Mirabel Garden

Our 4-Day Family Holiday in Salzburg, Austria

We, as a family, took a 10-day holiday in Austria in the summer and visited Vienna, Salzburg, and Innsbruck. On our ten-day holiday, we spent four days in Vienna, four days in Salzburg, and 2 Days in Innsbruck. Today, I am writing about the 2nd leg of our journey, i.e., Salzburg.

So, here was the Itinerary we followed in Salzburg:

4 Days Itinerary in Salzburg:

Day 1: Explore the city (Salzburg Altstadt), Visit Hohensalzburg, Visit Mirabell Gardens

Day 2: A day trip to Hallstatt from Salzburg

Day 3: Visit Hangar 7 and Hellbrunn Palace

Day 4: A day trip to Dachstein Caves

Before I get to the details of the places we visited, let me take my readers through travel, transport, and stay.

How we reached Salzburg

Salzburg was a part of our ten-day trip to Austria. As a part of that trip, we had already visited Vienna, and Salzburg was the 2nd leg. We travelled to Salzburg using the  ÖBB (Österreichische Bundesbahn) from Vienna. It took approximately 2.5 hours. So, we checked out from our hotel in Vienna in the morning and were in Salzburg by the afternoon. 

The tickets for ÖBB trains can be bought on their official website:


You can also book your tickets to Salzburg on Where we stayed

Since we are a family with kids already in their teens, having enough space for each of us is essential. Hotel rooms are not spacious and restrict everyone to a small room. So, off late, we have started booking homestays. We usually reserve a flat or house, preferably with an equipped kitchen and a minimum of two bedrooms, so that each of us has our own space and there is always an option of cooking something. 

We, as a family, like having a good breakfast and starting our day, and a homestay allows us to make simple meals at home. Also, we like exploring the local supermarkets, finding what’s new, and trying out foods and drinks that are locally available. Homestays are an excellent option for all the people who want to add this to their holiday experience. 

You can book an accommodation of your choice on the City Website or Booking.com.

How we travelled around the city

In Salzburg, we used public transport to travel around places. Since we planned to be in Salzburg for Day 1 and Day 3 and outside Salzburg (in Hallstatt and Dachstein ) on Day 2 and Day 4, we bought the city day tickets on Day 1 and Day 3. On the other days, we purchased destination-specific tickets ( I will cover that in detail on the Day 2 and Day 4 itineraries below).

Day tickets can be purchased at any ticketing machines at the bus stops, at the Tobacconists, or from the bus driver. Tickets can also be purchased using the official website of Salzburg Verkehrverbund (the public transport authority in Salzburg): https://ticketshop.salzburg-verkehr.at/ or app, but you have to register there. So, the simplest way we chose was to buy from the bus driver or the ticket machine.

Now, let’s get on with the Itinerary:

Day 1: Explore Salburg old city (Altstadt), Visit Hohensalzburg and Mirabelle Gardens.

On the 1st day, we wanted to get a feel of the city. So we reached Mozartplatz.

We explored some prominent buildings there, like the giant statue of Mozart, The Salzburg Museum, Getreidegasse– the present-day shopping street with its famous landmark –Mozartgeburtshaus (Mozart’s birthplace), and the Salzburg Cathedral.

All these places are located within a kilometre of each other, and one can easily explore everything on foot.

We spent about 1/2 a day exploring the city and then stopped by for lunch at an Indian restaurant called Hanna’s Rasoi on Getreidegasse. This restaurant serves fantastic Indian food and is a must-visit when in that area. After having a sumptuous lunch here, he headed to Festungsgasse, from where we took the rail to Hohensalzburg

About Hohensalzburg:

Hohensalzburg Fortress is a large medieval fortress in Salzburg located at an altitude of 506 m. The enormous length and width of the Fortress make it one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. It can be reached by climbing steps or more easily by rail. Apart from offering beautiful city views, the Fortress also houses museums and princely chambers worth visiting. 

We had purchased our tickets for the fortress visit in advance, and I recommend to my readers to do the same as, during peak tourist season, there are long queues, and purchase may not be possible on the spot. Tickets can be booked on their official website. There are many ticket options, but we bought an all-inclusive ticket, which included visiting everything inside the Fortress and the rail ride. The Fortress is enormous and offers lovely views of the city.

Here, I would ask my readers to be mindful of the closing times of the fortress. It is open till 8 pm in summer, but in winter, it closes early, around 5 pm. I suggest planning your entry time to avoid disappointment. Especially if you have bought all-inclusive tickets, you will need at least 3 hours to reach the Fortress and see everything. It would be best if you also accounted for the long queue for the rail during peak tourist season.

We finished our visit and climbed down using the steps. The scenery is lovely and can be enjoyed only when you climb down, taking steps, and not by rail. 

Our next stop was Mirabell Garden, which is about a kilometre from the rail stop at the base of Hohensalsburg.

About Mirabell Garden:

Mirabell Garden is a baroque-style historic garden adorned with fountains, well-manicured lawns, and plenty of places to walk or relax under the shade of a tree. From here, you also get a fantastic view of the Hohensalburg fortress. It is a photo enthusiast’s treasure because of this lovely backdrop. The garden is beautiful too and is a treat for the eyes. 

After visiting the garden, we called it a day and returned to our homestay.

Day 2: A day trip to Hallstatt

On this day, we had planned a day trip to Hallstatt.

About Hallstatt

Hallstatt is a small village about 70 km southwest of Salzburg on Lake Hallstatt’s western shore in Austria’s Salzkammergut region. It is famous for its lovely landscapes, Alpine houses, and Salt mine- Salzwelten.

How to reach Hallstatt from Salzburg

You can either take the bus or train to reach Hallstatt. But using the bus is anytime a better choice as it is faster and cheaper. By train, you get dropped on the other bank of the lake, from where you must take a ferry to reach the salt mine side. Although the bus journey is broken into three legs, it is pretty straightforward and saves you time.

Here are the bus details:

Salzburg to Bad Ischl using Bus 150

Bad Ischl to Hallstatt Gosaumühle using Bus 542

Hallstatt Gosaumühle to Hallstatt Lahn by bus 543

Tickets can be purchased from the driver.

In total, it takes about 2 hours to reach Hallstatt from Salzburg.

We spent an hour or so exploring the place on foot. The lake is stunning, and the sights are breathtaking.

The village is lovely, too, and a walk on the narrow streets, exploring the town, and admiring its beauty is a must-do activity in Hallstatt.

Then, we stopped by for lunch and headed to our next destination, Salzwelten in Hallstatt.

About Salzwelten

Salzwelten refers to the 7,000-year-old salt mines in Hallstatt. The archaeological finds discovered here prove that mining took place here as far back as 350 BC.

Here, a 3500-year-old wooden ladder, the oldest wooden ladder in Europe, has been displayed and can be seen by visitors. Many axes and pics have also been found here, substantiating the history of mining activities in this area.

The highlight of these mines is large salt crystals, which are displayed, an underground lake, and a 64 m-long miner’s slide, which is said to be the longest in Europe.

The place can be visited only with a guided tour, tickets for which can be purchased on their official website.

The ticket includes reaching up the hill using the funicular, the guided tour and using the funicular to come down too.

A note for my readers: Book your tickets in advance to avoid long queues if you plan to visit the salt mines. To enter the mines, all visitors are provided special clothing: a shirt and pants that can be worn on top of their clothes. So, dress up accordingly and wear sturdy shoes. The place is mostly dark, and the guided tour lasts about 90 minutes, so if you have any problem with darkness, consider that before your visit. Lastly, plan at least 3-4 hours for the salt mine visit. That would include going up, exploring the exhibits near the salt mines, viewing the platform, etc., then the tour, and then returning to the base.

After our salt mine tour, we explored the lovely surroundings and returned to the base.

Then we took the bus and returned to Salzburg the same way we came in the reverse order.

Day 3: Visit Hangar 7 and Schloss Hellbrunn

Our first stop for today was Hangar 7.

About Hangar 7:

Hangar-7 at Salzburg Airport is a unique building that houses the Flying Bulls aircraft fleet and a Formula 1 race car collection. Hangar-7 also offers space for art exhibitions. It is a treat for car lovers. There is no entry fee for this place.

We spent an hour here. The place also has a nice restaurant.

Our next stop was a super fun place called Schloss Hellbrunn.

About Schloss Hellbrunn:

Hellbrunn Palace is a big Baroque Villa built in the early 17th Century by the then Archbishop -Markus Sitticus. The key tourist attraction in the palace is the many trick fountains, the idea of which came to Markus Sittikus, who thought it would be fun to perform practical jokes on his guests. He designed many water sprays that would mechanically get activated. He designed them in such a way that at each station, there was always a spot that was never wet. That’s where the Archbishop stood or sat and watched as the water sprays took his drenched guests by surprise.

For example, there is a large stone table with seats around it. A water conduit sprays water on the guests’ seats and drenches anyone who sits on them. Also, there are hidden fountains that surprise people and spray water on them as they walk around the area. There are water jets that are mechanically operated. Also, there is a theatre with music to entertain the guests.

Here again, visitors can enter with a tour guide. Audio guides are given, and a guide demonstrates how all the secret water jets operate. Visitors can have fun getting themselves wet!

Adjoining the trick fountains is a large garden and the villa, which can be visited.

With an audio guide, visitors can understand the story behind this building and about Markus Sitticus.

Tickets for the visit can be booked at the counter or on their official website.

Hellbrunn Palace is undoubtedly an informative and fun place to visit, especially when you are with children. They are sure to enjoy exploring the secret fountains and getting wet.

A note for my readers: You need at least 2-3 hours to explore the place fully, so plan your visit accordingly. Carry an extra set of clothes to have fun in the water fountains. Also, the Hellbrunn Palace and fountains are only open in the summer months. In the winter, only the open gardens can be accessed.

After we visited the Hellbrunn Palace, we headed back. That was the end of day 3.

Day 4: A day trip to Dachstein Caves

Located just a few kilometres from Hallstatt are the Dachstein Caves. We made a day trip to these caves and travelled from Salzburg by bus.

Here are the details of how to reach the Dachstein Visitor Centre from Salzburg:

Here are the bus details:

Salzburg to Bad Ischl using Bus 150

Bad Ischl to Hallstatt Gosaumühle using Bus 542

Hallstatt Gosaumühle to Dachstein Visitor Center by bus 543

Tickets can be purchased from the bus driver.

Do the reverse when returning to Salzburg.

About Dachstein Caves:

Dachstein caves are ice caves located high up in the mountains and are one of the largest in the world. Visitors can buy tickets at the Dachstein Visitors Centre. The tickets include the cable car ride to the top (a three-legged journey) and a guided cave tour.

We took tickets for two cave visits – The Ice Caves and the Mammoth Caves. Apart from this, we also visited the cave museums on our way to the caves. There are many more places to visit in Dachstein, but we were able to cover only these on our day trip.

The caves are a must-visit and provide great insights.

A note for my readers: Start early if you plan to travel by bus for a day trip to Dachstein. The last bus for return to Salzburg is early in the evening, around 5 pm ( please check the latest bus schedule when you travel), so you need to be back at the Visitors Centre to catch the bus. Visiting all the caves, the museum, and the cable car ride takes time, and you will most likely stop at a restaurant for lunch. During the peak tourist season, queues are everywhere, starting from buying tickets. All this will take at least 6 hours, so starting early is much recommended. Also, it’s cold inside the caves, so dress accordingly.

With this day trip, we ended our 4-day holiday in Salzburg!

Salzburg is a must-visit and a charming place if you plan a holiday in Austria. The day trips to Hallstatt and Dachstein make the trip worthwhile and offer experiences that are hard to get anywhere else in the world.

Mozart chocolates are found everywhere in Salzburg. These nice souvenirs can be taken back as a memory of the trip.

Read about the 1st leg of our vacation in Vienna here.

Read about our next leg of the journey to Innsbruck here.

Read about our other holidays here.

Do comment and let me know if this article was helpful for you. If you have already visited Salzburg, share your experiences.

On my gallery page, check out more pictures of all the lovely places in Salzburg.

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