Here Are Some Great Day Trips From Salzburg!
Once you’re done exploring Salzburg, you might be interested in exploring the surrounding countryside.
This is a great idea since there are numerous lakes, castles, beautiful scenic hikes and views to take in – and there’s more than just going to picturesque Hallstatt!
We got the chance to explore Salzburg – and the surrounding areas – not too long ago but we know there is much more to check out.
That said, anyone embarking on a mini road trip from Salzburg should know what awesome things there are nearby!
So, whether you’re interested in exploring the famous Salzkammergut region, Salt Mines, Ice Caves, or towns and cities like Innsbruck and Hallstatt – here’s our guide on great day trips from Salzburg in any season.
We’ve also included estimates driving distances and transport options for each of them!
While the Austrian train system is great, some of the day trips mentioned below are easier to get to with a car. So, if you need to rent a car to explore the area, you can compare prices for rental companies in Salzburg here.
If you’re travelling by train, you can check schedules and buy tickets at the Austrian Train website (OEBB).
And if you’re heading out on a day trip into Germany from Salzburg, you might also want to check the DB website for train schedules and tickets!
Of course, it may seem odd to start off this list with a place that’s not even in Austria – but Königssee is worth the journey!
This famous lake can be found very close to Salzburg just across the border in Germany in the beautiful Berchtesgaden region. This area also includes attractions like the Salt Mine and the Eagle’s Nest (mentioned below).
One of the reasons this lake is so popular is due to its geographical features. The lake – being surrounded by large mountainous hills – has these very steep cliff sides that shoot up from the lake’s edge seemingly out of nowhere. This makes the lake popular for photos and activities like canoeing.
There are a number of hiking trails and cable cars in the area and many of them lead to various viewing platforms from where you can get lovely perspectives of the lake and surrounding area.
Of course, a ferry ride from Schönau am Königssee (the town at the north end of the lake) is a great way to experience the landscape. Aside from the natural beauty, you’ll also pass the famous landmark of St Bartholomew’s Church on the shoreline.
Salzburg to Königssee By Car
A great option to check out the Königssee – and other attractions in the area like the Salt Mines or Eagle’s Nest – is to drive.
The drive is to the south of Salzburg taking about 40 minutes with a driving distance of around 30 kilometres. This will take you to the north end of the lake itself. You can find parking here and a small town.
Address for Main Parking Lot: Seestraße 3, 83471 Schönau am Königssee, Germany
Salzburg to Königssee By Train/Bus
If you want to head down to the Königssee on a day trip, you can also do so via a really great bus from Salzburg. The #840 leaves right from Salzburg HBF for Berchtesgaden HBF. Ride it the whole way and you’ll be there in about 50 minutes (it runs frequently).
From Berchtesgaden HBF, hop on bus #841, ride for 10 minutes and get off at Königssee, Schönau a. Königssee. You’ll basically be looking at the lake from the north shore!
Salzburg to Königssee Tour
If you’re looking to check out the Königssee without navigating buses or driving yourself, you’ll find a number of guided tours that cater to this exact location.
The nice thing about heading to the area (and it’s close proximity from Salzburg) is that tours usually bundle together the lake, Salt Mines, and Eagle’s Nest all in one great day!
So, if you’re keen to see the gorgeous lake and a few other attractions, check out this Ultimate Königssee Day Trip from Salzburg!
The Eagle’s Nest (Kehlsteinhaus)
Another top attraction that is easily reachable from Salzburg (and once again not in Austria) is the Eagle’s Nest. Called the Kehlsteinhaus in German, this structure sits at the top of a very high ridge in the Obersalzberg region in southern Bavaria.
A visit here goes beyond the stunning views because this compound high on the hill was actually used by the Nazi Party as a place for meetings and gatherings. Hitler did actually visit a bunch of times but it’s said he didn’t like it because he had a fear of heights.
In any case, the building purposefully has a distant connection to its past and serves now as an attraction complete with a restaurant and beer garden.
If you want to visit, make sure you visit the website because the weather (and the season) can dictate whether the high mountain road is open to visitors or not. You can get your tickets for the journey up by bus/elevator at the Dokumentationszentrum Obersalzberg.
Address: Kehlsteinhaus, 83471 Berchtesgaden, Germany
Salzburg to The Eagle’s Nest By Car
If you want to drive to the Eagle’s Nest, it’s a similar route as to the Salt Mine and Königssee. Just head into Germany to the south of Salzburg. The driving distance to the main parking lot where you will grab tickets and another bus up the hill is about 40 minutes and around 30 kilometres.
Address for Driving – The Parking Lot at the Dokumentationszentrum Obersalzberg: Salzbergstraße 43, 83471 Berchtesgaden, Germany
Salzburg to The Eagle’s Nest By Bus
Once again, there’s a great option to take public transport to visit the Eagle’s Nest from Salzburg. From Salzburg Central Bus/Train station, there’s a direct bus (#840) which is heading for Berchtesgaden HBF.
For the Nest, get off after around 45 minutes of driving at the stop Berchtesgaden Schießstättbrücke. From here, get on the bus #838 for about 10 minutes and you’ll end up at the Dokumentation Obersalzberg which is where you get tickets and another bus up to the Nest.
Salzburg to The Eagle’s Nest Tour
Because visiting the Eagle’s Nest can be a TAD complicated with a number of steps, heading down there on a tour from Salzburg is a great option. This way, you just get to sit back, relax, and enjoy the views and information while you head there and back with a guide to take care of everything!
Plus, the Eagle’s Nest is close to other top attractions so lots of tours bundle them together (if you’re looking to maximize your day experience)! You can find a number of tour options to the Eagle’s Nest below:
- Views from the Eagle’s Nest – Get spectacular views of the Bavarian Alps and visit the famous location high in the hills
- Eagle’s Nest, Königssee, Salt Mines – Discover three top sights in one full day with a knowledgable guide!
Salt Mines (at Berchtesgaden)
Another attraction just across the German border from Salzburg – and the first Salt Mine on this list – is the Mine at Berchtesgaden. Originally opened in 1517, this salt mine remains as the oldest (and active) salt mine in Germany!
The mine does a great job of showing visitors around on a guided tour. From the train ride under the ground to the cruise across an underground lake in the mine, the experience is one to be remembered.
You even get to put on protective clothing (overalls like the miners) which makes the visit immersive and good for kids. Did we mention you get to ride an underground slide, too?
If you want to visit, be sure to check out the official website so that you can reserve your tickets/tour time in advance!
Address: Bergwerkstraße 83, 83471 Berchtesgaden, Germany
Salzburg to Berchtesgaden By Car
Similar to if you were heading down to the region to explore the Königssee and Eagle’s Nest (listed above), the drive to the Salt Mines is very simple.
Located basically due south of Salzburg (but in Germany), the drive is around 35 minutes and approx. 25 kilometres. You can find parking nearby once you arrive.
Salzburg to Berchtesgaden By Bus
Once again, there’s a great public transport alternative if you want to explore the Salt Mines. From Salzburg Central Bus/Train station, there’s a direct bus (#840) which is heading for Berchtesgaden HBF.
After about 45 minutes, get off at Berchtesgaden Salzbergwerk (B305) and you’ll have a quick 5 walk to the Mines.
Salzburg to Berchtesgaden Salt Mines Tour
Because the salt mines are such a popular attraction to check out, there are loads of great tours that are focussed on taking you down to explore the mines and the area! All you have to do is show up and enjoy.
- The Famous Salt Mines – Explore the Mine and the town of Berchtesgaden on a guided trip from Salzburg
- Salt Mine, Wolfgangsee, and Villages – Discover the Mine and take a boat cruise on the beautiful Wolfgangsee from Salzburg
- Salt Mine, Eagle’s Nest, and Konigssee – Check out 3 top attractions in a single day from Salzburg!
- Salt Mines and the Sound of Music – Explore the Mine and famous filming Sound of Music Filming sites on this day tour from Salzburg!
If you’re travelling to Salzburg and wondering where that classic “postcard” photo you always see is taken, head for Hallstatt.
This small town on the shores of Hallstätter See is a very popular day trip from Salzburg because it’s easy to get to and there truly is a lot to do and see once there!
Aside from taking the “classic” photo of the town and church (Evangelische Pfarrkirche Hallstatt), the town has a medieval market square, a museum, and numerous little cafes/restaurants and shops which you can check out.
The shoreline is full of other things to enjoy so be sure to go for a little explore when you visit.
Further from the edge of the lake, you’ll find attractions in the hillside like hiking paths and cable cars to lookout points like the World Heritage Skywalk.
Of course, there is also a Salt Mine in Hallstatt which you can visit! The area can get pretty busy in the summer season (and we honestly wouldn’t recommend visiting then) but you can also visit in winter for a completely different vibe!
Salzburg to Hallstatt By Car
Driving to Hallstatt by car is definitely doable. The town is located to the southeast of Salzburg for a driving time of around 1 hour and 30 minutes and a distance of about 75 kilometres.
Once you arrive at the lake (Hallstätter See), you should be able to find a parking spot. However, when it is very busy, finding a parking spot might be slightly problematic.
Salzburg to Hallstatt By Train/Bus
If you don’t want to drive, you can always take the train to Hallstatt. It’s not the most direct route but it’s definitely doable.
The total journey (regardless of which train combination you choose) will take over 2 hours and you’ll very most likely have to change in Attnang-Puchheim.
From Attnang-Puchheim, you’ll head right to Hallstatt Bahnhof – and then you have to take the ferry across the lake to the main town centre.
Salzburg to Hallstatt Tour
If you are very eager to see the picturesque town of Hallstatt, then one of the easiest and enjoyable way to do it is on a tour. This also makes sense since the train options aren’t as easy as other day trip destinations.
Luckily for you, there are a few great tour options to check out Hallstatt. Some visit other small villages as well while other tours offer more free time. It’s up to you!
- Salzburg to Hallstatt I – Explore the small town of Hallstatt and other villages with a tour guide and transport (popular)
- Salzburg to Hallstatt II – Discover the famous Salzkammergut region (with a focus on Hallstatt) with a guide!
Nestled in the Salzkammergut region is one of the most well-known lakes in the area: Wolfgangsee!
This long lake is a popular resort destination in the summer season with water sports and hiking being the main draws. There are numerous cable cars or hiking trails around which you can take for amazing views of the region.
There are various smaller towns that circle the lake at different points with St Wolfgang im Salzkammergut, Strobl, and St Gilgen being the more notable ones.
You can get between these places via the system of ferries that scoot around the lake. Oh, and don’t forget about a ride on the famous Schafberg Cog Railway when you visit!
In the winter, the area doesn’t completely go quiet since there is skiing (both downhill and cross-country) and holiday celebrations to enjoy! And because it’s quite close to Salzburg, this makes the lake a good wintertime destination to explore with kids!
Address for the Main Tourism Office: Au 140, 5360 St. Wolfgang im Salzkammergut, Austria
Salzburg to Wolfgangsee By Car
Driving to the lake from Salzburg is pretty easy because it’s fairly close by. Since the lake is so large, there are many different places around it you could drive to – this changes the driving/direction a bit.
The north end of the lake is located to the west of the city centre of Salzburg – about 30 kilometres and a 30 minutes drive away.
To head around the south end of lake to the main town of St Wolfgang im Salzkammergut/the Main Ferry Terminal, it’s about 50 kilometres and about 50 minutes.
Once you are in any of the smaller towns along the lakeshore, there are plenty of parking lots for you to choose from.
Salzburg to Wolfgangsee By Train/Bus
Surprisingly, given that the lake is so geographically close to Salzburg, there is actually no great direct train connection to the region. It’s much easier to drive yourself there or hop on a tour (an option we outline below).
Salzburg to Wolfgangsee Tour
If you want to make it to the lake, you might consider taking a guided tour there. This way, you can learn about the region from the comforts of your transport – you just sit back and snap photos.
Also, a tour makes logistical sense because if you don’t want to drive there yourself, there are very few options to make to the lake easily. Wolfgangsee is such a popular day trip from Salzburg so there are a number of great tours you can choose from:
- Cruise the Wolfgangsee – Discover the mountains and lakes in the region – and cruise the Wolfgangsee on this day trip!
- Wolfgangsee and Salt Mine – Cruise the famous lake and tour the famous salt mine on this guided tour!
- Wolfgangsee and Hallstatt – Check out the Salzkammergut region on a tour of Hallstatt from Salzburg
The Sound of Music Day Trip
If you’re heading for Salzburg, there’s a good chance you understand the connection to the film, The Sound of Music. In fact, the 1965 movie might be the reason you’re going to the city!
Whatever your level of knowledge about the movie, a trip to Salzburg is a great opportunity to learn about the film and see some beautiful places from Hollywood history.
So, if you are interested in re-living the magic of the iconic movie, you can do a “Sound of Music” themed day trip from Salzburg.
Essentially, you would visit filming sites or other notable locations from the film. We’ve never done this kind of tour but understand the popularity. However, we did visit the Pavillion at Schloss Hellbrunn which was neat to see in person!
As for places to check out, there are many around Salzburg:
- In general, the opening shots were done in the famous lake region, the Salzkammergut. Specifically, you might recognize Kloster Höglwörth.
- There are many sites around Salzburg itself including the Mirabell Gardens, Nonnberg Abbey, and Humboldt Terrace up on Mönchsberg (the hill).
- The “Von Trapp gazebo” is the Music Pavillion located south of the city at Schloss Hellbrunn
- The Sound of Music Trail in Werfen – a scenic spot with a narrow road where you can re-create an iconic scene
The Sound of Music Trip By Car
If you wanted to do your own “Sound of Music Tour” via car and drive it yourself, you could theoretically do so. You would need to pinpoint the filming locations/significant places and then chart a path around the Austrian countryside.
However, you’d lose out on the extra details that come with a guided tour to the same locations. Also, the enthusiasm of visiting these places as a group (and singing as you go) might get lost if you do it on your own.
Another thing to keep in mind if you do this with a car is that you’d likely have to pay for parking at various locations which could add up over the course of a day.
However, you have the freedom to explore the region so that might be a plus for you. Just something to consider!
The Sound of Music Tour from Salzburg
Many travellers to Salzburg have some sort of interest in the famous film. Luckily, there is a whole tour industry centred around providing visitors with a memorable experience as they visit filming locations, discuss the film, and immerse themselves in the countryside that inspired the iconic movie moments.
So, if you’re looking for a Sound of Music tour from Salzburg, check out these top-rated ones. Many are similar but have slightly different itineraries and stops. Be sure to read the details so you find a tour that suits your style/interests perfectly!
- The Original Sound of Music Tour – Explore filming sites and sing along to the memorable music on this classic bus tour!
- Sound of Music & Salt Mines – Relive the film in the Austrian countryside and visit the famous Salt Mines on this combo tour!
Hallein Salt Mine
If you haven’t already noticed, salt was a popular resource to extract from the Salzburg region.
So, it should come as no surprise that there’s one more mine on this list that you can explore: the Hallein Salt Mine! Technically located in Dürrnberg (above Hallein), this mine has been producing salt for over 7,000 years!
These days, visitors can put on protective clothing and – similar to the other mines – ride an underground train, boat, and slide down large wooden slides between the levels while on a guided tour.
Overall, it’s a popular stop not too far from Salzburg where you can have fun with the kids and learn about the history of the region! If you are interested in visiting, you can buy your Hallein Mine entrance ticket in advance here.
Address: Ramsaustraße 3, 5422 Bad Dürrnberg, Austria
Salzburg to Hallein Salt Mine By Car/Bike
Driving to the Hallein Salt Mine by car is pretty easy since it’s close by. The Mine is to the south of the city about 20 kilometres and with a driving time of about 30 minutes. It’s just to the south of the city centre so it’s not hard to get to.
In fact, you could even bike there in around 1 hour and 30 minutes just by basically following the Salzach River.
We biked to Schloss Hellbrunn from the city centre and that was almost halfway to the Mine so we’d imagine the ride to Hallein would continue to be lovely as you followed the river.
Salzburg to Hallein Salt Mine By Train/Bus
You can also take the train and bus to the Hallein Salt Mine. The trains run frequently from Salzburg to Hallein Station (about every 30 minutes) and take about 30 minutes.
From the station, you then hop on a local bus to head up to Dürrnberg (where the Mine is technically located). You can check here for actual bus times.
There is actually a “Combo Ticket” that includes the train, bus transfer, and entrance ticket all sold by the Austrian Train Company (OBB). You can find more information on this ticket here.
Werfen – Hohenwerfen Castle and Ice Caves
If you feel like this list is lacking in ice caves and castles to explore on a day trip from Salzburg, you’d be absolutely correct! Luckily, a quick journey south to the town of Werfen can change all of that.
Located right on the beautiful Salzach River with a train station, too – this small town itself doesn’t have a ton to offer visitors, but the nearby attractions make up for that. High atop a hill close to the town you’ll find Hohenwerfen Castle.
Built back in the year 1000, this medieval castle has been preserved and you can do a guided tour to see many aspects like the courtyard, gardens, weapons, and the seasonal Falconry Centre. There are even a tavern and a shop to check out. You can learn more at the official website here.
Address of Hohenwerfen Castle: Burgstraße 2, 5450 Werfen, Austria
The other incredible attraction close to Werfen is the world-famous Ice Caves or Eisriesenwelt. Found before the year 1900, these caves have been wowing visitors for decades as the largest ice caves in the world.
It’s important to know that the experience is physically taxing. Even though there’s a cable car involved in getting to the entrance, you also need to hike quite a bit – and there are also many steps once inside the ice caves.
Also, be sure to bring warm clothing to put on once inside because the caves are around 0 degrees Celsius! You can only visit the caves on a guided tour so be sure to plan ahead. You can learn all about visiting the famous Ice Caves here.
Address of the Ice Caves: Eishöhlenstraße 30, 5450 Werfen, Austria
Salzburg to Werfen By Car
Driving to Werfen isn’t too strenuous since it’s pretty close. You essentially drive straight south of Salzburg for a driving time of around 40 minutes (1 hour without tolls) with a distance of around 50 kilometres.
The town of Werfen itself is quite small so you’d likely head for the attractions close by such as the Ice Caves or the Castle – both of which are actually located to the north of the town centre.
If you don’t drive right to the attractions, from Werfen you can walk to the Castle and there’s a shuttle/bus pick-up for the Ice Caves by the Salzach River in the middle of Werfen.
Salzburg to Werfen By Train/Bus
Getting to Werfen by train is very easy. The train trip takes around 40 minutes from Salzburg Central Station (on the same trains that head for Zell am See). They are pretty frequent throughout the day so you can plan a day trip knowing you can get there and back easily!
Salzburg to Werfen Tour
Another great way to get out of Salzburg and down to Werfen is on a tour. Specifically, the ice caves (being so incredible) are a popular attraction that you can visit with a guide.
That means you just have to focus on enjoying the experience! Check out this day trip to the Werfen Ice Caves from Salzburg!
Venturing a little further from Salzburg, you might end up in the beautiful city of Innsbruck. This city – tucked away under the shadow of the mountains – is full of history, culture, and beauty. We really loved our visit – and here’s how you can spend a day in Innsbruck.
The city which is also known for winter sports is home to some great attractions in and around its historic Old Town. You have to see the Golden Roof and the Stadtturm (which is a city tower with stairs to climb) for amazing views.
There are also a number of museums and attractions like the Bergisel Ski Jump! Oh, and for even higher views of the region, take the Nordkette train and cable car to the top of Hafelekarspitze.
Of course, there’s also great food to try – like a strudel at Cafe Kroll – and Austrian culture to enjoy. You can walk from the central station to the Old Town and Inn River in minutes so it makes exploring Innsbruck fairly simple!
If you do end up staying over and need advice, we have a guide on Innsbruck accommodations that will help!
Salzburg to Innsbruck By Car
The drive to Innsbruck is doable – but only if you are willing to pay tolls. Located to the southwest of Salzburg (through the mountains), the faster route (with tolls and crossing through Germany) can take a little over 2 hours for a distance of 186 kilometres.
The slower route (with no tolls) can take upwards of 3 hours, which we think is a little long for a day trip.
Salzburg to Innsbruck By Train/Bus
The more likely way to get to Innsbruck on a day trip would be by train. Taking regional trains through the region would be pretty but longer than 3 hours in total travel time so that’s not worth it.
There are two fast trains, however, that you could hop on. They run once an hour between the two cities – this route is actually part of a longer route between Zurich and Vienna Airport/Bratislava. Since they are “fast trains” it might be more expensive but you can get to Innsbruck in about 1 hour 45 minutes.
Zell am See
Back on the topic of lakes to visit on a day trip from Salzburg, maybe Zell am See (the town) beside Lake Zell (literally Zeller See) will interest you? Even though it’s one of the smaller lakes in the area, there is still plenty to draw in visitors each year.
The town of Zell am See offers visitors shops, restaurants, and a train station right at the lakeshore which makes getting there and back simple. You can see the historic St. Hippolyte Church, check out the Stadtpark right on the water, and get out on the lake in various rentable boats.
Aside from the numerous walking trails around the green, hilly region, one of the top things to do is to ride the mountain cable car (Schmittenhöhebahn Zell am See) up for amazing views of the area. This mountain is great because there’s also skiing in the winter.
Salzburg to Zell am See By Car
Driving to Zell am See from Salzburg takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes and is a distance of around 85 kilometres. The fastest route actually has you cutting through Germany for a bit before returning into Austria.
Once you arrive in the town of Zell am See, there are plenty of parking lots to choose from. You’re also in the heart of the area to access the trails, cable cars, the lakefront, and other attractions around.
Salzburg to Zell am See By Train/Bus
Getting to Zell am See from Salzburg by train is also very easy – in fact, it’s probably the best option. There are numerous regional trains (REX or S3) that frequently run throughout the day direct to the Zell am See station.
These trains take anywhere from 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours but they are frequent which makes getting there and back pretty simple. Once you arrive, the train station is right at the lake and south of the town core so you’re in a great spot to jump off and get exploring.
If you want a unique experience, head for Liechtensteinklamm. This deep gorge that has been carved into nature is a wonder to explore and hike along.
Known for its winding walkways, gorgeous colours, and waterfalls, the gorge is also a very popular day trip from Salzburg.
It’s only open in the spring/summer months so you’ll have to plan accordingly if you’re travelling outside this season. However, the gorge is something that you have to see and experience with your own eyes to understand. You can learn all about visiting the Gorge here.
Salzburg to Liechtensteinklamm By Car
Located close to the town of Alpendorf, you can get to Liechtensteinklamm by car. If you avoid tolls, the route is about 1 hour 30 minutes driving straight south for around 65 kilometres. Keep in mind you’re heading into the mountains so plan accordingly for seasons/conditions.
Once you get close, you find the road for the gorge near the south end of the town of St Johann im Pongau. Follow that along and there’s a parking lot close to the gorge. From that lot, it’s a short 5 minute walk into the actual gorge entrance.
Address for the Parking Lot: Liechtensteinklammstraße 121/123, 5600 St. Johann im Pongau, Austria
Salzburg to Liechtensteinklamm By Train/Bus
You could also take the train to the gorge. The ride is around 50 minutes and there are semi-frequent trains that run in that direction.
The closest train station (that you should head for) is located in St. Johann im Pongau. From there, you can hike about an hour to the gorge.
Definitely check the full train schedule to make sure you can get there AND back in a single day.
If you’re looking to explore more lakes but want to see what Germany has to offer, then you should check out Chiemsee! Sometimes called “The Bavarian Sea”, this large lake to the west of Salzburg is very popular for summer recreation like swimming, sailing, and more.
One of the features that makes the lake popular is the fact that it has three main islands: Herreninsel, Fraueninsel, and Krautinsel.
A popular attraction is Herrenchiemsee Palace which is located on Herreninsel while Fraueninsel is known for Frauenwörth Abbey.
Once you’re in the main town nearby called Prien am Chiemsee, you can hop on a ferry to explore the islands and the surrounding shoreline around the lake.
Besides that, you’ll find walking trails around the area as well as the famous Chiemsee-Bahn – a small train you can ride to the shoreline from the Central Station.
Address for the Popular Chiemsee-Bahn: Seestraße 108, 83209 Prien am Chiemsee, Germany
Salzburg to Chiemsee By Car
Since Chiemsee is a lake, you should head for a town close to the lake – like Prien am Chiemsee or Gstadt am Chiemsee – to park. To drive to the lake, head to the west for a driving time of about an hour and a distance of around 65 kilometres.
Salzburg to Chiemsee By Train/Bus
If you want to take the train to Chiemsee, it’s pretty easy to do. There’s a train heading for Munich HBF that leaves basically once an hour and takes 50 minutes to get to Prien am Chiemsee. We’ve actually taken this exact train and gone all the way to Munich so we can confirm it’s a lovely ride!
Once you get there, you’re within walking distance to the lake or you can also hop on the famous Chiemsee-Bahn (a popular small train).
If you are looking for a city break but want to explore a bit of Germany, Passau is a city that we can recommend. This historic German city that sits on the border with Austria is unique for the fact that three rivers all meet there: the Ilz, the Inn, and the Danube.
We explored Passau for a few days earlier this year and really liked the city. It’s certainly smaller – but its old town located on a long peninsula/point is neat to wander around and explore. There are loads of shops and cafes to check out, too.
The Old Town features a massive Cathedral (St. Stephan’s Cathedral) as well as a number of museum covering art, history, glassmaking, and even Dachshunds! It’s a popular city for river cruises so it’s common to see many long boats docked along the river.
Above the Old Town to the north across the Danube is the Veste Oberhaus. This fortress from the 1200s features a great hike to get up there as well as a museum, restaurant, and an accommodation.
We had a beer up there overlooking the whole city and it was one of our favourite memories from that whole trip through Germany and Austria!
Salzburg to Passau By Car
Driving to Passau is certainly a doable trip for a day trip. The journey is basically straight north for a driving time of around 1 hour 50 minutes and distance of around 120 kilometres.
You’ll cross the border into Germany but since both countries are in the Schengen Zone there is no formal check. Always bring ID, though. Once you arrive, there’s plenty of parking in the Old Town along the river.
Salzburg to Passau By Train/Bus
If you want to take the train, it’s not as direct as the bus or driving there yourself but it’s still doable. Basically you’ll have to take two trains and depending on the route and time of day you will change in either Wels or Linz (both Austrian cities).
These routes take around 2 hours and 20 minutes not including potential delays so maybe seriously look into the bus option below.
It also might be expensive since the train option from Wels into Germany often includes the ICE (fast train) which can cost more if booked last minute.
You could actually take the Flixbus to and from Passau. The only thing is that buses only run from Thursday to Sunday (so the weekends, basically) and there is ONE bus a day in the morning that heads to Passau and ONE bus that returns in the evening (on those days).
Each bus is about 2 hours and 20 minutes – so for approx. 8 Euro per way that’s definitely doable.
If you’re looking for a city break but want to stay in Austria, then you should consider Linz. This Austrian city was unknown to us until we made a point to explore it on our way through Germany/Austria. We ended up really liking Linz!
The city feels more quiet and residential – but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. It’s a very pretty city to explore with beautiful architecture around every corner in the Old Town. Funny enough, the Danube also runs through the city (like with Passau) making it popular for river cruises, too.
Of course, there are a few highlights like the Linz Castle with its green park, museum, and great views of the river and city. The Linzer Mariendom (New Cathedral) really impressed us. It’s a massive cathedral that has space for 20,000!
We also liked taking the train from the Hauptplatz all the way up to the viewing platform at the top of Pöstlingberg (mountain). There are also numerous museum and churches to check out as well as cafes, restaurants, and shopping you can enjoy.
Salzburg to Linz By Car
Driving to Linz is certainly doable with the city being located to the northeast of Salzburg. However, we’d recommend the train since it’s fast and frequent.
That said, with tolls the trip on the A1 takes about 1 hour 25 minutes and includes a driving distance of about 130 kilometres.
Without tolls, the driving trip can take closer to 2 hours and 30 minutes – and cover roughly the same distance (130 km) on the B1. The difference is the overall speed at which you’ll travel and traffic.
Salzburg to Linz By Train/Bus
There are plenty of great train options to go from Salzburg to Linz. The OBB regional train takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes and they leave every 60 minutes (heading for Vienna and will say Wien HBF). So this is a reasonable option to get there and back in a single day.
The other rail company that runs the route to Linz from Salzburg is Westbahn. Both the green or blue routes (heading for Vienna) stop in Linz. These trains make for a quick ride – only 1 hour 10 minutes – and are frequent (about every 30 minutes).
Fun Fact: You can also buy train tickets for this route on the FlixBus website. The train is still operated by Westbahn though.
It might seem silly to leave one large city only to explore an even larger city – but Munich is worth the trek if you aren’t visiting already while you’re exploring that region of Europe.
As the third-largest city in Germany – and the capital of the state of Bavaria – Munich has LOTS to do and see. In fact, you’d never do it all in one day!
Of course, Munich often requires little introduction. From the annual hosting of Oktoberfest to the Christmas Markets, the city is packed with events year-round that draw visitors from all over.
The city is also packed with top attractions like the Olympic Park, English Gardens, countless museums, churches, and the Neues Rathaus that hangs out at the highly popular and photogenic spot of Marienplatz.
Besides the top attractions, Munich has some great shopping, great food, awesome beer gardens to enjoy, and more. We’ve spent quite a bit of time in Munich and written about it from all different angles – so if you’re thinking about visiting, check out these posts:
- Our Favourite Cafes in Munich
- Munich in a Day – A Full Itinerary
- Where to Stay in Munich (If you decide to stay!)
Salzburg to Munich By Car
You can drive to Munich and take a number of different routes. The city is located to the northwest of Salzburg and the most popular/direct is taking the A8.
Each of the routes takes roughly 2 hours (without tolls) for a driving distance of around 150 kilometres – without any traffic.
Once you get to Munich, you should be able to find parking without too much of a hassle. Just remember, as with lots of bigger cities, the cost for parking can be higher than you might be used to.
Salzburg to Munich By Train/Bus
It’s honestly easier to get from Salzburg to Munich by train. We have done this exact route and the train ride was lovely. There are frequent trains throughout the day that take about 1 hour 30 minutes from Central Station to Central Station.
Because these are two bigger centres, you can also take the Flixbus. The Flixbus from Salzburg to Munich runs multiple times a day, costs as little as 5 Euro, and takes an average time of about 2 hours 15 minutes direct!
Lastly – but certainly not least – we have the capital of Austria. If you aren’t already visiting Vienna on the same trip you’re exploring Salzburg, then you might want to consider it for a day trip. Vienna is a historic city with so much to check out that we’d say it’s worth a shot if you’re keen!
Vienna is likely the farthest day trip we have on here but you can get there and back in a day and still have plenty of hours to explore.
Featuring the Danube River (once again), the city is home to a beautiful Old Town district that is loaded with shopping, food, and the massive St. Stephen’s Cathedral (with a tower to climb for views!)
You can also check out numerous museums like the Museum of Natural History Vienna and gorgeous structures like Belvedere Palace. Of course, you should try a Viennese special – Wiener schnitzel at Figlmueller or apple strudel when you visit for the day!
If you’re thinking about exploring Vienna on more than just a day trip, check out these helpful posts:
- Top Attractions in Vienna
- Where to Stay in Vienna (in case you decide to stay!)
Salzburg to Vienna By Car
Driving to Vienna by car is actually longer than taking the train. If you want to drive, it can be upwards of 3 hours.
For us (and the purpose of this post), we usually say day trips should be a maximum travel time of 2.5 hours away to be worth it. That said, Vienna is basically across the country from Salzburg to the east.
Salzburg to Vienna By Train/Bus
The best way to get to Vienna from Salzburg is by train. The Westbahn routes (green or blue) makes for a pretty quick ride – you can get between the two centres in around 2 hours 20 minutes.
Exploring more of Salzburg or Austria in general? Check out these other Austria travel posts!
- Where to Stay in Salzburg – Areas and Accommodations
- 25+ Things to Do and See in Salzburg
- Things to Do and See in Vienna
And there you have it – 16 of the best day trips from Salzburg! There are some more lakes and villages that we could add but we’ve covered a variety of the top places – and then some!
It’s tough to cater to all interests. If you’ve done a great Salzburg day trip to somewhere, let us know!
As always, Happy Salzburg Day Trip Waddlin’,