SALZBURG, Austria - The Best Free Activities & Sights

Updated: Sep 9

Visiting Salzburg doesn't need to be an expensive destination. You don't need to buy a Salzburg Card or visit every tourist attraction. In fact, we didn't spend much at all while enjoying the sights of Salzburg and would encourage you to do the same.


For many people, "The Sound of Music" springs to mind when they think of Austria. The city of Salzburg, the setting place for the movie, is lovely to visit and explore. If you're particularly interested there's even a themed tour that focuses on points of interest from the movie. This wondrous city has many treasures; from baroque churches, squares, fountains to various places dedicated to Mozart who was born in this town. If you get the opportunity do not miss the International Festival, usually from July to August, which is a great celebration of music.


Make sure to go beyond the obvious money-spinners of Salzburg – Mozart and The Sound of Music – and you will discover a city with wonderful food, manicured parks and quiet side streets. Even in the busy season of August, we found plenty of hidden spots with no tourists in sight.


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  • Steingasse - This historic cobblestoned lane is one of the oldest streets on the right-hand side of the Salzburg historic district. It runs parallel to the Salzach River and at the foot of the Kapuzinerberg. Its medieval charm, with trendy pubs, remains a nearly tourist-free part of old Salzburg and is a great place to escape the tourist frenzy.

  • Richterhöhe, Mönchsberg - You can walk all the way to this stunning viewpoint without having to pay the Hohensalzburg Fortress entrance fee. Make sure to appreciate the architecture of the Salzburg Fortress on the mountaintop from the outside on your way up and then stop to enjoy the views out over the city once you reach the top.

  • Makartsteg and Mozartsteg - Walk across these beautiful bridges and admire their architecture and how they connect both sides of the city over the Salzach River.

  • Kapuzinerkirche - For one of the best views over the city, walk all the way up to the top of the hill to this monastery and admire the views out over the river.

  • Amble Around Salzburg Altstadt - The Old Town area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which encompasses many historical buildings of Medieval and Baroque architecture, beautifully designed squares or Platz, as they are called, and quaint little side-streets leading off to forgotten corners.

  • Mozartplatz, Residenzplatz and Kapitelplatz - These are the most famous squares of Salzburg and are a great place to stroll around or find a spot to relax and watch people going by.

  • Petersfriedhof - Also known as Friedhof Salzburg or St. Peter's Cemetery, this old cemetery has a rather unique atmosphere and is worth walking through to admire the tombstones. The mini-gardens are overlooked by cliff face monks' caves, catacombs & chapels.

  • Cycle Around Salzburg - Salzburg is a very cycle-friendly city and we really enjoyed cycling along the Salzach River, amongst the locals going about their daily business and between the many tourists rushing between sights!


  • Enjoy Sunset Alongside The Salzach River - There are plenty of places along the grassy banks of the Salzach River where you can sit back, relax and watch the stunning sunset view. We enjoyed tasting the local delicacies of Sachertorte and Mozartkognel while here and unanimously agreed that Mozartkognel was the winner!


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