- Currency is the Euro.
- Electrical voltage is the same as Germany, which is 230 volts and 50 Hertz. They also use C and F plug types. Bring an adapter if you are using a different electrical voltage type. This is the one I recommend.
- The most common language spoken is German but many people speak English quite well.
Do You Need a Visa to Visit Austria?
If you hold a US passport you can visit Austria visa-free for 90 days. You should also know that your passport must be valid for up to 3 months after your last day in Austria and you may have to show proof of date of departure upon entry. A plane or train ticket will suffice.
The same visa rules apply (90 days stay) for citizens holding valid passports from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Venezuela, Vatican, and many more.
Is Austria Part Of The Schengen Area?
Yes. For those who don't know, the Schengen Area is comprised of 26 European states that have officially abolished passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders.
Weather In Salzburg
The best weather is found between April and October but it is most crowded in July and August and prices are the highest during this time as well. Winter is a great time to visit and you can even ski (outside of Salzburg) from November to April!
How To Get To Salzburg
Vienna International Airport (Code: VIE) is located in Austria’s capital and is the main international airport for flying into Austria. Tickets are usually cheapest here. From Vienna, you can easily take a train into Salzburg.
Salzburg Airport (Code:SZG) is the second biggest airport in Austria and you can sometimes find cheap flights here. You can also try Innsbruck Airport (Code:INN) but, of course, flights into smaller airports tend to be pricer.
Tip: To save money on a flight to Austria consider flying into a nearby city in a border country (like Munich Germany) and then taking a train to your final destination.
Due to the numerous mountains and winding roads rail travel is the recommended way to get around the country. The rail system in Austria is incredibly efficient and well maintained. You'll rarely find delays and be able to enjoy the scenery at the same time.
The main train station in Salzburg is located to the north of the river in the New Town of Salzburg. It's called Hauptbahnhof and was renovated in 2014 making it new and modern. Intercity trains are frequent (trains to Vienna come once an hour!) as well as trains connecting to nearby countries.
Although I just recommended train travel in Austria, if you want to drive from city to city you've made a great choice. Despite the challenging terrain car travel is very easy in Austria. Just make sure you have the sticker on your car to drive the roads. Those cost anywhere from 8 Euros for a 10-day pass to 80 Euros for a 12-month pass.
Salzburg is well connected to both Vienna and Munich via the autobahn. If you are driving in the winter make sure your car has snow chains! Also, once you get to Salzburg don't try and drive around the city. There are tons of one ways and German language signs. Instead, you should simply find a parking space and travel the city by foot.
Best Way To Get Around Salzburg
How to get from the Salzburg airport to city center
The best way to make your way into the center of town is by trolleybus. You can buy tickets directly from the bus driver.
The best way to get around is on foot. It is a very walkable city.
The StadtBus is a network of city buses that are very inexpensive. A single trip ticket on the bus is €2.60, a single short trip ticket €1.30 (maximum 3 stops), a 24 h ticket is only €5.70 and covers the whole city. Bus tickets can be bought directly on the buses from the bus driver. If you want to save money though, buy the tickets in advance (in blocks of 5) at a "Trafik".
Salzburg is a fantastic city to bike with over 100 km of bike paths. You can easily rent a Road Bike and is often faster than a bus or even car. One of the most scenic bike routes are located on either side of the river.
Should You Get A Salzburg Card?
Of course, this is a personal choice and totally depends on how long you are staying and how much you want to pack into your trip. The card can be a great investment though and I suggest looking into it. It includes:
- Free single admission to all the city's attractions.
- Free use of public transport throughout the city, including fortress funicular, panorama boat & cable car Untersberg.
- Attractive discounts for cultural events.
- Discounts for various tours and excursions.
Best Things To Do In Salzburg
Old Town (Altstadt)
This gorgeous district is on the UNESCO World Heritage list and contains some of the Salzburgs most popular attractions. Don't miss Mozarts house and the Salzburg Museum. Take a morning stroll for the best experience.
The High Alpin Road
If you can, plan a road trip while in Salzburg. The scenery is gorgeous and you'll experience the Alps at your pace. Did you know, the rolling hills outside of Salzburg is where the Sound of Music was filmed.
Dom zu Salzburg (Salzburg Cathedral)
With a towering facade and gorgeous blue domes, this cathedral is a stunner. It was re-built multiple times (after fires) and the current structure was built in the 1950's after WWII damaged the roof. The cathedral is a beautiful example of early Baroque architecture.
Birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Also known as Mozarts Geburtshaus, be sure to at least walk past the birthplace of Mozart. Born on the third floor of this building on Jan. 27, 1756, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived here with his family until 1773. Inside the building is a museum that will educate you on Mozarts early years as well as key artifacts from his life.
The big one you don't want to miss is right in Salzburg. Hohensalzburg Castle is one of the must do's while in Salzburg and for good reason. You'll be able to catch classical music being played in the square while strolling around the impressive fortress (also the largest medieval castle in Europe!).
More Sound of Music history awaits you at the pristine Mirabell Gardens. Julie Andrews and company practiced "Do-Re-Mi" in "The Sound of Music" on the stairs of the garden. But, you'll also be impressed with the fountains and winding paths that make for some excellent Instagram pictures.
Mozarts Wohnhaus (Mozart's Residence)
Mozart eventually moved to Vienna, but before that he lived across the Salzach River. Unfortunately, two thirds of the original house was destroyed in WWII bombings but a recreation of the property has been restored and here you can learn more about his early years at his residence in Salzburg.
annual Christmas Market (Christkindlmarkt)
An absolutely fantastic way to celebrate the holiday season is visiting the Christmas market in Salzburg. You'll find gorgeous displays that features food, Christmas decor, winter clothes, and other Austrian delicacies. The market opens end of November and closes on Christmas.
Best Restaurants & Food in Salzburg
Typical to just Salzburg are Mozartkugeln also known as Mozart balls. Yes, a little touristy but they are delicious. The dessert is a chocolate-covered marzipan candy ball. And yeah, you guessed it, it's inspired by the famous composer Mozart. The original is available at Café Fürst and just like anything touristy they are expensive. A small box is about €7. You can find them for cheaper in many tourist shops and grocery stores made by Mirabell or Reber.
Traditional food. Traditional restaurant. Cheapish food. Great Beer.
Austrian food in a romantic intimate setting located just steps away from the Salzburg Cathedral on Mozart Plaza. A 3-course meal for two people with a bottle of wine will run you about €90.
How Much Should You Tip In Austria?
Servers and Bartenders: Restaurants will typically add service charges into their bills. It is customary, however, to round up when paying the total. If you are tipping more than, be sure to hand it to the waiter instead of leaving it on the table.
Taxi Drivers: Most will round up to the nearest euro to pay the fare. It isn't uncommon to tip up to 10 percent of the final fare for exceptional service.
Other workers to tip in Austria:
- Tour Guides should be tipped €1 to €2 for exceptional service
- Airport Shuttle Drivers do not expect to be tipped. But, if they do help with your luggage give €1 per bag
- House Keepers in hotels usually don't except a tip. Everything is typically included in the hotel bill. If you feel the service went above and beyond leave €1 per night on the bed.
- Porters should be tipped €1 per bag.
One last thing... even though researching ahead of time is great, I definitely recommend bringing a guidebook along with you.
Rick Steves Pocket Guides are some of my absolute favorite because, as the name suggests, they are tiny enough to fit in a pocket or a small bag while still giving you a ton of information. But, here are some other books I recommend as well...
And of course, if you have any questions DO NOT hesitate to reach out to me via Instagram, Twitter, or just shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).