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The Best Things to do with Two Days in Salzburg

Two Days In Salzburg

Salzburg, Austria is an absolute gem of a city that captures the spirit of the Italian Renaissance in Central Europe. Salzburg has a bit of everything for any visitor, whether you’re interested in impressive castles, Baroque architecture, or just window shopping along centuries old streets.

With so much to do, you may be wondering how to spend two days in Salzburg. You’ll find the best attractions, cultural experiences, and some delicious places to eat in my guide to spending two days in Salzburg!

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Orientation to Salzburg

Salzburg was first founded as a Roman settlement named Juvavum in 45 B.C., but it had already seen use by Neolithic peoples and later Celts. Then, in 696 A.D., the territory was handed over to Bishop Rupert in exchange for his promise to make the area Christian.

Starting with Bishop Rupert’s efforts during this time, Salzburg gradually grew into a bastion of Catholicism in this alpine region. Ruled by independent prince archbishops and funded by wealth accrued from the salt trade (Salzburg literally translates to salt fortress), Salzburg’s power and influence grew over the centuries. In 1077, the first incarnation of Salzburg’s famed Hohensalzburg Fortress was built. This imposing castle deterred invaders until Napoleon arrived in 1803, which further helped Salzburg’s growth.

Much of the Salzburg we see today was due to the efforts of Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau. It was this ruler who first brought Italian Renaissance ideals and Baroque architecture to Salzburg during his reign from 1587 to 1612. Much of the construction during this period is what earned Salzburg the nickname the Rome of the North.

In 1756, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg. Even though Mozart eventually became disillusioned with his life in Salzburg and left the city, he would forever be remembered as Salzburg’s most famous citizen. This is one of the reasons Salzburg is so closely linked with classical music and operas.

Another important moment in Salzburg’s history came in the 20th century when Hollywood produced “The Sound of Music” in 1965. The movie is based on the musical by the same name, itself based on the real-life exploits of the von Trapp family’s escape from Nazis. Tourists come here in droves just to visit locations from the movie.

Everything to See with Two Days in Salzburg

There is plenty to see during your two days in Salzburg. From grand Baroque cathedrals to one of Europe’s most iconic castles, you won’t have trouble filling your itinerary. Here are all the best things we did during our two days in Salzburg.

And if all else fails, Salzburg has tons of great, medieval windy roads filled with shopping and charming sights to keep you busy!

A Dark Windy Road In Salzburg
You could easily spend two days in Salzburg just wandering around its old lanes.
Busy Shopping Street In Salzburg Austria
Salzburg’s busy Getreidegasse shopping street

Mozart’s Birthplace

Hours:Daily 9:00 – 5:30
Length of Visit:About an hour
Cost:€13.50
Highlights:Original pianos, personal letters,
period furniture

Why not start your two days in Salzburg at the birthplace of probably its most famous citizen, Mozart. In a bright yellow house on Getreidegasse is the home where this legendary musician lived for the first 25 years of his life.

The home has been converted into a museum filled with objects from Mozart’s life. You can learn more about his family, his upbringing, and his travels across Europe. You’ll get to see some of his original pianos and get a glimpse into a typical Salzburg living space around Mozart’s time.

Whether a classical music fan or not, Mozart’s Birthplace is still an interesting museum for visitors to Salzburg. In addition to just telling the story of Mozart, it also gives you an idea of what life was like for someone of his fame in the 18th century.

Mozart's Birthplace In Salzburg Austria
It’s pretty hard to miss the bright yellow of Mozart’s Birthplace

St Peter’s Church and Cemetery

Hours:Church open daily 8:00 – 12:00, 2:30 – 8:00
Cemetery open daily April – September 6:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
October – March 6:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Length of Visit:15 – 30 minutes
Cost:Free
Highlights:Evocative views from the cemetery,
tour of an old church that feels old

Nestled at the base of the Mönchsberg is St Peter’s Church and Cemetery. A church was first founded here in 696 with the current church established in the 12th century.

The exterior entrance of St Peter’s is relatively plain. It sits in a large, somewhat somber courtyard that hides the size of the church and its cemetery behind its walls. Entering the church is a different story. All over its walls are various Baroque and Rococo embellishments and large paintings. What I liked most about the church’s interior is that it just feels old. It’s worth visiting just for this sensation.

St Peter’s highlight is its cemetery behind the church. The evocative cemetery offers attractive views and impressive tombstones. Along the cliff face, you can also see the facade of several cave dwellings believed to have been used by early Christians during the medieval era.

The Cemetery Of St Peters Church
Even if you don’t visit the church, walking through this cemetery is worth including during your two days in Salzburg.
Interior Of St Peters Church In Salzburg Austria
The interior of St Peter’s Church

This is the first of two locations from “The Sound of Music” you can see in this Salzburg guide. According to the movie (but not necessarily real life), the Von Trapp family hid from Nazis in a cemetery modeled after St Peter’s while making their escape. This entirely fictional scene was shot in Hollywood, but the setting for the scene is St Peter’s Cemetery.

Salzburg Cathedral

Hours:January – February Monday – Saturday 8:00 – 5:00, Sunday 1:00 – 5:00
March – July Monday – Saturday 8:00 – 6:00, Sunday 1:00 – 6:00
August Monday – Saturday 8:00 – 7:00, Sunday 1:00 – 7:00
September – October Monday – Saturday 8:00 – 6:00, Sunday 1:00 – 6:00
November Monday – Saturday 8:00 – 5:00, Sunday 1:00 – 5:00
December Monday – Saturday 8:00 – 6:00, Sunday 1:00 – 6:00
Length of Visit:15 – 30 minutes
Cost:€5
Highlights:One of the most Italian cathedrals you’ll see outside of Italy,
not just one but five organs, the font where Mozart was baptized

Salzburg Cathedral is the Baroque gem among all of Salzburg’s gorgeous buildings. This gorgeous cathedral was completed in the latter half of the 17th century after two prior churches burnt down. The resulting cathedral is truly a masterpiece, with an impressive facade but an even grander interior.

The best views of Salzburg Cathedral come from the central part of the church. From here, take a couple minutes to slowly spin around to take everything in. You can see the four organs encircling this area with the fifth, and largest, resting over the cathedral’s entrance. After you’re done, look up to admire Salzburg Cathedral’s immense dome.

On your way out of Salzburg Cathedral, keep an eye out for the somewhat inconspicuous baptismal font being held up by funny-looking lions. It was in this baptismal font that Mozart was baptized way back in 1756.

For an additional fee, you can visit Salzburg Cathedral at noon to see a 30-minute performance with the church’s organs. We were lucky to be there while one of the organists was either tuning his instruments or practicing, and the sound was incredible. Based on that alone, I would recommend trying to see one of the noon performances if possible.

Interior Of Salzburg Cathedral
The inside of Salzburg Cathedral is about as breathtaking as a church can get outside of Italy.
The Exterior Of Salzburg Cathedral
Salzburg Cathedral’s facade is no slouch either, but because of the Christmas market, this is the best picture I could get.

Kapuzinerberg View

Hours:Always open
Length of Visit:About 30 minutes including walking to the viewpoint
Cost:free
Highlights:One of the best views of Salzburg’s Old Town

Kapuzinerberg is the name of the mountain on the opposite side of Salzburg from Hohensalzburg Castle. It’s a popular spot for hiking and to get away from Salzburg’s crowds.

But neither of those reasons are why I recommend checking Kapuzinerberg out!

After a brief but steep climb up part of the mountain, you’ll come to a rest stop with good views looking back across the river to Salzburg, Hohensalzburg Castle and the Austrian Alps in the distance.

View Of Salzburg From Kapuzinerberg
Even with that branch photobombing me, this view of Salzburg is still stunning!

There are two access points to ascend Kapuzinerberg: from Steingasse or Linzer Gasse. Both are roughly the same length and can be spotted by steps leading up from the road. The steps are fairly obvious as they seem to lead to nowhere in particular. You’ll also likely see other people coming and going.

See a Puppet Show at the Salzburg Marionette Theater

The Salzburg Marionette Theater is listed as an Intangible UNESCO Cultural Heritage site for the skill and techniques used by the puppeteers. Seeing a show here is sure to be a delight for everyone in the family regardless of their age.

Our visit was especially timely as they were putting on a performance of “The Nutcracker” for the holiday season. The show was a lot of fun, and the puppetry was incredible.

Even as an adult, it was hard to believe there were people handling the figures on stage. I can only imagine how wondrous it must for children.

In addition to the show itself, the Salzburg Marionette Theater has several small exhibits featuring puppets from other shows they’ve done in the past. The theater also has a small bar for adults to grab a drink before the show or during intermission.

Salzburg Marionette Theater
How charming is this little theater?!

Hohensalzburg Fortress

Hours:January – April, October – December Daily 9:30 – 5:00
May – September Daily 8:30 – 8:00
Length of Visit:2 – 3 hours
Cost:Tickets range from €11.20 to €18
Highlights:Views of the surrounding area, history of Salzburg,
the Prince’s Chambers

For most people, Hohensalzburg Fortress is the main draw for most people and definitely worth including with two days in Salzburg. This fortress is one of Europe’s most iconic and most imposing. You can’t go far in Salzburg without seeing Hohensalzburg looming above the city.

Hohensalzburg dates back to the 11th century. It was built to defend the city against invaders, a job it did so successfully that no one even attempted to attack Salzburg for 800 years.

A visit here takes 2 -3 hours and comprises several small museums in addition to wandering the castle grounds. Among the castle’s five museums, the two highlights are the Fortress Museum detailing Hohensalzburg’s history and the Prince’s Chambers showcasing three of the castle’s living spaces.

The real highlight of Hohensalzburg Castle is all the views of Salzburg and the surrounding countryside. You won’t want to miss climbing to the top of Recturm Tower to see panoramic views of Salzburg and the Austrian Alps.

The View Of Salzburg From Hohensalzburg Fortress
The view from Hohensalzburg’s courtyard
View Of The Austrian Alps From Hohensalzburg
Head up Recturm tower for these panoramic views of the Alps.

Panorama Museum

Hours:*Currently closed
Length of Visit:15 – 30 minutes
Cost:*Currently closed
Highlights:360-degree view of 19th century Salzburg

Salzburg’s Panorama Museum is a charming little hidden gem tucked away in a corner of Residenzplaz. It’s a small museum with one large highlight: an 85-foot-long painting of Salzburg’s Old Town.

The panorama was created by Johann Michael Sattler in the 1820s and depicts Salzburg at that time if someone were looking at it from atop Hohensalzburg Fortress. The old town’s landmarks are all easily identifiable when viewing the panorama today, but you can see how much the surrounding countryside has changed.

The Panorama Museum also has some interesting photographs showing how Salzburg has changed over the years.

*The Panorama Museum is currently closed. It will reopen in 2025 in a new location at Mirabell Palace. The new attraction will be called Orangery Salzburg – Panorama Museum / Centre World Heritage. This new museum will include the panorama and more objects from Salzburg’s history.

Salzburg Museum

Hours:*Currently closed
Length of Visit:1 – 2 hours
Cost:*Currently closed
Highlights:Romantic Era paintings of Salzburg,
exhibit on the Salzburg Festival

The Salzburg Museum is the place to go if you want to learn all things Salzburg. This extensive museum goes over Salzburg’s history from its beginning as a Roman settlement all the way to modern times.

There is a lot in the museum to see, but my two highlights were the rooms showing all the artistic renditions of Salzburg in the Romantic Era and then the exhibits on the Salzburg Festival.

The sections on the festival were especially interesting as nowhere else in Salzburg really covers this event and its significance to the city. It has lots of informational exhibits, as well as videos showing highlights from the event itself. It had me wanting to come back to Salzburg in summer to see the festival in person.

Another interesting room showed different historical musical objects paired with recordings of music featuring each piece. It’s a really nice exhibit for people who like classical music. For everyone else, it may be a bit boring.

The museum is currently closed for renovations with plans to reopen in 2026. Fortunately, this museum is the most skippable thing on this list if you only have two days in Salzburg. It has good exhibits, but after everything else we saw earlier in Salzburg, our eyes started to glaze over here. Further, a lot of the information on Salzburg’s history can be seen in Hohensalzburg Castle. If you’re very interested in seeing the museum, you may want to do it early in the day.

See a Concert at Mirabell Palace

Like the Salzburg Marionette Theater, Mirabell Palace is another excellent option if you want to experience some of Salzburg’s culture firsthand. The concert we saw here was my highlight during our two days in Salzburg.

The gardens are a popular place to visit to see the palace’s picturesque gardens. Unfortunately, we visited in winter, so everything was mostly brown and rather drab. Still, I could see how it would be a pleasant visit in warmer weather. It’s also free to walk around the garden, which is a big plus.

You can visit Mirabell Palace’s famed Baroque Staircase and Marble Hall for a quick peek during opening hours, but the best way to experience the palace is with a concert.

Mirabell Palace hosts classical concerts featuring Mozart and other composers most nights of the year. Tickets are €45 but well worth the price. The Marble Hall is such a unique and intimate setting for this type of music. It’s a night you won’t soon forget.

Baroque Staircase At Mirabell Palace
About as impressive as a staircase can get
Marble Hall At Mirabell Palace
You’re going to have a hard time finding a better setting for a night of classical music.

You may recognize Mirabell Gardens from “The Sound of Music.” The von Trapp family sang “Do, Re, Mi” while prancing around these gardens.

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Itinerary for Two Days in Salzburg

Here’s our itinerary for our two days in Salzburg to help make your planning even easier.

  • Day 1
    • Arrive by 10:00 a.m. and check into hotel
    • Mozart’s Birthplace
    • St Peter’s Church and Graveyard
    • Salzburg Cathedral
    • Kapzuinerberg View
    • Catch a performance at the Salzburg Marionette Theatre
  • Day 2
    • Hohensalzburg Castle
    • Salzburg Museum
    • Check out the Salzburg panorama once it reopens at Mirabell Palace
    • Hotel Stein
    • See a performance at Mirabell Palace’s Marble Hall

Don’t Forget the Salzburg Card

The Salzburg Card is one of the best city tourism cards I’ve come across. If you’re planning to do any sightseeing, it’s almost essential that you purchase this card.

Besides giving you free entry to pretty much every attraction in Salzburg (the only exception is Salzburg Cathedral where you still have to pay a reduced donation fee), it also offers discounts on hotels, transportation and shows.

The best part of all is how cheap the Salzburg Card is. If you’re here for 48 hours, the card only costs €36. Considering the price of Hohensalzburg Castle, Salzburg Cathedral and the Salzburg Musem, that’s already a steal! Then, add on discounted tickets to a concert at Mirabell Palace and the card easily pays for itself.

Places to Eat and Drink with Two Days in Salzburg

Cafe Habakuk

On our second day in Salzburg, I was looking for a spot to take a break with tea and some type of dessert. We found this excellent cafe just a few stops down from our hotel on Linzer Gasse.

Cafe Habakuk is a busy yet elegant little cafe with plenty of sweet treats, coffee and tea. Try the chocolate mousse cake. You can thank me later!

Chocolate Mousse Cake From Cafe Habakuk In Salzburg
Some serious yum happening here

Hotel Stein

Hotel Stein is a must for visitors traveling to Salzburg. This hotel sits across the river from the Old Town and has a rooftop bar with spectacular views of town. The views here are arguably better than those at Kapuzinerberg and require far less effort to enjoy.

Their rooftop is perfect if you have mobility issues and can’t climb Kapuzinerberg. It’s also nice if you just want to relax at the end of the day with a drink while you watch the sun set on Salzburg.

We didn’t eat here, but they also have a restaurant. During winter months, Hotel Stein has blankets laid out for guests to use while taking in the views.

Evening At Salzburg From Hotel Stein
Salzburg has many great viewpoints. Hotel Stein is just one of the best!

L’Osteria

We ate at L’Osteria one night because we were in need of a change from hearty German and Austrian fare. L’Osteria features Italian pastas and pizzas at reasonable prices.

We shared a pizza and pasta carbonara. The pizza was surprisingly very good. In fact, it was the best pizza I’ve had in Europe outside of Italy. It actually tasted pretty close to an authentic Italian pie but not quite as good. On the other hand, the pasta was just so-so. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything special, either.

L’Osteria is actually a fairly popular chain in Central Europe. While we typically try to avoid chains, we didn’t realize this was the case for L’Osteria until we saw another one in Vienna. Still, it was very good regardless of that fact.

Sporer

Sporer’s is a family-run schnapps and brandy distillery in the middle of Getreidegasse amid all the big chain stores. They serve a variety of flavors of both of different strengths depending on what you like.

Even if you don’t fancy a drink, you still may want to pop your head into Sporer’s to see all the different barrels lining the inside of this old shop.

Barrels At Sporers In Salzburg Austria
All the brandy on schnapps you can handle at Sporers!

Zwettler’s Wirsthaus

We almost didn’t eat at Zwettler’s Wirsthaus if not for a very helpful host who was able to get us a table despite how busy they were. I’m glad we were able to get a table because I loved the inside of this restaurant. It was spacious and had dark wood everywhere with all sorts of Austrian knickknacks decorating the walls. It felt very traditional, which I enjoyed.

The food was no slouch either. I had a bacon spatzl which is a good option, especially if you like bacon because there was a lot of bacon. For dessert we shared an apple strudel, always a good choice in this part of the world.

Bier and Mehr

Bier and Mehr was one of my favorite bars we stumbled into during our trip to Germany and Austria. It’s small, dark and cozy. Even more importantly, it has a pretty extensive beer menu.

I ended up stopping here both nights for a couple drinks, partly because of how good it was but also because it was conveniently located right next to our hotel. If you’re on this side of the river, you could do way worse than Bier and Mehr for a nightcap.

You may also see Bier and Mehr called Coffee & Booze. I recorded it as Bier and Mehr, but my Apple map says Coffee & Booze. Whatever it’s called, it’s a good bar.

Where to Stay During Your Two Days in Salzburg

During our two days in Salzburg, we stayed at Hotel Krone 1512. This hotel is a perfect place if you’re looking to stay somewhere close to the action but still far enough away to be quiet.

The room itself was relatively nondescript except for a black-and-white photo of Salzburg with the highlights pointed out. It was a decent size for the price, though. More importantly, it was quiet and comfortable.

In addition to the room, Hotel Krone 1512 had helpful staff and a nice, if small, breakfast for an additional fee. They also have coffee and tea available to guests throughout the day.

Our Room In Hotel Krone 1512
Our room was fairly basic but it was quiet and decently sized.

If you have mobility issues and lots of luggage, try to request a room on a lower floor. Hotel Krone 1512 has lots of stairs. The hotel does have an elevator, but it’s incredibly small, so it may be difficult to manage depending on the size and quantity of your luggage.

Frequently Asked Questions About Salzburg

When is the best time to visit Salzburg?

Salzburg is sure to be a beautiful city no matter what time of year you visit. For the smallest crowds, try to visit in the autumn or spring months. Weather should be comfortable, but you may still have some colder days in early spring.

Two of Salzburg’s busiest times are the summer months of July and August during the Salzburg Festival and then over Christmas when the city hosts a large Christmas market. It may be worth dealing with the crowds during these times if you want to take part in these events.

The Christmas Market At Salzburg
Even a day after Christmas, Salzburg’s Christmas Market was still fun to see.

What is the Salzburg Festival?

After mentioning the Salzburg Festival a couple times now, you may be wondering what this festival is. It’s a large, annual music festival that takes place in Salzburg every July and August. During this time, the city hosts classical music concerts and operas for attendees to enjoy.

Can I tour the Sound of Music locations around Salzburg?

Of course you can! Salzburg offers a number of Sound of Music tours for the eager visitor. You can also tour the sights yourself with a helpful guidebook, but it can be hard to reach everything on your own, so a tour may be helpful.

If you just want to watch the movie in the confines of the city where it was set, you can catch a screening nightly at the Yoho International Youth Hostel.

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What about Schönbrunn Palace?

Schönbrunn Palace is another very popular tourist attraction in Salzburg, but I have two problems with it. The first is it’s not right in the Old Town. You have to take a bus to get there, and we didn’t feel like doing that due to the time involved.

The other issue is it’s very much a warm weather attraction. Schönbrunn Palace is most known for its gardens. If you’re there in spring or summer, you may want to include it. If you’re in Salzburg in winter like we were, you may be disappointed, especially after taking the time to get there.

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