Are you planning a trip to Salzburg? This Austrian city is a great spot to explore. Whether you’re a solo traveler, enjoying a family vacation, or checking out the city as part of a guided tour, you’re sure to fall in love with this charming town. From the architecture and attractions to the food and the friendly people, there’s plenty to appreciate here.
As with any vacation, you can certainly expect to spend some money while you’re here. All things considered, Salzburg isn’t a particularly expensive destination, making it a great spot to visit if you’re trying to see and do a lot on a budget. However, it’s still a good idea to take advantage of some of the free and cheap things to do around town – especially when so many of the best attractions in Salzburg don’t actually cost anything at all.
Not sure what those are? Here are some of the best free and cheap things you can do when you’re in Salzburg:
ADMIRE THE VIEW FROM KAPUZINBERG
Salzburg is a city surrounded by nature, including the Kapuzinerberg – a lush, green mountain that rises above the Salzburg skyline along the River Salzach. It’s popular among locals as a spot to hike, bike, and escape the city to reconnect with nature, and it offers visitors some of the most spectacular views you can find of the city below.
There are several different paths you can take to reach the top. Each one is scenic and leads to sweeping views of Salzburg and the surrounding forests. Toward the top, you’ll also find a monastery, as well as the Franziskischlössl, an old defense tower that’s been turned into a restaurant. Grab lunch there – or bring a picnic lunch to enjoy nearby – and savor the views before you make your way back down to the city below.
STROLL THROUGH THE MIRABELL GARDENS
One of the most beautiful spots in all of Salzburg is the Mirabell Gardens. These stunning lawns have been carefully tended since the early 1600s, and they make the perfect spot to slow down and smell the roses – literally. You’ll find a number of beautiful fountains and sculptures scattered throughout, along with interesting features like the Dwarf Garden.
Visit during the summer months, and you’ll find the Mirabell Gardens host several activities associated with the Salzburg Festival. This internationally-renowned festival draws in artists, musicians, and actors from around the world to stage a series of performances around town, many of which are free to the public.
ENJOY SALZBURG’S OLD TOWN, ALSTADT
One of the best spots to explore in Salzburg is absolutely free to enjoy. You can’t go to Salzburg without experiencing Altstadt, otherwise known as Old Town. Mozart’s birthplace can be found here, along with the Mirabell Palace and Gardens, the Salzburg Cathedral, and the Feisenreischute – but you don’t even have to seek out the attractions in the area to enjoy this part of town. Aside from hosting a number of the city’s most important landmarks and buildings, Altstadt is home to a number of different hotels, eateries, shops, and galleries, making it an obvious destination for visitors and locals alike.
Wake up early and stroll the streets before the city truly wakes, or admire it during the evening when restaurants are bustling, and storefronts are illuminated. Grab a cheap snack and enjoy a bite to eat, or find a bench in a public square and spend some time people-watching. However you choose to spend your time in Altstadt, you can’t really go wrong – this charming district will win you over.
CHECK OUT THE FRANZISKANERKIRCHE
Salzburg is home to so many beautiful churches and cathedrals that I’d be doing the city a disservice to leave a couple off of this list – especially as they’re free to enter. The Franziskanerkirche is definitely one worth stopping by. This breathtaking Gothic church is one of the oldest in the city, and its spire is a well-loved part of the Salzburg skyline. The inside is simple yet stunning, with paintings lining the walls, high vaulted ceilings, and an ornate golden altar.
TOUR ST. PETER’S ABBEY
With origins dating back to 696 A.D., St. Peter’s Abbey has been a longstanding part of Salzburg, and it’s definitely worth seeing for yourself when you’re in town. Like most churches throughout Europe, there’s no fee to enter the church and admire the beautiful architecture. While you’re here, you can also stroll through the cemetery, which serves as the final resting place for a number of well-known figures in Austrian history, and tour the catacombs.
EAT SOME STRUDEL
Salzburg – and Austria in general – is known for serving up some of the best apple strudel in the world. If you aren’t familiar, apple strudel is essentially baked apple slices wrapped in a flaky pastry crust, and it’s absolutely delicious. You can’t leave town without indulging in this sweet treat at least once. Luckily, it isn’t hard to find a local shop serving up fresh apple strudel – and other variations of the dessert, if apple isn’t necessarily your thing.
Enjoy one with coffee as a breakfast treat, or snack on one as an after-lunch dessert or afternoon snack. However you choose to enjoy an apple strudel in Salzburg, you can’t go wrong!
CHECK OUT HANGAR-7
Situated close to the airport, Hangar-7 is an ode to all things Red Bull. They’ve built a series of exhibits to highlight their adrenaline-fueled experiments and challenges, like the highest freefall ever survived by man, and it’s well worth exploring – especially because it’s absolutely free! While you will have to spend (and by that, I mean splurge) if you’d like to take advantage of their onsite dining options, it costs nothing to enter the center and see what’s going on.
As you can see, there are tons of ways to experience Salzburg without spending anything at all – and I’ve only just scratched the surface. There are countless other churches, parks, squares, and spots to enjoy that don’t cost a thing, not to mention tons of local eateries, souvenir shops, and attractions that can be enjoyed without spending a ton of cash.