As the fourth largest city in Austria, capital of the Salzburg state, Salzburg is a fascinating city. With castles, churches and towering mountains surrounding the city, it is a place of breathtaking beauty. In fact, it is such a wonderful place that is became listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
This city has an ancient and fascinating history, with evidence of life dating back 15,000 years! It is a place we highly recommend visiting, however, be prepared for the costs when you do..
Austria, in general, is known to be an expensive place, in comparison to some other European cities. Given that we highly emphasise on the budget lifestyle when we travel, we were expecting this city to push us to the limits. However, this diod not seem to be the case!
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Salzburg City Guide – The Salzburg One Card
When we arrived at our campsite, we learned of the Salzburg one card. This can be purchased at most accommodation and is well worth the money if you are planning on seeing attractions. Depending on the length of time you will be in Salzburg, you can purchase a 24hour, 48hour or 72hour pass. These all allow unlimited rides on public transport during this time.
The passes give the holder a one-time free admission into many of Salzburg’s main attractions that you need to check out during your visit to Salzburg. There are also numerous attractive discounts on concerts and eateries. Another benefit of the card is the express entrance, as some of the queues can be lengthy!
We opted for the 48hr pass, which cost us €28. In return, we got €82.20 worth of some of the best attractions in Salzburg, not to mention the numerous buses we rode. This price depends on when you are visiting the city, however, it is guaranteed to save you money!
Cost – €24.10
High above the bustling city streets of Salzburg sits the Hobensalzburg Fortress. First established in 1077, this castle is the largest fully preserved castle in Central Europe. In all the years of it existence, it has never fallen to enemy attacks. If you ever visit this beautiful place, you will understand exactly why!
Since 1892, the castle has been open for visitors to explore by foot. However, this does involve a pretty steep walk.. Thankfully, there is the option of an easy ride on the funicular railway to the top of the intimidating hill. From here you can explore around the castle grounds, learn about the history of Salzburg and take a trip around the museum. There are even guided walking tours you can enjoy, with translated audio guides teaching you about the fascinating history.
There are restaurants and ice cream stops at the top, so stop off and try out the local treats before you leave. The stunning, panoramic views of Salzburg city from the top of the Hobensalzburg Fortress are some of the best views in Salzburg, so make the most of them!
Savings – €9.10
Shooting you 60m above Salzburg in just 30s, the Monchsberg Lift allows a view of the city from a rather unique angle. Dug impressively into the mountainside, the lift will take you to a plateau above the city. Here you can drink in the panoramic view, grab a bite to eat and explore the Museum of Modern Art.
Unfortunately, the museum is not included in the Salzburg One Pass and will cost you extra. The pass does, however, include one return ride on the lift, so pack a camera and a picnic and enjoy the beautiful views of Salzburg from the top.
Savings – € 15
What better way to explore this beautiful city by riding the incredibly blue waters of River Salzach. This river runs through the city centre of Salzburg. It played a huge part in shipping the salt mined from the nearby mountains. Beginning at the Kitzbuhel Alps, the blue colour is believed to stem from the cold temperature of the water preventing bacteria from growing. Very pretty, just don’t fall in!
The cruise itself was quite a weird and wonderful experience. The boat took us down the canal for approximately half an hour and with a loudspeaker discussing the scenery as it passes. Unfortunately for us, the loudspeaker was broken, however, the driver did a great job at filling in instead. As you reach the end of the outwards leg, there is a cracking view of the Alps. However, on the day we did the cruise a thunderstorm loomed on the horizon, blocking any view of the towering peaks.
On the return leg, the driver informed us that they normally play Waltz music and everyone sings. We thought he was kidding, but before we knew it everyone was humming the tune and spinning in circles! Bizarre, but funny all the same.
Stiegl Braewelt – An Interactive World of Beer
Savings – €12.50
The largest private brewery in Austria is open to the public for a fantastic interactive tour over 3 floors. Experience the smells, sounds and tastes of this famous brewery, and learn how they produce 90,000 bottles of Stiegl Bier per hour.
Spread over 5000sq-metres, this exhibition will take you from the procurement of the ingredients to the consumption of the final product. You will experience the brewing techniques, the bottling methods and learn the fascinating history of how this world-famous beer was advertised.
Although some of the exhibits don’t have English translation, you can still enjoy the visual shows and interactive displays throughout the tour. PLUS to top it all off, with the Salzburg One Card you will receive a free gift and pint of Stiegl Bier.
Untersberg Cable Car
Savings – €25
The legendary mountain of Untersberg sits high above the city of Salzburg. With its highest point of 1853m, the panoramic views from this natural obelisk are absolutely spectacular. If you are feeling fit (and very brave), there are plenty of options for hiking the 1776m to the cable car station at the top of Untersberg.
Thankfully, there is also the option of a 10-minute cable car ride to the top. A trip to the top is also included in the Salzburg One Card, making it the perfect day out! Located slightly further out of the city centre, the Untersberg mountain is a bit more difficult to get to, however, it is well worth the trip.
Once you get to the top of the mountain, you can climb another 100m to each of the two peaks for better views of the surrounding area. Or if you are more into your relaxation, you can enjoy a meal at the cafe or even rent sun loungers to soak up the high altitude sun. Don’t be fooled by the ambient temperature of the city of Salzburg however; the increase in altitude means it will be a good bit colder at the top than it is a ground level.
Savings – €2.70 per trip
The main area for catching public transport in the city centre is Marinaplatz. We were staying in a campsite on the outskirts of Salzburg and there were only 2 buses an hour into the city. It would have taken us over an hour to walk, so our best option was to catch a bus to maximise our time in the city.
The Salzburg One Card includes all public transport around the city of Salzburg, making it very easy to get your money back. Buses will cost you about €2.70 per trip, so if you are going to be heading to all of these attractions, you will save a LOAD of money!
The Salzburg One Card was a perfect option for us as we were using public transport daily, as well as visiting a lot of the attractions. We saved €54 each by purchasing these cards so it was definitely well worth it. On your next trip to Salzburg, how about you try it and let us know what attractions you visited!
Salzburg was an incredible city to visit, with scenery that is just out of this world. The beautiful countryside and the lovely people in Salzburg mean we will definitely be returning soon. We can recommend this city to any backpacker, regardless of what budget you are on. However, when you do visit, make sure you buy the Salzburg One Card!
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