I have a confession… as much as I adore living in Vienna (okay, technically one train stop outside of it), it is not my favorite city in Austria. However, it was love at first sight the first time I visited Salzburg, a romantic city at the foot of the Bavarian Alps. Famous for being the birthplace of Mozart and well known (at least among Americans) as the filming location for “The Sound of Music.” This dreamy place lives up to the expectations. From its rich culture to the gorgeous surrounding scenery, Salzburg is a stop you’ll absolutely want to add to your next European vacation. The city is nestled on the Germany/Austria border just two hours from Munich or three and a half from Vienna, making it an easy addition to any itinerary.
Must See Sights in Salzburg
- Fortress Hohensalzburg
- Salzburg Cathedral
- Christmas in Salzburg Store
- Mozart’s Birthplace on Getreidegasse (famous shopping street)
- Sound of Music locations: Mirabell Gardens, Schloss Leopoldskron, Hellbrunn Palace, Nonnberg Abbey, St. Peter’s Church
The Best Viewpoints in Salzburg
Here’s my three favorite viewpoints of Salzburg that are especially stunning for sunset.
1. Fortress Hohensalzburg: I love ending a day in Salzburg with the view from the fortress. You can pay about €13 per person for a round trip funicular ride, which I find to be a bit pricy since you can walk up in less than 20 minutes and enjoy the city views along the way. (You can start your walk up to the castle from here). However, it is a steep ascent so taking the funicular might be more suitable depending on your needs.
2. Aussicht Kapuzinerberg: This beautiful viewpoint is on the north side of the Salzach River and boasts an amazing view of the river with the fortress in the background. I stumbled upon this spot on one my most recent trips to Salzburg and I’m not sure how I lived without it. This spot will be less crowded than the fortress, but also requires some stair climbing (take this staircase) without a funicular option.
3. Aussichtplattform am Mönchsberg: This viewing platform overlooks the city from yet another stunning perspective. You can see all the beautiful church steeples from here and I believe there’s even a brief scene in The Sound of Music filmed here. You can walk to the viewpoint or take an elevator (the MönchsbergAufzug) up and down for just over €4 per adult.
Must Try Food in Salzburg
- Try Kaiserschmarrn, a famous Austrian dessert, from a traditional restaurant. Kaiserschmarrn is like scrambled french toast with some kind of fruit compote on it (my favorite is the plum or apricot). It’s delicious!
- Grab a brioche bun from St. Peter’s Bakery, the oldest bakery in Salzburg where the wheat is still ground by a water wheel.
- Salzburg has a great variety of cuisines besides Austrian. Here’s some of my favorite restaurants: Die Cabreras (Mexican), Eleven Eleven (Syrian), and Ludwig (burgers).
Best Time of Year to Visit Salzburg
What’s the best time of year to Visit the Salzburg region? That depends what you’re interested in doing!
Spring: Spring is the best time to visit Salzburg for beautiful flowers (namely wisteria- need I say more?), great temperatures, and smaller crowds. Could be rainy but worth the risk in my opinion!
Summer and Fall: Summer and fall are tons of fun in the Salzburg region. They’re the best time to visit for hiking, local events like concerts, and great weather. And the fall colors are stunning in October!
Winter: Salzburg is pure magic at Christmas time. The massive Christmas markets will run from about late November to late December or early January and are worth a trip all on their own!