Salzburg - Where to Stay for first time travelers

Where to Stay in Salzburg for a first time visit? An insider’s guide 2024

The City of Mozart never fails to amaze you. Located in Austria on the border with Germany, this city is divided by the Salzach River. The old town offers many tourist attractions. Likewise, under the city, believe it or not, there is an underground lake full of salt mines and tunnels. Also, there is a myth about the invisible castle; come and let the locals tell you about it. Near Salzburg, spare some time for Alpine skiing and fairytale forests.

In the heart of the old town lies Dom zu Salzburg, made in baroque style. Overlooking the old town, this fortress offers historical exhibitions and concerts within its walls. The well-known Getreidegasse Street has many interesting high-end shops. More important is the yellow no. 9 house, which was Mozzart’s birthplace. The house is converted into a museum dedicated to his life and work.

Question: Where to stay in Salzburg for a first-time visit?

The City of Mozart is fuss-free; you get through the city rather quickly. However, the old town is too crowded, so if you want to avoid the crowds, stay in the surrounding neighbourhoods. Despite the crowds, Salzburg is still one of those cities most people have seen at least once. If you ask me in which period to visit Salzburg, the answer would be anytime in the year. Still, for a more peaceful stay, avoid holidays and festival season. You can even settle in Vienna and come for one day in Salzburg, as the journey is only 3 hours.

We know that different types of people require different advice on travel accommodations. This guide includes the best areas for

  • the first time visitor
  • Families
  • Couples
  • Luxury & Design
  • Solo-Traveler
  • on a budget

Are you more of a visual learner/travel planner?

Lucky for you, we’ve included a map with all of our favorite neighborhoods and handpicked hotels for all of your travel needs.

Check it out below to get a better idea of where you should stay for your first or next visit to the Salzburg.

Read more: Looking for your next travel? We have a detailed guide to 7 days in Germany.

(This guide is always up to date, the last updated April 2024.)

But, first things first:

Here is the question: Where to stay in Salzburg for a first-time visit?

The answer is simple: Altstadt (Old Town)

First, head to the old town, where all the attractions are located, as well as a great selection of accommodations. Everything is close to you and in walking distance.

The multitude of cultural events immerse Austrians in a typical atmosphere. If you are a foodie, you must not miss the Mozartkugeln chocolate, Salzburger Nockerl desserts, and schnitzel, which are just as good as in Vienna.

And what to visit?

  • Salzburg Cathedral (Salzburger Dom)
  • Hohensalzburg Fortress
  • Mozart’s Birthplace (Mozarts Geburtshaus)
  • Getreidegasse

Why do we recommend these areas?

All the previously mentioned places are free with the Salzburg Card, so you will be very skillfully introduced to the history of Salzburg and the life of Mozart, without additional charge. And you will also have the opportunity to enjoy the fascinating architecture and excellent exhibitions.

Here’s a full map for you to understand the different areas.

Please note: those might not be the exact names of the districts, neither its absolute borders. I just tried to simplify this information.

📍Best Area:Altstadt
👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Best for Families:Guesthouse Mozart – Apartment House
👩‍❤️‍👨 Best for Couples:Sarah’s Altstadt Oase Salzburg
💎 Best Luxury HotelSmall Luxury Hotel Goldgasse
🤩 Best Design Hotel:Radisson Blu Hotel Old Town
😎 Best for Groups:Hotel Elefant’s
🦸 Best for Solo-Traveller:Judengasse
💃 Best Hotel for Nightlife:Old Town App
🤑 Cheapest Place to stay:Appartements Kaserbacher
👌 Safest Area: Neustadt

1. Best areas and handpicked hotels for Salzburg

Continue scrolling or pick your group and travel type on the menu:

1.1 Families
1.2 Couples
1.3 Luxury Traveler
1.4 Design Traveler
1.5 Groups
1.6 Solo-Traveler
1.7 Nightlife-seeking traveler
1.8 Budget Traveler

1.1 Families

Why do I recommend Salzburg for a family long weekend? First, the environment is entirely safe; there are many pedestrian zones, kid-friendly activities, and parks. Furthermore, whether your children like nature or history, there is an exciting story for everyone. From high-speed trams and drives to 40-minute guided tours through Hellbrunn Palace. If your plans include a car or car rental, don’t worry; there is plenty of parking in the old town and surrounding districts.

Altstadt (Old Town)

The old town is a widening labyrinth, and all attractions are close enough. Too many magnificent squares are waiting to be explored, and your family-friendly Salzburg accommodation will likely be found near them. Although you are in the most crowded district, the quiet streets hide the lodging.

Elisabeth-Vorstadt

District with a central location offers excellent access to all town hotspots. In the vicinity of this neighbourhood, there are childcare centres, sports venues, and parks. This part of the city is known for its low crime rate, and you should spot the culinary diversity scene. Even though Elisabeth-Vorstadt is safe mainly for emergency cases, healthcare is nearby.

Handpicked accommodations for families

Guesthouse Mozart – Apartment House, Altstadt (Old Town)

Immerse a homey feeling with a cosy, comfortable environment. Guesthouse Mozart offers free Wi-Fi and separate family rooms accommodating up to seven people. All rooms have a private bathroom. The accommodation is 6km from the airport.

Book Guesthouse Mozart here

Relax and unwind at Guesthouse Mozart - Apartment House

Have a great time at Guesthouse Mozart - Apartment House

Villa Flöckner Bed & Breakfast, Elisabeth-Vorstadt

Previous guests rate this family-friendly accommodation as “always tidy” and with lovely staff. Superb breakfast is included in the price. Villa Flöckner Bed & Breakfast is located 1 kilometre from Mirabell Palace and has a beautiful garden perfect for relaxation. The Mozarteum is also nearby; close to it, you have a private parking lot for the lodging. I recommend the Superior Family Room for four people.

Book Villa Flöckner Bed & Breakfast here

Private room at Villa Flöckner Bed & Breakfast

Have a pleasant stay at Villa Flöckner Bed & Breakfast

1.2 Couples

Salzburg is known as Rome of the North, and it will conquer you with floating gardens and beautiful sunset views from Kapunerberg. Here is also one of the most popular wedding halls in the world, Mirabel Grand Marble Hall in the Mirabell Palace and Gardens.

If you come here, prepare for a crowd, but still, it’s worth a visit. If you want to attach a padlock to the eternity of your love, head to the Makarsteg Love Lock Bridge. In the afternoon, make sure to check out the city sewage system created to design music sounds.

Altstadt (Old Town)

The famous Mirabell Palace and Gardens is just across the river from Old Town. It offers a fascinating transfer of the Baroque era and the opportunity to enjoy medieval romance.

Getreidegasse

Busy streets with sophisticated shops for shopaholics. All shops have specific iron guild signs. I recommend this area if you are more of a dynamic couple looking to explore.

Handpicked accommodations for couples

Sarah’s Altstadt Oase Salzburg, Altstadt (Old Town)

Sarah’s Altstadt Oase Salzburg is located in a 14th-century building, offering a mix of history and modern design in elegant rooms. For couples, I recommend the Deluxe Double Room.

This hotel has a great bar for a romantic evening and its famous superb breakfast. However, you are free to try other culinary delicacies. In the complex, there are two restaurants with excellent food.

Book Sarah’s Old Town Oasis Salzburg here

Make yourself at home at Sarah's Old Town Oasis Salzburg

Enjoy your time at Sarah's Old Town Oasis Salzburg

artHotel Blaue Gans, Getreidegasse

Just 700 metres from Mozart’s Birthplace is the answer to where to stay in Salzburg. artHotel Blaue Gans rooms have a city view, beautiful floral decorations, and private bathrooms. The excellent host will welcome you with wine, champagne, fruit and cakes in your room. Room service is also available.

Book artHotel Blue Goose here

Have a wonderful stay at artHotel Blue Goose

1.3 Luxury traveler

Apart from luxury hotels, Salzburg offers excellent museums and palaces. Visit the Museum of Modern Art, and don’t skimp on enjoying The M32 Restaurant next to it. If you want to end the day with a gourmet meal, I recommend the renowned Esszimmer Restaurant, which has Michelin star status.

Altstadt (Old Town)

Among other things, you’ll find the Esszimmer restaurant in the Monchsberg area, with innovative cuisine, seasonal ingredients, and a modern taste. Here are two more suggestions for luxurious restaurants: Restaurant Ikarius, in Hangar 7, with two well-deserved Michelin stars and a creative menu – Mraz & Sohn, with Michelin status and menu worth trying. From attractions, visit:

  • Salzburg Cathedral
  • Museum der Moderne Salzburg
  • Residenzgalerie Salzburg

Schloss Leopoldskron

Breathtaking surroundings with many private resorts and an opulent atmosphere. Although there aren’t Michelin-star restaurants, there are luxury accommodations in local hotels and palaces.

Handpicked accommodations for the luxury traveler

Small Luxury Hotel Goldgasse, Altstadt

This luxury place to stay in Salzburg is located in a 14th-century building, with excellent room service and the opportunity to taste Austrian wine. The cathedral and Mozart’s Birthplace are just a few minutes from Small Luxury Hotel Goldgasse. Every room has its en-suite bathroom.

Book Small Luxury Hotel Goldgasse here

Enjoy your stay at Small Luxury Hotel Goldgasse

Have fun at Small Luxury Hotel Goldgasse

Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron, Schloss Leopoldskron

Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron has 55 cozy rooms and 12 suites, offering mountain views. Do not miss visiting the library, which is decorated like a museum and fits perfectly into the interior of this refined old-time setting. By the way, the hotel is an annex of Leopoldskron Palace and is the founding place of the Salzburg Festival. I recommend the Premium Double Room- Guesthouse.

Book Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron here

Relax and unwind at Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron

Have a great time at Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron

1.4 Design-lovers

Suppose you are looking for where to stay in Salzburg and the most popular photo spot in Salzburg. In that case, it is Mirabell Palace and Mirabell Garden, and the entrance is free. If you like designer masterpieces and contemporary art, go to the Museum of Modern Art and Mönchsberg. An absolute dream-like is the floating library on the Salzach River.

Altstadt (Old Town)

The old town has artistic influence and magnificent adventure. A must-visit for design lovers are:

  • Hohensalzburg Fortress, one of the largest and best-preserved medieval castles
  • Salzburg Dom, which will win you over with its designer interior
  • Getreidegasse, the historic charm of a shopping street.

Neustadt (New Town)

The new part of the city offers design lovers a different but valuable experience and a mix of architectural style and modern influence. Visit:

  • Mozartplatz
  • Hangar 7
  • Mirabell Palace and Garden
  • Agrikultur – creative hub

Handpicked accommodations for the design lover

Radisson Blu Hotel Altstadt (Old Town)

On the very bank of the river, the embodiment of old-world charm with amiable staff. Radisson Blu Hotel Old Town has a city view and an excellent restaurant with a superb breakfast. It is located in a historic building from 1377, renovated in 2016, and equipped with tasteful furniture.

Book Radisson Blu Hotel Old Town here

Private room at Radisson Blu Hotel Old Town

Have a pleasant stay at Radisson Blu Hotel Old Town

Sheraton Grand Salzburg, Neustadt (New Town)

Sheraton Grand Salzburg is located 15 minutes from the cathedral, decorated with classic decor and two stylish restaurants. I recommend the Sheraton Signature bedroom with an immense seating area and a spacious bath.

Book Sheraton Grand Salzburg here

Make yourself at home at Sheraton Grand Salzburg

Enjoy your time at Sheraton Grand Salzburg

1.5 Groups

If you’ve been looking for a group travel destination, take a breath, I have the solution. How does the City of Mozart sound to you? Don’t worry; it isn’t only for the lovers of Mozart’s works. Salzburg also offers chocolates in his honour, a rich historical program, and interesting tours.

If you bring your furry friend and have found pet-friendly Salzburg accommodation, what follows will interest you. The city is home to the first-world underground cat cafe, where patrons can enjoy coffee and pastries surrounded by friendly cats.

Are you in the mood for a day trip from Salzburg? Here are some ideas: Berchtesgaden in Germany or Vienna, which is 3 hours away by road.

Altstadt (Old Town)

Feel the Baroque era in the old town and, together with your friends, embark on an exploration. This district is fast-paced compared to the rest of the city, so you will be fine with transportation, especially if you bought the Salzburg Card, which I must mention is not valid for the S railway and S-Bahn. Do you have time for a tour? Here’s what you can book:

  • Original Sound of Music tour
  • Mozart Concert in Mirabell Palace, lasting 1.5 hours

Neustadt (New Town)

If you plan to come around Christmas, don’t miss the Christmas markets from November 17th to the first days of January in front of Salzburg Dom or Residenzplatz. The new part of the city offers modern amenities and exciting city tours that usually include Congress Central, Red Bull Hangar 7, Salzburg Arena, and several other side attractions.

Handpicked accommodations for groups

Hotel Elefant, Altstadt (Old Town)

Hotel Elefant’s perfect location is in a building from the 13th century, with comfy rooms. The Mozart Birthplace is just a few steps from your accommodation. Choose one of the following options: Superior Standard, Exclusive or Economic Double Room.

Аll rooms are large and clean. Depending on which offer you choose, you have adequate meals every day, but the food is delicious, so I recommend the entire board.

Book Hotel Elefant here

Experience comfort at Hotel Elefant

Have a wonderful stay at Hotel Elefant

Hotel am Mirabellplatz, Neustadt (New Town)

Hotel am Mirabellplatz has good-sized rooms and is a short walk from Old Town. The concierge is always ready to help, and the reception is open 24 hours daily. WIFI connection is guaranteed, and the first thing that catches your eye is the attractive modern design of the rooms, the lobby, and the restaurant.

Book Hotel am Mirabellplatz here

Enjoy your stay at Hotel am Mirabellplatz

Have fun at Hotel am Mirabellplatz

1.6 Solo-travelers

Have you embarked on a gastronomic solo trip? If you haven’t, then Salzburg must be your stop. Try schnitzel in Augustiner Brau. My schnitzel was better here than in Vienna, believe it or not!

Use the whole day walking in the old town, try Mozart’s chocolate balls, and visit the cathedral and the fortress; the next day, you can continue for a day trip to Vienna or Hallstatt. An exciting tour you can book is the Salzburg Day trip by train, which lasts 10 hours. Be bold, stick with the locals, and experience Salzburg in its true light.

Altstadt (Old Town)

The most famous district spills over onto the North and South sides of the river. It is characterized by an exceptionally compact size and peaceful nights to stay. You will also be surprised by the small, cute, cosy cafes hidden in the corners and narrow cobbled streets.

Elisabeth-Vorstadt

This quarter is named after Empress Elisabeth of Austria, better known as Sisi. It offers a diverse cultural scene that a solo traveller wants to see. Unwind in the streets because this is a natural hub for street art. The quarter is also known for its gastronomic offerings and its search for authentic delicacies at the local multicultural markets.

Handpicked accommodations for a solo traveler

Judengasse, Altstadt (Old Town)

Judengasse has a kitchen and an inner and country yard view. This solo-traveller accommodation is usually booked, so grab it while you can! It is located in a historical building, 200 metres from the cathedral. There is one bedroom and a bathroom with a walk-in shower.

Book Judengasse here

Relax and unwind at Judengasse

Have a great time at Judengasse

Hotel Hohenstauffen, Elisabeth-Vorstadt

Hotel Hohenstauffen is located in a pedestrian zone, with a quiet summer garden, hidden in a beautiful historical building from the 15th century. From the garden, you can see the roofs of all the beautiful churches in the city. Parking is provided, and there are exciting bars nearby. The offer includes a delicious breakfast.

Book Hotel Hohenstauffen here

Private room at Hotel Hohenstauffen

Have a pleasant stay at Hotel Hohenstauffen

1.7 Nightlife Traveler

As you already know, Salzburg has a rich musical heritage and many late-night venues such as Jazzit. I recommend Stiegl Brewery, known for Stiegl Brauwelt. The tour also has a 0.3 tap to warm up your evening out. And if you’re looking for popular bars in Salzburg, here are some suggestions: Murphy’s Law and Augustiner Braustubl Shamrock Irish Pub.

Altstadt (Old Town)

Stiegl Brewery is only 10 minutes away from the old town, but what else does the old town have to offer? Club Take Five is the most popular nightlife spot. Cave Club is the coziest club with rock and indie music.

Club Spielplatz has a sophisticated setting. What about bars? I recommend Watzman Bar, where you can try the creative cocktails, or Sporer LIkor, a lounge with excellent drinks and international dishes.

Linzer Gasse

Another nightlife epicentre is the lively street with many bars. No need to be concerned. I will separate them for you: O’Malley Irish Pub, live performance venue, and Die Weisse Bar & Live Music.

Handpicked accommodations for nightlife

Old Town App, Altstadt (Old Town)

Old Town App has one bedroom, a kitchen, and one bathroom. Furthermore, it has a city view, and nearby are Kapuzinerberg, 600 metres; Mozart’s Birthplace, 200 metres; and the cathedra, 300 metres. In other words, it is a great location close to all the nightlife gems.

Book Old Town App here

Make yourself at home at Old Town App. View of the cathedral!

Enjoy your time at Old Town App. View of the cathedral!

Hotel Krone 1512, Linzer Gasse

The Hotel Krone 1512 features traditionally decorated bedrooms with many floral prints and handcrafted furniture. It is located in a quiet quarter, 15 minutes walk from the Old Town. The offer includes a buffet breakfast and free Wi-Fi.

Book Hotel Krone 1512 here

Experience comfort at Hotel Krone 1512

Have a wonderful stay at Hotel Krone 1512

1.8 For the Budget Traveler

I have already mentioned the Salzburg Card several times. Does it pay off? Definitely, yes, if you want to visit more local attractions. You can have 24, 48, or 72 hours; a 24-hour ticket costs 28 euros. You can buy it online.

With it, you have free entrance to museums, Mozart House, and the cathedral, and transportation is also included, but only with the S-Bahn. You also get a discount on cultural events and excursions and skip the line. Having resolved this, where can you find budget-friendly lodging in Salzburg?

Elisabeth-Vorstadt

Community atmosphere with many options for lunch at the local markets, except on Sundays. There are many budget-friendly lodgings in Salzburg and excellent connections with local transportation. The location is central, so you can move around on foot.

Nonntal

The tranquil atmosphere with a multitude of guesthouses. It offers scenic walks and hiking that don’t cost a penny. It is only 15 minutes from the centre, you can walk or take the 3,5 or 6 bus. The whole quarter is bike-friendly, so you can also consider bike rental.

Handpicked accommodations for budget traveler

Appartements Kaserbacher, Elisabeth-Vorstadt

Clean place to stay in Salzburg with a terrace and a small open-plan kitchen, 300 metres from the central train station. There is also a comfortable living room, great for socialising and relaxing. Appartements Kaserbacher can host four people. The nearest airport is just a 5-minute drive from your stay. Quiet location, 1km from the old town.

Book Apartments Kaserbacher here

Enjoy your stay at Apartments Kaserbacher

Have fun at Apartments Kaserbacher

Pension Katrin, Nonntal

Pension Katrin offers a budget-friendly stay in Salzburg. The bus stop is 80m away, and you can reach the old city in 10 minutes. A bike trail passes by the apartment, so you can drive to the centre.

Book Pension Katrin here

Have a great time at Pension Katrin

2. Best Neighborhood to Stay in Salzburg

These are the neighbourhoods that Salzburg offers you:

  • Altstadt (Old Town)
  • Neustadt (New Town)
  • Elisabeth-Vorstadt
  • Nonntal

If you want to see Mozart’s Birthplace or learn more about history, settle in the Old Town, and for modern art, head to the Neustadt. For a central location with excellent access, they offer Elisabeth Elisabeth-Vorstadt. And for a budget and a comfortable stay, Nonutal is here to provide the best experience.

FAQs

What is the best neighborhood to stay in Salzburg?

The best neighborhood to stay in Salzburg depends on your preferences and interests. However, for a first-time visitor looking to explore the city's attractions easily, Altstadt (Old Town) is highly recommended. It offers proximity to major landmarks like Salzburg Cathedral, Hohensalzburg Fortress, and Mozart's Birthplace, as well as a charming atmosphere with narrow streets and historic buildings.

Where should you not stay in Salzburg?

While Salzburg is generally a safe and welcoming city, there are a few areas that may not be as convenient for tourists, particularly those looking to explore the main attractions. It's advisable to avoid staying too far from the city center or in areas known for heavy traffic congestion, as it may hinder your ability to move around easily and access key sights.

What should I avoid in Salzburg?

While Salzburg is a beautiful and vibrant city, there are a few things you may want to avoid during your visit. Firstly, be mindful of pickpockets, especially in crowded tourist areas like the Old Town. Additionally, it's a good idea to avoid driving in the city center if possible, as parking can be challenging and traffic congestion is common. Lastly, be respectful of local customs and traditions, particularly when visiting religious sites or attending cultural events.

Where should I stay in Salzburg for the first time?

For a first-time visit to Salzburg, the Old Town (Altstadt) is the ideal location to stay. It offers easy access to major attractions, such as Salzburg Cathedral, Hohensalzburg Fortress, and Mozart's Birthplace, as well as a charming atmosphere with historic buildings, cobblestone streets, and quaint cafes. Staying in the Old Town allows you to immerse yourself in the city's rich history and culture while being within walking distance of many sights and amenities.

Map + All Sights

Explore the diverse neighborhoods, from the cobbled streets of the Altstadt to the serene banks of the Salzach River, and uncover the best places to stay for every type of traveler.

Whether you’re drawn to boutique hotels with panoramic views of the Alps, cozy guesthouses steeped in history, or modern apartments in the heart of the action, Salzburg has accommodations to suit every taste and budget.

Summary where to stay in Salzburg

This is all you need to know about where to stay in Salzburg, so pack your bags, and the City of Mozart is waiting for you.

If you need an idea for your next European destination and want a similar easy-to-use guide like this, check out my blog.

Other European Destinations

Before you run off, here is a few more handwritten articles for you. These will help you to find more unique experiences and enjoy your holidays at fullest.

Any Questions?

There you have it. I hope you have no questions and found your home in my home town.

However, please remember: I am not perfect, and it is likely I missed a few things to point out.

Therefore: Do you have questions? Is anything not clear?

Please please please drop me a comment below with your email! I will reply to you ASAP via email and here in the comments.

In fact, your questions help me to make this article better. So I help you to help me.

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