monestary and is characterised by arcades of eleborate tombs including Johann Haydn and Mozart’s sister, Nannerl. Set into the rock face are the catacombs. Carved out of the solid rock these were probably constructed between 300 and 600AD by early christians.
Cemetery Opening Times: April to September: 06:30 to 20:00, October to March: 06:30 to 18:00
Catacombs Opening Times: May to September: 10:00 to 12:30 and 13:00 to 18:00. October to April: 10:00 to 12:30 and 13:00 to 17:00
Catacombs Cost: €2
Leave the cemetary through the arch underneath the Monestary in the opposite corner to where you entered. This brings you to St Peter’s Church.
St Peter’s Church
Coming through the arch from the cemetery you will see Stiftskeller St Peter on your left which has been serving food since 803! It is claimed to be the oldest restaurant in Europe. It is here that they hold the celebrated Mozart Dinner Concerts where musicians in period dress serenade you whilst you dine. St Peters is a Benedictine monastery and was a former cathedral. It is considered to be one of the oldest monasteries in the German speaking countries. It has been in continuous use since its foundation in 696. The present day abbey church is in the Romanesque style and was erected in the 12th century.
Leave the square through the arch opposite the church and then though the next arch into a small square. Exit the square and turn left and you will see the Haus Fur Mozart.
Haus Fur Mozart
These are the concert halls, the main venue for the famous Salzburg Festival in August each year. Inside there is the Rock Riding School with its impressive 96 arcade spaces. Although not visible from the road it can be visited each day at 2pm. Tickets from the Box Office.
Opposite the Haus Fur Mozart is the Collegiate Church.
Follow the road outside the Haus Fur Mozart until you come to the Horse Fountain.
At the end of the road you will see the Horse Fountain. This is where the horses from the Prince Archbishop’s stables were washed and dates from the 17th Century.
Carry on along the road for 200 metres and you will come to the Monschberg Lift.
Go inside the tunnel to the lift that will take you up to the terrace in front of the Museum Der Moderne for the best view of Salzburg. It only takes a few minutes but boy is it worth. If you want you can either visit the museum or come back down.
When you exit the tunnel across the road there is a pedestrianised road called Griesgasse. Follow this back to Hanusch-Platz by the river.
At the river, cross over using the footbridge festooned with lover’s padlocks. When you reach the road, cross over and make your way into the square. On the right, the pink building is Mozart’ Residence. The Mozart family moved to the house on Makartplatz in 1773 and stayed there until 1787. The museum opened in 1996 and in addition to Mozart’s forte-piano contains many original documents and portraits.
Opening Times: Daily from 09:00 to 17:30 and in July and August from 08:30 to 19:00. Note that during Mozart week the museum may be closed for concerts.
Cost: € 11 (€ 18) for adults. Young Adults (15-18 years) € 4 (€ 6). Children (6-14 years) € 3,50 (€ 5) . Prices in brackets are a combined ticket for both the Birthplace and Residence.
Opposite Mozart’s Residence are the Mirabell Gardens.
The gardens date from 1687 and follow a geometric pattern containing mythology themed statues. The palace dates from 1606 and was built by Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau who wanted a pleasure palace for him and his mistress!
Opening Times: Mirabell Palace and Angel Staircase 08:00 to 18:00. Marble Hall 08:00 to 16:00 (13:00 to 16:00 on Tuesday and Friday).
Gardens are open from 06:00 to dusk.
That concludes your day sightseeing in Salzburg. I hope you found it of interest and enjoyed your day in this magical city.