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Best Day trips from Salzburg

Beautiful view of Salzburg skyline with Festung Hohensalzburg and Salzach river in summer Salzburg Salzburger Land Austria

Salzburg in Austria may be associated as the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and known for its exquisite museums like the DomQuartier Museum, but you will quickly discover that the city can offer much more than the many cultural institutions.

Travellers looking for an active holiday should climb to the top of Mönchsberg (the climb starts in Salzburg Old Town!) and dining enthusiasts can get excited about the city’s countless cafes and the local breweries. Don’t forget, Salzburg is also a great hub for Austrian day trips. Here are our recommendations for the best Salzburg tours!

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Day trip from Salzburg to Hallstatt

A getaway to Hallstatt is a must on your Austrian itinerary. And if you only have one day to explore this beautiful Alpine village, we recommend you make the most of your hours. Try to depart from Salzburg as early as possible or consider an overnight trip to Hallstatt.

One of the main Hallstatt attractions are the ice caves! Dachstein Ice Cave (Dachsteinhöhlen in German) was discovered in the early 20th century and since then it has been attracting local and international tourists with its stunning views of frozen waterfalls and unique rock formations. Be mindful that the large ice blocks make the temperature drop! Even if you’re planning your trip in the middle of the summer (the caves are only open from May through mid-October), remember to bring extra clothing with you. Getting to the cave is a very picturesque tour on its own! Get ready for a ride with Dachstein Mountain’s cable car and have your camera ready, the views are stunning!

When in Hallstatt make sure to join a tour of the Hallstatt Salt Mine (“Salzwelten” in German). It is often considered the oldest in the world, dating back to 5,000 years BC. The salt deposits made the early-day Hallstatt prosper, even earlier than the Roman Empire! Excavations of the current mine began in early 18th century and have brought remarkable discoveries such as a completely preserved salt-man and sets of tools from the Iron Age (that began in 8th century BC). 

Many day trips from Salzburg to Hallstatt also include a visit to the Bone House. Located in the lower level of Saint Michael’s Chapel, it is an ossuary filled with human bones and painted skulls, carefully put in order. The symbols painted on the skulls disclose social status, and the skulls are neatly arranged in family groupings. You’ll easily recognize the skulls of Catholic priests, as they would be placed on a bible or next to a religious symbol. 

Hallstatt and Salzburg are less than 80 kilometres away. You can consider renting a car for the day or taking public transportation. Both bus and train connections are available, but keep in mind that the train journey is longer and includes a ferry ride with “Stefanie” that sails daily between the Hallstatt market and the railway station.

Day trip from Salzburg to Hallstatt

Sunny autumnal day at famous Hallstatt lakeside town reflecting in Hallstattersee lake. Location: resort village Hallstatt, Salzkammergut region, Austria, Alps. Europe.. Location: resort village Hallstatt, Salzkammergut region, Austria, Alps. Europe.

Day trip from Salzburg to Werfen Ice Caves

Even though you can explore some of Austria’s ice caves on your day trip to Hallstatt, a dedicated day tour to Werfen Ice Caves should also be added to your itinerary. Werfen Ice Caves are the biggest in the world, with the cave system extending more than 42 km deep into the mountain. The caves are a protected natural monument, and their natural beauty and unique ecosystem are carefully conserved, which is why only selected sections of the ice cave are open to visitors.

A part of the exploration of Werfen Ice Caves is a ride up on the steepest gondola lift in Austria! The lift will not take you all the way up though, prepare to climb many stairs and remember extra clothing and comfortable shoes.

Werfen Ice Caves are located about 60 kilometres from Salzburg and approximately 80 kilometres from Dachstein Ice Cave. You can reach Werfen directly from Salzburg by train (the journey will take 40 minutes, and single one-way ticket fares start at 7 EUR, approx. 7,7 USD) or bus (the journey will take 1 hour 20 minutes, and ticket fares for a single trip start at 8 EUR, around 9 USD). 

Day trip from Salzburg to Werfen Ice Caves

WERFEN, AUSTRIA - People walking at hiking trail through Austrian mountains near Werfen to ice cave Eisriesenwelt

Day trip from Salzburg to St. Wolfgang

Tranquil strolls along the lush lakeshore, meandering around the beautifully preserved city centre with a 14th-century church and views of Salzkammergut boathouses; prepare for all that and more when visiting the Austrian village of Saint Wolfgang.

One of the main tourist attractions is St Wolfgang’s impressive Wallfahrtskirche that also happens to be a marvellous gallery of religious art. The church is mostly known for its winged high altar from the 15th century, created by artist Michael Pacher in German Gothic style. 

In the mood for an adventurous ride? Take a 35-minutes long ride on Austria’s steepest cog railway. It departs from Saint Wolfgang and goes to the top of Schafberg mountain (1783 meters above sea level), from where you can admire a stunning view of the natural landscapes surrounding Saint Wolfgang. 

Day trips from Salzburg to St Wolfgang are the perfect opportunity to explore the city’s remarkable dining scene. Restaurants and wineries around town are tempting tourists and locals alike, and since the city gains a whole different charm after the sunset, many visitors decide to stay in Saint Wolfgang for dinner or even visit for an overnight trip. 

St. Wolfgang catholic church or Pfarrkirchen Wallfahrtskirche aerial panoramic view in St. Wolfgang im Salzkammergut at Wolfgangsee lake Austria

Day trip in Salzburg Lake District

A visit to Hallstatt and Saint Wolfgang are often included in full-day tours around Salzburg Lake District, but the beautiful “Salzkammergut” lake region offers even more attractions. Popular among international visitors is Wolfgang Lake and the adjacent village of St. Gilgen with a bustling little town centre where you will find the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s mother. The picturesque castle of Fuschl also attracts many tourists. Raised on a peninsula in the middle of the crystal clear Lake Fuschl, it now serves as a spa and wellness Resort. Around the lake, you will also spot several lakeside cottages in the traditional style of the Salzkammergut boathouses. 

Many tours also stop in Bad Ischl, a little spa town, most famous for its Emperor’s Villa (“Kaiservilla” in German). The village or rather its “Konditorei Zauner” pastry shop is a daily attraction for local and international foodies – get ready for cakes, confectionery and coffee served in a traditional Austrian setting. 

The different villages of “Salzkammergut” lake region are not far from each other, which makes away tour around Salzburg’s Lake District easy to plan on your own. Rent a car for the day to tour around the scenic villages and visit the beautiful nature spots, but if you prefer to have a guide with you, look into private guided day trips from Salzburg. 

Day trip in Salzburg Lake District

St. Gilgen and Wolfgangsee lake aerial panoramic view in Salzkammergut region in Austria

Day trip from Salzburg to Hohenwerfen Castle

Are you ready for a first-hand experience of the Middle Ages? The Hohenwerfen Fortress is over 900 years old, and it is situated on a steep peak, crowning above the Salzach valley. The Hohenwerfen Castle is one of three fortresses that Archbishop Gebhard ordered to build in the late 11th century. The castle used to serve various purposes, and in the 17th and 18th centuries it was even used as a prison! The castle has only been open to tourists since 1987; during Nazi rule, Hohenwerfen was used as a training centre for the military, and after the war, it was taken over by Salzburg’s police school.

Today the Hohenwerfen Castle does not only attract visitors with its amazing structure (the tourists can explore not only the former residential parts of the castle but also pay a visit to the dungeons, the arsenal tower and even come close to the castle’s secrets like the so-called “Dark Stairway”, which is hidden inside one of the castle walls), but also with a vivid calendar of events, happenings and workshops. The castle offers special Falconry programs (Hohenwerfen Castle is also Austria’s first dedicated Falconry Museum), children’s workshops as well as curated, themed markets. 

Hohenwerfen Castle is only 44 kilometres away from Salzburg, and the most convenient way to get there from the city is to drive. From Salzburg, you can rent a car for the day and make the trip on your own or simply book a guided day tour with hotel pick up! If neither of the options suits you, you can also go by train, but keep in mind that the journey to Tenneck (from where you can take a taxi directly to the Castle) will take approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. Single one-way adult ticket fares start at 8 EUR (approx. 9 USD).

Hohenwerfen castle and fortress above the Salzach valley at Werfen on Austria

Day trip from Salzburg to Berchtesgaden

Berchtesgaden is a serene village that tempts both Austrian and international visitors with a wide range of attractions spanning from historic World War II sites, amazing hiking trails with breathtaking views to peaceful spots for a stroll or a hideaway in nature. 

A visit to Berchtesgaden often includes a tour to Hitler’s Eagles Nest (also known as “Kehlsteinhaus”). The Eagles Nest was meant to be a gift for Hitler’s 50th birthday in 1939 but was completed a year earlier. The interior of the chalet deserves a mention on its own – extravagantly decorated, it even has a fireplace that was a present from the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. 

Berchtesgaden is also home to a very impressive salt mine! Unlike some of the other salt mines in the region, this one is open all year round, offering guided tours that will teach you about salt mining, bring you to an underground lake and even offer you a tour down down the old wooden miner slide!

Last, but not least, we hope you find time for a relaxing stroll around Berchtesgaden Old Town. The “Altstadt” as it is called in German, was planned around the Collegiate Church of St Peter and St Paul. With time, the church expanded into a royal palace with 214 rooms! In the Old Town area, you will also find the bustling market square that hosts a local market every Friday. Also, make sure to stop by the Deer House to have a look at the “Monkey Facade” and it’s impressive murals!

Berchtesgaden is less than 30 kilometres away from Salzburg, and this day trip is easily done by bus! One-way single journey fares start at 5,9 EUR (around 6,5 USD). The trip takes around 50 minutes, and you will arrive at Berchtesgaden Main Station. Do note that Berchtesgaden is located in Germany! You will be crossing the border between Austria and Germany, so make sure to have your passport with you, just in case. 

Day trip from Salzburg to Berchtesgaden

Historic town of Berchtesgaden with famous Watzmann mountain in the background, National park Berchtesgadener, Upper Bavaria, Germany

Day trip from Salzburg to Bavarian Alps

A visit to Berchtesgaden and Eagles Nest is often included in guided Salzburg day trips to Bavarian Alps region, but we recommend you to dedicate more time to explore this beautiful mountain range. The Austrian Alpine region is home to amazing attractions like the Hellbrunn Castle, one of the most popular family attraction near Salzburg. The castle was designed by Santino Solari, the architect whose commissions also include the Salzburg Cathedral. The castle offers a permanent exhibition and invites you to meander around its many rooms to learn more about the history of this magnificent residence. 

Another site in the Bavarian Alps that is worth exploring is the King’s Lake (known as “Königssee” in German). Most of the lake lies within Berchtesgaden National Park, and it is a beautiful place for a relaxed walk in nature or (for the more adventurous explorers) challenging hikes. Lake swimming is possible too, and so are boat tours (cruises operate only between April and October). Notice that only electric boats are allowed on the lake to keep the water clean and minimize the pollution in this pristine area. 

Explore the area on your own (eg. rent a car for the day) or join a guided tour, and remember to have your passport with you to avoid any unpleasant practical surprises. 

Day trip from Salzburg to Bavarian Alps

Beautiful mountain landscape in the Bavarian Alps with village of Berchtesgaden and Watzmann massif in the background at sunrise, Nationalpark Berchtesgadener Land, Bavaria, Germany

Day trip from Salzburg to Swarovski Crystal World 

Opened in 1995 to mark the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the company, the Swarovski Crystal World is a truly magical place. Created by the Austrian multimedia artist André Heller, is a story of a giant who sets out to experience the world and its treasures and miracles. The Crystal World consists of 17 different “Chambers of Wonder”; among them one named “Ready to Love” described as “amorous paradise” or a room called “Eden” with a name referring to the Biblical paradise and the interior resembling a mystical, primeval forest. Inside this dark forest, the visitors encounter mystical, hidden gems in the form of some of the biggest Swarovski crystals ever produced!

“The Giant” is surrounded by beautiful gardens that contain both contemporary art pieces and installations but also showcase historical Roman excavations, one of Swarovski Crystal World‘s most recent acquirements.

Swarovski Crystal World is 175 kilometres from Salzburg, close to the city of Innsbruck, which is often added as a stop on guided day tours from Salzburg to Swarovski Crystal World. In fact, Innsbruck has a shiny tourist attraction on its own! One of the most popular Innsbruck landmarks is the Golden Roof (“Goldenes Dachl” in German). Located in the Old Town, it has become the common name for a building with beautifully ornamented oriel windows and a roof surface decorated with 2657 gilded copper-tiles, put up to mark Emperor Maximilian I’s wedding to Bianca Maria Sforza. 

Even if you are not planning to join a guided day tour from Salzburg, Innsbruck will mot likely become part of your travel itinerary. To visit Swarovski Crystal World from Salzburg by public transportation, we recommend going to Innsbruck first; either by train (prices start at around 22 EUR, approx. 24 USD) or bus (prices start at 17 EUR, approx. 18,5 USD with FlixBus) and from there making your way directly to Swarovski’s “Giant”. 

Day trip from Salzburg to Swarovski Crystal World

Park of Swarovski World Innsbruck - Austria

Day tour following the footsteps of “Sound of Music

You surely remember the catchy tunes of “Do-Re-Mi” from the popular musical “Sound of Music”. Did you know that the feel-good plot is based on a true story of young Maria Kutschera and that the movie was filmed at various locations around Salzburg? For this picturesque tour you don’t even have to leave the city, simply carve out some time to explore Salzburg’s marvels. 

The original “Sound of Music” shooting locations include the Mirabell Palace (and gardens) with a stunning marble hall that used to serve as a banquet hall of the Austrian prince-archbishops and Leopoldskron Palace (“Schloss Leopoldskron”), a former residence of Salzburg’s prince-archbishop, situated just a few minutes’ walk from the city’s historic district.

Another site that faithful “Sound of Music” fans will probably recognize is the “Horse Pond” at Karajan Square, that catches the attention of Maria von Trapp and the children during a carriage ride through Salzburg. 

Explore the different sites and more original shooting locations on your own (more detailed information will be available online and in tourist information points in Salzburg) or join a curated tour with a guide and… a soundtrack to make your experience even more special. Some of the tours even include breakfast served in the scenic location of “Schloss Leopoldskron”. 

Day tour following the footsteps of “Sound of Music

Famous Schloss Leopoldskron, location to Karl Lagerfeld's Paris-Salzburg catwalk presentation show to showcase the new Chanel Métiers d'Art 2014/15 fashion collection, in Salzburg, Austria at sunset

Recommended Best Day trips from Salzburg

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Best Day trips from Salzburg

Best Day trips from Salzburg

Best Day trips from Salzburg

Article written by:

Hi, my name is Samantha, Finance Managing Guru by day, Travel Blogging Enthusiast by... well... day too! Haha! Travelling King is the destination hotspot for the wannabe traveller! Showcasing affordable, luxurious getaways for the budget conscious! With the combination of my financial knowledge and travelling experiences I aim to show you, with a little planning, the right budget and a realistic goal you can fulfil your travel fantasies and explore the world whatever your budget or desires may be!