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Free things to do in Salzburg

Beautiful aerial drone panorama of Salzburg city in Austria. 

Salzburg is the perfect place to explore without paying a penny. It is not only the birthplace of Mozart but also has plenty of free things to do and see, including Salzburg Cathedral, Mirabell Gardens and Hohensalzburg Fortress. It is a great place to visit, even if you are on a budget.

Salzburg is a beautiful city with an impressive history that you can explore for free. It is famous for being the setting for The Sound of Music and many of the locations from the film can be visited. Salzburg is a great city for families and couples alike. Here are some free things to do in Salzburg, Austria that will not cost you anything.

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Explore Salzburg city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The old town of Salzburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1997 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared Salzburg’s old town a world heritage site. The designation ensures that this distinctive architecture will be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

There are statues, churches and palaces available to view for free and everything is within walking distance from each other. You can take your time exploring all there is to see, without having to worry about transportation.

The baroque city of Salzburg enjoys a reputation as one of the Alps’ most beautiful northern cities. The city is very much a tourist destination, but it is not overrun with tourists. It has a lot to offer on its own merits, and you will be hard-pressed to find another place that feels as authentic and real as Salzburg. The old town is stunningly beautiful and well worth your time if you have any interest in art or architecture whatsoever.

Historic city of Salzburg with Hohensalzburg Fortress at dusk Salzburger Land Austria

Old Town

One of the best parts about Salzburg is that you can get away from the crowds and find your own little slice of heaven. The Old Town is the perfect place for this. With its cute little shops, cafes, restaurants and bars it has something for everyone.

There are plenty of historic buildings dotted around making it a great place to grab a coffee or beer while sitting outside enjoying some sunshine. It is a great area to explore and enjoy for free, where you can soak up the culture and atmosphere that the city has to offer.

Salzburg Austria. Old town with Festung Hohensalzburg fortress and Salzburger Dom. salzburg

Free walking tour

Salzburg is a city with rich history and culture. The best way to learn about Salzburg is by taking a free walking tour. This tour will give you an insight into the historical sites in Salzburg, as well as its heritage. An example of a free walking tour starts at the Spirit of Mozart, one of the most famous artworks in Salzburg.

It also visits other historic sites like Mirabell Palace and Residenzplatz Square. The tour is 1.5 hours long and covers topics such as ‘where was Salzburg founded and why’ and ‘why are there so many Churches in Salzburg’. If you are interested in learning more about Salzburg and its history, then this free walking tour is highly recommended. The tour is usually conducted by local volunteers who love their city and want to share their passion with others.

Salzburg Card

Salzburg Card is a ticket that gives you free entry to all of the attractions in Salzburg, including the Mozart Residence and the Marionette Museum. It also gives you discounts and free transportation around the city. You can purchase the cards for 24 hours, 48 hours or 72 hours, depending on the length of your trip and itinerary.

Prices start from 30 euros per person. If you are planning to visit Salzburg during the summer months when the city is packed with tourists, then purchasing a Salzburg Card is highly recommended. The card itself may not be free but it is a great way to save money during your trip and avoid waiting in line for tickets at various attractions.

Salzburg Museum

This museum is a great place to spend some time, especially if you have kids with you. The exhibits are lighthearted and fun for all ages. The museum has a variety of areas to explore including, Unique Salzburg, The Salzburg Myth, The Panorama Passage and The Art Hall.

The Salzburg Museum is a unique institution within the magnificently restored Neue Residenz, garnering numerous awards as it presents valuable art objects and aesthetic presentations. Multimedia installations also invite visitors to marvel and learn. This museum has a one-time free admission with the Salzburg card.

Salzburg Austria Hellbrunn Palace - the globe in the room in the museum. The globe - a symbol of adventures and travel

Hellbrunn Palace

Built in the 17th century by Prince-Archbishop Markus Sittikus, this palace was primarily used for entertainment purposes. It is now open to the public and offers amazing views. The gardens are also worth a visit, especially in the summertime. This palace has a one-time free admission with the Salzburg card. The grounds at Hellbrunn Palace are beautiful with scenic gardens that are well worth exploring.

Also popular among visitors are the Trick Fountains, which have been delighting people for centuries with their elaborate displays of water-spouting statues and playful sculptures. Visits to this historic site can be made daily from April until November. You can spend hours walking around the gardens exploring all of their secrets. There are plenty of benches dotted around so make sure you take your time to stop and rest your legs.

Hellbrunn Palace or Schloss Hellbrunn in Salzburg Austria. Hellbrunn Palace is an early Baroque villa of palatial size in a southern district of the Salzburg city.

Salzburg Cathedral

One of the cheap things to do in Salzburg includes visiting Salzburg Cathedral. The cathedral was built in the 17th century and its size makes it look like it could have been built today. A closer look at Salzburg’s cathedral reveals many surprising and exciting details. With its mighty dome and two towers, it leaves an absolutely impressive stamp on the city skyline.

It also boasts a wealth of intricate artwork inside that has captivated visitors for centuries. A conservation fee of €5 is collected for visiting the church, in order to ensure its protection and preservation. This is reduced to €3.50 with the Salzburg card. This activity may not be free but the conservation fee goes to a good cause and it is well worth the experience that you will receive.

View from Hohensalzburg Castle on Kapitelplatz, St Peter's Abbey, Franciscan Church and Salzburg Cathedral, Austria

Mirabell Palace

Mirabell Palace was built in 1606 by Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich. The name Mirabell comes from its Italian origin of two words meaning ‘admirable’ and ‘beautiful’. The palace is located in the old town of Salzburg and is surrounded by a beautiful garden. Today, Mirabell Palace houses offices for the city of Salzburg as well as its mayor.

Many weddings are held in the famous Marble Hall and the whole complex is open to the public free of charge. The Marble Hall is the most famous room in the palace, with its detailed walls and intricate ceiling. This is a must-see if you are visiting the Palace. Another must-see is the Angel Staircase which is decorated with several cherubs.

Mirabell Palace or Schloss Mirabell is a historical building in Salzburg city Austria. Mirabell Palace with its gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mirabell Gardens

The Mirabell Gardens are a part of the Mirabell Palace and they are a great place to relax, enjoy nature and have a picnic. Scenic points and spots of interest include the Pegasus Fountain, the Dwarf Garden and the Grand Fountain. Pegasus Fountain is a sculpture of the winged horse which is based on Greek mythology and was created in 1913 by Kaspar Gras. The Grand Fountain was designed by Ottavio Mosto and decorated with 4 groups of figures symbolising the 4 elements: fire, air, earth and water.

The Hedge Theater can be found in the western section of Mirabell Gardens. It is one of the oldest hedge theatres north of the Alps and serves as an outdoor stage during summertime for folk-heritage events and other special occasions. The Dwarf Garden originated during the rule of archbishop Franz Anton Fürst Harrach.

It originally consisted of 28 dwarves made from white Untersberg marble. Now there are only 17 left! It is the oldest garden like this in Europe. Please note that this is closed during winter months. The Rose Garden is located directly south of Mirabell Gardens, whose ornamental rose beds are a prominent feature and are a breathtaking view to see.

Mirabell Palace and Gardens in Salzburg, Austria.

Hohensalzburg Fortress

If you are seeking a free way to get your adrenaline pumping, consider a climb up Hohensalzburg Fortress. This medieval castle was originally built in 1077, the purpose of the fortress was to protect the principality and archbishops from outside threats. For hundreds of years through countless battles and sieges, the city has never been captured by foreign troops.

Today, it sits on Salzburg’s highest hilltop, 506m above sea level with views that span miles over the Austrian countryside. The fortress is open all year round and visitors can get there by walking or taking the Funicular Railway from Festungsgasse.

The Hohensalzburg Fortress is one of the largest castles in Europe and arguably the continent’s best-preserved medieval castle. When you visit the fortress, you will be able to see how its unique location has made it such an important place in history. The view alone will make your trip worthwhile!

Scenic view of the Hohensalzburg fortress in the city of Salzburg, Austria.

Salzburg Festival

Salzburg’s annual festival of opera, music and drama is the world’s most significant. It features classics as well as performances by famous artists and events for younger audiences. It is held every summer and is one of the oldest and most prestigious festivals in the world.

Salzburg Festival takes place in the months of July/August, with performances taking place at venues across Salzburg and surrounding areas. The city also becomes a hub for artists during this time, who come from all over the world to perform here.

Salzburg, Austria. Christmas Market in the old town of Salzburg.

Salzburg Zoo Hellbrunn

Visit Salzburg Zoo Hellbrunn to marvel at creatures from around the world. With more than 1500 animals and 150 different species, this former animal park is a fascinating place to visit. Every type of creature is represented here, from white rhinos to red pandas.

All continents of the world are covered and the zoo entry is free if you have a Salzburg card. The zoo is located within the Hellbrunn Estate which was completed in 1619. Today, Salzburg Zoo is committed to creating a modern habitat in which it can display and protect the natural world. The Salzburg Zoo is a great place to spend the day and is one of the best things to do in Salzburg with kids.

view flamingos (Phoenicopteriformes) zoo Salzburg, state Austria

Mozart’s Birthplace

In 1756, W. A. Mozart was born in the “Hagenauer Haus” at No. 9 Getreidegasse in Salzburg. Today, this is one of Austria’s most popular museums and a must-see for all Mozart fans. The birthplace of the famous composer continues to draw Mozart fans and history buffs from around the world. The museum features a number of exhibits, including the original historic musical instruments used by Mozart as well as letters and manuscripts from his personal collection.

The house itself has been restored to its original state and is considered one of Salzburg’s most important historical buildings. This constantly evolving museum is a must-see for all Salzburg visitors and is also a great place for families. There is plenty of space for children to run around and enjoy themselves while parents take in the museum exhibits.

SALZBURG AUSTRIA - : Tourists go to the Mozart's Birthplace in Salzburg Austria. Mozart lived on the third floor of the "Hagenauer House" at Getreidegasse 9 from 1747 to 1773.

Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art in Salzburg at the Rupertinum presents temporary exhibitions of international format on 700 m². This Early Baroque building in the centre of the historic district, with its unmistakable Friedensreich Hundertwasser–designed ‘Tongue Beards’ is an exquisite backdrop for modern art. In 1983, the building was taken over by public ownership and renamed the ‘Salzburg Museum of Modern Art and Graphic Collection’.

The rooms were adapted to their current use as an outstanding setting for head-turning graphic art and photography. It now houses the Generali Foundation’s art collection which consists of more than 2,100 stunning works by 250 renowned artists. The Generali Foundation’s extensive archives, library and parts of its collection are open to the public and are free of charge to view.

Salzburg Austria - Museum of modern art. Salzburg is renowned for its baroque architecture and was the birthplace of Mozart. It is an Unesco World Heritage Site.

Conclusion

There is a lot to see and do in the city of Salzburg. There are plenty of free walking tours to enjoy, hundreds of beautiful buildings to admire and exciting museums to learn from. The city is also filled with great restaurants and cafes to enjoy, as well as many quirky and quaint shops. There are plenty of places to see and things to do in Salzburg, so you will not be disappointed on your trip! In fact, with so many things to choose from it can be hard to know where to start.

If you purchase the Salzburg card, you unlock the potential to enjoy several free attractions that can make your trip even more enjoyable. You can use the card to visit some of the most important historical sites in Salzburg and you will also be able to get discounts at many of the city’s museums as well. If you want to save money on your trip, then purchasing a Salzburg Card is a great way to do so!

Recommended cheap tours in Salzburg

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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!