17 Free Things to Do in Salzburg + One Day Budget Itinerary

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Salzburg has swiftly captured my heart as one of my favorite cities.

How, you ask? Why? Well, it’s because Salzburg doesn’t just offer the things I’m always seeking in a destination—like picture-perfect discoveries, historical sites, marvelous architectural landmarks, and breathtaking scenery—but it also allows its visitors to experience most of these offerings for free. And let’s not overlook the affordable attractions and experiences that are kind to your bank account!

Here, I’ve compiled a list of all the free activities and attractions in Salzburg, which I hope will assist you in whatever you’re doing at the moment (travel planning, perhaps?). Towards the end of this post, you’ll find a budget-friendly one-day itinerary based on these inexpensive things to do for your convenience.

Alternatively, you can explore my Old Town Salzburg self-guided walking tour, which also includes many of these free attractions. And by the way, if you’re staying in Salzburg for a few days, don’t miss my free 2-day and 3-day Salzburg itineraries.

Good to know

While there are plenty of free things to do in Salzburg, it’s important to remember that you’ll likely need to spend some money on experiences to make the most of your visit.

Many of the top attractions in the city have admission fees, but don’t worry—they’re affordable. In fact, the last time I checked, most of the admission fees were only a few dollars. You won’t have to spend more than about $20 on each one. Nevertheless, the prices are definitely worth the value. You’ll find amazing experiences and beautiful sights that make the cost more than worth it.

All in all, I found 17 activities and experiences that would not cost you even a cent and 5 additional which are not expensive.

The best part? You don’t even have to leave the Old Town Salzburg or the core area of the UNESCO Heritage Site of the Historic Center of Salzburg to find them. All these free things to do are within walking distance of each other, and you can use the city’s infrastructure, like the funicular and elevator, to make getting around even easier.

The Old Town of Salzburg is just a 10-to-15-minute walk from the train station, depending on your pace. If you want to start your trip to Salzburg quickly and effortlessly, you can take a bus that will cut your travel time in half.

The Mirabell Palace and Garden is the closest free attraction to the train station, so it’s the first place we’ll talk about.

Free Attractions & Activities

The free activities and attractions listed below are arranged in the order you would naturally come across if you were starting from the train station. You can check the resources section of this post for the official websites of some attractions listed below.

1. Appreciate the Beauty of Mirabell Palace Marble Hall

One of the things that made me love Salzburg even more is that one of its highlights, the Mirabell Palace, is open to visitors for free. 

The Marble Hall of Mirabell Palace, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
The Marble Hall of Mirabell Palace
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This 17th-century palace, which was reconstructed a century later, now partly serves as a government office.  However, visitors are still allowed to enter and see its most impressive features — the magnificent Marble Hall and staircase. Step inside to admire the intricate capitals and stucco work of the hall, as well as the charming cherubs that decorate the marble balustrade and the sculptures in the niches.  The name Mirabell comes from the words ‘mirabile’ meaning admirable, and ‘bello’ meaning beautiful. Once you’ve visited the Marble Hall, one of the finest examples of European baroque architecture, you’ll surely agree with this choice of name.

2. Relive the Sound of Music Movie at Mirabell Garden

Visitors are also welcome to explore without a fee the beautiful Mirabell Palace garden, which is the most famous filming location for the Sound of Music movie in Salzburg.

Mirabell Garden, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
Mirabell Garden
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Six parts of the garden were featured in the film, including the Pegasus Fountain, Grand Fountain, Hedge Theater, Dwarf Garden, Rose Garden, and Orangery. As these areas still look very similar to how they appeared in the movie, fans of the Sound of Music will feel nostalgic when visiting.

For those who enjoy photography, Mirabell Garden offers stunning photo opportunities that you won’t want to miss in Salzburg. The grand and small parterre of Mirabell Garden are oriented towards Hohensalzburg Fortress and provide inspiration for amazing photos.

Read all the five reasons why you should visit Mirabell Palace & Garden.

3. Watch the Sunrise at Hettwer Bastei (Bastion)

You can also experience a very special sunrise and sunset in Salzburg for free.

View from Hettwer Bastion, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
View from Hettwer Bastion
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Simply head to the Hettwer Bastei bastion in Kapuzinerberg during the Golden Hour and you’ll be rewarded with one of the most magical and breathtaking views in Salzburg. Hettwer Bastei offers an overlooking view of Old Town Salzburg with a closer look at Hohensalzburg Fortress. You’ll love the spectacular moment when the setting or rising sun makes Hohensalzburg Fortress glow with warm light.

There are two ways to get to Hettwer Bastion: Stefan-Zweig-Weg and Imbergstiege. Both are accessible from Old Town Salzburg and near Mirabell Palace. A tip: take the Stefan-Zweig-Weg path on your way up as it is less steep than Imbergstiege, which is mostly stairs. If you’d like, you can bring snacks to Hettwer Bastion so you can eat while taking in the view of Old Town Salzburg during the Golden Hour. There are benches in the bastion, so no need to worry about standing for too long.

Here’s my guide to Kapuzinerberg, the mountain where Hettwer Bastei is located.

4. See the Best View of Old Town Salzburg from Müllnersteg

If you’re into photography or simply want to see a view straight out of a fairytale in Salzburg, Müllnersteg is a free place you can visit to satisfy your visual cravings.

View from Müllnersteg, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
View from Müllnersteg
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Müllnersteg is a bridge over the Salzach River that offers a view of Old Town Salzburg, reminiscent of Mont Saint Michel in France. From the bridge, you can see Old Town Salzburg rising above the Salzach River with Hohensalzburg Fortress on top. The view includes the spire of the Evangelical Parish Salzburg Christ Church overlooking the Salzach River from the riverbank, adding charm to the picturesque scene.

If you’re coming from Mirabell Palace, you can quickly reach Müllnersteg through the northern gate of Mirabell Gardens. From there, it’s only a 5-minute walk to the bridge.

5. Romantic Walk at Marko-Feingold-Steg

If you’re traveling to Salzburg with your special someone, be sure to visit Marko-Feingold-Steg or Makartsteg, the footbridge closest to the southern gate of Mirabell Gardens.

Marko-Feingold-Steg, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
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Often called the Love Lock Bridge, it’s considered the most romantic bridge in Salzburg. From here, you can see a lovely panoramic view of Old Town Salzburg, similar to the view from Müllnersteg but much closer. With such a beautiful scene, it’s easy to understand why people love to commemorate their unbreakable bond by attaching padlocks to the bridge’s railings.

Like other viewpoints of Old Town Salzburg, it’s nice to watch the sunrise or sunset from Marko-Feingold-Steg. However, since it’s easily accessible, it can get crowded during these golden hours, making the moment less special. For a more intimate sunrise or sunset experience, I would recommend finding another location.

6. Be Charmed by the Wrought-Iron Shop Signs in Getreidegasse

Getreidegasse is another highlight of visiting Salzburg, and like Mirabell Palace and Garden, it’s free to visit!

Getreidegasse, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
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This street is a unique shopping district in Salzburg, characterized by its wrought-iron shop signs and beautiful architecture, including charming doorways. After exploring Getreidegasse, you might wish your hometown had a delightful shopping district like this. In Getreidegasse, you’ll find a wide selection of shops selling everything from jewelry and antiques to leather goods and groceries.

However, aside from these and the wrought-iron shop signs, there are three things you won’t want to miss when visiting Getreidegasse. First is the famous “puppet woman” with her brown basket, who has been selling puppets on this street since 1987. Another is the Wieber shop, a traditional metalworking business that still manufactures these “advertising signs” by hand. Last but not least is Mozart’s Birthplace, one of the highlights of Getreidegasse where you can learn more about Mozart and Salzburg’s musical heritage. Also, at the western end of Getreidegasse, you’ll find Saint Blaise’s Church, which looks magical thanks to the vines covering its facade.

7. Get Sound of Music Nostalgia from Pferdeschwemme

Just a few steps south of St. Blaise’s Church and Getreidegasse is the early 17th-century Horse Pond or Pferdeschwemme fountain.

Pferdeschwemme, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
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Visiting this landmark is one of the free things you can do in Salzburg to get a glimpse of the events in the city that happened in the past. In its heyday, Pferdeschwemme was where the prince archbishops’ parade horses were washed. When you visit, take a look at the “Horse Tamer” statue and the unique frescoes on the back wall of the Horse Pond, which evoke some of the customs of that time.

What’s notable about Pferdeschwemme is that it was created by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach.  He is an Austrian architect, sculptor, engraver, and architectural historian whose Baroque architecture profoundly influenced and shaped the tastes of the Habsburg Empire.

Pferdeschwemme isn’t just for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts; fans of the Sound of Music movie will also feel nostalgic here as it was featured in the film. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll surely recall the scene where Maria and the Trapp children marvel at the famous square and unique Horse Pond during a carriage ride through Salzburg.

8. Discover Siegmundstor: The Oldest Tunnel in Austria

You don’t need to pay for a ride to see one of Austria’s notable infrastructures if you’re in Salzburg.

Siegmundstor, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
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Siegmundstor, the oldest road tunnel in Austria, is located within the historic center of Salzburg, right next to Pferdeschwemme! It passes through Mönchsberg, the mountain that serves as the natural wall of Old Town Salzburg to the west.

Like visiting Pferdeschwemme, seeing Siegmundstor offers a free glimpse into Salzburg’s past. The tunnel dates back to the second half of the 18th century, during the rule of Prince-Archbishop Sigismund von Schrattenbach, who envisioned an easy way for people to move between Old Town Salzburg and the Riedenburg quarter. Siegmundstor isn’t just a simple tunnel; it was decorated by the Hagenauer brothers with sculptures and inscriptions, making it an emblematic work of art.If you look closely at the arches on the Old Town side, you’ll see an emblem with a portrait of Prince Archbishop Schrattenbach.

9. Admire the Interiors of the Franciscan Church

For architecture enthusiasts seeking visual pleasure or Catholics looking for a peaceful moment to pray during their visit to Salzburg, the Franciscan Church is one of the best free places to visit.

Franciscan Church, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
Franciscan Church
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Franciscan Church’s unique architecture combines Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque styles, making it one of the most distinctive churches in Salzburg. Even without consulting Wikipedia, its architecture reveals its age and how it has evolved over the centuries. In fact, the first church on this site was built in the eighth century!

I am particularly captivated by the impressive rib-vaulted ceiling of the Franciscan Church. The columns and ceiling blend seamlessly together. When you look up at the ceiling, you’ll be inspired to take photos, too! And wait until you see the nine chapels decorated in Baroque style by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach in the eighteenth century. The intricate stucco work on the chapels is as stunning as what you’ll see in Salzburg Cathedral.

The Franciscan Church also has a hidden gem to discover: the decoration on the staircase of the pulpit. Dating back to the 12th century, it depicts a marble lion standing over a man with a painful grimace on his face, pushing his sword into the lion’s belly.

10. Wander in the St. Peter’s Abbey, Church, and Cemetery

Salzburg is one of the cities in Central Europe that offers a diverse experience, but its rich religious heritage sets it apart from its neighboring cities….

Saint Peter’s Abbey, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
Saint Peter’s Abbey
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… You can easily see this by visiting Saint Peter’s Abbey, one of the top free attractions in the city for discovering its religious heritage. Its age is a testament to its significance: Saint Peter’s Abbey was founded in the 7th century, making it the oldest monastery in the German-speaking world.

Visitors are allowed to see three parts of Saint Peter’s Abbey: the Church, Cemetery, and Catacombs. There is a small fee to enter the Catacombs, but visitors are free to wander around the Church and Cemetery, which are home to beautiful architecture and more.

Like the Franciscan Church, Saint Peter’s Church is an architectural gem and a feast for the eyes. Remodeled several times throughout its more than 1300-year history, the church features a mix of architectural styles including Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo. As you explore its interiors, notice the large square murals on the walls, ceiling, and dome of the church; they tell religious stories.

On the other hand, the cemeteries in Salzburg are beautiful, and the cemetery at Saint Peter’s Abbey is no exception. The elaborate wrought-iron grave crosses remove any creepy feelings one might have in a graveyard and give the impression that there is beauty even in death.

If you’re a fan of the Sound of Music movie and want to see all its filming locations in Salzburg, be sure to visit the Cemetery and Catacombs at Saint Peter’s Abbey.

11. Take Photo Souvenirs at Kapitelschwemme

Salzburg is a picturesque city with many spots where you can go for free to see its picture-perfect appearance for yourself…

Kapitelschwemme, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
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… One such spot is in front of Kapitelschwemme, the Chapter Fountain, in Kapitelplatz, the Chapter Square. From here, you can see and take a photo of Hohensalzburg Fortress from a unique perspective below. With such an iconic view, be sure to capture your photo souvenir of Salzburg here by asking someone to take your picture or taking a selfie! Like Pferdeschwemme, Kapitelschwemme was once a place for horses, but this one was for them to drink water.

12. See Another Santa Scala in Cajetan Church

Salzburg is a city full of churches, many of which you can visit for free.

Cajetan Church, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
Cajetan Church
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In addition to Saint Peter’s Church and the Franciscan Church, one church that is definitely worth seeing is the Cajetan Church, located just across from the Federal Province’s Courthouse in Kajetanerplatz. Its construction is said to have started the Italian Baroque style in Salzburg. The church is big, imposing, and only has a cross on top of its dome to show that it is a church. So, when you arrive at Kajetanerplatz, you might even mistake it for a palace! However, the interiors give the opposite impression.

The inside of the Cajetan Church is filled with stucco works that create a holy, festive, and stately atmosphere. And once you are inside, do not forget to look up at the dome, which is painted with the assumption of St. Cajetan to heaven. Light streams in through the dome, giving the church an aura of holiness and purity.

If you can, try to visit the Cajetan Church on a Saturday between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm. That is when you can see the church’s copy of Santa Scala or Holy Stairs in Rome, which for me, is the main reason to visit Cajetan Church. The Holy Stairs are said to have been brought from the palace of Pilate in Jerusalem by the mother of Emperor Constantine. Many believe these stairs are just as holy as the original ones.

13. See the Miraculous Fountain In St. Erhard’s Church

If you’re an architecture enthusiast or a Catholic like myself, you may be interested in visiting Saint Erhard’s Church.

Saint Erhard’s Church, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
Saint Erhard’s Church
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Entry is free and it’s located in Nonntal, one of the oldest residential areas to the south of Festungsberg. The church is not just a place of worship, but also an architectural gem that dates back to the city’s golden age of Italian Baroque style.

With a consistent Italian Baroque style inside, many regard it as one of the most notable religious landmarks in the city. The dome and the surrounding high relief and stucco works are especially stunning. The light that enters through the intricate dome casts a dramatic appearance on the sculpture of the founding bishops: Saint Vitalis, Saint Virgil, Saint Rupert, and Saint Martin of Tours.

When you visit, be sure to also check out the wall fountain, adorned with a lion’s head gargoyle. The water in the fountain is said to come from a mineral spring with purifying and life-giving properties and was considered miraculous until the mid-19th century. It’s still used as drinking water today… If you’re curious about other fountains with drinking water in Salzburg, check out the map linked in the resources section of this post.

14. Listen to the Nuns at Nonnberg Abbey

Did you know that Salzburg is home to Nonnberg Abbey, the oldest continuously existing nunnery in the German-speaking world? Located in Festungsberg beside Hohensalzburg Fortress, Nonnberg Abbey has been in existence since the early 8th century.

Nonnberg Abbey, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
Nonnberg Abbey
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Featured in the movie The Sound of Music, it has become a popular attraction, especially for fans of the film. However, there’s a unique and authentic experience waiting for you here. Every morning, the nuns of Nonnberg Abbey sing Gregorian Chants in chorus, which is absolutely hair-raising. This beautiful sound has been a long tradition of the nuns at Nonnberg Abbey.

To hear them sing, be sure to arrive at Nonnberg Abbey by 6:45 am. If you come during midday, you can still enter Nonnberg Church and explore its cemetery to see the beautiful wrought iron grave crosses. Entrance is free! 

Here’s everything you need to know about Nonnberg Abbey.

15. Relax with the View of the Alps from Richterhöhe

Salzburg, being only a few kilometers away from the Alps, offers several free places where you can unwind and enjoy the mountain views. These spots are great alternatives to expensive shops and restaurants with nice views, especially on sunny, dry, and warm days.

Richterhöhe, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
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One of these best places for a peaceful and picturesque experience in Salzburg is Richterhöhe — the highest peak of Mönchsberg — the mountain next to Festungsberg. At an elevation of 507 meters, here, you’ll be rewarded with unobstructed views of the Alps. You can also see a stunning view of Hohensalzburg Fortress, which is especially great for photographers.

But, that’s not all. Richterhöhe is part of the medieval fortifications around the city, so you’ll see medieval towers and crenelated walls along the way. What’s more? There are also benches facing the view where you can take a break and relax. If you’re from Hohensalzburg Fortress, you can expect to have a 10-minute hike to reach Richterhöhe.

16. Watch the Sunset from Mönchsberg’s Humboldt Terrace

Watching the sunset in Salzburg from the most unique perspective of the Old Town is free, too! The sunset spot is called Humboldt Terrace and it’s also located in Mönchsberg.

Humboldt Terrace in Monchsberg, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
Humboldt Terrace in Monchsberg
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Humboldt Terrace was built in the 17th century as a cavalier of the Mönchsberg fortifications under Prince Archbishop Paris Lodron and served as a gun emplacement to combat the threat of the Thirty Years’ War.

Nestled on the side of a mountain cliff, this hidden gem is definitely worth considering. From this former military lookout, you can enjoy some of the best views of Salzburg. You will see the entire northern part of the city, stretching all the way to Kapuzinerberg, Salzach River, and Hohensalzburg Fortress atop Festungsberg. Every part of the Old City is visible, and you can even see the winding shape of the Salzach River.

To reach Humboldt Terrace from Old Town Salzburg, take the Mönchsberg elevator. Once you’re at the top, it’s just a short hike northward to Humboldt Terrace, passing by Museum der Moderne. Along the trail, you’ll find a stone staircase on your right that leads down to the platform.

Humboldt Terrace has benches where you can relax, but there are only a few of them. If you’re interested in history, you’ll find the information board at Humboldt Terrace quite fascinating. Spoiler alert: it’s about the former Trompeterschlössl on Kapuzinerberg and the regulation of the Salzach River in the 19th century. 

Here’s a guide to Monchsberg, where Richterhöhe and Humboldt Terrace is located.

17. Climb to Franziskischlössl on top of Kapuzinerberg

For those who want to take their time exploring Salzburg, hiking in Kapuzinerberg is a great way to experience the natural beauty of the city’s historic center.

View from Kapuzinerberg and Franziskischlössl, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
View from Kapuzinerberg and Franziskischlössl
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The hiking trail is free and open to everyone, and along the way, you’ll see breathtaking views of Old Town Salzburg, a higher perspective of Hohensalzburg Fortress, and hidden gems like Mozart’s monument and a wooden fountain. The hike extends from Hettwer Bastion to Franziskischlössl, the fortress at the top of the mountain. The round trip can take between 1.5 and 2.5 hours, depending on your pace.

In case you missed it, here’s the link to my guide in visiting Kapuzinerberg.

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Affordable Experiences & Places of Interest

Again: Saving money by visiting free attractions in the city is great. But don’t forget to explore the city’s highlights too! You’ll be surprised—admission fees and tickets are just a few dollars or euros. So, treat yourself to these unforgettable experiences!

1. Explore Mozart’s Birthplace

As you explore Getreidegasse, one of the highlights of Salzburg that you’ll encounter is Mozart’s Birthplace. This museum, dedicated to the life and legacy of the famous composer, is a unique attraction that can only be found in Salzburg.

Inside Mozart’s Birthplace, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
Inside Mozart’s Birthplace
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When you step inside, you’ll discover a wealth of information about Mozart, from his childhood to his lasting impact on the world of music. You’ll see the first musical instruments he played, learn about his family and their influence on his work, and much more. His story is not only fascinating but also inspiring, as you’ll see how he overcame challenges and adversity to become one of the greatest musicians of all time. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about Mozart and his incredible life.

Here’s what you can expect inside Mozart’s Birthplace (in detail)

2. Visit Hohensalzburg Fortress

If you have a very limited time in Salzburg, you can skip other highlights of the city but not Hohensalzburg Fortress. This fortress, perched atop Festungsberg, offers a wealth of experiences for visitors.

Different experiences in Hohensalzburg Fortress, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
Different experiences in Hohensalzburg Fortress
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From Salzburg’s rich history to its musical heritage, from its breathtaking views to a few fascinating museums, there’s so much to see and do at Hohensalzburg Fortress. And if you’re a fan of old architecture, you’ll love exploring the Princely Chambers. Don’t be intimidated by the fortress’s location on top of a mountain – it’s easily accessible from Old Town Salzburg via a funicular, so getting there is half the fun!

Check out my full guide to Hohensalzburg Fortress | Here’s where you can check the ticket prices.

3. Boat Ride in Salzach River

River, city, mountains—Salzburg has a beautiful landscape. What’s the most relaxing way to explore it? A cruise in Salzach River. 

Salzach River Boat Ride, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
Salzach River Boat Ride
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During the cruise, you’ll have the opportunity to join a boat tour along the Salzach River, which will showcase the highlights of the city from a unique perspective on the water. As you sit back and relax, you’ll glide along the river, taking in the magical skyline of Salzburg. You’ll also have the chance to unwind as you enjoy breathtaking views of the Hagen and Tennen mountains, as well as panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscape.

Here’s where you can check the current price of the Salzach River cruise tickets.

4. Discover DomQuartier Museums and Salzburg Cathedral

Interested in discovering Salzburg’s heritage in one shot? DomQuartier is the place to be. This stately compound, located in the heart of the city, is composed of several attractions that can be accessed with a single ticket.

Things inside DomQuartier, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
Things inside DomQuartier
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In total, DomQuartier offers nine different experiences that encompass religious heritage, history, art, and nature. Some of the most interesting parts include the State Rooms of the Residenz, where you can catch a glimpse of the lives of the prince-archbishops, the terrace above the cathedral arches which offers beautiful views of the Old Town center, and the Cathedral Museum where you can discover the treasures of the archdiocese of Salzburg.

For art lovers, there’s the internationally acclaimed exhibition of European painting in the Residenz Gallery and the Chamber of Art and Wonders which features exhibits and curiosities from art and nature. If you’re interested in learning about who ruled Salzburg for centuries, be sure to visit the Long Gallery. You can also discover Salzburg’s religious heritage at St. Peter’s Museum and Cathedral Organ Loft, where you’ll find exhibits from the Archabbey of Saint Peter including timeless religious treasures. Lastly, don’t miss out on the special exhibitions in North Oratory.

Learn more about DomQuartier and the current ticket prices for entry to Domquartier here.

5. Explore and Attend a Concert in Salzburg Cathedral

Salzburg Cathedral is not only the spiritual center of Salzburg but also one of the city’s architectural highlights, making it a must-visit attraction.

Salzburg Cathedral, Free Things to Do in Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg Cathedral
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There are many things I can tell you about the architecture of Salzburg Cathedral, but it’s stuccoes are what caught my attention the most. The cathedral’s magnificent interiors are heavily elaborated with unique stuccoes, which are outlined with gray paint to give them extra visual dimensions.

When visiting Salzburg Cathedral, you can learn so much not only about the history of the cathedral and important architectural details of this religious structure but also about Catholicism — all discussed by the audio guides. So, consider acquiring audio guides when you visit because they are key to learning and enjoying more of your visit.

Another interesting feature of Salzburg Cathedral is its organs. The cathedral has five organs, giving its visitors an extraordinary listening experience that’s unique among churches north of the Alps. If you would like to experience it for yourself, I suggest attending the Organ Concert at Midday.

Learn more about Salzburg Cathedral or the Organ Concert at Midday.

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Budget One-Day Itinerary

Indeed, Salzburg is a city with lots of free attractions and experiences. But if you only have one day there, I recommend not sticking solely to the free activities and admission-free places. Instead, consider including at least one of these incredible attractions in your itinerary: Hohensalzburg FortressSalzburg CathedralMozart’s Birthplace, or DomQuartier. And here’s a tip: If you can, spend the entire day in Salzburg—from sunrise to sunset. This way, you’ll get the most out of your visit and see the city’s best sights without the crowds of tourists, during those magical golden hours.

To make it easy for most travelers, let’s start our trip from the Salzburg train station.

Morning in Salzburg

The morning part of this one-day budget itinerary is designed to let you experience the free highlights of Salzburg without the crowds. We’ll aim to visit Mirabell Palace, Mirabell Gardens, and Getreidegasse early in the morning before these places get busy during midday.

The first destination on this itinerary is Hettwer Bastion, where you can watch the sunrise. However, if the weather isn’t favorable, it’s better to go straight to Mirabell Garden.

Keep in mind that sunrise in Salzburg happens around 5:15 am during summer and almost 8:00 am during winter. To get to Hettwer Bastion quickly, you can take the bus to Makartplatz. This will cut the 15-minute walking time from the train station in half. Makartplatz is also where the southern gate of Mirabell Garden is located, so it’s convenient whether you’re going to Hettwer Bastion or Mirabell Palace or Garden.

After visiting Mirabell Palace, the next stop is Getreidegasse, which is located on the other side of the Salzach River. If you haven’t had breakfast yet, there are many options to choose from on Getreidegasse. For a better experience (romantic) in getting to Getreidegasse, cross the river via Marko-Feingold-Steg bridge.

Exploring Getreidegasse can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on whether you want to eat or spend more time taking pictures and looking at the small details.

While you’re there, you might also want to visit Mozart’s Birthplace, which usually takes at least an hour to explore. From Getreidegasse, you have several options for your next destination, including nearby attractions like Pferdeschwemme, Seigmundstor, Franciscan Church, and Saint Peter’s Abbey. Any of these attractions should keep you busy until lunchtime.

The next activity on the itinerary is a noontime organ concert in Salzburg Cathedral. If you think you’ll be hungry before noon, it’s a good idea to have lunch before heading to the cathedral.

Afternoon in Salzburg

In the afternoon, we’ll aim to make the most of your time at Hohensalzburg Fortress by visiting every part of it. Keep in mind that, in addition to the main parts of the fortress and the castle museum, Hohensalzburg Fortress also has four other museums worth seeing. It may take you 3 to 4 hours to see everything in the fortress.

After visiting Hohensalzburg Fortress, you have three options.

First, you can spend time outdoors enjoying the incredible views. You could either hike to the viewpoints in Monchsberg like Richterhöhe or Humboldt Terrace for breathtaking experiences or take a relaxing cruise on the River Salzach. If the weather isn’t nice, your other options are to visit some of the churches, such as Nonnberg Abbey, Cajetan Church, and Saint Erhard’s Church, or to explore DomQuartier.

If you’re staying in Salzburg tonight, here’s a unique, very interesting, and budget-friendly tour you can join — Salzburg Ghost Tour.


For information about the different tourist attractions you can visit for free in Salzburg, such as visiting information and announcements, please refer to the links provided below.

If you’re planning to stay in Salzburg for a few days or longer and haven’t booked your accommodation yet, you can use this link to find the best hotel deals. The hotel browser includes a map to help you quickly locate a convenient hotel. It’s an affiliate link, so if you book a hotel through it, I may earn a small commission without any extra cost to you. Plus, it’s a great way to support WanderInEurope so we can write more guides that might also help you in the future.

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To make your visit to Salzburg even more unforgettable, consider extending your stay to experience some of its unique attractions and exciting day trips nearby. They’re truly fun and amazing! My top picks for day trips include a leisurely stroll through the charming alpine village of St. Giglen, a journey back in time at the Hohenwerfen Fortress, an incredible exploration of water-powered automatons at Hellbrunn Palace, and a trip to Berchtesgaden in Bavaria for the most stunning alpine views you’ll ever see.

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