Located at the foot of the Alps, Salzburg is Austria’s fourth-largest city. Back in the day Salzburg, meaning “salt fortress” was known as a salt mining area. Today, it’s known for being the birthplace of Mozart and of course the location of the much loved movie, the Sound of Music! This 3 days in Salzburg itinerary covers a day by day guide on how to spend 3 amazing days in Salzburg along with a day trip to a magical place.
Tips for 3 Days in Salzburg
- This 3 days in Salzburg itinerary covers 2 solid days in Salzburg and 1 day trip from Salzburg where you will come back to Salzburg to spend the evening and night
- Feel free to change days 2 and 3 as outlined below if needed. However, you may need to decide this before you leave, since I recommend getting tickets for day 3 on this itinerary below, ahead of time
- I recommend watching or re-watching the Sound of Music ahead of time as a few sites in Salzburg would be more fun to visit with this background!
- Depending on what you ultimately decide to do, the Salzburg card may be a good option for you to explore. More HERE
- You can do everything on this itinerary by foot or using public transportation
Day 1 – Salzburg
Sound of Music fans may recognize the gardens of this palace well! I recommend coming here on your own even if you do the Sound of Music tour described on day 2 of this 3 days in Salzburg itinerary. This way you have more time to explore on your own! The halls inside the palace is used for classical music concerts as described on day 3 below.
Visit All Things Mozart
The great composer was born and raised in Salzburg and you can visit the house he was born in and the house he lived in. I recommend 1 of the 2 unless you are a mega fan.
Mozart’s Geburtshaus and Wohnhause
Geburtshaus was where he was born while Wohnhause was where he lived. Wohnhause is the more popular choice of the two if you want to pick one.
A small square with a statue of Mozart
First built in 744 and then re-built again a few times, this Cathedral is the main Roman Catholic church in Salzburg. Mozart was baptized here and the baptismal font can still be seen here.
Getreidegasse is a busy shopping street in the Old Town. This road is full of shops, light pastel buildings and beautiful iron carved signs. A stroll down this road is a must when in Salzburg.
Wander Around the Old Town or Altstadt
I always love a good wander around any town I’m visiting. Salzburg is no exception! The Old Town or Altstadt is very compact and easy to walk around. You will come across a few lovely squares along the way. The pathways along the river is also a nice little walking area.
Augustinian Beer Garden
This was personal favorite in Salzburg! You can buy local food and beer at the various stalls and then grab a table out in the garden and enjoy your meal. You can do this on any night of this 2 days in Salzburg itinerary!
Day 2 – Day Trip from Salzburg to Hallstatt
On my day 2 of this 3 days in Salzburg itinerary, I did one of the best day trips you can do from Salzburg. In fact, distance wise Salzburg is one of the best places to do this day trip from.
Hallstatt is a dream! It dates back to pre-historic times and is one of Europe’s oldest salt mining locations. Today, the sleepy lake in front of the village and wooden houses draw crowds from all over the world!
I have a detailed post on Hallstatt that you can find by clicking this sentence. This post covers how to get to Hallstatt from Salzburg, what to do once you get there, where to eat, where to take the famous picture postcard view of Hallstatt etc.
I cannot recommend taking this trip more! One callout is to go as early as possible to avoid the crowds. Hallstatt has gotten popular over the years and crowds can be crazy, especially in the summer. Still worth it in my option!
Day 3 – Salzburg
Okay, Sound of Music fans! This day is for you! Keep reading even if you’re not a fan! I promise I have alternatives!
Sound of Music Tour
I hope you are ready to sing songs from the Sound of Music and visit some of the filming sites!
There are several tour companies that offer this tour but I highly recommend Panorama Tours. They are local and I learned so much more about Salzburg beyond the Sound of Music! Ask for George! He was the tour guide on my bus and he was wonderful!
There are 2 tours daily, one at 9:15 am and the other at 2 pm and they last 4 hours
The places you will see on this tour are:
- Mirabell Garden – Where Maria and the kids sing and dance
- Nonnberg Convent – Where Maria was a nun in training
- Schloss Leopoldskron – Where the family lived
- Hellbrunn Palace- Location of singing scenes including Maria and the captain’s romantic scene as well as the duet ‘Sixteen going on Seventeen’
- Gazebo – Where Liesl and Franz dance, sing and share a kiss
- Church Mondsee – Where the Captain and Maria got married. They stopped at a beautiful lookout point on the way here
Even if you are not a die hard Sound of Music fan, I think the tour is worth it for the places you see!
Alternatives to the Sound of Music Tour
If you don’t want to do the tour, then check out these alternatives.
Mondsee is situated in Upper Austria, one of the most beautiful regions in the country! It’s about 22 minutes by car and about 45 minutes by bus #140 from Salzburg. Once there, check out the Abbey (yes, used for the Sound of Music). It’s one of the oldest Abbey’s in Austria! You can also wander around the town and check out the lake area. The drive up here from Salzburg has some picture postcard lookout points!
This mountain peak is a short distance from Salzburg and offers some breathtaking view over the town of Salzburg and the Berchtesgaden region in Germany. If the weather is good you may even see the Salzkammergut lakes where Hallstatt is located. The best thing to do here is to ride a cable car and enjoy the views!
You an take bus #25 from Salzburg Hbf to the Untersberg Cable Car.
Click HERE to learn more about opening times and ticket costs.
After spending the morning either doing the Sound of Music tour or one of the alternatives, came back to the heart of the city to visit..
If you look up from most places in Salzburg, you are sure to see Festung Hohensalzburg! Built in 1077, at the behest of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg this is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe.
You can either walk up here or ride the funicular up.
One of the things I strive to do on this blog is to give you an honest opinion and honestly, I have seen better castles in Europe than this one. The inside was nothing much beyond maybe the state rooms. However, the views from the courtyard are 100% worth it! I gave you my honest opinion so you can set your expectations!
Click HERE for tickets which are slightly cheaper online than at the gate.
On the way back, consider taking the Mönchsberg route down instead of the funicular if able. This scenic walk down to town comes very much recommended.
St. Peter’s Abbey and Cemetery
There’s something so very peaceful and calming about St. Peter’s Abbey and its cemetery. Established in 696, the Abbey is considered another one of the oldest monasteries in this region. The cemetery was the inspiration for the set built as the cemetery where the Von Trapp family hid from the Nazis in the Sound of Music.
Attend a Concert
Home to Mozart, Salzburg is one of the best places to attend a classical music concert in Europe. There are many options in terms of locations, from castles and palaces to churches. Click HERE for more details on where to attend a concert, costs, dates and times and composers. Although I’m including this last (as I think it may be a great way to spend your last night In Salzburg), you can do this any of the nights on this 3 days in Salzburg itinerary.
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WHERE TO NEXT?
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- Slovenia: Things to Do in Lake Bohinj, Slovenia
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- Germany: One Day in Rothenburg ob der Tauber