Salzburg – My Top Six Things to Do and See

salzburg top things to do

So we have discussed the basics, shared some hints and tips, now its time for the meat on the bones. The part we all go to new places and cities for. The culture. The scenery. The architecture. The feeling of being scared out of your mind because your husband thinks its a “fun idea” to go 5000 feet up a mountain……more on that one later! Annnyyyway, I didn’t want to make this post days long, but I really struggled to get this post down to just 6 things, with its newer history, (some of The Sound Of Music was filmed here) its fame as being Mozart’s birthplace, something of note at every twist and turn in the city,  and its sheer beauty. Salzburg has a lot to offer, but we got there. I present to you, along with lots of photos, my top six things to do in Salzburg. Ta-daaaa! Oh and if you missed the post on the first part of this trip, here it is Mini Break in Salzburg, Hints, Tips, Budget and Basics.

I thought I would start with some of the attractions that show the rich history that salzburg has, and some of the things you can do there that teaches you a little about it. Iv mentioned before that Nik and I are borderline history nerds, so we love anything that teaches us some history. You have so much in Salzburg. Literally every turn you make has something with significant historical value. I will then follow with you some of the beauty Salzburg has in abundance. I hope you enjoy!

Salzburg – My Top Six Things

salzburg top six things
The Fortress looking overlooking the City

The Hohensalzburg Fortress

You cannot fail to notice the fortress, sitting high above the city, looking over it. The Fortress’s construction began in 1077, but was not finished to its current appearance until the 15th century. If you don’t fancy the steep trek up to go and see this fabulous structure, there is a train that takes you up to the fortress from the old town. Interestingly, a form of railway up to the fortress has been used for 100’s of years, and the rail that the current train runs on dates back to the 1800’s.  If you have your Salzburg card, (I mentioned this card in my last post Hints, tips, budget and basics,) then the train and entrance to the fortress is free. The views of Salzburg once you reach the castle are just amazing. Should you go up to the fortress before 11am, you can also go into the Medieval State rooms, some of which have the most beautiful blue ceilings, embedded with studded gold stars. This is worth doing as they are beautiful and interesting to walk around and also, a little randomly,  include a slightly creepy Marionette Museum! There is something a little un-nerving about puppets, I think its their smile……

salzburg top ten things

salzburg top six things

The fortress, one of the biggest in Europe and one of the only castles to have never been forcefully under enemy control , has so much to explore. The views, the architecture, the opulence, the total feeling like you are stepping back in time, make the visit to the castle a complete must see. We spent quite a bit of time up there, before walking back down (which was a gorgeous walk) to the city to explore some more.


St Peters Abbey Church

salzburg top six things to do

You cant have six top things to do in Salzburg without mentioning their abundance of the most beautiful churches and cathedrals. St Peter is the oldest monastery in the German speaking world, and is still in existence as an active brotherhood today. There are many, many churches, cathedrals and places of worship in Salzburg. I just adore old cathedrals and churches, so I was in my element. Now, a little known, probably surprising fact about me, I spent a few years when younger, going to Sunday school bible classes, my Mum has faith, (yet still swears like a sailor if we annoy her), so I was encouraged to go. I think my time at the Sunday School came to a fairly abrupt end when, aged 13, I turned up to a rounders match still drunk from the night before but that is a story (and a lesson learnt, don’t judge, I was head strong and finding my feet….) for another day…….. I still love the feeling of a church, still attend mass at christmas, and still feel that overwhelming sense of peace when in them. St Peters Abbey is literally breathtaking.

top things to do in salzburg
The beautiful ceilings

As if often the case with old churches, the architecture is amazing and the inside just blew me away. Built in 1130, but with original origins dating back to the 7th century, the intricate and immensely detailed ceilings and paintings along the walls, are breathtaking. The interior really shows the era’s that the Abbey has gone through with Romanesque and Rococo styles very identifiable. Its just gorgeous.

top things to do in Salzburg
Every detail is stunning

In the grounds surrounding the Abbey you have the beautiful cemetery and the catacombs, also both worthy of a visit. Lots of Austria’s much loved residence are laid to rest here, including scholars, composers, and Mozarts family. You can go into the Catacombs, (using your Salzburg card) and have a look. For those of you that loved The Sound of Music film, the St Peters cemetery is what the Trapp family ran through to find a hiding place in the dark before making their way into Switzerland.

Mirabell Castle and Gardens

Sadly, there is very little remaining of the original Mirabell Palace castle. Destroyed by the “city fire” in the 1800’s, only the Marble Hall (a former banquitting hall) and the angel stairway survived intact, and as they were. The castle, originally named Altenau Castle, has a cheeky little story behind it. It was built by Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich in 1606, as a present for the woman he was having an affair with. Beats a cheap Argos necklace I suppose…

top six things salzburg

Now used as the offices for The Mayor of Salzburg and the City’s administrators, you can visit the marble hall and the staircase and appreciate their beauty. With its abundance of angel statues, marble pillars and decadence, it is now a very popular venue for weddings and concerts. We would have loved to have come to one of the concerts, we just ran out of time, so if you fancy it, allocate the time. Im sure it would be wonderful.

salzburg top things to do
Mirabell Gardens

The Gardens were improved and extended in 1690. They are gorgeous to walk round, but we found this to be the pace most full of tourists. It was pretty busy, but then the weather was beautiful, so this could have contributed to that. The gardens were again, a filming location for the Sound of Music, and the Pegasus Fountain in the grounds was where Maria and the children danced around singing Doh-re-mei. With its rose gardens, gorgeous planted arches and beautiful statues symboling the four elements of fire, air, earth and water, a visit to the gardens is a lovely way to spend an hour.

My top six things to do in salzburg

Salzburg Cathedral

The beautiful cathedral of Salzburg is said to be Salzburg’s most sacred building. Originally built in 767, but then rebuilt in 1167 after a fire, it truly is magnificent. As the place where mozart was baptised, and then later the choir organist, it attracts many visitors. As you approach the cathedral you are greeted by four statues, looking down at you, or Saints Rupert and Virgil, as well as the apostles Peter and Paul. Like all cathedrals, when you walk into this building you are immediately hit with the feeling of calm, and the total beauty of the place. With its ivory coloured marble walls peppered with the most beautiful, colourful paintings and fresco’s. As you look up, there are two rows of frescos that tell stories from the old testament. The dome, which is the pride of the cathedral, is just breathtaking in its beauty. After lighting candles for our lost loved ones, we took a few moments to sit silently but together in the pews and take it all in, gather our emotions, reflect for a while and just be. It was a beautiful moment.

my top six things to do salzburg
The beauty took my breath away

Something to note; you can do a tour of the cathedral, which is the only way you get to go to the upper levels of the cathedral. I would have loved to have gone up there and seen the cathedral from that view. We didn’t know that you could do a tour, so if you want to see the cathedral from all angles, book the tour.

You can also attend a Mozart Concert dinner at the cathedral, which again, is something that we would have loved to have done but ran out of time. A beautiful way to spend an evening so if it floats your boat, allocate the time.

top six things salzburg


Mount Untersberg Cable Car

salzburg top six things to do
At the top of Mount Untersberg

When you wake up in the morning and your husbands says, ‘Oh lets take the cable car up the mountain today’, your scared of heights self feels ok. I mean, its just slightly bigger than a hill right? We jumped on the bus (free with our Salzburg card)  to where you get the cable car . The bus journey itself is really nice as you wander through the residential side of Salzburg and see how they live. Anyway, as we rounded a corner, the friendly bus driver that had been chatting away with us the whole time, suddenly said ‘there, there is your mountain’ to which I looked up, and up, and up……. It was huge and I suddenly got scared!!!! Anyway, I wont bore you with my panic but I got on, I did the 9 minute cable car journey up the mountain (again, free with your card) and got out at the top. I am SO glad I overcame my fear, it was spectacular up there! The views, the change in air, the sheer beauty of seeing the Austrian Alps from above. Randomly, something I couldnt get my head around was the fact that there was a cafe at the top! I mean, that really is remote cafe isnt it! It was fabulous though as you could sit outside, get your air legs and just breathe it all in. Mount Untersberg, an absolute must to do in Salzburg.

six things to do in salzburg
Mount Untenburg


So, there you have it. My top six things to do in Salzburg. There are a couple of other things that we did that if you get time for, are a nice way to spend an hour. The little boat trip up the river is nice and the staff point out various points of interest etc. Also, over in the new town there is often live music. It does get busy but its fun. If we had more time, we would have gone to the Mozart Concert dinner at the Cathedral, visited the Eagles Nest (Hitler’s home in the mountains, its a half day excursion if you fancy it) and visited the Sound Of Music Museum. We just ran out of time. There is so much to do in Salzburg I think a week is needed haha!


Do any of these things appeal to you? Have you visited Salzburg and done any other things that were amazing? How long do you usually take a city break for? Vienna is now firmly on our list, have you been? As always, I would love to hear what you think xx


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  1. July 13, 2018 / 9:49 am

    Breathtaking photos Kerry. What a beautiful city and a trip to be remembered. I love a city break too, my last one was Venice which I instantly fell in love with and didn’t want to ever leave. We went for our 1st wedding anniversary in 2016 and I’m hoping to go back soon. Sounds like you had a fabulous time in Salzburg all round.

    Samantha x

    • kerrylifeandloves
      July 13, 2018 / 3:01 pm

      Thank you so much! Its funny you say that as it was between Venice and Salzburg I was looking. It was the last minute I decided Salzburg. Venice is very much on my hit list for March. Thank you for reading xxx

    • kerrylifeandloves
      July 13, 2018 / 3:04 pm

      Ohhhh Steph, its so beautiful. So worth a visit. We loved the laid back feel to it, the beauty, the people, everything! Defo one to put on your list. Thank you for reading my lovely xxxx

  2. Janis
    July 13, 2018 / 3:06 pm

    Lovely pics of some stunning architecture and features of Salzburg. It looks, and from your comments, sounds an amazing place to visit. Glad you had a wonderful time and thanks for an interesting post. I’ve been to Berlin, not a beautiful city but interesting nonetheless. Look forward to hearing about your trip to Cape Verde.

    • kerrylifeandloves
      July 13, 2018 / 3:30 pm

      Ahhh Janis it is everything and more. Such a gorgeous city. Id love to visit Berlin. It looks amazing and again, a lot of history. Thank you for reading xxxx

    • kerrylifeandloves
      July 13, 2018 / 8:03 pm

      I would love to go back would you? xx

  3. July 13, 2018 / 7:03 pm

    These photos are beautiful. I loved it when I went but would love to go again. Do they still have the large size chess board in the narrow back streets I wonder. It was so amazing, brings back lovely memories.

    • kerrylifeandloves
      July 13, 2018 / 8:05 pm

      Hi Nital, thank you so much for stopping by xx. Yes! They do have the huge chess board. The side streets were full of wonderful little shops wasn’t they. I feel like I need to re-visit as there was so much more to see. Im so happy the post brought back happy memories for you xxx

  4. July 14, 2018 / 3:53 pm

    Your post takes me back to my visits to Salzburg. I remember the wow moment when I stepped into the cathedral. You will find places to eat and drink on lots of the mountains in Austria. There’s nothing better than stopping at one for a long cold drink and a snack when walking from the top to the bottom of a mountain. You can pretend you’re Julie Andrews when running through the meadows (something I’ve done but I was only 12 so got away with it)
    I suggested a trip to Salzburg to my husband but he’s into Beethoven and not Mozart so doesn’t want to go. How can anyone not like Mozart!!!!
    Go to Vienna. It’s amazing. If Nik won’t go with you. I will!!! xx

    • kerrylifeandloves
      July 15, 2018 / 1:26 pm

      Right! Your on! Haha. Vienna looks beautiful too. Ohh that moment you step into the cathedral and see if for the first time really is breath taking isn’t it. I felt like a got a neck ache staring up for the longest time! I think I left a little bit of my heart in Austria xx Thanks for reading my lovely friend xx

  5. July 18, 2018 / 7:27 pm

    Salzburg looks absolutely bloody stunning – especially the beautiful architecture! You’re so brave climbing that hill as well haha, i couldn’t do that!! xx

  6. November 4, 2018 / 11:44 am

    So much inspo here for my trip Kerry. Definitely going to the Cathedral and up the cable car x

    • kerrylifeandloves
      November 4, 2018 / 4:05 pm

      Ahh thats great! Both are fantastic so I am sure you will love them. Salzburg is a beautiful City, you will love it xxx

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