There are some cities that you feel you need a lifetime to explore, and others that you leave after a few days feeling like you’ve well and truly ticked it off your bucket list. For me Salzburg was very much a weekend destination. It’s not huge, but there are places worth seeing a short drive away, so here’s the ultimate 3-day itinerary for Salzburg, Austria.
Read more: Salzburg Travel Guide
Morning: arrive on an early flight into Salzburg Airport and catch the bus to the city. We arrived about 10.30am which is the perfect time to find a café, grab a coffee and slowly wind your way into the centre of Salzburg.
Our first city stop was Mozartplatz courtyard to check out the Mozart statue, stopping off at Mozart’s birth place on the way. Soon after we arrived at the bustling area of Residenzplatz where you can just sit and watch the world go by.
Lunchtime: find a lunch spot in the centre of Salzburg. There’s plenty to choose from! We settled for cappuccinos and toasted spicy salami paninis at a small spot called Paninoteca Piccolo Mondo. Anywhere that gives you a free biscuit with your coffee is my kind of place.
After lunch, we wandered over to Kapitelplatz to see the huge golden ball. You can also see Fortress Hohensalzburg from here, which you can get to via funicular if you like.
Afternoon: by this point you’ve probably seen most of one side of Salzburg, so head across one of the bridges and make your way up to the Couvent des Capucins Monastery (aka Kapuzinerkloster). There’s not much to see of the Monastery, but you’re climbing for the view. You can either get there via the many steps from Steingasse street or the slope that starts from Linzer Gasse street.
When you make you way back down, head over to Mirabellgarten. These gardens sit outside Mirabell Palace and were a key filming location for the Sound of Music movie. Take your time wandering around here, there’s plenty to see!
Evening: after all the walking you’ll need to refuel, so grab a nice dinner in the town. I highly recommend the huge pizzas from L’Osteria! This is a popular spot, so you might want to book a table. After dinner, head to your hotel. As our hotel was out by Lake Fuschl, we took the 150 bus from outside Mirabell Palace and arrived 30-minutes later.
If you’re going to Salzburg for a few days, visiting a nearby lake is a must, so I’d recommend spending day two at Lake Fuschlsee by the town of Fuschl am See. This is the clearest lake in Salzburg and turns a glistening turquoise blue when the sun is shining.
Morning: if you’re staying in the city, take the bus to Lake Fuschlsee. If you’re staying by the lake, simply wake up and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. Then it’s time to head out to the lake and begin your hike! It takes 3-5 hours depending on your pace, and bear in mind that the left-hand side of the lake (if you’re looking towards the town of Fuschl am See) is the more strenuous part of the hike.
Lunchtime: if you’re staying at the Sheraton Fuschlsee Salzburg Hotel Jagdhof or Schloss Fuschl Hotel, you can start your hike there and stop for lunch in the town of Fuschl am See, which is at the opposite end of the lake. If you begin the hike from Fuschl am See, take a picnic and stop for lunch at the other end. We stopped off at Café Flora in Fuschl am See for a slice of Austria’s famous apple strudel and a chai latte.
Oh, and on the main road into Fuschl am See you’ll also come across the Red Bull Headquarters, so don’t forget to look out for that! I’ve never seen an office like it!
Afternoon: after lunch, continue your hike until you reach your starting point, then make your way back to your Salzburg or lake-side hotel. Fortunately, the Sheraton Fuschlsee Salzburg Hotel Jagdhof had a luxurious spa, so we spent a couple of hours there before dinner. This was a much needed end to a long hike in the winter weather.
Evening: if you’re staying in Salzburg or Fuschl am See, head out to find a nice dinner spot. If you’re staying at the Sheraton Fuschlsee Salzburg Hotel Jagdhof or Schloss Fuschl Hotel, enjoy a relaxing dinner in the comfort of your own hotel. We dined on burgers, fries and Austrian beer in a cosy bar at the Sheraton as the drizzle started to fall outside. After that hike, a chill night was needed!
Morning: we had a 10.45am flight back to London, so we indulged in one final breakfast buffet before catching a taxi back to the airport. Then you can spend the rest of your day off unpacking and sorting through your trip photos! Leaving on day three meant we didn’t have to cut our second day short by travelling home, so I’d recommend doing the same.
For me and my mum, this was the perfect two-and-a-bit-day itinerary for Salzburg. I didn’t feel like we needed any extra time there, but if I did have an extra day, I would have checked out another one of Salzburg’s lakes!
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Have you been to Salzburg? Has my mini Salzburg series made you want to visit?