Tips for spending a December day in Salzburg — including Salzburg Christmas Market, Hohensalzburg Fortress, Old Town and Augustiner Bräu Kloster Mülln.
Salzburg’s Christmas Market is one of the oldest in Europe, and arguably one of the best — all the reason to head there for a December visit!
Aside from the Christmas Market, Salzburg is a beautiful city with myriad activities — treat yourself to longer than a day trip if you can. If you’re crunched for time, like us, here are some highlights that can be done in one day.
Getting there & accommodations
We took the train to Salzburg from Kaiserslautern, arrived late Saturday evening. and departed early Monday morning. This allowed one full day to explore.
We stayed at Altstadt Hotel Stadtkrug, a lovely spot just a stone’s throw from the river with historic charm and a wonderful staff. I can’t recommend this place enough!
How to see Salzburg in one day
St. Sebastian’s Church and Cemetery
We set out from our hotel on foot to St. Sebastian’s Church and Cemetery. Intricate headstones and beautiful pieces of artwork fill this cemetery where some of Salzburg’s most prominent families lie.
Schloss Mirabell / Marble Hall
From there we walked to Schloss Mirabell and ascended the marble staircase to the famous Marble Hall. This magnificent hall is said to be one of the most significant concert halls in Austria and hosted notable performers such as the Mozarts. Today it is used for weddings, concerts and receptions.
We walked through Mirabell Gardens, which are surely more beautiful in spring and summer months when flowers are in bloom and fountains are turned on. Lovers of “The Sound of Music” will recognize parts of the gardens, as they were a filming location for notable scenes in the movie.
Getreidegasse / Mozart’s birthplace
We crossed the river to Getreidegasse, the heart of Salzburg’s Old Town. This bustling street lined with shops and wrought iron guild signs is so charming!
It’s also home to Mozart’s birthplace, now a museum that brings visitors through the original rooms and offers a look at historical instruments played by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart himself.
The origins of the Salzburg Christmas Market, or Salzburger Christkindlmarkt, date back to the 15th century. We spent several hours here eating delicious food, drinking warm Glühwein and Glühbier, and browsing through more than 100 market stands spread throughout the Cathedral Square.
Following the Christmas Market, we rode the funicular up to Hohensalzburg Fortress (walking up is also an option). The fortress has an incredibly dominating presence over the Old Town and is well worth taking the time to see it up close, too! The views are really something.
Hike across Mönchsberg to Mülln
From the fortress, we began a trek across Mönchsberg using steps 5 through 9 of the map below.
Following signs for the Müllner Kirche led us in the right direction — mostly we just used common sense to stay along the river heading in the direction of Mülln. The walk offered beautiful views over Strasbourg at several viewpoints.
Augustiner Bräu Kloster Mülln
Our trek across the mountain brought us to Augustiner Bräu Kloster Mülln, Austria’s largest beer hall. This is somewhere all lovers of beer and beer culture must visit! More than 1,000 seats inside and another 1,000+ outside (in warm weather) await visitors for food, drinks and great conversation.
Beer has been brewed here since 1621 and is served in stone jugs from wooden barrels. We had a great time here and made friends with some Austrian men who live up in the mountains an hour away but come down to drink the beer.
We walked back along the river toward the Christmas Market for another visit and enjoyed beautiful sights of the illuminated rocky mountain towering over the Old Town and the Getreidegasse’s evening charm.
All in all, we wished we had more time in Salzburg; however, we believe we made the most of our short time and we can’t wait to return.