What to Do in Salzburg in December

The Salzach River flows through Salzburg

*Disclaimer: I traveled to Salzburg and wrote this post over a year ago, but I never shared it because I was in the process of redoing my website! So, here it is, over a year later, but it’s fun to relive the memories!

I’m really excited to share some photos from my time in Germany and Austria on my blog today. The trip could not have come at a better time—I was pretty burned out on my business and in need of a break! Fortunately, wandering around the streets of Salzburg was the perfect cure. Read on for my tips and recommendations!

Salzburg was our first and only stop in Austria. We went in December, and though it was cold , I think it was the perfect time to visit. The streets were all lit up at night for Christmas, there were relatively few tourists, and we got to see the famous Christkindlmarkt outside of the Salzburg Cathedral—a Christmas market that is open during the month of December.

What to Do

We only had one full day in Salzburg, so we decided to visit the Salzburg Cathedral and Fortress Hohensalzburg, which are right next to each other and within walking distance from our hotel. Fortunately for us, the Christkindlemarkt is held right outside the Cathedral, so we got to walk around, enjoy some delicious market food, and pick up a few Christmas gifts.

As you walk around town, you may recognize a few locations from the Sound of Music movie. If you have time, there are Sound of Music tours available to see all the shooting locations around Salzburg.

On our walk to the Cathedral, we crossed the Salzach River. It’s a great spot to stop and take a photo!

Dad and me exploring Salzburg!
My dad and me exploring Salzburg!

By the time we got to the Christkindlmarkt outside the cathedral, we were a bit hungry and cold, so we stopped for a snack to warm up.

The Christkindlmarkt outside Salzburg Cathedral
The Christkindlmarkt outside Salzburg Cathedral 
Enjoying lebkuchen at the Christkindlmarkt in Salzburg
Enjoying a snack at the Christkindlmarkt
Lebkuchen at the Christkindlmarkt
Delicious sweets at the Christkindlmarkt!

We walked around for a bit and did some shopping at the market stalls before exploring the Cathedral. Photos aren’t allowed in there, so you’ll just have to trust me that it was very cool. 🙂

A cool cat knob for sale at the Christkindlmarkt
A cool cat knob for sale at the Christkindlmarkt

Our next stop was Hohensalzburg Fortress—the largest fully preserved castle in Central Europe. The fortress sits high above the city, and you have to ride a little shuttle to get up to it. The views of the Alps and the city below are amazing!

A cyclist rides beneath Fortress Hohensalzburg
A cyclist rides beneath Fortress Hohensalzburg
Fortress Hohensalzburg
Fortress Hohensalzburg affords beautiful views of the city below
View of the Alps from Fortress Hohensalzburg
Enjoying the Alps at Fortress Hohensalzburg
Views of the Alps from Fortress Hohensalzburg
Chilly views of the Alps from Fortress Hohensalzburg
View of the Christkindlmarkt from Fortress Hohensalzburg
View of the Christkindlmarkt from Fortress Hohensalzburg

After we finished our tour, we headed back downhill to the market. It was dark at this point, but the market was beautifully lit. I did a little Christmas shopping and bought a wooden ornament for my mom.

The Christkindlmarkt at night
The Christkindlmarkt at night
Mozart dolls for sale in Salzburg
Mozart dolls for sale in Salzburg

We passed by Mozart’s birthplace on our way back to the hotel. It was too dark to take a picture, but there were lots of Mozart souvenirs nearby.

Where to Stay

We stayed in the Salzburg Holiday Inn on Sterneckstraße, which was only a 24 minute walk to the Salzburg Cathedral, Mozart’s birthplace, etc. There are other hotels closer to town, but they are a bit pricier.

There is a small grocery store across the street, and an ATM down the block. There’s also a delicious Pakistani/Italian restaurant a short walk away. (See below.)

Where to Eat

The Bella Vita restaurant around the corner of our hotel had wonderful Italian and Pakistani food.

The Christkindlmarkt has lots of snack food options here, including lebkuchen (delicious), Glühwein (mulled wine), and pretzels.

Lots of delicious sweets at the Christkindlmarkt
Lots of delicious sweets at the Christkindlmarkt

Salzburg was awesome, and I hope I can go back someday! It was my first time exploring Central Europe and I loved it. Have you been to Salzburg, or are you planning to go? What was your favorite part? Let me know in the comments!

Published by Alex Hughes

I am a graphic designer from Dallas who loves printmaking, travel, illustration, soccer, and psychology.

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