The Salzburg Card is a 24h City Card offering free entrance to most of the attractions in Salzburg. In this article I will explain why the card will save you a lot of money and how it is used most effectively. What are the must visits and when to visit them ideally. Like always this may vary depending on your interests so feel free to mix and match.
The cable car – first thing in the morning
The cable car to Untersberg with it’s stunning views is a must if you get the Salzburg card. In fact the cable car alone makes the card worth. The price for the cable car and the bus, which is included in the card, would already be higher than the 24 hour card.
The reason Untersberg should be your first stop in the morning is because all the attractions open at 9 o’clock. The cable car is no exception, but it takes half an hour to get there and the buses start early in the morning. Make sure you get the card the day before and take bus number 25 from Mirabellplatz to its final destination to catch the first ride up the mountain.
Hellbrunn – on your way back
Hellbrunn is a 17th century palace. There are guided tours for the trick fountains and the Salzburg zoo. The reason why Hellbrunn is your second stop is because it is on the way back from the cable car taking bus number 25.
In case you want to visit the zoo as well you get off a stop before the castle at “Anif Zoo Hellbrunn” otherwise you get off at “Schloss Hellbrunn”. After visiting the zoo you take the exit going left from the entrance to be closer to the castle.
Coming back – where to get off?
On your way back to the city you want to get off at the stop called Mozartsteg. Mozartsteg is a bridge which by the way was in the movie “The sound of music” in the “DoReMi Song”. You cross the bridge, go straight ahead and end up at Mozartplatz and Residenzplatz, two of the main squares in the old town.
Domquartier and the Salzburg Museum
These museums are about the history of the city. The Salzburg museum dates back to the early 19th century while Domquartier was established in 2014. Even if you are not a museum person you should have a quick look. After all it is free.
Especially Domquartier is worth the visit not only for the history, but for the buildings. You get to the choir empore of the cathedral where the main organ is located and to interior rooms of St.Peters monastery which you otherwise could not visit.
The Salzburg museum houses the Sattler panorama. A 360° painting of Salzburg. It is 25 meters long, 5 meters high and shows Salzburg in 1825, a time where there was no photography yet. When Sattler finished his painting after 4 years he traveled with it for 10 years to show Salzburg to the rest of Europe.
The catacombs at Saint Peter’s cemetery
If you have enough time before the 2pm guided tour to the concert hall you can pass by the catacombs at St.Peter’s cemetery. It is on the way and takes about 10 minutes to visit. I would not consider it a must see, but as i said before it is free and on the way.
Guided tour to the festival hall
A key point to understand Salzburg is the Salzburg festival and the concert halls. Guided tours are in included in the card and start at 2pm. Depending on the hour you can head there after the museums or squeeze in Mozart’s birthplace, which is not far away.
Mozart’s residence and birthplace
The most popular sight in Salzburg is probably Mozart’s birthplace. However the residence being less famous is equally worth seeing. I would not spend the entrance fee without the card, because it is kind of expensive for what it offers. But again. With the card it is free after all.
The birthplace is where Mozart was born and the residence is where he lived from when he was 17 until he moved to Vienna. You first want to visit the birthplace for its nearby location and then move on to the residence. They are both museums and each should not take more than half an hour to visit.
The Salzburg Fortress – the best is yet to come
The Salzburg Fortress is the must see attraction. The best time to visit the fortress depends on the time of the year. If you are keen on beautiful sunset you ideally stay there until the sun sets. There are various museum inside the fortress like a string puppet museum, an audio guided tour and the fortress museum. However i think it is more about the building and the views than anything else.
After closing time you can stay inside the fortress as long as you want, but the museums will be closed. That means even without the Salzburg card you can get in and enjoy the views right after closing time.
In summer it closes at 7pm and in the low seasons at 5pm. From November till March the funicular runs only until 5pm while in summer it runs until 8pm or 10pm.
Mönchsberg elevator – the best night view
In case you still have energy and want one of the best night views you take the elevator up to the museum of modern art next. The museum will probably be closed after visiting all the other sights. However it is not among my favourite attractions anyway, but that might be due to my lack of interest in modern art. Even in low season the elevator works until 9pm except on mondays.
How about getting a 48h Salzburg Card?
If you have enough time and want more or just a less busy schedule you can go for the 48 or the 72 hours card. It is not much more expensive. This guide only covers the must see attractions and there would be more to see like the toy museum, the christmas museum or the museum of natural history.
Where to get the Salzburg card?
You can get the card from the tourist informations at Mozartplatz or at the trainstation. Therefore if you arrive at the train station you can get it right away. In case you stay at a hotel or a hostel they most likely also sell the Salzburg card at the reception.