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Austria’s 4th largest city and the capital of its namesake state. Salzburg is a historic city home to around 150,000 people.
Salzburg’s origins go back to Roman times but it’s name derives from the Latin for “salt castle” as in the 8th Century salt barges used to pass through this town. Many Italian architects made their mark in the 17th Century but luckily many of these buildings survived World War 2 bombing raids.
Today Salzburg is a prosperous town with a GDP higher than that of most European countries. The city is world famous as the birthplace of Mozart and as the setting of The Sound of Music. The various Sound of Music tours are said to be one of the “favourite things” to do in Salzburg.
For information about gay rights in Austria, please check out our Gay Vienna City Guide page.
Salzburg is a popular pilgrimage spot due to The Sound of Music’s ardent gay following and as such, the city is welcoming of LGBT travellers. In comparison to Vienna, Salzburg is lacking in specific gay venues but there are a handful of Gay Bars and Gay Cruise Club catering to gay clients.
The fairy-tale setting of Salzburg makes it a popular destination for gay marriages, and there are several hotels and organisations hat cater for such ceremonies. HOSI organises several popular gay events throughout the year with a boat party taking place in June.
Salzburg Airport (SZG) is the second largest airport in Austria and is located 2 miles from the city centre. It is well connected to destinations in Europe however many flights are seasonal or charter flights due to Salzburg’s proximity to Austria’s main ski resorts.
Trolley bus lines 2 and 3 take you from the airport into the city centre in around half an hour. Single journeys cost €2.50 with connections leaving every 10 minutes or so. Tickets can be bought at the Newscorner, from a machine at the stop or from the driver.
Taxis can be found in front of the airport terminal building and the drive into the city takes around 20 minutes. The cost of a journey to the city centre averages around €15. Most major car hire companies are present at the terminal.
Salzburg’s Hauptbahnhof (central station) is located within the new town and is connected to destinations across Austria. Munich is only an hour away and many visitors fly there first. International services connect Salzburg to destinations in Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia.
The old town of Salzburg is compact and gorgeous and perfect to explore on foot. You may wish to take public transport in the cold winter weather, the scorching summer heat or during one of Salzburg’s frequent showers.
By public transport
StadtBus operates several lines of trolley and diesel buses in Salzburg. Short trip single tickets cost €1.30 and 24 hour travel passes cost €5.70. They can be bought from the driver but it is cheaper to buy them in bulk from a Trafik.
Lines 1 and 4 are good routes to explore the Aldstadt as they feed into the ring road surrounding it. The trolley buses run every 10 minutes in the day time while the other buses are every 15 minutes. Night buses run until 12.45 on Friday and Saturday nights and any later you will have to get a taxi.
A distinctly Sazburgian way of getting around town and definitely an experience. The traditional horse-drawn carriages can be hired from the Aldstadt’s Residenzplatz between 10am to 9pm (depending on the season) with prices starting at €44 euros for a 25 minute journey.
Taxis are plentiful in Salzburg and are easily found circling the pedestrianised Altstadt. There is also a busy taxi rank outside the main train station. Depending on the company the meter will start at €3.60 and charge 90 cents per km.
Salzburg has an excellent choice of hotels to suit all budgets. Book early, as the best hotels are often full during peak season. We’ve selected some the best Salzburg hotels for gay travellers, click on the Salzburg Hotels page.
The Altstadt – Salzburg’s historic old town is the jewel in the crown and one of the city’s main draws. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and as such it contains many restaurants, cafes and shops catering for visitors. Most major tourist attractions are situated here.
Schloss Hellbrunn – the old summer palace of the Archbishops of Salzburg. The palaces gardens are a perfect location for a romantic stroll or picnic.
Hohensalzburg Fortress – this mountain top fortification offers stunning views of Salzburg and the surrounding scenery. You can catch a concert here on some evenings.
Mozarts Geburtshaus – Mozart’s birth place and an incredibly popular destination. Expect crowds and school groups.
The Sound of Music tours – there are several popular Sound of Music related tours operating in Salzburg. Depending on your budget and time limit, some companies worth considering include Panorama, Be Special and Bob’s Special Tours.
Stiegl-Brauwelt – this brewery tour is a fun and informative experience that includes beer tasting at the end.
Salzburg Cathedral – this 17th Century baroque cathedral is a popular track as it still contains the font where Mozart was baptised. It also has an excavation museum displaying Roman relics found at the location.
Salzburg Museum of Modern Art – split over two locations, the Salzburg Museum of Modern Art offers a great insight into art of the 20th and 21st centuries and has rotating exhibitions by international artists.
Due to it’s alpine location, Salzburg is known for its frequent drizzle (known as Schnürlregen locally). The difference in temperature between winter and summer is very pronounced with frequently freezing winters and scorching summers.
Salzburg is popular all year round with summer and Christmas (especially for the markets) being very popular times to visit. In July and August the Salzburg Festival attracts culture vultures looking for outdoor performances. Easter also has several festivals taking place.
Austria is part of the Schengen Zone which allows for free and easy movement amongst its neighbours. It is also part of the European Union, so its visa restrictions fall inline with what you would expect from most other EU states. Be sure to check with the Austrian embassy before travel.
Austria is part of the Eurozone. You will find a wide variety of money changing outlets, but the best rates will be found at banks. ATMs (known locally as Bancomats) are readily available. Most major cards are accepted but it is not that unusual to encounter places that accept cash only.
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