Best Day Trips From Salzburg:
Maybe more than any city in Europe, Salzburg is ideally placed with an endless amount of worthwhile side trips within striking distance. There are at least two dozen excellent day trips you can take that fall between 1 to 3 hours of Salzburg by either bus or train. A couple of these side trips from Salzburg are some of our favorite places in Europe. Hope you enjoy our top day trips from Salzburg!
Train Tickets & Transportation Info:
To help with planning your Salzburg day trip transportation, the National Austrian Railway (website) has all of the regional Train/Bus route and timetable information. If you are able to book any medium to longer day trips in advance, they have special Sparschiene fares that can be discounted up to 80% off the full fare. The special Sparschiene fares can be booked starting 6 months in advance on the National Train website, but because there is a limited number sold per train, you will typically need to buy them at least 30-45 days or sooner ahead your journey before they are sold out.
For travel toward Munich consider the Bayern Day Pass (info) which covers unlimited trains everywhere from Berchtesgaden through Bavaria (including Munich & Salzburg) for 1 day starting at 26€ for 1 person and goes up 8€ per person up to 5 people if you buy early. On Monday-Friday you can’t start your travel with these special passes until 9am, but Saturday & Sunday you can start anytime. If you need more advanced schedule options or want to force the route to only look for buses or certain types of trains you need to use the rail company’s advanced booking engine (website).
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Top Day Trips From Salzburg:
1. Hallstatt Village & Salt Mine (2.25 Hours Away):
About Hallstatt: There was a Hallstatt before there was a Rome and it is just about as cute of an ancient alpine village as you’ll find anywhere. Hallstatt is compact, full of history, and an absolutely beautiful lakeside village. Just walking around the village streets can be amazing and we’ve put together a Free Hallstatt Walking Tour for you to follow to make sure you see all the top sights. The main highlights include the colorful Market Square, the creepy painted skulls of the Bone Chapel, and a boat ride on the lake. If you end up with extra time we also suggest visiting the World’s oldest Salt Mine sitting just above the city which over 7,000 years old. Note that the Salt Mine is closed in the Winter.
Getting To Hallstatt From Salzburg: It’s 2 hours and 15 minutes by or an extra 15 minutes by train. The good thing about the bus outside of being cheaper and faster is that it brings you right to the heart of the village while the train drops off across the lake requiring an easy ferry transfer. The bus is nice as you and continue on right through town to check out the Ice Caves before returning to explore the town. Please Note: The Salt Mine is closed in the Winter and re-opens each April. Rating as a Side Trip From Salzburg: 10 out of 10.
View Our Hallstatt Section: (HERE).
2. Dachstein Ice Caves & 5 Fingers (2.5 Hours Away):
About Dachstein: Sitting high above Hallstatt on Dachstein Mountain are a couple real gems, the Dachstein Ice Caves & 5 Fingers Lookout. A tour of the huge Ice Cave is absolutely awesome and it’s crazy they stay at or below freezing no matter how warm it is outside. There are even a few different frozen waterfalls you have to see to believe. Depending on how you are doing for time swing up one more level on the cable car lift and hike over to the 5 Fingers Lookout where a glass bottom walkway juts you out thousand of feet above the valley floor. The views and photos are awesome, plus it is really cool to be above the tree line and around snow even when it is 60-70 degrees outside.
Getting To Dachstein From Salzburg: It’s 2.5 hours to visitor center plus a ride up the cable car and a short hike to get to either of the main Dachstein sights. If visiting by bus from Salzburg you have 2 changes before riding through Hallstatt right to the visitor center. If coming in on train you’ll have to ride 1 stop past the Hallstatt train station where you can catch the bus. Please Note: The Ice Cave is closed in the Winter from late-October until May. During this time the lifts and Alpine huts are still open, there is skiing/snowshoeing available in the Winter, and the 5 Fingers Lookout is accessible barring a snowstorm. Rating as a Side Trip From Salzburg: 9 out of 10, a solid 10 when paired with Hallstatt village.
View Our Dachstein Ice Caves Section: (HERE).
3. Hitler’s Eagles Nest (Berchtesgaden, 1.5 Hours Away):
About The Eagles Nest: Sitting above Berchtesgaden are a pair of reminders of the atrocities from WII, the Nazi Documentation Center and Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest. During WII this area served as Hitler’s 2nd seat of power after he was inspired by the area’s beauty. Everything starts at the Documentation Center which is a museum to better learn about Germany’s Nazi past. The Germans find it very important to learn about the country’s past so it is never repeated again. Our favorite thing at the Center is the vast WII bunker tunnel system below open to view as well.
Perched at a whopping 6,017 feet above sea level, the Eagle’s Nest sits high enough above the valley floor to give visitors a 120-mile view on a clear day! The Eagle’s Nest was built for Hitler’s 50th birthday in 1939 as a backup command center and served as a tea house for diplomats. Because the entire mountainside was pure rock, it was quite a feat of engineering to carve out the road, but the views were well worth it. Hitler only used the Nest a handful of times and after WWII it was converted into the restaurant it is today. Outside of the panoramic patio, our other favorite thing about visiting the Eagle’s Nest is taking the high-speed elevator that whisks you up the 406 feet from the base to the top.
Getting To Berchtesgaden From Salzburg: Take bus #840 for 45 minutes to Berchtesgaden Station where you transfer to bus #838 directly to the Documentation Center in another 12-15 minutes, Getting To Berchtesgaden.. The special EVO Bus to the Eagle’s Nest leaves from the Documentation Center’s Hintereck Parking every 25 minutes from 7:40am-4pm (Excluding Winter) and takes around 20 minutes after a short layover. Seasonality: Due to its high elevation the Eagle’s Nest is open in Summer only, usually from about mid-May through October. Cost: The Eagles Nest and elevator are free, but you must pay for the EVO Bus 16.10€ for Adults, 9.30€ for Children.
Rating as a Side Trip From Salzburg: 9 out of 10.
Read More: (Hilter’s Eagles Nest Tours).
4. King’s Lake (Berchtesgaden, 65 Minutes Away):
About King’s Lakes: King’s Lake (Königssee) just South of Berchtesgaden Germany is an angelic emerald fjord lined with mountain faces never fails to entrance visitors. Nestling in a valley between the Jenner, Hagen, and Watzmann Mountains, Königssee is Bavaria’s deepest lake at 630 feet deep. Rare species of fish swim in the long lake’s emerald green waters and the scenery gets better and better the further you go.
The highlight of a ferry boat ride on the Königssee is the triple-domed St. Bartholomä Chapel which once served as a hunting lodge for Bavarian Kings. Shortly after St. Bartholomä you enter the echo chamber where your driver will sound his trumpet to show off the world-famous echo of the Königssee. Near the end of the lake are the waters of Obersee which are unbelievably clear. Hiking to the end of Obersee will bring your through a postcard-perfect cattle grazing pasture and to the spectacular Röthbach Waterfall at the end of the valley.
Just above the lake, Jennerbahn Mountain truly has the best view anywhere in the Alps. You’ll see Königssee Lake 6,100 feet below you, hang-gliders flying by you, and miles upon miles of Alpine beauty in every direction. In the Summer months the mountain has unbelievable hiking on mountaintop trails, and in the Winter there is a ton of thrilling skiing opportunities. If you are not up for hiking, stop by Berggaststätte Jennerbann which is one of the highest rated restaurants in all of Germany and has a great public terrace overlooking the sea. There is also some amazing Alpine hiking available near King’s Lake on the iconic twin-peaked Watzmann Mountain.
Getting To King’s Lake From Salzburg: Take Bus #840 for 45 minutes to Berchtesgaden Station and transfer to Bus #841 directly to Königssee which will take around 20 minutes with stops. You can also taxi from the station to the Lake for around 10 euros, Getting To Berchtesgaden. Ferry Boat Tours: Full tours to the end of the lake take 2 hours round trip. In the peak Summer months, boats usually depart from 8am-5pm every 15-30 minutes. In the Fall they run every 30-60 minutes from 9am-4pm. In the Winter the hours are restricted and half tours run once an hour to the church and back 35 minutes each way. Getting Up Jennerbahn Mountain: From the ferry dock, it is only a short walk to the base of the lower level of Jennerbann’s cable car. A round trip ride is 21.40€ for Adults or 11.60€ for Kids, but cheaper for one way with hiking down. Rating as a Side Trip From Salzburg: 9 out of 10.
Read More: (King’s Lake Ferry Boat Cruise).
5. Berchtesgaden Village & Salt Mine (45 Minutes Away):
About Berchtesgaden: Berchtesgaden has been a retreat for kings, monks, and travelers since the early 1100’s at it still retains much of its old world charm. Whether it is the Deer House (Hirschenhaus) on Marktplatz, the storybook Advent Christmas Town over the holidays, or a visit to a beer hall during Oktoberfest, you’ll fall in love with Berchtesgaden. The village not only has a ton of great shops, and patios with views for miles, but it even has its own Hofbräuhaus called the Bräeustüeberl Beer Hall. In a nutshell, it’s massive beer-drinking, great authentic food, rowdy sing-alongs to live music and the men’s thigh-slapping, heel-whacking dances called Shuhplattler.
There wouldn’t be a Berchtesgaden without the wealth that Salt brought through the Middle Ages so we highly suggest fitting the Berchtesgaden Salt Mine (Salzbergwerk) into your visit. This salt mine is one of our favorites as it’s accessible right on the way to Berchtesgaden’s other great attractions and they still let you slide down the historic miner’s slides. While this mine was started all the way back in 1517, mining has been going on here since the 1100’s!! The mine itself is a lot like the ones at both Hallstatt and Hallein, as it also is complete with an underground lake. In our opinion, if you just want to see a salt mine pick whichever one of the 3 that fits best into your other travel plans.
Getting To Berchtesgaden From Salzburg: Old Town and the Salt Mine very close to each other and both lie right on the route for both Bus 848 or 840 connects the city to Salzburg, Getting To Berchtesgaden.. If you walk from the train station into town, it takes about 20 minutes. Bus 840 Timetable: (Summer, Winter). Salt Mine Tour Hours: May-October Daily from 9am-5pm; November-April Daily from 11am-3pm. Rating as a Side Trip From Salzburg: 8 out of 10.
Read More: (Old Town Berchtesgaden Tour).
6. Munich, Germany (90 Minutes Away):
About Munich: As the former capital of Bavaria, Munich is known for its beer halls, friendly residents, and robust culture. The city can be seen in 1-2 days, but it has so many amazing surrounding sites you’ll want to stay longer. Outside of its Oktoberfest feel, Munich’s surrounding sights include the Hofbräuhaus, English Garden, and further away Dachau & Mad King Ludwig’s Castles. An easy 90-minute train ride puts you right into the heart of Munich. While there is a ton you can do and see during a long day trip, we suggest visiting for 3-4 days to take in the city plus nearby attractions.
Getting To Munich From Salzburg: It is a 90 Minute train ride right into central Munich from Salzburg which is covered by the special Bayern Pass if you use the Blue and Yellow trains. The Bayern Day Pass (more info) covers unlimited train travel in Bavaria for the day starting at 25€ for 1 person and goes up 6€ per person up to 5 people with advance booking. On Monday-Friday you can’t start your travel with these special passes until 9am, but Saturday & Sunday you can start anytime. Rating as a Day Trip From Salzburg: 9 out of 10, but we suggest staying 3-4 days to see everything.
View Our Munich Section: (HERE).
7. Werfen Ice Caves (2 Hours Away):
About Werfen Ice Cave: Visit the Word’s Largest Ice Cave on a very memorable side trip from Salzburg to Werfen. Not only is it the largest Ice Cave, but it also offers far more impressive frozen features. The landscape inside is straight out of a Sci-fi movie with ice tunnel walkways and frozen waterfalls reaching many stories in height. While you usually can’t take photos inside the cave, its beauty is going to be etched into the front of your memory for years.
Outside of the tour itself, just getting to the Werfen Ice Cave is cool as it is a mix of easy Alpine hiking, a mountain cable car, and a bird’s eye view covered path dug into the side of a cliff. Especially if you can’t make it to the Dachstein Ice Cave in Hallstatt, you should really try to get to Werfen.
Getting To The Ice Caves From Salzburg: A 40-50 minute direct train from Salzburg to Werfen leaves at least once an hour. The Eishohle Bus (7€ adults; 5€ Kids) leaves from the Werfen Train Station Station aligned with the incoming trains at 8:18am, 10:18am, 12:18pm and 2:18pm. The Bus also leaves every 25 minutes from the center of Werfen at Parkplatz Gries which is only a 5-minute walk to the North from the train station. After a 20-minute bus ride uphill you’ll be dropped at the Ice Cave ticket office to buy your pass followed by a 20-minute inclined hike from the base of the cable car up the mountain. We suggest buying a ticket for the cable car which turns the middle section into a 3-minute gentle ride instead of a 90-minute difficult hike. From the top of the cable car, it will be another 20-minute incline walk to the Ice Cave entrance through a covered walkway built into the side of the mountain. In total it is 40 minutes of hiking plus a 3-minute lift or 130 minutes of steep climbing. Bird’s Eye Route Map. Seasonal Hours: Daily May-October from 9am-3:30pm (last tour); July-August open Daily until 430pm; CLOSED for Winter November-April. Tour Cost: 14€ for Adults (24€ with cable car); 9€ for Children (14€ with cable car); Family discounts available. Website: Here. Rating as a Day Trip From Salzburg: 7 out of 10.
8. Werfen Fortress (50 Minutes Away):
About Werfen Fortress: As seen in the opening of the movie Sound of Music Tour, Hohenwerfen Fortress is the sister of Old Town Salzburg’s Hohensalzburg Castle. It is actually even more famous from the movie “Where Eagles Dare” than its Hollywood Von Trapp connection. With a rise of 508 feet from the entrance you can see why this castle has stood the test of time. Assume a round trip visit to Werfen with the sights will take 4-5 hours or a full day if you add on the Salt Mine & Luge near Hallein. This trip is best May-October as the Fortress and Ice Caves are closed in Winter.
Getting To Werfen From Salzburg: A 40-50 minute direct train from Salzburg to Werfen leaves at least once an hour. From the Werfen train station it is only a 5 minute walk to the base of the Fortress. Bus also goes from Werfen Ice Caves to here every 25 minutes. From the base of the the Fortress you can either take a 15 minute hike up to the top or take the lift for about 3€ per person. Visiting Hours: Close for Winter December-February as well as Mondays in March. General visiting hours March-November are 9:30am-4pm; May-September 9am-5pm; July & August 9am-6pm. Guided Tours: From March-November they have guided tours of the interior at 10am, Noon, 1pm, 2pm, & 4pm; from May-September they add an extra tour at 6pm; during July & August they have one every hour 10am-6pm; CLOSED December-February and closed Mondays in March. Falconer Show: April-October 11:15am & 3:15pm; July & August 11:15am, 2:15pm, & 4:30pm. Entrance Cost: Adults 12€, Children 6.50€, Family 28.50€, for lift to the top add about 3€ per person. Website: Here. Rating as a Day Trip From Salzburg: 7 out of 10.
9. Rural Sound Of Music Locations:
About The Sound of Music Locations: While most of the filming locations from the hit movie The Sound of Music can be seen on foot from Salzburg’s city center, a few of them require a day trip to visit. Some of the best locations outside of town sit just to the South of Salzburg including the field where the movie’s opening scene was filmed and is quite close to the mountain where the closing scenes were filmed. Another iconic field used in the picnic scene of The Sound of Music is also just to the South in the village of Werfen. If you are planning on heading East to the Lake District, you may want to work in Mondsee Lake which was home to the biking scenes in the movie as well as the church were Maria and Captain get married in the movie.
Read More: Sound of Music Movie Tour.
10. Wolfgangsee & Schafberg Railroad (1-2 Hours Away):
About Wolfgangsee & Schafberg Railroad: The elegant Wolfgangsee Lake sits right in between Salzburg and Hallstatt and is very popular with Austrians although it’s often missed by international tourists. It’s a shame that more visitors, especially Americans aren’t able to fit a half of a day on the Wolfgangsee as it is surprisingly fun. The lake make not be as impressive as Kings Lake in Berchtesgaden or nearby Lake Hallstatt which are both surrounded by huge mountain peaks, but Woflgangsee is pretty cool.
Sitting in the center of the lake, the most visited town is the quaint village of Saint Wolfgang which is packed with beautiful homes and romantic lakeside dining. While the relaxing lake cruise to get to Saint Wolfgang is awesome, the best thing to do is the unique cog railway up Schafberg Mountain which has an Alpine hut restaurant at the top. The Schafberg Railway has been in operation since 1893 the journey is quite fun in addition to the wonderful views. Modern trains run April-October with the historic coal-powered trains running on Sundays in July & August.
If you want to explore the other villages around the lake along with a little longer ferry cruise, consider Saint Gilgen which is a cozy authentic Austria village mainly free of the tourist crowds. The highlights are extremely cute City Hall (Rathaus), the lakefront, and 15 minute Alpine Lift (Zwölferhorn Gondola) bringing you to the 1,600-meter summit of the neighboring Zwölferhorn Mountain. The mountain provides great views of the lake, hang gliding, and skiing in the winter. Classical music lovers will love Saint Gilgen’s tie to Mozart as it’s the town where Amadeus’ sister Nannerl lived after leaving Salzburg. You may also want to consider a slide down the Strobl Alpine Luge is you are taking the short route to Saint Wolfgang as it is right by the bus stop. Consider doing the luge route on the way there from Salzburg and the Saint Gilgen route on the way back.
Getting To Saint Wolfgang From Salzburg: It is a 1 hour and 5-minute ride on Bus 150 to the Gschwendt b.Strobl Landauer Bus Stop, then a short walk to the Gschwendt Parkplatz Ferry Dock which is a 10-minute ferry to either Saint Wolfgang Market Square or the Schafberg Railroad, followed by a 35-minute train up the mountain. Getting To Saint Wolfgang via Saint Gilgen: From Salzburg, it is a 50-minute ride on Bus 150 to Saint Gilgen, followed by a 35-40 minutes ferry ride Saint Wolfgang, and 35-minute train ride up Schafberg. In total, the Saint Gilgen route only ads about 15 minutes more each way. Schafberg Railway Seasonal Hours: The railway is closed in the Winter November until early-April. Wolfgangsee Ferry Hours: The ferry runs every day of the year with a ton of departures, see their website. Rating as a Side Trip From Salzburg: 7 out of 10, best when the Schafberg Train is running.
11. Hallein Salt Mine & Luge (40 Minutes Away):
About Hallein: The Hallein Salt Mine has two unique things the other mines in the region don’t have: a unique Celtic Village recreated below it and you actually cross the German border underground while walking through its tunnels. The border crossing is a popular photo stop on actually really fun to do. Like the salt mines in Hallstatt and Berchtesgaden, the one in Hallein also has an underground lake and even some traditional miners’ slides.
Hallein actually has 2 wooden shaft slides you get to go down, one 75 feet long and the other 150 feet! On your slide into the depths of the mine, you’re bound to feel like a true miner. In our opinion, if you just want to tour a salt mine pick whichever one of the 3 main ones that best fits in with your other travel plans, but if you want to experience the underground border crossing, stop here.
Just a couple bus stops past the Salt Mine & Celtic Village is the Keltenblitz Alpine Luge line. This 2.2Km long, rail line luge is one of the most fun regional activities, especially if you have kids. The small lodge at the top of the lift offers food and great panoramic views. Bus 41’s Zinkenwirt Gmerk Stop is right by the luge base so you can quickly get started. Experience a virtual ride with a cool video on their website.
Getting To Hallein From Salzburg: It is 24 minutes to train from Salzburg to Hallein Station then after a 5-minute layover it is 10 minutes on bus #41 to the Salt Mine & Celtic Village. The Knappensteig Bus Stop is 400ft before the Salt Mine and Salzbergwerk Bus Stop is 500ft after it. The Luge is less than 10 minutes further on Bus #41 at the Zinkenwirt Gmerk Stop. Salt Mine Tour Hours: Mid-March through October Daily 9am-5pm; November-Mid March Daily from 10am-3pm. The tours last 70 minutes. Salt Mine Tour Cost: Adults 19€; Kids 9.50€; Family 40€ (2 adults + 1 kid, every additional kid 8,50€); includes entrance to the Celtic Village and bonus tickets also include the luge. Seasonal Luge Hours: Runs May-Mid Oct roughly 10:30am-5pm, The luge and lift only run during fair weather. During the winter months, the lift and luge offer nice, easy skiing. Salt Mine Website: Here. Celtic Village Website: Here. Alpine Luge Website: Here. Rating as a Day Trip From Salzburg: 7 out of 10.
12. Vienna, Austria (2.5-3 Hours Away):
About Vienna: The Austrian capital often and it is well worth the trip. A great day in Vienna will consist of the free Vienna City Center Walking Tour, a trip around our Ringstrasse Tram Tour, and make sure to stop at Schönbrunn Palace. Although it is a 2 hour and 20-minute train ride from Salzburg, Vienna is so compact that you can actually fit all of the main sights into a long side trip as long as you head out early in the morning. You may want 2-3 days to get the full Viennese experience, but we’ve done it all in 1 day before and had a great time.
Getting To Vienna From Salzburg: Trains go directly between Salzburg Station and Vienna in 2 hours and 20 minutes to 3 hours. Rating as a Side Trip From Salzburg: 6 out of 10, if you can do two full days it is a 9.
View Our Vienna Section: (HERE).
13. Kaprun & Kitzsteinhorn Mountain (2 Hours Away):
About Kaprun & Kitzsteinhorn Mountain: The small town of Karpun has one of the most diverse collections of activities in the Austrian Alps. From downhill skiing and beautiful mountain hiking (website), there are also impressive gorges with wooden walkways (website), and man-made dam lakes which are beyond gorgeous. The Karpun region basically is for nature hikers what the nearby Grossglockner High Road is for thrill drivers.
Maybe the biggest draw to the area in recent years is the Top of Salzburg which can be reached on the Kitzsteinhorn Mountain peak by cable car. With an exciting walkway and amazing veiws, the Top of Salzburg is well worth the time to get here. Another one of our favorite activities in Kaprun is the Maisiflitzer Alpine Coaster (website) where you can ride down a metal track year round. If you plan your day early enough you can even get some beach time on the way as you transfer from train to bus near the sandy shore of Lake Zell. Ideally you will spend 3 full days in the area like the Austrians do and use the Kaprun area to get refreshed by the clean mountain air.
Getting To Kaprun From Salzburg: Getting to Kaprun is easy as you take the train which departs once an hour from Salzburg directly to Zell am See in 90 minutes followed by a 20 minutes run on Bus #660. The bus also continues on from Kaprun to Kitzsteinhorn in another 12 minutes. Because the layover for Bus 660 in Zell am See is often over 30 minutes, your total travel time from Salzburg to Kitzsteinhorn will be just under 3 hours. Tickets for the bus are bought from the driver as you board and in the Winter they have a special bus for skiers which is free. Rating as a Day Trip From Salzburg: 6 out of 10, but nature hikers may rate it higher.
14. Saalachtaler Naturgewalten (90 Minutes Away):
About Saalachtaler Naturgewalten: Saalachtaler Naturgewalten is one of the coolest protected nature areas in all of the Alps and has been open to tourist since 1882. The protected area of the park called Weißbach has 3 main sections all full of mountain forests starting in the North with Vorderkaserklamm. Vorderkaserklamm is a huge gorge is 2.5km long, 263 feet deep, and while it starts at 20 feet wide it narrows to under a foot wide near waterfalls at the end. During your decent on foot into the gorge, you cross 51 bridges and 35 sets of stairs with a total of 373 steps.
The 2nd area the the vast cave system 51km long called Lamprechtshöhle. With a easy roadside entrance you can explore a long section of well lit walkways inside Lamprechtshöhle. The final area of the park is the Seisenbergklammgorge where you get to follow awesome winding bridge paths created by loggers in the 1830s. We love the park in the Summer when all the attractions are open as you really get to take in the caves, trees, limestone peaks, and waterfalls of this great nature park.
Getting To Saalachtaler Naturgewalten From Salzburg: If you don’t have a car, the best route is to take Bus 260 right from Salzburg’s Main Bus Terminal toward Weißbach Gemeindeamt which takes 80-90 minutes and costs less than 20€. You can either buy a ticket at the station or pay the driver. If you happen to be leaving from Berchtesgaden you take the train to Bad Reichenhall and catch Bus 260 from there. Bus 260 typically leaves Salzburg at 9:55am, 12:23pm, 3:23pm, 4:23pm, 5:06pm 6:15pm. Bus 260 typically leaves Saalachtaler Natugewalten back to Salzburg at 7:28am, 1:29pm, 4:34pm. There are other train/bus combos but they tend to take 30-60 minutes longer. Bus 260 Timetable. Park Hours: Daily 8:30am-6:30pm, gorges close in the Winter by the Caves stay open. It is a much better Summer Attraction. Rating as a Side Trip From Salzburg: 6 out of 10.
15. Innsbruck, Austria (2 Hours Away):
About Innsbruck: Known as the city of the Golden Roof, and the Tirolean capital, Innsbruck is the only major European city located in the heart of the Alps. Innsbruck, which hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympic Games, is best known for its winter sports and downhill skiing. Even if you didn’t come to ski, the views and sights of Old Town Innsbruck along with a ride to up the mountain cable car are pretty fun.
There are many other year-round attractions including a lot of gorgeous lakes and the world’s largest crystal at Swarovski’s Crystal World – the gardens of the famous Swarovski Crystal Headquarters. The Swarovski property also serves as their underground factory with a giant sod entrance shaped like a face with crystal eyes and a waterfall coming out of its mouth. The factory is located just a couple miles East of Innsbruck in the village of Wattens, right on the main train line.
Getting To Innsbruck From Salzburg: 2 hours by direct train from Salzburg with no transfer needed. Rating as a Side Trip From Salzburg: 5 out of 10, but is an 8 in Winter for downhill skiing.
16. Untersberg Mountain (30 Minutes Away):
About Untersberg Mountain: Offers skiing, paragliding, hiking, climbing, and a really cool ice cave. The cable, opened in 1961, leaves from the bottom of Untersberg Mountain and provides amazing views all the way to the peak. Costs 19 round trip or 11.50 if only going up and skiing down. While hours very throughout the year the cable car leaves every half an hour and usually runs from 9am-5pm.
If you are visiting in Winter, the main ski run is 7.5 Km long, drops 1,400 meters, and takes about 20 minutes. Untersberg is mainly free of tourist skiers which is great too as most of them head for the steeper run at nearby Fürstenbrunn. If going skiing here we recommend checking hours and looking into staying overnight at one of the many Alpine shelters which can both be found on their website.
Untersberg is also home to Schellenberger Eishöhle which is the only Ice Cave in Germany. Because it can be tricky to get to, most tourists don’t even know about it. Getting up to the ice cave from the bus stop or Untersberg Peak viewpoint is a strenuous 2 Hour trek and not always marked well, but is a great activity for hikers. For those who do make it up to Untersberg Ice Cave, it is a true treat and worth the trouble. For most visitors, however, we suggest going to the Ice Caves in either Werfen or Hallstatt instead. The Hallstatt Ice Caves are much easier to get to and the Werfen Ice Cave is the largest Ice Cave in the World.
Getting To Untersburg From Salzburg: Take Bus 25, 28 or 840 from the main train station in Salzburg will take you directly to the Untersberg gondola/cable car in 30 minutes. Getting To The Ice Cave: The main hiking trail starts closer to Marktschellenberg and takes 3-4 hours. It is also possible to get to the Ice Cave from the top of the Untersberg lift, it’s just not marked as well and takes about 1.5-2 hour to hike. Starting at the bottom of the cable car ends up being a really long hike. Ice Cave Tours: 45 minutes tours run Daily from late Spring through October on the top of every hour from 10am-4pm; Closed in Winter; check the website for any closures. Ice Cave Cost: 7€ Adults, 4€ Kids, or 16€ for a family. Mountain Website: Here. Ice Cave Website: Here. Rating as a Day Trip From Salzburg: 4 out of 10, (Other Alpine views on this list are at least as good or better and the ice caves in Werfen & Hallstatt are much easier to get to).
17. Melk Abbey (2.5 Hours Away):
About Melk Abbey: In the city of Melk lines one of Austria’s true gems, the Melk Abbey. Completed in 1732 this towering red-roofed monastery is quite intimidating sitting on the bluff above Melk. Although elegant looking with its gold paint, the monastery was not painted this color to look fancy. The Abbey was actually painted this color for the same reason Schönbrunn Palace was, gold was just the cheapest paint available at the time. The inside of the Abbey is just as impressive as the outside with its marble floors, golden accents, and lavishly painted ceilings.
Getting To Melk From Salzburg: Although Melk is much closer to Salzburg than Vienna it still takes around 2 hours and 20 minutes because you have to transfer off the main rail line to the REX train at either Amstetten or St.Pölten to get to Melk. For whatever reason the main train doesn’t stop in Melk although it passes right through it. When leaving Melk it is about 45-60 minutes by train to continue to Vienna. Entrance Cost: 7€. Visiting Hours: September-May 9am-530pm; November-March may only enter as part of a tour; rest of the year 9am-430pm. Guided Tours: April-October 2:55pm in English, November-March 11am & 2pm in English. Website: Here. Rating as a Day Trip From Salzburg: 5 out of 10, (Better as a stop on the way to Vienna or on while a Danube Cruise).
18. Mauthausen Concentration Camp (2 Hours Away):
About Mauthausen Concentration Camp: The memorial site of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp is a great taste of dark Nazi history for anyone traveling between Vienna and Salzburg who may not have the time to visit Dachau near Munich. This site was selected due to its onsite granite quarry so the imprisoned people could serve as slave labor.
The Stairs of Death are known as a spot of torture where prisoners were forced to carry stones heavier than their own body weight all the way up, only to be pushed off the adjacent cliff by SS Guards to their death. They would also line prisoners up on the top of the quarry cliff and then force them to push each other off. Maybe even more ghastly than the slave labor, cliffs antics, and gas chambers was a SS Guard who would cut off prisoners tattoos to use the skin to make lampshades. During its time of operation, over 100,000 prisoners were killed at this death camp.
Getting To Mauthausen From Salzburg: You can go by train to the train station in Linz where you catch the bus to Mauthausen-Ufer which takes 2 hours. I will save you about 10 minutes if you take the train to St. Valentin stead and transfer to the the REX train that takes to right to Mauthausen train station. From the train/bus station it is either a 5km walk or 3km cheap taxi to the Camp. Entrance Cost: Free, not recommended for kids under 14 years old. Visiting Hours: May-June Daily from 9am-5:30pm. July-October Tuesday-Sunday 9am-5:30pm, Closed Mondays. November-April Tuesday-Sunday 9am-3:30pm, CLOSED Mondays. Guided Tours: Guide tours are available but pricey at 40€ per person. Alternative you can get the 75 minute audio tour for Free after a refundable 40€ per headset deposit. It is easy enough to share a headset between a couple people. Website: Here. Rating as a Day Trip From Salzburg: 5 out of 10, (Better as a stop on the way to Vienna).
20. St. Florian Ossuary (1 Hour and 10 Minutes): Under the beautiful Augustine Monastery is the creepy St. Florian Ossuary. In the center of the room is the free-standing tomb of Anton Bruckner, but around it is an orderly collection of the skulls/bones of 6,000 people. Getting to St Florian From Salzburg: Take the train to Linz which takes 1 hour then it is only a short cab ride from the Train Station. On Site Tours: September at 11am, 1pm 3pm. Rating as a Side Trip From Salzburg: 4 out of 10 (Good stop on the way to Vienna).
21. Landshut, Germany (2 Hours and 15 Minutes): Landshut is an ideal Bavarian day trip. The highlights of Landshut are it’s Trausnitz Castle and multicolored home facades. The main reason it makes this list is that every 4 years it is home to the 3-week-long Royal Wedding Festival (Landshuter Hochzeit) which in 2009 drew 600,000 visitors. The festival is to celebrate a royal wedding from 1475 between Duke George of Bavaria Hedwig, the daughter of the king of Poland. It is the largest Middle Ages festival in Europe and serves as a living history as most visitors dress in Medieval Dress and the town’s people reenact the original wedding.
22. Dachau Concentration Camp (2 Hours and 15 Minutes): Although only a couple miles from Munich’s City Center, and already mentioned in our Munich pages, we thought is Dachau is important enough to make our day trip section. Once a Nazi Labor Camp, the sight is now a chilling reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust.
Overall the site does a great job serving as an outstanding museum and memorial for life as it was in the camp and the hardships endured. The thing that will stick with you the most is a saying posted, in multiple languages, in the center courtyard stating ‘Never Again.’
Getting Here: Takes 90 minutes from Munich then another 45 to Dachau with a transfer. Take train line S2 to Dachau, once at the Dachau Station take Bus #726 right to the camp. Hours: Daily 9am-5pm. Cost: Free. Tours: Free English tours at 11am & 1pm. Rating as a Side Trip From Salzburg: 5 out of 10, is a 10 out of 10 from Munich. View Our Dachau Section: HERE.
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