12 Best things to do in Salzburg, Austria (+3 Restaurants)

Salzburg; The stuff fairy tales are made of. 

Taking first place in Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in travel 2020’ and making its way to the top 10 of New York Times’ ‘Places to visit in 2020’, Salzburg is undeniably a must-visit destination for your next upcoming long-weekend getaway or city trip. 

Surrounded by dramatic alpine landscape and bursting with character, this charming little city offers more than it’s two main attractions, Mozart and The-Sound-Of-Music. 

Beyond the usual tourist traps, hides a city with a thriving art scene, manicured gardens, delicious food that tastes just like grandma’s cooking and a gateway to classical music heaven where the sound of violins and opera singing waft from open windows and breathtakingly beautiful baroque concert halls, theatres and churches that uphold musical tradition year round. 

Best things to do in Salzburg

Have we convinced you yet? Well this might…

We have gathered the best things to do in Salzburg, and here to share with you our findings….

Here is our list of the top 12 best things to do in Salzburg, Austria: 

1. Mirabell Palace and Gardens 

There’s certainly no shortage of historical buildings and gardens in Salzburg, and the Mirabell Palace and Gardens one of the finest you will find in Austria.  Take a stroll through this UNESCO world heritage site. This botanical ground is a gardner and plant lover’s paradise. Nestled in the heart of the city, it is what fairy tales are literally made of. 

Mirabell Palace and Gardens

2. Breakfast at The Keep Eco Residence 

Located one street behind the famous Salzach river, nestles an unassuming yellow building that houses an eco-poshtel and Keep Living Room with the homeliest vibe.  Recently opened to the public, this breakfast buffet offers the tastiest range of organic and locally sourced dishes that are completely meat-free! Treat yourself to a slice of gluten free cake, homemade overnight oats, a cup of organic coffee, and so much more. 

the keep vegan breakfast

3. Leopoldskron Palace 

This impressive abode has been nicknamed after a cult film classic that was shot in various locations around Salzburg back in the 60s. For those of you who aren’t aware of the academy award winning movie, The Sound of Music is a must-watch before your visit here. 

Leopoldskron Palace

4. Hohensalzburg Fortress  

Otherwise known as the Salzburg Fortress, it is one of the largest medieval castles ever to be built in Europe, it is one of the most impressive places to view the city’s breathtaking landscape. Feeling up to it? Put on your running shoes and take a little hike to the top. Alternatively you can take the Funicular Cable Car which takes from the bottom of the hill all the way to the Fortress. 

Hohensalzburg Fortress

5. Visit the Green Markets 

This traditional farmers market takes place in the old city and offers local products as well as regional, seasonal and fresh produce.  Try deliciously sweet home-grown apples and pears picked from organically grown farmers at their stands or taste-test some freshly baked homemade breads and cheeses paired with a glass (or bottle) of local wine;-) 

salzburg greek market

6. Hellbrunn Palace and trick fountain 

Another mesmerizing abode, beautifully pruned gardens and historical architecture, this is a place where the whole family can enjoy and personally one of the best things to do in Salzburg. Especially the ever so playful trick fountain. Set aside one afternoon for the tour and I assure you, this will put a big smile on your face 🙂

Hellbrunn Palace and trick fountain

7. Lunch or afternoon tea Cafe Bazar 

Enjoy lunch with a view at Salzburg’s most famous traditional coffee houses. Extra fancy mahogany wooden floors and ceiling draped in chandeliers, Café Bazar boasted uninterrupted views of the crystal clear Salzach River and is the perfect little spot for people watching, coffee drinking and cake eating.  

12 Best things to do in Salzburg, Austria (+3 Restaurants)

8. Explore the old city and shop in the Getreidegasse 

Get lost in the winding and narrow side streets of the old city. Here you will find the main shopping strip, Getreidegasse which houses all the high street brands, luxury labels and fine jewelry as well as small and locally owned boutiques, souvenir shops and traditional clothing stores that sell lederhosen and dirndls.  For those that prefer to eat their way through a city, there is a mouth watering selection of traditional eateries and cafes, local chocolatiers and historical wine bars to enjoy. 

Best things to do in salzburg Getreidegasse

9. Mozart’s Birthplace

We couldn’t leave this out of the list! As one of the most visited attractions in the world, the birthplace of legendary prodigy classical musical composer, Amadeus Mozart is not to be missed. Situated right in the Old town on Getreidegasse, the prominent yellow building houses a museum dedicated to Mozart and contains original sheet music, instruments and memorabilia.  

Mozart’s Birthplace Salzburg

10. Untersberg cable car 

 Ride up into the clouds above the alpine skyline into Salzburg’s highest mountain for dramatic 360 degree views and out-of-this-world landscape. For the adventures seekers, the summit can be reached by foot via multiple different routes depending on your level of expertise. And if you want to experience one of the best things to do in Salzburg during the colder months, take a walk through the Schellenberger ice-cave located just before the peak of Untersberg mountain. Check out schedule and opening times here: Gemeinde Marktschellenberg, Toni Lenzhütte

Untersberg cable car Best things to do in Salzburg

11. Dinner at St Peter’s Stiftskeller 

Opened in 803, this is officially Europe’s oldest restaurant. Step back in time and enjoy creative modern Austrian cuisine set in a dream-like Baroque hall just like royal members, officials and celebrities like Mozart did. For those looking for some entertainment to accompany your dining experience, the restaurant offers dinner shows in tribute to Mozart’s work, one of the best things to do in Salzburg! 

Dinner at St Peter’s Stiftskeller
Source

12. Evening drinks at Natural Wine Dealers 

End your day with a glass of wine or three at this charming boutique bar only a stone’s throw away from the Old Town. This is one of Salzburg’s best kept secrets, boasting a wide selection of locally produced wines and the largest range of organic wine the city has to offer. We highly recommend to put this on your to do (drink) list during your time in Salzburg. 

Best things to do in Salzburg Evening drinks at Natural Wine Dealers

3 Favourite Local Eats in Salzburg

Now that we’ve listed the best things to do in Salzburg, here is an additional list for all the foodies out there.  From traditional Austrian cuisine to experimental contemporary dining experiences as well as vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants, here is our top three favourite local eats in Salzburg: 

For excellent Italian cuisine:  

Italian food lovers, look no further, intimate family friendly restaurant makes the best pasta and in Salzburg. Cavalli is located a short 10 minutes stroll from the Old Town and caters to both meat eaters and vegetarian/veganers. This no-nonsense bistro is a must on your list of places to eat in Salzburg but be sure to reserve a table beforehand! 

Italian cuisine

Austrian cuisine with an amazing atmosphere: 

Tucked away in a 500 year old building with vaulted ceilings and windows outlooking onto the Old Town, Blaue Gans offers innovative, modern Austrian cuisine that also caters to vegan and vegetarian eaters. Start your evening with a drink  from their expertly selected wine list on their terrace and experience top-notch service throughout the evening. 

Best things to do in Salzburg austrian cuising

The tastiest vegan food in town: 

Gustav and The Keep Living Restaurant ties for first place when it comes to healthy, tasty, feel-good vegan food. Only a short walk from the Mirabell Gardens, this tiny restaurant seats no more than 10 people so get there early and enjoy their delicious range of sandwiches and try a warm cup of their macha latte.  For a little more space and eco-chic vibe, head over to the Keep Living, located on the ground floor of our residence. Providing a grazing table of vegan and vegetarian options, this mini buffet of absolute goodness will not disappoint. 

vegan food salzburg

Conclusion

So is Salzburg worthy of the hype? Why not plan it into your next trip to Austria and see for yourself! 

To round up our top 12 recommendations of the best things to do in Salzburg here is a recap below: 

  1. Mirabell Palace and Gardens
  2. Breakfast at The Keep Eco Residence 
  3. Leopoldskron Palace 
  4. Hohensalzburg Fortress
  5. Visit the Green Markets
  6. Hellbrunn Palace and trick fountain
  7. Lunch or afternoon tea Cafe Bazar
  8. Explore the old city and shop in the Getreidegasse 
  9. Mozart’s Birthplace 
  10. Untersberg cable car 
  11. Dinner at St Peter’s Stiftskeller
  12. Evening drinks at Natural Wine Dealers

And here’s our bonus list of top three favourite local eats in Salzburg: 

  1. Cavalli for excellent Italian cuisine
  2. Blaue Gans for Austrian cuisine with an amazing atmosphere
  3. Gustav and The Keep Living ties for the tastiest vegan food in town

And there you have it! Our top 12 best things to do in Salzburg and top three favourite eats 🙂 

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