Best of Salzburg on a Budget 2 Day Itinerary

Revised 5/7/20.

If you’ve read my See Italy and Austria in 2 Weeks then you’re here to read how to spend 2 amazing days in Salzburg on a budget, yes? Great! Here I will break down my 2-day Salzburg (with Hallstatt) itinerary perfect for any first-time traveler, budget or not.  I have done this suggested travel myself as a solo, budget, female traveler so, yes, these two fabulous days in Salzburg can be done.

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Salzburg on a Budget (or Not) Guide

To help with your Austria travel planning, remember to check out my great travel information on Austria along with my suggested travel resources

Don’t forget to also peruse my Guide to Budget European Accommodations for additional accommodation-planning information.

Let me state here that when I say “budget”, I mean your daily travel expenses should total €100 or less.  Yes, it is very possible to visit Salzburg on less than €100. Or more!  It’s up to you and your budget. The following travel guide can work for anyone, budget or not. The key factor that can push you out of the “budget” range is the accommodations you choose, not the attractions. Nice, huh?

Ok, now let’s get you to Salzburg on a budget!

Why Go to Salzburg?

Nestled in the Alps near the German border, Salzburg is a picturesque town that boasts the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  The capital of the Bundesland Provence and the 4th largest city in Austria, Salzburg holds an Old Town (Alstadt) and New Town (Neustadt) that are divided by the Salzach River. The Alstadt is very pedestrian friendly and is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritagesite with its medieval and baroque architecture. 

Salzburg Transportation

From Innsbruck, Vienna or any other Austria locations, it is more than likely you will arrive at the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, the main train station and a major hub in western Austria. Most of Salzburg can be done on foot, so from there you can walk or take a shuttle to your hotel if you prefer. 

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Where to Stay in Salzburg

You’ll ideally want to stay within the Salzburg historical center and  walking distance of the main train station.  If you don’t want to walk you could catch a taxi to your hotel that should cost no more than €10 (confirm the fare with the driver in advance).  For ease of arriving and departing Salzburg, and walking around for the best Salzburg sights, I recommend staying within the circle on the map:

Where to Stay in Salzburg Austria Map

For budget purposes, my hotel recommendation/value for the money with breakfast and taxes included at €70/night is Gästehaus im Priesterseminar Salzburg. It is is close the city center with a very nice breakfast, and includes all of the lovely amenities you could need.

If you want cheaper accommodations, there are other hotels and hostels to choose from starting at around €15/night, depending on what amenities and location you want. Hostelworld has some great, Salzburg listings.

Conversely, if you want to pay more, take a look at Salzburg accommodations.  I would still recommend staying in the suggested area noted above.

Many accommodations may not let you check in until 2-4pm, but if available, have them store your luggage until your room is ready so you can get out and enjoy Salzburg!

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Salzburg Attractions

People walking on Getreidegasse Old Town Salzburg Austria
Getreidegasse, Old Town

Here are some top Salzburg attractions that could easily be considered “must do’s”:

  • Festung Hohensalzburg (Hohensalzburg Fortress) – the most fascinating attraction in Salzburg, in my humble opinion, this towering fortress on the hill was built in the 11thcentury and has since served as a prison, an army camp and military stronghold. Catch the cable railway at the base of the hill to ascend and descend. I would take a guided tour to absorb its history, but the best part of this fortress is the incredible views of Salzburg and beyond. Note, this attraction is not open year-round.
  • Salzburg Altstadt (Old Town) – free to wander around, and the heart of Baroque style architecture with cobblestone streets, the Old Town section of Salzburg on the left bank of the Salzach River holds markets, the Salzburg Museum, shopping, Mozarts Geburtsthaus, churches, and more – all under the backdrop of the Hohensalzburg Fortress. Get in some good shopping on Getreidegasse or take a rest at Mozartplatz (Mozart Square).
  • Dom zu Salzburg (Salzburg Cathedral) – rebuilt after WWII in all its Baroque glory, enjoy the turquoise domes, amazing façade and sculptures for FREE. Ensure to know the entrance times as they may change.
  • Schloss Mirabell (Mirabell Palace) – hosts Salzburg’s municipal government, entry is also free.
  • Mirabellgarten (Mirabell Gardens) – also free, you may recognize the steps from the “Do-Re-Mi” song from “The Sound of Music, but also enjoy the Baroque Angel Staircase, beautiful paths and sculptures surrounded by flowers.
  • Schloss Hellbrunn (Hellbrunn Palace) – also part of the “The Sound of Music” (“Sixteen Going on Seventeen” gazebo scene), the 17thcentury palace has it all – from exuisite ballrooms to an octagonal music rooms to trickfountains that shoot water at you. Note: not all access is open year-round.
  • Residenz Neugebäude (New Residence) – opposite of Residenz Palace entrance, this residence was built in the 16thcentury with a tower that is home to a 35-bell Glockenspiel.
  • Salzburg Museum – housed in the Residenz Neugebäude, it’s a beautiful place to take in some great art!
  • Stift St Peter (St. Peter’s Abbey) – built in the 7thcentury, this Benedictine Monastery is a former cathedral. It is the oldest in the German-speaking monastery.
  • Franziskanerkirche (Franciscan Church) – built in the 8thcentury, this is considered the oldest Franciscan church in Salzburg.
  • Residenzegalarie Salzburg – an art gallery housing 16th to 19th century works. One ticket to the DomQuartier gets you entry to 5 museums!
  • Altes Rathaus (Old City Hall) – a Medieval building, which formerly served as city hall.
  • Mozarts Geburtsthaus – the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and where he was raised until 1773.
  • Mozarts Wohnhaus – after the Geburtsthaus, this is where Mozart lived composing music before he relocated to Vienna.

If you are the tour group type of person, you can always check out the plentiful tours available for Salzburg and the surrounding area.

Depending on your tastes and how many attractions you wish to see, it would be worth your time to check out the Salzburg Card, offered in 24, 48 and 72-hour timeframes.  PLUS, the Salzburg Card offers packages that include hotel and dining!

View of countryside from Hohensalzburg Fortress Salzburg Austria
View from Hohensalzburg Fortress

Salzburg Events Calendar

If it helps in planning what you would like to see, here is a list of annual events held in Salzburg.

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Salzburg Dining

What would a visit to Salzburg be if you didn’t visit its famous Augustiner Bräerstübl Beer Hall? If you’re really into beer, why not try walking the Salzburg beer route to see Salzburg’s breweries and taverns?  The Augustiner Bräu also has traditional cuisine such as Wiener Schnitzel, Fleischkknödel or Spätzle. 

If you want more choices than just Austrian fare, check out Culture Trip’s list of 10 Best Restaurants in Austria.  

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Hallstatt Day Trip

If you are enjoying Salzburg and want to see more sights than in just one day, I totally understand. Salzburg is beautiful!  However, if you would like to get out to see more amazing Austrian countryside, I highly recommend a day trip to Hallstatt, whether or not you have perfect weather.

If a Hallstatt day-trip piques your interest, I suggest you purchase a round trip train ticket in advance to Hallstatt departing Salzburg no later than 9am.  Depending on your departure time, it can take as little as 2.25 hours to arrive in Hallstatt, via Attnang-Puchheim,and cost as little as €9-15 each way, depending on how far in advance you book your train ticket. Make sure to know when the last return train departs for Salzburg.

You can then arrive at lunch time to soak in the lakeside scenery over a lazy lunch.  If you want to better your chances on avoid crowds, go earlier in the morning, on a weekday and in the off season. By taking the train, you already don’t have to deal with parking, which is a bonus for you.

Hallstatt is a town to just relax and meander or hike. Don’t try to “do it all”.  Take it easy. Explore the town shops, walk along the water, and take in the sun.  The more time you have the more scenic views you can experience with great snaps to share with friends, like from the northern part of town (Aussichtspunkt Hallstatt).  If you have more time, take the funicular up to the Skywalk 350 meters over the town of Hallstatt. You will not be disappointed by the views.  Still, any view of this region is amazing so try to put this little town on your bucket list.

Town of Hallstatt Austria

Salzburg on a Budget: 2-Day Itinerary

My suggested Salzburg hotel can be booked for €140 for 2 nights (a fabulous breakfast and taxes included). If you get a better deal or choose a more budget-friendly accommodation, then your average daily costs with all meals could be less than 100!  Note: this is not using the Salzburg Card, which may provide even more savings.

That said, here is my suggested 2-day Salzburg itinerary so you can see how budget-friendly Salzburg can be without sacrificing comfort or skimping on the major sites.

Note: prices below do not reflect lunch or dinner meals, and attractions prices may have changed slightly since time of writing.

Hohensalzburg Fortress on the hill Salzburg Austria
Hohensalzburg Fortress

Salzburg Day 1 = €81

  • Festung Hohensalzburg
  • Salzburg Altstadt / Getreidegasse / Mozartplatz / Altes Rathaus
  • Schloss Mirabell / Mirabellgarten
  • Dom zu Salzburg
  • Hotel (breakfast and taxes included)

Day 2 - Day Trip to Hallstatt = €88 - 100

  • Roundtrip train ticket (funicular ticket optional)
  • Hotel (breakfast and taxes included)

Alternatively, if you wish to spend your second day in Salzburg: 

Day 2 - Salzburg = €97

  • Residenz Neugebäude & Glockenspiel
  • Salzburg Museum 
  • Stift St Peter 
  • Franziskanerkirche
  • Residenzegalarie Salzburg 
  • Mozarts Geburtsthaus 
  • Mozarts Wohnhaus
  • Hotel (breakfast and taxes included)

Let Me Hear From You

I would love to hear if this was helpful to you. Post me your thoughts or questions in the Comments section below!

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Gwen is the Founder of CORR Travel and a global traveler and photographer with over 25 years of solo travel experience. She is also the Founder of the sustainability blog. Travel is her passion and environmental sustainability and biodiversity protection is her "religion".

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