Lay of the Land
The Old Town lies on the left bank of the Salzach River. This is where most of the historic sites are found, including the Residenzplatz, an incredible Baroque square, the Salzburg Cathedral and the Festival Theater, which stands on the 17th-century foundations of the court’s stables. The whole thing is presided over by Festung Hohensalzburg, the city’s towering landmark and Central Europe’s largest intact fortress.
- Driving Time from Vienna: 2h45min
- Driving Time from Munich: 1h30min
- High-Speed Train From Vienna: 2h30min
When to Go
Every summer, the Baroque city of Salzburg comes alive with opera, music and theater during the multi-week Salzburg Festival. Hotels and restaurants book up fast during this time, so it pays to be an early planner. The city is also beautiful in the late spring and fall. Wintertime Salzburg is far less busy and the pre-holiday season is the epitome of Austrian Gemütlichkeit, with Christmas markets and decorations illuminating the old-world streets.
The Old Town is best explored on foot, as driving in the narrow streets (many of which are one-way or even pedestrian-only) can be a nightmare. If you are based outside of the city center, biking is also a nice way to get around.