How to Have Two Great Days in Salzburg, Austria

Two Great Days in Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg, Austria, just across the border from Germany, is an easy addition to a Bavarian itinerary.  With a clean, walkable old town (Aldstadt), the magic of Mozart’s music, palatial gardens, historic churches, and a castle above the city, Salzburg makes for a great short stay.  We had a lovely time in this beautiful city and can’t wait to share how we spent two perfect days in Salzburg.

About Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg is Austria’s fourth largest city, sitting just across the border from Germany on the Salzach River.  Its name is derived from the word salt (“salz” in German) due to the large amount of salt mines in the area.

The Altstadt (old town) is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site featuring narrow cobblestone lanes, Mozart’s Geburtshaus (birth place), and picturesque buildings and signs on Getreidegasse.  

When we went

June 2024.  The weather felt spring like with temperatures in the 50s-60s and climbing each day after we left.  We actually found the temperatures to be really comfortable for exploring, especially under the sunny, blue skies.  

Where we stayed

The Boutiquehotel Am Dom on Goldegasse.  The hotel was in the perfect location for exploring Salzburg as we walked everywhere.  

Goldegasse, the street where our hotel was located

The hotel is located in the old town which does not have on site parking.  So, upon arrival, I called the hotel a few minutes out and they gave me instructions on how to drive into the old town.  They gave us a code to enter the gate and we drove right in.  Mike had to be very careful as pedestrians and cyclists were all about and we were driving on a small cobblestone lane.  We were directed to park our vehicle as long as it was out of the way so we could unload our bags.  We brought them the short distance to the hotel entrance and then Mike was given further directions on where to park the car.  He once again had to drive very slow on the narrow cobblestone lanes and dodge pedestrians.  It isn’t ideal to drive your car into the old town but we had our rental vehicle for the duration of our trip and decided it would be easiest to have even for this portion.  Once it was parked we didn’t retrieve it until we left Salzburg.  Just note that you can’t drive right up to the hotel as one typically can, rather a short distance down the street.  The trade off is that you get to stay in the pedestrian friendly, charming, and historic old town!

We had two rooms for our family of five, which were very comfortable.  Breakfast was included and it was held just off the lobby, featuring delicious coffee drinks, juices, cold cuts, fruit, yogurt, and pastries.

And now for the two day Salzburg itinerary!

We flew into Munich, Germany, arriving in the morning.  Our week-long itinerary took us in a sort of triangle tour of Bavaria – beginning in Munich, traveling south to Salzburg, up to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, south to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, and ending back in Munich.  We began our trip driving south from Munich to Salzburg, Austria, which took just under two hours.  

DAY 1:

On Today’s Agenda:

  • Arrive in Salzburg
  • Walk around the Altstadt (old town)
  • Lunch:  Cafe Tomaselli
  • Shop on Getreidegasse
  • Coffee break at Mozart Cafe
  • Stiftskirche St. Peter
  • Dinner:  Augustiner Gaststätte
  • Early to bed

On our first day in a new place we like to have no agenda and just adjust to the time change.  We get out and explore right away as getting outside into the fresh air and sunshine is a great way to reset your internal clock during international travel. 

First things first, we needed a late lunch as it was now early afternoon. We enjoyed our first Austrian meal outside on the second level of Cafe Tomaselli.  We got right into the regional cuisine with beer, wurst, and pretzels.  The views from the second level were also lovely!

Cafe Tomaselli, we sat on the top deck enjoying great views while dining

We wandered the Aldstadt (old town), taking in the ambiance here.  Getreidegasse is an especially picturesque lane with extravagant signs of curlicue iron posts and colorful signs sharing what the business is selling. 

Getreidegasse

This stems from the old days when not many people could read.  So a picture of a pretzel for the baker or a boot for a cobbler helped people know what the shops were selling. 

Intricately designed signs adorn Getreidegasse

After a bit of shopping we were ready for a cafe break so we headed into Cafe Mozart.

Cafe Mozart

A traditional Austrian dessert, the Salzburger Nockerl, is a light and fluffy concoction made of egg whites and sugar and formed into three stiff peaks. 

Trying the Salzburger Nockerl

We found it interesting:  eggy in flavor, light in texture, and set atop contrasting sour berries.  We liked the berries but found the souffle a bit too eggy in taste for our liking.  However, my Mozart Kaffee was delicious!  And it is always fun to try local fare.

The Mozart Kaffee was delicious!

From here, we checked out Stiftskirche St. Peter, a beautiful church with a variety of decor styles:  Baroque, Gothic, and Romanesque to name a few. 

Stiftskirche St. Peter

The details are stunning and the beautiful  “floating” cross seems to levitate over the altar.  

The “floating” cross above the altar

Incredibly intricate carvings and frescoes

The Abbey of St. Peter’s church was first built in the year 696.  The monastery is the oldest monastery that still exists in the German speaking world today.  One can visit the church interior, Abbey, cemetery, and catacombs.  The cemetery was inspiration for a scene in the movie, The Sound of Music.

Dinner this evening was at Augustiner Gaststätte, with a great view over the Salzach River.  We had a good meal in the cozy ambiance of the restaurant!

A great place to end day one!

Tonight is an early night as jet lag is setting in! 

DAY 2:

  • Mozart’s Geburtshaus
  • Hohensalzburg Fortress
  • Lunch at Panoramarestaurant at Hohensalzburg Fortress
  • Dinner at Braurestaurant Imlauer
  • Mozart concert at Mirabell Palace & Gardens

Breakfast was at our hotel, a great way to start the day.  Delicious coffee, cold cuts, fruit, and bread filled us up before we headed out.

We began our day at Mozart’s Geburtshaus, the house where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756 and lived with his family during his childhood. 

Mozart’s Geburtshaus

You begin the visit walking through various rooms of the home and viewing the kitchen.  Along the way are interpretive signs as well as family paintings.

Rooms in Mozart’s family’s home from the 1700s

Throughout the museum are family artifacts such Mozart’s little violin, his treasured wallet, and even some locks of his hair!

Top to Bottom:  Mozart’s childhood violin, his wallet, and locks of his hair within a locket

Music written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

TICKET INFORMATION:

There is no need to purchase tickets ahead of time.  We walked right in.  We spent about an hour exploring the house and had only one other party in there along with us.  It was quiet and peaceful and a great peek into Mozart’s life.

However, if you want to secure tickets ahead of time, click the link here:  Mozart’s Geburtshaus

After visiting Mozart’s Geburtshaus, we headed up towards Hohensalzburg Fortress that looms above the city of Salzburg.

Hohensalzburg Fortress

TICKET INFORMATION

We pre-purchased our tickets to the fortress to include the funicular both ways, although you have the option to hike up or down as well.  When purchasing your tickets, you also have the option to see only certain areas of the fortress.  I decided to add on all areas as I figured if we were making the trek we would see it all and I am glad that we did as we found all areas interesting.

During your visit, you have to scan your ticket over and over again as you go in and out of the ticketed areas.  I had all five of our tickets on my phone which meant I would stand to the side and scan each person as they went through and then finally myself.  I suggest sending each person in your party their ticket so everyone can scan themselves in.

Click here to purchase tickets:  Hohensalzburg Fortress

Once our tickets for the funicular were scanned, we hopped on the funicular and rode the short distance up to the fortress.  Once off the funicular, as you make your way to the castle entrance, you’ll likely be checking out the views first!  Join the hoards of others taking in the views of the city of Salzburg from above before heading in to explore the castle. 

The views of Salzburg from Hohensalzburg Fortress

We began touring in the Marionette Museum, checking out various puppetry, including a set of marionettes depicting The Sound of Music.

The Marionette Museum displays historical marionettes, including The Sound of Music

Within the castle are museums and various areas to explore, all at your own pace.  

A interior toilet – very innovative for a 900 year old castle!

Some of the beautiful interior

Looking out onto Salzburg below – what a view!

We also explored the courtyard, church, and other museum areas.

Courtyard and church at Hohensalzburg Fortress

Lastly, we went to the observation area where one can take in the 360 degree views.  The views are amazing!

Views from the Observation Deck 

After exploring the castle, we grabbed a late lunch at the Panoramarestaurant up at the fortress simply due to convenience.  While we didn’t have high expectations as we expected it to be just a touristy restaurant, we were pleasantly surprised!  Goulash, cheese knödel, and schnitzel were brought out and quickly devoured.  The delicious food coupled with the amazing views over Salzburg made for a fantastic meal!

Spritzes and lunch with an amazing view

In the evening, we crossed over the Salzach River to dinner and a special concert at Mirabell Palace and Gardens. 

Dinner was traditional Austrian fare at Braurestaurant Imlauer.  From there, it was a short distance to Mirabell Palace & Gardens where the concert took place, our main reason for choosing the restaurant.  However, it was a wonderful pre-concert meal with tasty food and lovely ambiance. 

Cozy dining at Braurestaurant Imlauer

After dinner, we had a bit of time to explore the gardens at Mirabell Palace and Gardens before heading in to the concert.

The exquisite Mirabell Palace & Gardens

The famous Pegasus Statue from The Sound of Music

In the land of Mozart, attending a concert where Mozart once played was incredible.  Hearing the baroque hall filled with Eine Kleine Nachtmusik played by some of the best musicians was a bucket list experience for sure!  The concert lasted just about 90 minutes including time for a short intermission.  We highly recommend adding this on to your Salzburg itinerary.

The concert hall at Mirabell Palace – Imagine hearing Mozart’s music filling up this room where he once played!

TICKET INFO:  Mirabell Palace Concert Tickets

We walked through Neustadt (new town) in the dark, which was a different, cozy kind of ambiance on our way back to our hotel.  We crossed the Salzach River and were back in the Altstadt (old town), stopping for our last cafe break. 

Crossing the Salzach River on our way back to the Altstadt

Cozy ambiance in the evening in Altstadt

We enjoyed drinks, tortes, and late-night coffee at Cafe Saran.  The owner was so engaging and friendly, giving a free shot of specialty liquor to Mike and Braden. 

A great end to the evening at Cafe Saran

We ended our time in Salzburg on a great note (musical pun intended).  What a magical time in the beautiful city of Salzburg!

Read more!

We have several articles on our time in Bavaria coming up.  First up is Why You Need to Stay in Rothenburg ob der Tabuer.  As one of Europe’s best preserved medieval towns, there is a lot to do in this enchanting place!

Visiting the top of Germany is a must if in Bavaria.  In this guide:  Visiting the Top of Germany, Zugsptize – Helpful Tips & Info, we share our experience along with helpful info and tips.

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