A Picture Perfect Day Trip to Salzburg from Munich (+Photos)

As a teen I visited Salzburg, only to soon replace all my memories with typical teenage interests, completely forgetting all that I had seen. But one fateful day, upon watching The Sound of Music for the umpteenth time, there was a sense of familiarity about the whole setting. Had I been Maria in a previous life?

A quick Google would later reveal to me that this was indeed the same place that I had visited as a wide-eyed, first-time traveler in my youth. So what is an amnesia-riddled nomad to do? Retrace my steps of course!

The Deutschland ticket of the summer of ’23 was my gateway to Germany but also to northwestern Austria! In just under two hours, you can go from lederhosen and beer gardens to Mozart and schnitzel, quickly ticking off another country from your bucket list, or in my case, revisit a forgotten treasure.

The convenient train ride from Munich winds through the countryside and across the border, taking you into Salzburg’s Hauptbahnhof. From there, I opted for a leisurely stroll to the Old Town, entering across one of the iconic bridges. What awaits you as you cross the Salzach River is a whimsical town laden with history, culture, and plenty of photo opportunities!

Sing the Sound of Music

Residenzplatz fountainResidenzplatz fountain

Let’s get the most important facts out of the way. Forget centuries of royal history and cultural significance, Salzburg was the main filming location for the Sound of Music and that is all that my theater geek heart cared about.

There are many group tours that take you to filming locations around the city but if you are on a day trip like me, you can simply discover the sights in the city yourself, especially if you want to see some non-movie related locations too.

The Hohensalzburg Fortress, perched atop Festungsberg hill, offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding hills, immortalized in the opening scenes of the movie.

The Mirabell Gardens, adorned with vibrant flowers and classical sculptures, showcase the iconic Pegasus Fountain and the grand staircase where Maria joyfully sang “Do-Re-Mi” with the von Trapp children. You could find me confidently marching towards the giant fountain on Residenzplatz to make a little splash, sans guitar in hand.

These locations not only provide a nostalgic connection to the beloved film but also allow visitors to relive the magic of “The Sound of Music” in the very spaces where Julie Andrews and the von Trapp family left an indelible mark on cinematic history.

Feel the Mozart Magic

Mozart Ducklings

Mozart and Salzburg go hand in hand and you will be hard-pressed to find a shop or restaurant that doesn’t bring honor to the maestro in some way. Begin your immersion at Mozart’s Birthplace, a charming yellow house on Getreidegasse 9, where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756.

Weirdly, you will now find a Spar on the ground floor but there is something oddly charming about this juxtaposition of old and new. The museum on the top floors offers an intimate look at his early life, showcasing his childhood violin, clavichord, and other personal items.

To delve deeper into Mozart’s life in Salzburg, visit the Mozart Residence on Makartplatz. This elegant residence, where the Mozart family lived from 1773 to 1787, exhibits the family’s living quarters and a myriad of artifacts, including Mozart’s fortepiano.

The residence provides a nuanced perspective on the composer’s daily life, struggles, and triumphs during his years in Salzburg.

Salzburg’s connection to Mozart extends beyond museums; it permeates the very streets and squares where he once strolled. As you explore the city, you’ll encounter statues, plaques, and landmarks commemorating the composer’s influence.

The Mozartplatz, with its grand statue of Mozart, stands as a central tribute, and the nearby Mozartsteg bridge provides a tranquil spot to reflect on the musical genius’s enduring impact.

A Taste of Salzburg

Arkadengarten SternbräuArkadengarten Sternbräu

A day trip to Salzburg is incomplete without savoring its culinary delights, an integral part of the city’s rich cultural landscape. The Old Town is dotted with charming cafes and traditional Austrian eateries, each irresistible in its own way.

Indulge in a slice of Sachertorte, a locally renowned chocolate cake that has become a symbol of Austrian baking craftsmanship. The cake originated at Hotel Sacher in Salzburg, making it as authentic as you can get! It’s not quite as decadent as I would like a chocolate cake to be (Matilda ruined me), but it is tradition, so dig in!

The harmonious pairing of this treasured dessert with a cup of rich Austrian coffee transforms a casual break into a delightful midday treat, allowing you to relish the flavors that define Salzburg’s sweet offerings.

Many of the high-street restaurants aim to rival the French Riviera and seem a tad out of place, so I opted to venture to one of the city’s traditional beer gardens, where the essence of Austrian cuisine comes alive.

At Arkadengarten Sternbräu, you can savor iconic dishes such as Wiener Schnitzel, a breaded and fried veal cutlet, or Tafelspitz, a tender boiled beef dish, all served per the usual cafeteria style that beer gardens are known for.

These hearty meals, accompanied by a crisp Austrian beer, provide a genuine taste of the region’s culinary heritage. Amidst the jovial atmosphere of these establishments, surrounded by locals and fellow travelers alike, you’ll discover that Salzburg not only captivates with its historical charm but also indulges the senses with its diverse and flavorful food offerings.

Find the Views at Hohensalzburg Fortress

Hohensalzburg Fortress

Dominating the city’s skyline, this medieval marvel stands as one of Europe’s largest and best-preserved castles, offering a journey through time and panoramic views that are nothing short of breathtaking. Begin your ascent by a leisurely, albeit steep, walk up the hill or opt for a funicular ride that provides a scenic route to the fortress gates. I was short on time (and breath), so to the funicular I went!

Upon reaching the summit, immerse yourself in the fortress’s rich history, spanning over 900 years. I adored strolling through the expansive courtyards, exploring the well-preserved chambers, and visiting the Fortress Museum, where exhibits detail the castle’s evolution and significance in Salzburg’s past.

The highlight of the fortress experience is undoubtedly the unparalleled panoramic views of Salzburg and the surrounding Alps. The vista from the fortress battlements encompasses the city’s medieval skyline, the meandering Salzach River, and the picturesque Alps that stretch beyond.

As you delve further into the fortress’s interior, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the various themed rooms, including the Golden Hall, where concerts and events occasionally take place.

A visit to Hohensalzburg Fortress wouldn’t be complete without a pause at the Fortress’s terrace cafe. Here, you can relax, enjoy refreshments, and savor the captivating views. The fortress also hosts regular concerts and events, adding a touch of cultural splendor to the experience.

Meet the Marionettes


Just when you think I am done waxing lyrical about The Sound of Music, guess again! The Salzburg Marionette Theater, nestled in the heart of the Old Town, is a cultural gem that adds a touch of enchantment to the city’s rich artistic heritage.

One of the most popular shows here is The Sound of Music but you can also watch Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” or “The Nutcracker” by Tchaikovsky or a myriad of children’s fairytales.

Established in 1913, this venerable institution has earned international acclaim for its exceptional marionette performances, captivating audiences with meticulous craftsmanship and storytelling finesse.

Housed in a charming building near the Hohensalzburg Fortress, the theater exudes an old-world charm that perfectly complements its timeless art form.

Attending a marionette performance here is a unique experience, as skilled puppeteers bring classic operas, ballets, and theatrical works to life with intricately crafted marionettes. But make sure to check out the show times but you will most likely be able to squeeze in a 4 PM show before you return to Munich in the early evening.

Smell the Roses in Mirabelle Gardens

Mirabelle Gardens

The Mirabell Gardens, a horticultural masterpiece nestled in the heart of Salzburg, serve as a testament to the city’s aesthetic grace and Baroque splendor. Designed in 1690 by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, these enchanting gardens surround the Mirabell Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As you enter through the wrought-iron gates, a symphony of vibrant colors and meticulously manicured landscapes unfolds. The Pegasus Fountain, a centerpiece of the gardens, stands proudly amidst blooming flowers and sculptures, creating a picturesque scene that has become iconic.

The geometrically arranged flower beds, fragrant rose gardens, and grand marble statues contribute to the gardens’ classical charm.

The gardens extend beyond the Mirabell Palace, offering breathtaking views of the Hohensalzburg Fortress and the Salzach River. Throughout the year, the Mirabell Gardens host a variety of events, from classical concerts to open-air theater performances.

Get shopping in Salzburg

shopping in Salzburg

Salzburg has gone above and beyond to maintain the charming facades of the old town and not even the flashy window displays of H&M can distract from this old-world aesthetic.

The narrow cobblestone streets, lined with a mix of traditional and contemporary stores, offer an array of souvenirs that encapsulate the spirit of this enchanting Austrian city.

Salzburg McDonalds

As you stroll past the array of whimsical shops, turn your gaze upward and notice the adorable guild signs above each store, alluding to the city’s medieval past. Even McDonald’s got the antique treatment!

Whether you’re in search of Mozart-inspired trinkets, handcrafted chocolates, or intricately carved wooden ornaments, the Old Town’s shops are treasure troves of keepsakes. Take your time to wander through Getreidegasse, the city’s most popular shopping street.

Mozart-themed souvenirs abound, from music boxes playing “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” to elegant figurines capturing the essence of the great composer. For those with a sweet tooth, Salzburg’s renowned chocolate shops present an irresistible array of treats packaged in beautifully designed boxes, making for both a delightful indulgence and a perfect gift.

The shopping experience is not just about acquiring souvenirs but also about immersing oneself in the charm of the surroundings. Each shop, with its distinct sign and facade, contributes to the city’s unique aesthetic.

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