Salzburg is known as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. It’s easy to see why, with the blue Salzach River running through town and the Alps perched high above the city. Spending one day in Salzburg will give you the chance to experience the birthplace of Mozart while also being able to immerse yourself in the picturesque settings from The Sound of Music.
Salzburg is divided into two regions by the Salzach River. You will find Salzburg’s Old Town to the left of the river and New Town to the right.
Each part of the city offers a different experience.
Salzburg Old Town
The old town has an amazing history.
You will be able to see a Fortress that dates back to the 11th Century, the birthplace of Mozart as well as one of the most beautiful Baroque churches in the region.
This city is so culturally important that in 1997, it was deemed a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.
Salzburg New Town
Just on the opposite side of the river, you will get another perspective of this city.
You will find such attractions as Mozart’s home as well as Mirabell Gardens where many scenes from The Sound of Music were filmed.
A day trip to Salzburg will allow you to visit both parts of Salzburg and more if you plan your trip carefully.
Before you head to Salzburg, purchase the Salzburg Card. This card gets you into over 30 attractions and allows you to use public transportation for free.
In addition to that, you get some discounts on other things like a guidebook and a map of the area.
Since you have 1 day in Salzburg, you will want to purchase the 24-hour card.
How to Spend One Day in Salzburg
We have a wonderful one-day Salzburg Itinerary that allows you to see the best parts of Salzburg along with a trip outside of town to see the Alps and lake district. These are the highlights of this 24-hour trip.
One Day Salzburg Itinerary
- Walk through Old Town
- Salzburg Cathedral
- St. Peter’s Monastery and Cemetery
- Hohensalzburg Fortress
- Afternoon Sound of Music Tour: Mirabell Gardens & More!
When you arrive in Salzburg’s Old Town, you will feel as though you have stepped back in time.
The Old Town of Salzburg was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997 because of how well-preserved both the buildings and the town squares have been.
You will find cobblestone streets, town squares, fountains, and stone monuments.
Your day in Salzburg should begin in Old Town at Salzburg Cathedral.
The Cathedral is the most sacred building in all of Salzburg and sits in the center of the square. It is hard to miss with its white marble and twin domed towers.
This 17th-century cathedral is a wonderful example of Baroque architecture.
There are three gates at the entrance of Salzburg Cathedral which represent three divine virtues: Faith, Hope, and Love.
The interior of Salzburg Cathedral is quite magnificent. White marbled walls, wood alters and some of the most beautiful frescoes adorn the space.
Look for the bronze font that has lions at its base. This font dates back to the 14th century and is the font where Mozart was baptized.
The interior also features several pipe organs (one of which Mozart played) along with numerous bells.
Opening Hours for Salzburg Cathedral
Monday-Saturday 8 am-6 pm throughout much of the year.
Admission to Salzburg Cathedral
While you get in for Free, a donation is requested.
St. Peter’s Monastery, Cemetery & Catacombs
St. Peter’s Monastery was founded by the Frankish missionary Rupert and is the oldest monastic order in the German-speaking world today.
The cemetery that is found here is quite unique and one of the most beautiful that you will probably ever see.
Among artists, scholars, and merchants’ graves, you might also spot Nannerl, Mozart’s sister.
Just off the cemetery are the catacombs, which date back to late antiquity.
You may remember this place from The Sound of Music, as the place where the Von Trapp family hid (with the help of the nuns) when the Nazis were looking for them.
Admission to St. Peter’s Catacombs
If you would like to visit the catacombs, entry is free with the Salzburg Card.
Just beyond the cemetery and the large wheel, you will find St. Peter’s Bakery tucked away.
Head in to grab a piece of their freshly baked bread before continuing on your journey. You will thank me for this little hidden gem!
What began in 1077 as a fortress is now one of the largest fully preserved castles in Central Europe.
Take a ride in the funicular to the top and enjoy touring the fortress’s many museums.
The highlight of touring Hohensalzburg Fortress is the third floor. There you will find the Princes’ Chambers which feature original furnishings that date back to the early 1500s.
Tickets for Hohensalzburg Fortress can be purchased online. Admission & Funicular are FREE with the Salzburg Card
Original Sound of Music Tour
If you are a fan of The Sound of Music, this Sound of Music tour is for you.
This 4-hour trip takes you to the film’s iconic sites around Salzburg’s New Town and beyond, while a guide explains each site and its significance in the film.
This is what you can expect to see on the Sound of Music Tour:
- Mirabell Gardens – The Mirabell Gardens date back to the 18th century and is where the famous Do Re Mi scene was filmed.
- Leopoldskron Castle – Across the lake, you will see the castle was used as the Trapp family home. The lake is where the children went boating and fell into the water.
- Hellbrunn Castle – You will find the Gazebo from 16 Going on 17. It was reconstructed here so that fans could have access to it.
- Nonnberg Abbey – This is the oldest convent in the German-speaking part of Europe. The scenes filmed here include the opening with the nuns going to Mass and Maria coming in late.
- St Gilgen and Lake Wolfgang – The scenery shown at the beginning of The Sound of Music was filmed at Lake Fuschl on the way to St Gilgen.
- Wedding Church Mondsee – This cathedral was used as the location for Maria and the Baron’s wedding in the film.
If the Sound of Music isn’t your thing, there are other things you can do in its place. Take a look at this list of 10 Things to do & see in Salzburg for ideas.
Salzburg is an amazing city and certainly something you should experience at least once even if all you have is a day.
Take the time to plan your schedule ahead so that you can see both the Old Town and the New Town and don’t forget to take some time to enjoy the mountain air of the Alps.
Where to Eat in Salzburg
- Authentic Austrian Cuisine: S’Kloane Brauhaus. It is a bit of a walk from Mirabell Gardens but worth it for the local beer and authentic food. Schallmooser Hauptstrasse 27, Salzburg 5020
- American Hamburgers: Burgerista. Best burgers ever. The fries are also delicious. Centrally located. Griesgasse 15, Salzburg 5020
- Italian: Organic Pizza. If you want a pizza that is made fresh and delicious, check this place out. Located a few blocks off Mirabell. Franz-Josef-Str. 24A, Salzburg 5020
Making the Trip from Munich to Salzburg
Salzburg is only 1.5 hours from Munich by car & by train which makes it a great day trip destination! Consider taking a fully guided tour!
Have you been to Salzburg? What was your favorite part?