This article is about the city of Salzburg. For the state, see Salzburg (state).

Salzburg is a city in central Austria, near the German (Bavarian) border with a population of some 146,000 in 2013. If you have seen the movie The Sound of Music, you may think you know all there is to see in Salzburg. Admittedly, it is difficult not to burst into songs when you're walking along the Salzach River, or climbing up to the Hohensalzburg fortress which looms over the city. But there is a lot more to this compact, courtly city than Julie Andrews and as Mozart's birthplace.


Salzburg is the fourth-largest city in Austria (after Vienna, Graz and Linz) and the capital of the federal state of Salzburg. Its "Old Town", with its world famous baroque architecture, is one of the best-preserved city centers in the German-speaking world and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

Origins of name

The name Salzburg literally means "Salt Castle", and derives its name from the barges carrying salt on the Salzach river, which were subject to a toll in the 8th century.

Early history and medieval period

Traces of human settlements dating to the Neolithic Age and later a Celt camp have been found in the area. Starting from 15 BC, the small communities were grouped into a single town which was named by the Romans as Juvavum. Little remains of the city from this period.

The Festung Hohensalzburg, the city's fortress, was built in 1077 and expanded in the following centuries. Independence from Bavaria was secured in the late 14th century.

Independent state

Salzburg had been the capital of an independent state from the early 14th century until 1805. It was ruled by prince-archbishops, who became rich by the salt mines located in the south of the city. This led to the architectural gem you see today, as not only materials, but also architects were imported from Italy and other European countries. This is also the reason why, compared to other Austrian cities, sacral monuments overtop the few secular buildings in every respect. The prince-archbishops were forced to give up their political powers during the French occupation in 1805, when Napoleon Bonaparte introduced the concept of Separation of Church and State in all the occupied territories.

Get in

By plane

Having arrived at the airport (Flughafen Salzburg) it is very easy to make your way into the town centre by electric trolleybus or other modes of transport. Tickets for these services can be bought easily from the bus driver and you can travel from here to the "Hauptbahnhof" main station where you can reach many destinations, predominantly in Austria, but also across the whole of Europe.

By train

NOTE: Due to the measures introduced to control immigration, train service between Salzburg and Munich has seen irregularities throughout the second half of 2015. Until late December 2015, trains from Munich do not run until Salzburg - a replacement bus service is provided for ticket holders (see your railway connection operator for details). Additional border controls, normally not present at the Schengen border, have been introduced, further impacting travel times.

Salzburg's train station, the Hauptbahnhof, is located to the north of the Salzach River within the New Town of Salzburg. The train ride from Munich to Salzburg takes about an hour and a half (Regional trains take about 2 hours), and international trains operate from Zurich, Zagreb, Ljubljana and Budapest to name just a few destinations. Inter-city trains operate very frequently (especially to Vienna where services are almost hourly). The station underwent a thorough renovation over several years, which has been completed at the end of 2014 - please be advised that any information regarding its layout and services published before that is most probably outdated.

The station is operated by both the Austrian Federal Railway Company (ÖBB) and the National German Railway company (DB). Both companies have ticket stalls and machines in the station. The popular train pass for Bavaria sold by DB (in German: Bayern Ticket) also covers train rides between Bavaria and Salzburg, but it is only valid for Regional trains (code RE and RB). The rail pass can be brought from DB ticket stalls as well as DB Ticket Selling Machines in the station.

Salzburg has direct train connections with Vienna, Linz, Feldkirch (at the Liechtenstein border), Zürich (in Switzerland), etc.

The station features a supermarket open 6AM - 11PM (shorter opening times on Sunday), lockers (from €2 to €3.50, but be aware that there may often be full!) and free toilets. To get to the city center, walk (about 15mn), or alternatively use one of the trolley buses.

By bus

By car

Salzburg is well connected to both Vienna (Wien) and Munich (München), Germany via the autobahns A8 (Munich - Salzburg) and A1 (Salzburg - Vienna). There is an Austrian Motorway "Vignette" you have to purchase. The price varies depending on if you buy a yearly or 10 day vignette.

Driving around Salzburg can be a pain. The road names are small and written in a "Traditional" German font which can be hard to read. The best bet is to get into the city, find a parking space, and travel by foot. Be sure that if you are driving in cold weather to be prepared for snow. Snow chains should be recommended, in extreme weather. (All cars must have snow tires (Winterreifen) by law from October to April)

Get around

The best way to get around Salzburg is by foot.

There is a network of city buses, the StadtBus, with numbers from 1 to 8 (O-Buses, electric) and 20-27 (fuel-powered). A single trip costs 1€60 (2€40 in the bus), a 24h ticket costs 3€30 (when bought at the vending machine). There also daily, weekly and monthly passes. If you travel by bus, make sure you catch none of the last buses. They will take you several kilometers out of town with your only way back being by walking or taxi. With that said, if you need to get somewhere late at night it may be best to take a taxi or walk. Conveniently, bus tickets can be bought on the buses from the bus driver, but are more expensive (2€40 to be compared with 1€60 at the vending machine).

The "Lokalbahn" train has a separate train station under the main train station and travels in the direction of Oberndorf and Lamprechtshausen. Tickets can be bought on the train.

Another option for exploring areas around the main city (Bad Ischl, Fuschlsee, etc.) are the POST-BUSes. These also leave from the main train station; tickets can be bought from the driver.

Finally, another excellent option is renting a bike. Salzburg has over 100 km of bike paths, and using this mode of transportation is often faster than bus, car or foot. There are also excellent bike paths on either side of the river which you can follow to either Freilassing (35 min), Oberndorf or Hallein (each about an hour away).

Salzburg Card

Depending on how long you want to stay in Salzburg and how much you want to pack into one day, the Salzburg Card could be a good investment, it includes:

Salzburg Card 24 h/Adult: € 26.00, 48 hours: € 35.00, 72 hours: € 41.00


Schloss Hellbrunn
Mozart's birth house





For almost a century, Salzburg has hosted the world famous Salzburg Festival, with operas, concerts, and theater plays in different locations throughout the city. It was founded by Hugo von Hoffmansthal, Max Reinhardt and Richard Strauss in 1920. It takes place in July and August, the most famous piece is the "Jedermann" ("Everyman") by Hugo v. Hoffmansthal, being conducted in front of the Dom (Cathedral) every year.

More recently, festivals also take place during Easter time (with mostly Baroque music), and in autumn.



Salzburg Nockerl

A typical dessert from Salzburg is the Salzburg Nockerl. Don't try to eat it on your own, it's too heavy for one person!


Saran Essbar










Salzburg Cathedral





Salzburg Market

Salzburg has a growing number of options available for email and Internet access:

Go next

Routes through Salzburg

Ends at  W  E  Vöcklabruck Linz
Becomes  N  S  Villach ENDS
END  W  E  Vöcklabruck Wels

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 28, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.