European historic cities are really magical in the wintertime. Chilly crisp nights, twinkly holiday lights, snow dust, accompanied by the pleasing smell of Christmas biscuits and gluhwein (favorite local Christmas drink) make everything festive. The same is true in Salzburg, Austria.
That aid, it is a little wonder that many people are looking to spend Christmas in Salzburg. This fourth-largest city in Austria is an ideal place for holiday vacations. The city puts everyone in a festive mood over Christmas and New Year.
That’s why a growing number of people come here in the Christmas season when the city is overwhelmed by tourists from around the world. Most of them are only interested in Christmas Markets. Although the nights are usually frosty on the Christmas days, the Christmas markets are likely to get you filled with warmth when you look out at the snow-covered towers, roofs, and domes.
Even so, we recommend wrapping up warm if you intend to be outside for quite a while. Consider packing gloves, boots, a winter hat, and a scarf among other things.
You want to make the most of your Christmas vacation. Therefore, plan and organize everything beforehand to reduce your chances of getting into problems that will spoil your vacation.
First of all, you need to plan your trip and find the best way to reach Salzburg. Let’s get started!
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How to Get to Salzburg
Whether you’re going to travel from a nearby town in Austria or a remote city in another country, plan your holiday trip carefully. If you plan to travel by car, choose a road route that’s not boring and which will take you to Salzburg safely.
We have covered some topics on how to drive from Zürich, Munich, and Vienna to Salzburg. Check out these blog posts. It’s worth reading. You will find many important things that should be taken into account before setting off.
Determine all the pit stops you will make along the way. Take the time to find the best restaurants, hotels, and attractions not only in Salzburg but also in the places you’re going to visit during your trip.
Once you have decided on the route and itinerary, you will need to think about how you’ll be spending the Christmas days in Salzburg. Read on to get some ideas.
How to Spend Christmas in Salzburg
When talking about Christmas in Salzburg, most people only think about Christmas markets. It is not all about Christmas markets, though. There are also many other things to see and do in this romantic city in the Christmas holidays.
Here’s what you can do in this beloved city in winter.
Indulge Your Passion for Shopping at Christmas Markets
We will start with Salzburg Christmas Markets, as this is the biggest attraction during the Christmas season.
The merry bustle coming from the bustling Christmas markets touches every passerby, whereas the smells of baked apples and roasted chestnuts envelope shoppers.
There’s a broad range of small and big markets located on the main and side streets.
During the Christmas season, Salzburg’s streets are packed with wooden small chalets festooned with numerous fairy lights that sell everything from Christmas tree decorations to wood carvings to gingerbread biscuits, gingerbread hearts and candleholders.
A glühwein mug, which can be purchased at just about every Salzburg Christmas Market, is one of the most sold souvenirs. You can also buy some handcrafted gifts or nativity figures
at the Hellbrunner Adventzauber market.
The following are some of the most popular Christmas markets in Salzburg:
- Salzburg Christkindlmarkt — As the main, oldest, and biggest Christmas market in Salzburg, Christkindlmarkt is always festive and busy at this time of year. It is located in Residenzplatz square and comprises a number of huts selling toys, winter gear, leather goods, big pretzels, and much more.
- Hellbrunner Adventzauber — Located in Hellbrunn Courtyard, this magical place features a fairytale forest of ornate fir trees which along with Christmas-themed gifts and tempting treats adds to the romantic atmosphere. Hellbrunner Adventzauber offers a broad range of attractions for children, including a Christmas train, pony riding, and petting zoo.
- Fortress Hohensalzburg Advent — Fortress Hohensalzburg is one of the most famous landmarks of Salzburg. An Advent market takes place at this extraordinary spot every year. In addition to an entertainment program, this high-situated Christmas market offers a comprehensive array of local handicrafts and delicacies.
- Stern Advent — A stroll down the Getreidegasse shopping street is going to take you to Stern Advent. At this Christmas market, you can purchase glühwein, mulled wine, traditional sweets, juicy oranges, and so on. It is a popular beer garden in summer that gets transformed into a Chrismas market with plenty of huts chock-full of gifts and crafts.
- Mirabell Christmas market — If you prefer small and cozy rather than large Christmas markets, then this place is right for you. It is situated in the center of Salzburg in front of the sumptuous Mirabell Palace. You can reach this market from the train station. Maybe you’re wondering what to do here when you arrive. Well, get a snack and warm drink while enjoying the festive Christmas atmosphere.
Take a Walk to Discover the City and Surrounding Spots
Don’t let the cold weather discourage you from walking through streets and parks or strolling across the nearby hilltops. While strolling through cobblestone streets in the Old Town, you will be able to enjoy shopping in the Getreidegasse while explore the old part of the city at the same time.
It’s easy to get lost in the maze of narrow and winding streets. Here, you’ll come across Getreidegasse, the major shopping strip.
From fine jewelry and luxury labels to the world-renowned brands, it sells everything you’d ever want to buy. There are also lots of locally-owned clothing stores, small boutiques, and souvenir shops.
Enjoy the holiday atmosphere and wonderful scenery while walking around the popular Christmas markets nearby or in the city of Salzburg. Head for Mozarteum and listen to the famous Christmas concert.
There are a lot of landmarks and sights to see in the city itself. Here are some sights you can visit during your stay:
- The Hohensalzburg Fortress (also called the Salzburg Fortress) — This large medieval castle is a must-visit place while in Salzburg. If you’re not interested in taking a hike, pay for the Untersberg cable car that will take you all the way to the top of the hill where the fortress is established.
- Mirabell Palace — There are a number of gardens and historical buildings in Salzburg, and this one is one of the most beautiful you’ll find here. Mirabell Palace is situated in the center of the city and it boasts a delightful botanical ground.
- Mozart’s Birthplace — As you may already know, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg. Located on Getreidegasse in the Old town, the notable yellow building is home to a museum where the Mozart’s instruments, memorabilia, and original sheet music are held. That’s one of the most visited sights in Austria.
Once you get bored in the city, plan on taking a full-day excursion to the mountains. The Alps offer a wide variety of activities all year round, such as walking in the winter wonderland and horse drawn sleigh rides.
Eat and Drink
There is no shortage of places to drink and eat in Salzburg. The city has a huge selection of historical wine bars as well as cafes and eateries offering traditional Austrian cuisine and mouth-watering desserts like local chocolatiers.
Listed below are some of the most popular places to eat and drink in Salzburg:
- Café Tomaselli is a place where you can drink Mozart’s favorite almond milk and indulge in cake eating or coffee drinking.
- Stiftskulinarium is an old restaurant where you can attend a dinner concert and eat dishes originating from Mozart’s time.
- Cafe Bazar is a perfect spot for afternoon tea or lunch (or maybe both) while enjoying breathtaking views of Salzach River.
- St. Peter’s Stiftskeller is a restaurant where you can have dinner in a lavish Baroque hall.
- Natural Wine Dealers features a charming boutique bar where many guests end their day with glasses of wine.
Where to Stay in Salzburg
You will be sorry if you do not stay overnight in Salzburg and discover everything this city offers. The Keep Eco Residence is a hostel where you will feel at home.
The rooms have a unique interior featuring an inviting atmosphere with private showers, recycled items, fruit crates, and a lot of hanging lamps. There are single and twin rooms besides 3-bed and 4-bed suites.
There’s also a restaurant that focuses on healthy eating. Here you can eat organic, seasonal, fresh dishes that are cooked with love.
As you can see, Salzburg houses a whole host of Christmas markets in appealing locations. Most of Salzburg Christmas markets start to work in November, usually on the 1st weekend of Advent. Still check the opening hours before heading for a particular market, just in case.
Besides the above-mentioned markets, there are also some Advents in the province, such as the Advent at Wolfgangsee Lake and Christmas Market in Silent Night Chapel. They are also worth visiting.
Take the time to visit as many markets as you can during your stay. Eat, drink, and visit some landmarks as well to get the most out of your trip.