Salzburg, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is dominated by churches, castles and palaces. Its picturesque old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Festung Hohensalzburg, the landmark of Salzburg, is Central Europe’s largest intact fortress and offers fantastic views of the city. Visit the Princely Residence, a magnificent early baroque edifice with splendid halls and a gallery featuring European paintings dating between the 16th and 19th century. The nearby vast Salzburg Dom is without doubt the main attraction of the old town. Inside you'll find the Romanesque font where Mozart was baptized.
Take time out to visit Mozart's Geburtshaus, the place where the genial composer was born on January 27, 1756. The house is located on Getreidegasse, Salzburg’s most attractive and most visited shopping street with its high and narrow houses and romantic courtyards. Another highlight is Schloss Mirabell with its splendid gardens built by the baroque master builder Lukas von Hildebrandt.
At the foot of Mönchsberg you will find the so-called Festival District with the two famous festival halls (architect: Clemens Holzmeister; 1956-1960) and the Felsenreitschule, a baroque masterpiece designed by Fischer von Erlach in 1693. South of the center of Salzburg’s old town is the popular Schloss Hellbrunn with the world-famous 'wasserspiele' section containing many ingenious trick fountains and water-powered figures.
More than 4,000 cultural events combine to make Salzburg one of the most important cultural metropolises. The acclaimed Salzburger Festspiele, founded in 1920, is the high point in Salzburg’s culture calendar and includes concerts, opera and theater performances.
Europe's oldest restaurant: St. Peter is located in the courtyard of the former St. Peter's Abbey in the heart of Salzburg and a great starting point to walk up Fortress Hohensalzburg. Salzburg has some of the best beer breweries in Austria and you should definitely visit some of the outdoor beer gardens, esp. the Sieglkeller near the fortress, or the great beer hall, the Augustiner Bräu in Mulln.
SUGGESTED ITINERARY: 3 DAYS IN SALZBURG
Your first day in Salzburg
Start the first day of your three-day trip to Salzburg by walking up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress and taking a tour of the state room and museum, visit the Cathedral and the Franciscan Church and stroll through St. Peter's district with its Cemetery, Church, Monastery and the Catacombs hewn out of the Mönchsberg. If you still have the time and energy, round off your day by visiting Mozart's Birthplace in the Getreidegasse. The Salzburg Museum also offers interesting insight into the city's history, offering changing exhibitions.
Your second day in Salzburg
Add these highlights to your program: a visit to the Mirabell Gardens with its Pegasus Fountain, Rose Garden and Dwarves Garden and take a tour of the Mozart Residence on Makart Square. In the afternoon explore Hellbrunn Palace with its Trick Fountains and Salzburg Zoo – preferably by taking a cruise on the "Amadeus" – or ride the cable car up on the Untersberg.
Your third day in Salzburg
Start your third day by walking across the Mönchsberg or Kapuzinerberg. The Museum of Modern Art, the Baroque Museum, the Residence Gallery, the Panorama Museum and the Toy Museum should not only be an option in case of inclement weather but are always worth visiting. Alternatives include a visit to Stiegl's Brauwelt, one of Salzburg's oldest breweries, founded in 1492, or a tour of the festival halls. If you feel like venturing outside of the city, we suggest the picturesque Salzkammergut lake district, the ancient Celtic city of Hallein or the Bluntau Valley in Golling are just a few of the wonderful destinations in the immediate environs.
TOP 10 SIGHTS IN SALZBURG
1. Hohensalzburg Fortress
2. Mozart’s Birthplace
3. Salzburg Residence
4. Museum of Natural History
5. Hellbrunn Trick Fountains
6. Museum of Modern Art Salzburg Mönchsberg
7. Salzburg Museum
8. Toy Museum
9. Stiegl Brauwelt (Brewery)
48-hour Salzburg Card
The Salzburg Card is your key to all of the city's attractions and provides complimentary use of the funicular, the Untersberg cable car, Salzach ship service and public transport. Salzburg Card holders also receive discounts for cultural events, concerts, theater tickets and various excursions in the vicinity. The Salzburg Card is available at all hotels, Information Offices and ticket offices. Look into the attractive 24, 48 or 72 hour Salzburg Card packages before you plan your trip.
Dining Experiences in Salzburg
located in Salzburg's Getreidegasse this restaurant offers high-end traditional cuisine in a traditional setting.
Müllner Hauptstraße 33
Features international and local cuisine, incl. Gluten-free, lactose-free, fructose-free & vegetarian meals.
This gourmet restaurant and café bar is located at Hangar-7 directly at Salzburg International Airport. An amazing restaurant located in a very unusual setting. Different internationally acclaimed chefs are invited to design the menu every month.
Plan your trip to Austria today
Everything you need to know for planning your trip to Austria.
Flying to Austria
There are plenty of very convenient options when it comes to choosing a flight to Austria. Our national carrier, Austrian Airlines, offers direct flights to Vienna from several locations in the US. Direct flights take approximately eight hours.
Flying directly into Vienna
Austrian Airlines is setting high safety and service standards right from the start. It refurbished its long haul fleet and boasts completely new seats and entertainment systems in both economy and business class. Austrian Airlines' business class is famous for its excellent cuisine and bar service, offering choice Austrian wines and a Viennese coffee menu.
Within Austria, connections to the regional airports are available. Flight times from Vienna to the regional airports range from thirty minutes to an hour.
Flying into Munich and Zurich
If you plan to visit the western regions of Austria, such as Tirol, Salzburg and Vorarlberg, flying into Zurich or Munich are great alternatives. Flights with many gateways from the US are offered by Lufthansa and Swiss. Or take direct train connections from Munich and Zurich to any major city in Austria.
Arriving in Vienna
Getting from the airport to the city center is easy: A cab ride to the city center takes thirty minutes to an hour and costs between 40 and 50 Euros. Or take the City Airport Train (CAT), which takes you directly into the city center in 16 minutes. Bus service is also available and takes you to various destinations in Vienna.
The best time to travel depends on the traveler. The peak season includes the months of July and August, as well as Christmas and Easter. Should weather be a determining factor, usually May - October are relatively mild and warm (summer) months and the snow/ski season runs from mid-December to the end of March.
Currency: The Euro
As a member of the European Union, Austria is also part of the Economic and Monetary Union – with the EURO as the common currency.
The following Euro-banknotes and coins are in circulation:
Banknotes with face values of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euro
Coins of 1 and 2 Euro denominations as well as 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents
Banking Hours (General)
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 8am to 12:30pm & 1:30pm to 3pm
Thursday: 8am to 12:30pm & 1:30pm to 5:30pm
ATMs are widely used in Austria and are called "Bankomat". You will find outdoor venues at most branches of Austrian banks. Please check with your local bank if your bank card is equipped with the necessary code.
Credit cards are accepted in hotels, major restaurants and stores, however some smaller shops, cafes, or grocery stores prefer cash. We recommend asking before you purchase.
The respective exchange rate (purchase or sales rate) is valid for all other foreign currencies transactions.
*Important Note* Travelers entering or leaving any EU member state carrying any sum equal to or exceeding €10,000 (or its equivalent in other currencies or easily convertible assets such as checks drawn on a third party) must make a declaration to the customs authorities. Customs authorities are empowered under this regulation (signed by the European Parliament and Council on 26 October 2005 and entered into force on 15 December 2005) to undertake controls on natural persons, their baggage and their means of transport and detain cash that has not been declared.
Austria's official language is German, which is spoken with a variety of different dialects within the country. English is by far the most prevalent second language. Most Austrians have at least a rudimentary understanding of English and a majority, in fact, speak it quite well, especially people working in hotels or restaurants.
Medical Service, Pharmacies
Austria has a vast medical system with great doctors and pharmacies. Pharmacies operate a rotation system for night and Sunday duty; when closed a notice is displayed giving the addresses of the nearest pharmacies that are open.
Ambulance/Doctor on call: Tel. 144
Mountain rescue service: Tel. 140
Tipping is traditionally expected in professions like restaurants & bars, taxis, hairdressers, etc. Usually, the tip amounts to about 5 to 10 percent, but the size of the tip should be according to your satisfaction with the services rendered. As in most European countries, a service charge is already included to your restaurant bill.
A beautiful way to see the sights along the Danube river is by boat. DDSG Blue Danube offers daily trips to/from Budapest and Bratislava, special rides to Passau and day trips to Dürnstein and Hainburg including a visit to Schloss Hof and Donauauen national park. There are also a variety of themed boat cruises available.
Brandner Schiffahrt takes you on scenic cruises along the Danube in Wachau, between Melk and Krems.
Donauschiffahrt Wurm + Köck offer rides between Passau, Linz and Vienna, as well as a great selection of day trips, themed cruises and weekend excursions.
Another great way to explore and enjoy Austria is by bus. The vast fleet of ÖBB-Postbus offer some 30,000 routes across the country.
Comfortable trains offer frequent service on 3,600 miles of rail tracks. Most trains have First- and Second-Class seating. We suggest making seat reservations.
Traveling times on intercity train between major Austrian cities:
Vienna - Salzburg: 2 hrs. 22 min.
Salzburg - Innsbruck: 1 hrs. 49 min.
Innsbruck - Bregenz: 2 hrs. 23 min.
Vienna - Graz: 2 hrs. 30 min.
Graz - Linz: 3 hrs. 26 min.
Graz - Innsbruck: 6 hrs.
ÖBB - Austrian Railways Discount Cards
VORTEILScard is a great way to save money while traveling comfortly throughout Austria. The card is valid for a year and gives you a 45% discount on the standard fare. The VORTEILScard can be obtained at all major Austrian train stations – all you need is a passport and a photo.
Offers 45% discount on all rail travel within Austria for travelers under 26 years.
Women over 60 and men over 65 will receive a 45% discount on all rail and many bus travels within Austria. Inquire at the local train station or contact the VORTEILScard Service Line for more information.
Traveling on a budget?
The OeBB “Sparschiene” offers point-to-point tickets starting at Euro 9.90 for travels within Austria.
An excellent motorway, highway and road network connects Austria with all its neighboring countries. All main border check points (motorway and federal-road check points) are open day and night.
In general, Austrian traffic regulations and traffic signals are similar to those in other European countries.
Attention! All expressways and highways in Austria are subject to toll and your vehicle must have a correct sticker! (see Vignette below)
Regulations for motor vehicles
Driving with your lights on is optional during daylight hours and compulsory at night. You will be stopped by the police and possibly fined if you do not comply.
Driving in Winter
All vehicles driving on snow-covered roads must have winter tires during the winter season (Nov - April) or risk a fine. Alternatively, all-season tires (if marked for M&S: mud and snow) are also acceptable during the winter season. Snow chains are not compulsory but must be carried in areas under advisory. Snow chains on summer tires – as an alternative to winter tires - are only accepted if the entire road is heavily covered with snow and no damage to the road is caused by the snow chains.
IMPORTANT: Driving on motorways requires a VIGNETTE (toll sticker)
The toll sticker “Vignette” can be purchased at most gas stations and at border entry points. 10-day / 2 months / 1-year Vignettes are available for purchase and must be displayed on the internal side of the car's windshield and permits travel on all motor- and highways within Austria. This is strictly enforced by highway patrols and failure to comply will result in heavy fines. Most rental cars will come supplied with a vignette. However: please check before hitting the road.
Customs documents for the vehicle are not needed for crossing the border. Travelers from non-European countries need an international driving license. Please ask your automobile club to determine whether your license is recognized.
Excluding the gas in the tank of the car, an additional 10 liters (about 3 gallons) of gas may be brought into the country in a reserve canister free of duty charge.
Maximum speed limits (if not otherwise indicated on road signs):
Automobiles and Motorcycles
in town: between the local road signs: 50 km/h
on country roads: 100 km/h.
on highways: 130 km/h.
Mobiles up to 3.500 kg
in town: 50 km/h
on country roads: 100 km/h
on highways: 130 km/h
Passenger cars with light trailers up to 750 kg; towing vehicles of a maximum total weight of up to 3.5 tons:
in town: 50 km/h
on country roads and highways: 100 km/h
Passenger cars with trailers of over 750 kg
(towing vehicles and trailers together up to a maximum total weight of 3.5 tons):
in town: 50 km/h
on country roads: 80 km/h
on highways: 100 km/h
in town: 50 km/h
on country roads: 80 km/h
on highways: 100 km/h (however between 22:00 pm and 5:00 am only 90 km/h).
Children on board
Children under the age of 12, who are below a height of 150 cm, must be seated in child-safety seats. Only one child per seat is permitted and must be secured according to age and height.
Drinking and Driving
Permissible alcohol limit 0.5 per mill! Exceeding this limit is punishable with heavy fines or even with the confiscation of the driver’s license.
In Austria, wearing seat belts is mandatory.
Cellphone use in the car
The use of cell phones while driving is only allowed when using the hands-free system. The hands-free system must be mounted in such a way that all elements can be operated with one hand and the driver is not affected in any way. Disregarding this law is punishable with a fine.
Regulations for Motorcyclists
When driving two-wheeled vehicles the wearing of helmets is compulsory in Austria. While driving, the dimmed headlight must be turned on even during the day. Toll stickers are compulsory.
In Austria, unleaded regular-grade 91 octane petrol as well as Euro-Super (unleaded 95-octane) petrol are available at all gas stations. The sale of leaded petrol is forbidden in Austria.
All motorists must carry a high visibility vest and must wear it in the case of a vehicle break down, whenever a warning triangle is used and in case of poor visibility. If you need to exit the vehicle on a motorway or highway the vest must be worn (when stopping on allocated parking places the vest does not need to be worn).
The vest needs to be of fluorescent color (yellow, orange or red) with white reflective stripes. Logos and any writing should not dominate. The vests must comply with the European standard EN471, visible on a sewn-in label. This rule was implemented with security in mind and benefits everyone on the road. The vest can be obtained at most gas stations, ÖAMTC and ARBÖ Service stations in Austria. When renting a car please check to ensure the car is equipped with the vest.
Traffic Accident, Breakdown
Traffic accidents involving injury to persons must immediately be reported to the police; accidents involving material damage must only be reported when mutual identity has not been established. The ÖAMTC and ARBÖ automobile clubs operate a 24-hour emergency breakdown service, which may be utilized by anyone (non-members must pay a fee).
Emergency numbers (without area code)
Euro-emergency number 112
Fire brigade: 122
Mountain rescue 140
ÖAMTC emergency breakdown service: 120
ARBÖ emergency breakdown service: 123
Traffic news for Austria as well as the main connecting roads to neighboring countries are broadcast every half hour on the radio station Ö3. The radio program is interrupted in case of imminent traffic issues
Passport & Visa Information
US and Canadian passport holders do not require a visa in order to enter Austria. However, if you have any questions please contact the Austrian Embassy or the Austrian Consulate General.
Austrian Consulate General
New York: (212) 737-6400
Los Angeles: (310) 444-9310
Vancouver: (604) 687-3338
Toronto: (416) 967-4867
Montreal: (514) 845-8661
Washington DC: (202) 895-6700
Ottawa: (613) 789-1444
Due to the topographical diversity and the relatively large west-east expanse, there are three quite different climatic regions:
East: Pannonian climate with a continental influence – low precipitation, hot summers and moderately cold winters.
Alpine Region: Alpine climate - high precipitation (except inner Alpine valley regions such as the upper Inntal), short summers, long and cold winters.
Remainder of the country: transient climate influenced by the Atlantic (in the West) and a continental influence in the south-east. Before starting any outdoor activities in the mountains please inform yourself about the weather conditions, danger of avalanches or route conditions. Warnings of locals should not be disregarded.
Best time to travel: For hiking and walking tours or to visit a city: April to October. The peak season for summer vacation is July and August. The best time to enjoy your winter vacation is from December to March.
Temperatures: in summer up to 95-degree Fahrenheit / average: 68-degree Fahrenheit in winter up to - 4-degree Fahrenheit / average: 32-degree Fahrenheit