Salzburg, famous for the Sound of Music and Mozart, is a stunning city nestled into the lush green hills of Austria. The Old Town of Salzburg, known as Altstadt, is a beautiful combination of well-preserved architecture, museums, Baroque features and other places of interest. The friendly locals respect their heritage but appreciate that the city has moved forward into the 21st century. There is great nightlife in the city as well as a number of excellent restaurants, bars, cafes and other entertainment venues.
Luckily, Salzburg avoided any damage during the 30 Years’ War and only suffered mildly in the Second World War. It therefore has retained all of its old world charm and is now one of the eight World Heritage Sites in the country.
Although the city is grand and gives the sense that it is an expensive place to visit, that is not the case. One can do much in the city without even spending a penny. Here are our suggestions of how best to explore Salzburg without spending a fortune.
Admire the Views
The Hohensalzburg fort sits high up on the Mönchsberg cliffs and is a great place to admire views of the city, but although the views are wonderful from here, if you head out of the city, only a kilometre away through Mönchsberg’s forest, you reach Winkler Terrace. This place is at a lower height than the fort but the view of the city from here is more comprehensive and much more intricate. The fort, the river and the castle all benefit from the Alpine backdrop and on a clear day the views are breath-taking. For only €3.60 you can take the lift up to the terrace but walking does give you a priceless and rather exhilarating experience.
Step Back in Time
Right in the heart of the Old Town there is plenty of elegant architecture and some beautiful monuments to marvel at. The Baroque fountain in Residence Square is stunning and the green copper spires and dome of the main cathedral are simply awesome. You can visit the cathedral for free and this is something well worth doing as its interior is elegant and elaborate. Tiny shopping streets wind their way around the main buildings and along these streets are tiny boutiques, souvenir shops and other outlets. Even if you don’t want to buy, these shops have decorated exteriors that are perfect for window shopping.
If you love the Sound of Music, this is the place to come. All around the gardens the scenery evokes images of Julie Andrews and her singing children running along the weaving paths, but even if you are not into the musical a visit here has much to offer. Centred on a water fountain, the gardens boast manicured lawns and hedges, displays of colourful blooms and several beautiful statues. This is the perfect place to take a break from the bustle of the city and enjoy a stroll and some tranquillity.
There is much more you can enjoy in Salzburg for free. From the Salzburg summer festival to the city markets, this city has something for everyone on a budget.
How to Get There to Salzburg
Salzburg Airport, close to the city, has flights arriving daily from several major European cities including London, Madrid and Berlin. We provide private or shared transfers from Salzburg airport direct into the city. If you are looking for competitively priced transfers from Salzburg airport, book with us and enjoy a professional, efficient and no fuss service.
Where to Stay
Adlerhof – Close to the main train station, the Adlerhof, a building dating back to 1900, is only a 15-minute walk from the Old Town. This is our budget accommodation choice because it offers comfortable rooms, some modern and some traditional, with satellite TV, en suite facilities and Wi-Fi throughout. The bathrooms also provide hairdryers. There is on-site parking here and breakfast is served at the hotel in a room that boasts the original stucco features.
Star Inn Hotel Premium Salzburg Gablerbräu – Our mid range hotel recommendation, the Star Inn Hotel Premium Salzburg Gablerbräu, is a beautifully decorated hotel located at the foot of the Kapuzinerberg hill. Close to the centre of Salzburg, Mirabell Gardens and Mozart’s house, this elegant historic hotel is a renovated inn that was first established in 1429. Rooms are air-conditioned and there are flat screen TVs, fridges and en suite facilities. Free Wi-Fi is provided throughout the hotel and there is a 24-hour reception and bar.
Hotel Bristol – This family run 5 star establishment has an excellent restaurant and spacious rooms that are beautifully decorated. There is free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and all rooms are furnished with antiques, paintings and other bespoke features. A TV, mini bar and safe are provided in every room and there is air-conditioning available too. Guests can make use of the concierge facility and the valet parking as well as the library and massage service. The Hotel Bristol is a grand building with a fabulous breakfast room, award-winning restaurant, bar and Lounge where you can enjoy piano evenings.