14 Magical Things To Do In Salzburg in Winter

An insider’s Salzburg winter travel guide – your resource for the best activities during the chilly season, Christmas and New Year’s events, top winter day trips, and more.

Visiting Salzburg in winter is an unforgettable experience, filled with unique charm and beauty.

Salzburg’s winter weather is chilly, with average temperatures around 32°F in January and February. But don’t let the cold deter you – the city has a lot to offer during this season!

I find Salzburg in winter particularly enchanting, with fewer tourists and a more relaxed atmosphere. It’s quickly become one of my top destinations.

The city transforms into a picturesque scene with Christmas lights and the potential for snowfall, perfect for capturing stunning photographs. Winter in Salzburg typically spans from December to February, but November and March can also have that crisp winter feel.

This season is all about cozy Christmas markets, romantic Valentine’s Day settings, and enjoying the city without the usual crowds.

With the right preparation, your trip to Salzburg in the winter months can be a delightful experience.

Now, let’s check what Salzburg has to offer in winter!

How Cold Does it Get in Salzburg?

During the winter months, it can get quite cold. The average temperatures often hover around 0°C (32°F), but it’s not uncommon for it to drop below freezing, especially at night. 

The city can also experience snowfall during this time. If you’re planning to be here in winter, packing warm clothing, including a good coat, gloves, and a hat.

Interested in more advice for visiting Europe during winter? Take a look at our other winter-themed European guides:

Belgrade in Winter: 14 Cozy & Magical Cold-Weather Activities

Winter in Sarajevo, Bosnia: 14 Fun Off-season Activities

15 Things to Do in Vienna at Night

Best Things To Do In Salzburg During The Winter

Visit the Christmas Market

Visiting Salzburg’s Christmas Market is a must-do in winter. These markets are often featured on top lists of Europe’s most beautiful Christmas markets. 

Starting in late November and running through December, the markets are a hub of festive activity. You’ll find rows of stalls offering handmade crafts, perfect for unique gifts, and a variety of local foods. 

The aroma of mulled wine and traditional sweets fills the air. Bright lights and holiday music create a cheerful atmosphere. 

Explore Old Town

I’ve been to Salzburg a few times, and the weather’s usually grey. But that kind of weather fits the Old Town. The buildings are grey stone, so they blend right in with the sky.

When you’re there, check out Mozart’s house, the “Hagenauer House”. The Mozart family lived on the third floor. It’s interesting to think that back then, the higher the floor, the cheaper the rent, because hauling water and firewood up was a hassle.

Entry to Mozart’s house costs 12 euros for adults.

In the Old Town, there’s this big square where you’ll find a small church hidden behind a larger one. A lot of people miss it, but it’s worth a look. Right there too, there’s an old water mill.

Visit the Salt Mine in Hallein

Salzburg gets its name from ‘Salt Castle’ in German, and right outside the city, there’s the Hallein Salt Mine. It’s one of three big salt mines in Austria, and it’s the one most people go to visit. The others are in Hallstatt and Altaussee.

At the Hallein mine, they’ve set up this new attraction where you can see how they used to cook salt way back in the day. 

At one point in the mine, you’ll end up crossing into Germany.

Tickets for the salt mine tour cost 32 euros.

Hohensalzburg Fortress

I was not impressed by the castle. Maybe I’m the only one, or perhaps others don’t want to admit it. It looks impressive from the outside, but I wasn’t blown away by the inside.

Despite that, it’s worth visiting for the panoramic views of Salzburg. You really can’t beat the scenery from up there. 

The entrance fee is between 10 and 17 euros depending on what you choose to see, and there’s a lift for €4.40 if you don’t want to walk up.

Ski Resorts Near Salzburg

If you’re into skiing or snowboarding, you’ve got to check out the resorts near Salzburg. Austria’s big on winter sports, and places like Flachau, Obertauern, and Schladming are right on the doorstep. 

Flachau’s got a fun vibe and some solid slopes. Obertauern is up there in the mountains, so you’re pretty much guaranteed good snow. And Schladming got a bit of everything, from beginner to pro runs.

Sound of Music Tour

For fans of the classic film, the Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg is a must. It takes you through key locations from the movie.

You get to see places like the Mirabell Gardens, where the song “Do-Re-Mi” was filmed, and the gazebo from “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.” The tour lasts about 4 hours, and you’ll have a guide who tells you all about the movie and the sites you’re seeing.

The tour costs 60 euros.

Salzburg Zoo

Situated near Hellbrunn Palace, features over 140 species, including lions, tigers, and giraffes, in an environment that mimics their natural habitats.

It’s known for its conservation efforts and educational programs. The zoo remains open year-round and is a great place to see animals in a winter wonderland setting.

Ice Skating

Outdoor ice skating in Salzburg is a hit in the winter months. The best-known place to skate is at Mozartplatz, right in the city center. It’s a beautiful spot with historic buildings all around. 

The ice skating season usually starts in late November and goes until February. Skating here feels like something out of a fairytale, especially in the evenings when the lights add to the magical atmosphere. 

You can rent skates for 6 euros, so you don’t need to bring your own.

Mirabell Palace and Gardens

Although the gardens may be covered in snow, Mirabell Palace is still a beautiful sight.

Built in 1606, the palace has stunning architecture and a rich history. The gardens are famous too, with neat lawns, fancy statues, and lots of flowers. 

They were even used in “The Sound of Music.” From here, you get amazing views of Salzburg’s old town and the Hohensalzburg Fortress. 

Entry to the gardens is free.

Day Trip to Hallstatt

I’ve visited Hallstatt more times than I can count and plan to go again. The village is simply mesmerizing. 

Originally accessible only by water, now there’s a tunnel for easier entry. Its popularity is evident, with a regulation limiting to only 50 buses per day due to the high visitor influx, over a million annually.

Just like in Hallein, there’s also a salt mine here, but unlike Hallein’s, this one is still active. In fact, it’s the oldest salt mine in the world.

Thermal Spas

Warm up and relax in one of Salzburg’s thermal spas.

One of the top spots is Rupertus Therme in nearby Bad Reichenhall. This spa uses naturally heated water that’s full of minerals, perfect for a soothing soak. 

Rupertus Therme has everything from warm pools to saunas and steam rooms. You can even get massages and other treatments there. 

New Year’s Eve Celebration

If you happen to be in Salzburg for New Year’s Eve, join the lively celebrations in the city center.

The city lights up with an impressive fireworks display, often launched from the Hohensalzburg Fortress. You can see these fireworks from many spots in the city, creating a stunning backdrop to the evening.

You’ll find concerts and live music everywhere, from classical performances that pay homage to Salzburg’s rich musical heritage to contemporary bands and DJs playing in various venues and in the open air.

Strolling through the Old Town, you’ll be greeted by market stalls where you can buy everything from hot drinks to local snacks. 

Join the crowd in public squares like Residenzplatz and Mozartplatz, where everyone gathers to countdown to midnight and welcome the New Year with a toast.

For a more formal celebration, local restaurants and hotels often host gala dinners and special events. These usually include a multi-course meal and live entertainment

Attend a Classical Concert

The Mozarteum Foundation often has a schedule packed with concerts, featuring everything from chamber music to full orchestral performances.

If you’re around in late November or December, check out the concerts at Mirabell Palace, specifically in the Marble Hall. 

At the Salzburg Cathedral, you might find occasional concerts during the winter months. 

Also, St. Peter’s Abbey sometimes hosts classical music events in winter.

Cafés and Bakeries

Even though I’m not a big fan of local Austrian cuisine, there are some things you just have to try, like strudels. Of course, you can find Mozartkugeln everywhere, but they’re a bit more commercial.

The most memorable place for me was a restaurant right across the river from the Old Town. I can’t recall its name, but the waiter was from Serbia and they offered Serbian wines. The place looked almost like a container – might sound odd, but I had the best seafood there. 

We had a mixed seafood platter for eight people, and it cost only 300 euros with drinks included. It might sound unusual for Salzburg, but it was really impressive.