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Top Things to Do During a Weekend in Salzburg

by Brooke Thacker
View of Fortress in Salzburg from the Salzach River | AIFS Study Abroad

Whether or not you study abroad in Salzburg, it’s a wonderful place to spend a weekend! Even though Salzburg is a small city, I never felt bored in my three months. No matter what you like, Salzburg has plenty of things to do at all price points for a memorable time!

Here are my top picks for a weekend in Salzburg, whether it’s for a vacation or a study break!

1. Mozart’s Home

Salzburg is possibly most famous for being the birthplace and first home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the most well-known composers of all time. Both the home he was born in and the home he lived in during the middle of his life stand in Salzburg, close to each other on opposite sides of the Salzach river. They’re fascinating, beautiful, and pretty cheap, especially if you buy combined tickets with a student rate! They can both take as long as you’d like, but I recommend about 3 hours to do both. You even get an audio guide that also plays some of Mozart’s music as well as some of his father, Leopold’s, works.

Bonus: Café Classic (attached to the Mozart Residence House) and has delicious desserts and a cozy, traditional atmosphere.

Birthplace of Amadeus Mozart in Salzburg, Austria | AIFS Study Abroad
Birthplace of Wolfgag Amadeus Mozart in Salzburg, Austria

2. Fortress Hohensalzburg

The first thing that you notice in Salzburg is the huge 11th Century castle that looks over the city. Fortress Hohensalzburg offers incredible views of the city and fascinating exhibits about the history of the city, the archbishops that ruled it, and the lives of people over the last 900 years, in addition to just wandering the well-preserved grounds. It’s very affordable, especially if you have a nice day and don’t mind a short hike up the Monchsberg, the hill the fortress sits on but for about 2 Euro more you can take the funicular and be up in about a minute.

Bonus: In November and December, there are even Advent Markets in the courtyard of the fortress!

3. Sound of Music Tour

Growing up, I was a huge Sound of Music fan and the top reason people visit Salzburg is for Sound of Music. It’s so cool to just walk around and recognize things from the movie in the streets and surroundings. There are plenty of tour companies, but I used a bus tour with my parents when they visited and took a bike tour by myself earlier in the semester and I loved both. I got to see more up close things and hop off the bike much more often but the bus took us to out of town locations as well as show clips from the movie and interviews on the TV screens. You get to see filming locations, take pictures, listen to the music, and learn behind the scenes facts!

Bonus: Refreshing on the movie ahead of time makes it really easy to spot little things in your surroundings that make it extra special!

Sound of Music Filming Location in Salzburg, Austria

4. Salzburg’s Coffee Scene

If you have rainy or cold weather or just want to sit somewhere, Salzburg has plenty of wonderful coffeeshops for any kind of mood. There are places that are laptop friendly, places with excellent people watching opportunities, famous cafes, hole-in-the-wall places, and of course, plenty of delicious desserts to have with your cup of joe if you want! I suggest hopping on Yelp, TripAdvisor, or just wandering the streets and seeing where looks interesting! Heads up, some may only take cash, so be sure to keep some bills or coins on you!

Bonus: Be sure to wander both sides of the river, my favorites are scattered all around but go find your own “spot,” it’s a great way to feel a little home away from home.

Honorable Mentions: Untersberg Cable Car, Schloss Hellbrunn Trick Fountains, Palace, and Grounds, and walking around looking at all of the spectacular churches. All are reachable by public transport and are cheap or free, especially with student cards.

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