Looking for the best Salzburg day trips? Here are 10 great places to visit near Salzburg, all within an hour or two drive from the city. 

Salzburg is a charming Austrian city renowned for its rich history, musical heritage, and stunning architecture. However, while there is plenty to see and do in the city, it’s also a great base to explore the nearby area.

From the serene Salzkammergut Lakes to the rugged Berchtesgaden National Park or the impressive ice caves in Werfen, each destination offers a unique blend of history, nature and culture.

Wherever you choose to visit, these are all excellent Salzburg day trips to add to your Austrian itinerary.

Best Salzburg Day Trips

While it’s possible to take most of these day trips from Salzburg by train, or on a guided tour, we suggest renting a car if possible.

We rented a car through Discover Cars and found it much easier to explore the area around Salzburg at our own pace. Discover Cars is a service that compares car rental prices across major companies and finds the best deal for you. Check here for car rental rates and availability.

1. Hallstatt

One of the most popular day trips from Salzburg, Hallstatt is a picturesque village just over an hour’s drive from the city.

The postcard-worthy town is one of the best places to visit in Austria, and well worth the trip from Salzburg. 

view of Hallstatt austria - one of the most popular salzburg day trips

Wander around the lake, take a tour of the oldest salt mine in the world, and then see the skywalk and viewing platform, where you’ll be treated to stunning views.

A ride on one of the traditional wooden boats across the lake is also a must, and similar to the pletna ride across Lake Bled in Slovenia.

How to get there: Hallstatt is 1 hour 15 minutes drive from Salzburg, 2 hours 15 by train, or opt to take a half-day tour to Hallstatt from Salzburg

2. Königsee

Königsee, or King’s Lake, is actually across the border in Bavaria, Germany but it’s still close to Salzburg.

This emerald-green lake is the deepest lake in Bavaria and one of the cleanest in Germany.

Take a ferry ride across the lake to the triple-domed St. Bartholomä Chapel, which was a former hunting lodge of Bavarian kings.

st. bartholomä church in lake konigsee, Germany - another great salzburg day trip

Königsee is also known for its famous echo, and the ferryman will sound a trumpet to show off the echo.

Königsee is one of the best places to visit near Salzburg and a visit there can be combined with a tour to Berchtesgaden or Eagle’s Nest for a full-day trip.

How to get there: Königsee is just over an hour from Salzburg if visiting by bus, or a 35-minute drive from Salzburg.

3. Eagles’ Nest

The Eagles’ Nest is a perfect Salzburg day trip for anyone interested in history.

The former command centre was built as a gift for Hitler’s 50th birthday, although rumour has it that he was afraid of heights and didn’t really enjoy visiting.

The Eagle’s Nest, also known as Kehlsteinhaus, is situated 6017 feet above sea level and offers stunning views of the Bavarian Alps.

eagles nest or kehlsteinhaus in Germany is an easy day trips from salzburg

I’m an avid reader and first heard about the Eagle’s Nest in a book I read called The German Midwife, but it was actually my 8-year-old son who insisted we take this day trip.

His knowledge of WWII is a touch limited due to his age, but he is fascinated with Hitler, and once he learned about his “mountaintop house”, he was really interested in seeing it.

Unfortunately, a tour of the building and rooms isn’t possible, but the experience of just getting to the Eagle’s Nest is something.

It’s not possible to drive right to the top; instead, you park in the lot, buy your ticket and then take a bus to get to the entrance.

Once there, you cross through a long tunnel and take the infamous gold elevator to reach the mountaintop restaurant.

If you’re not up for a snack, wander along the trails to several lookouts with absolutely stunning panoramic views of the Alps.

two boys sitting on a bench at the edge of the mountain, overlooking the alps at eagles nest in Germany

Whether you have an interest in history, or you’re just going for the views, it’s a great Salzburg day trip. 

How to get there: The Eagle’s Nest is possible to reach by car, or you can take a half-day tour from Salzburg, which includes all guides and transfers.  By bus, is possible, as well as driving by car, but honestly, if we did it again, I’d take the tour from Salzburg to Eagle’s Nest! Enjoy the views along the way and save the drive up the very steep and winding roads.

4. Wolfgangsee

One of the most beautiful lakes in the Salzkammergut, Wolfgangsee is an easy day trip from Salzburg.

The picturesque lake has a few villages and towns dotting the shores, among those, St. Gilgen, the birthplace of Mozart’s mother.

St. Wolfgang is another picturesque town, right at the centre of the lake, with narrow, winding lanes, interesting shops and cozy cafes, as well as lakeside restaurants with views of the water.

After wandering through the quaint town, take the Wolfgangseeschifffarhrt Cruise along the lake to visit the towns of St. Gilgen or Strobl and see the beauty of the Wolfgangsee from the water.

st. wolfgang as seen from the water

Or hop on the Schafbergbahn railway, Austria’s steepest cog railway, which has been taking people up the Schafberg since 1893.

This historic cog railway takes you over 1,000 meters above sea level, where you’ll have panoramic views of the Austrian mountains and Lake Wolfgangsee below.

The Schafberg railroad trip is expensive, but it’s worth it for the breathtaking views as you climb the mountain, past rock walls and through tunnels, as well as the stunning views from the top.

How to get there: A day trip to Wolfgangsee from Salzburg is an easy 35-minute drive, or the bus takes just over an hour.

5. Dachstein Ice Caves

These impressive caves began forming 500 years ago and are a must-see when considering Salzburg day trips, no matter what time of year you are visiting.

The 50-minute tour takes you past glaciers, ice sculptures and frozen waterfalls.

on the tour at Dachstein ice cave, this is a frozen waterfall that you will see.

There’s also the Mammut Cave, one of the world’s largest karst caves, similar to Postojna Cave in Slovenia, which is spectacular.

After seeing the Dachstein Ice Caves, you can continue on to the 5 Fingers viewing platform for stunning views of the surrounding area.

As it’s an ice cave, it is cold inside, so dress appropriately.

How to get there: Driving time is 1 hour 30 by car, and the train and bus combo takes just under 3 hours. 

6. Werfen Castle

Burg Hohenwerfen, or Werfen Castle is one of the most beautiful fortresses in Austria.

The 900-year-old medieval castle sits high on a hill overlooking the Salzach Valley and is a truly impressive sight from below.

Hohenwerfen castle sits high on a hill overlooking the salzach valley and the highway that connects salzburg to villach

It’s also well-known for being the main location in the film, Where Eagles Dare.

Take a tour of the historic castle to see the extensive weapons collection, climb the bell tower for fantastic views of the surrounding area, or see a falconry show. The historic Falconry Centre offers daily flight demonstrations with using various birds of prey, including eagles, falcons, hawks and vultures.

How to get there: Werfen Castle is about 35 minutes from Salzburg, just off the A10 highway on the way to Ljubljana or 45 minutes from Salzburg by train. 

7. Werfen Ice Caves

Similar to the ice caves at Dachstein, the Werfen Ice Caves are just as impressive and a must-see when visiting Salzburg.

The cave system, known as Eisriesenwelt, which means World of Ice Giants, extends over 40km into the mountain and is actually the biggest ice cave in the world.

From the visitor centre and ticket office, it’s a 20-minute walk uphill, then a short cable car ride before walking another 20 minutes to the cave entrance, where there are still 700 stairs up within the caves, but it’s not too challenging if you take your time. 

mountain road to Eisriesenweltriesenwelt ice cave in austria

Just be sure to dress appropriately and wear a warm sweater, as it will be cold in the ice caves.

A visit to Eisriesenwelt can be combined with a visit to Werfen Castle, as they’re not far from each other. 

How to get there: Eisriesenwelt is a 50-minute drive from Salzburg, or the train leaves every 30 minutes and takes one hour. 

8. Hallein Salt Mine

Also known as Salzwelten Salzburg, the Hallein Salt Mine is one of the oldest salt mines in the world, and an easy day trip from Salzburg.

The salt mined here was known as ‘white gold’, and was what made the Salzkammergut region rich, essentially creating the city of Salzburg.

Take a train ride into the mountain, where you’ll learn about the mining process, ride across an underground lake and then slide down the mining slide, which is one of the best parts of the tour, especially for kids.

How to get there: The Hallein Salt Mine is a 25-minute drive from Salzburg, and slightly longer by train, depending on which time of day you are visiting. It’s also included as a stop on the Hop On, Hop Off Bus in Salzburg, or you can opt to take a guided tour from Salzburg.

9. Munich

Only 90 minutes away from Salzburg is Munich, the capital city of Bavaria.

The third largest city in Germany, Munich is well known for its beer halls and Oktoberfest celebration, but there are also many interesting sights to see as well.

view of Marienplatz in Munich - Munich is an easy day trip from Salzburg

From the Marienplatz, which features the Glockenspiel, a medieval clock with life-size characters that perform twice daily, to the 18th century Nymphenburg Palace or the modern BMW Museum, there’s no shortage of things to see in Munich.

How to get there: Both driving or taking the train from Salzburg to Munich takes approximately 90 minutes, but the train is much more convenient. There’s less hassle with the traffic, especially as you enter Munich and no worries about parking in downtown Munich. 

10. Vienna

While it is possible to visit Vienna on a day trip from Salzburg, honestly, we’d recommend spending a night or two there, as there is so much to do in Vienna.

But if you’re short on time, a day trip from Salzburg to Vienna is possible, and better than not seeing the remarkable city at all!

Visit the City of Music, marvel at the Opera, wander through one of the many parks and explore the Imperial Palace, before heading back to Salzburg.

hofburg palace in Vienna

How to get there: It’s about 2.5 hours from Salzburg to Vienna by train, and trains run frequently throughout the day right to Vienna Central Station. From there, it’s an easy walk to Belvedere Palace and Karlsplatz, or hop on the metro to the Inner Stadt and explore the Hofburg and Vienna’s Old Town. By car, it’s just over 3 hours and as you won’t need a car in Vienna, we recommend taking the train.

Where to Stay in Salzburg

When it comes to accommodations in Salzburg, there are a range of options that will suit different preferences and budgets. Each of the options listed below is located in the city centre, making it easy to access these day trips no matter whether you have your own car, or are arranging transportation with a guided tour. 

Budget: MEININGER Hotel Salzburg City Center

3⭐  7.6/10 on Booking

For budget-conscious travellers, MEININGER hotels are a great choice, and the MEININGER Hotel Salzburg is no exception. Situated within easy reach of major attractions, this hotel offers a comfortable stay with modern amenities.

With both private and shared room options, MEININGER Hotel Salzburg caters to both solo travellers and families. The communal spaces provide a bit more room than a traditional hotel room, which is great for families with young kids. Plus, the kitchen facilities are ideal for families or those on a budget looking to make some of their own meals.

MEININGER Hotel Salzburg offers cost-effective accommodations and a comfortable stay so you can enjoy exploring the area around Salzburg. 

Mid-Range: Hotel am Mirabellplatz

4⭐  8.5/10 on Booking

Nestled near Mirabell Palace and Gardens, Hotel am Mirabellplatz is a mid-range hotel that offers a blend of quality and affordability.

With well-appointed rooms and a convenient location for exploring Salzburg’s sites, it’s also convenient for anyone looking to arrange transportation for day trips from Salzburg.

Private parking is also available nearby for an additional fee. The comfortable accommodations, friendly staff and great location make it a great option for those seeking a comfortable and convenient stay without breaking the bank. 

Luxury: Hotel Sacher Salzburg

5⭐  8.9/10 on Booking

For an indulgent and luxurious experience, the grand and historic Hotel Sacher Salzburg is a fantastic choice.

With its stunning riverside location and unique views of the Hohensalzburg Fortress, this five-star hotel offers impeccable service and lavish rooms personally decorated by the owner.

Private parking is available nearby and child care is available at an additional cost, which is always a bonus for families while travelling.

There are several restaurants and a bar onsite, as well as the famous Café Sacher Salzburg, which serves the original Sachertorte, a Viennese chocolate cake, which is a perfect treat after a day of exploring.  

FAQs: Salzburg Day Trips

What are the best day trips in Salzburg?

While everyone’s preferences vary, the best day trips in Salzburg according to both Viator travellers as well as our own recommendations are the Hallstatt Half-Day Tour from Salzburg and the Eagle’s Nest and Salt Mines Day Trip, but if you’ve already visited the Hallein Salt Mine, a day trip to the Eagle’s Nest is still worthwhile. 

Do I need a car in Salzburg?

While Salzburg is an easily walkable city, it’s a good idea to have a car to explore the area around Salzburg. Many areas can be visited on guided tours if you don’t have a car.

Can you do a day trip from Salzburg to Neuschwanstein Castle?

While it’s possible to visit this iconic castle on a day trip from Salzburg, it will be a long day. It’s just over 200km and takes approximately 2.5 hours to drive one way.

Final Thoughts: Best Salzburg Day Trips

While Salzburg is a fascinating city, and there is much to see and do, there is also so much to explore nearby. The surrounding area is filled with gems like the picturesque town of Hallstatt, the imposing Eagle’s Nest or the impressive ice caves at Dachstein or Werfen. Whether you’re interested in history, nature or culture, one of these Salzburg day trips is perfect for you and promises a memorable time in Austria

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