Salzburg, the famous birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is a beautiful Austrian city. With a charming Old Town and magnificent mountains of the Austrian Alps ever-present in the distance, there is beauty everywhere in Salzburg.
After an epic family road trip through Austria, we spent 2 days in Salzburg with kids. We jammed a lot into our two day visit to Mozart’s birthplace and discovered many fun things to do in Salzburg with kids.
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A 2 Day Itinerary for Salzburg with Kids
Day 1 in Salzburg with Children
After spending 2 days in Hallstatt with kids, our family arrived in Salzburg mid-morning. We returned our rental car near the Salzburg train station and then took an Uber to our kid-friendly hotel near town centre. After checking in, we set out to see the sights in Salzburg.
Mirabell Palace and Gardens
The closest kid-friendly Salzburg attraction to our hotel was Mirabell Palace. We were a bit confused when we arrived at Mirabell Palace as we couldn’t find the ticket office. After several minutes of searching, we finally realized that entry to Mirabell Palace is free!
We elected to explore the Mirabell Palace gardens first. As you’d expect, the gardens were amazing. We took our time randomly meandering through the sculpted gardens filled with many beautiful flowers of all shapes, colors and sizes. There are also many impressive sculptures and fountains.
Our favorite part of the Mirabell Gardens was the Dwarf Garden (“Zwerglgarten”). Built over 300 years ago by Prince Archbishop Franz Anton Harrach, the Dwarf Garden is filled with many incredibly interesting (and fun!) sculptures of dwarves. Apparently, many were modeled after dwarves who lived in the Archbishop’s court serving as his entertainers. Today, the Dwarf Garden is just plain, old fun for kids and adults alike.
There’s also a large playground in the Mirabell Gardens, but seeing how we were just starting our first day in Salzburg with kids, we didn’t stop this time.
It appears that most of the Mirabell Palace building is now used for public offices, the mayor, etc. Sadly, there are not many places left within the palace for tourists to enjoy. All we could find was the Angel Staircase, which features many small sculptures of cherubs on the banisters. Apparently, Marble Hall is considered one of the nicest wedding venues in the world, but it seemed to be closed during our visit to Mirabell Palace with kids.
Exploring Salzburg Old Town
After our visit to the Mirabell Palace, we crossed the Salzach River via the pedestrian-only Marko-Feingold-Steg Bridge. As with most bridges near tourism areas around the world, the bridge is covered with many locks left there by couples in love.
We love randomly exploring the streets of the Old Town in new European cities, and the Salzburg Old Town was a lot of fun to explore with kids. Our daughter loved window shopping in all the interesting shops and I really enjoyed taking us down the many little hidden alleyways.
Some of our favorite discoveries from our time exploring Old Town Salzburg with kids include the massive Residenzbrunnen fountain in front of the Salzburg Cathedral, which features mermaid horses. We also discovered a statue of Mozart (Salzburg’s most famous son).
Salzburg Marionette Theater (Salzburger Marionettentheater)
We didn’t have a ton of time to explore Old Town Salzburg as we had tickets to see the 2:30 PM performance at the Salzburg Marionette Theater.
The incredible marionette technique pioneered by Anton Archer in 1913 is of such cultural importance to Austria, that it received a UNESCO designation for intangible cultural heritage.
There are two evening performances at the Salzburger Marionettentheater: The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the Sound of Music. Both performances start at 7:30 PM and go for approximately 2 hours. We felt these performances were a little too late and a little too long for our kids.
Thankfully, the Salzburg Marionette Theater occasionally puts on a family-friendly “Puppetry Highlights” matinee performance which includes the most famous scenes from each show. A 35 minute afternoon marionette show sounded much better than a two hour evening performance for our family.
The Highlights show began with the Magic Flute. It’s a German opera (sung in German), but that didn’t seem to phase our children. They were spellbound from the moment the show started. The Magic Flute performances included many colorful animals, which our kids loved (and I was amazed by)!
The Sound of Music is Austria’s most famous story, so it was a real treat to see highlights performed by marionette puppets in Salzburg. The songs were now in English and our kids thoroughly enjoyed watching the incredibly creative marionette interpretation of this famous movie.
If you are lucky enough to be in Salzburg with your kids on a day there is a matinee Highlights show, we highly recommend this kid-friendly activity.
Tip for parents visiting the Salzburg Marionette Museum: The seats in the theatre are not stadium style, but rather the floor under the seats is mainly flat. This can make it hard for smaller kids to see the stage through the adult sitting in front of them. If this is the case for you, look at the side of the theatre for plastic booster seats. The booster seats really helped our children enjoy the Salzburg marionette show.
Day 2 – Salzburg with Kids
We awoke to a beautiful day for the second day of our family holiday in Salzburg. After an excellent buffet breakfast at our family-friendly Salzburg hotel, we hit the streets for another day of fun.
Our first destination was the Salzburg Fortress. To get there, we walked through Old Town again, but this time it was before 9am and the charming streets were literally empty. It’s such a treat exploring this beautiful city without the tourists – it’s one of the many perks of traveling with kids who like to wake up early. On our way we passed Mozart’s birthplace, which is now a museum.
Friedhof St. Peter Graveyard & Catacombs
The next attraction we saw on our walk to the Salzburg Fortress was the Friedhof St. Peter graveyard. Sitting in the shadow of a giant cliff, this tiny graveyard is very interesting to explore. The tombstones are quite unique and each grave has a beautiful flower garden.
We returned later in the day to explore the catacombs, which rise up the walls of the cliff. There were a few nice views of Salzburg Old Town, but the catacombs themselves were pretty uninteresting. It didn’t cost much to get in, but even that wasn’t worth it. We recommend you visit the free graveyard and skip the catacombs.
Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter Bakery
Our next amazing discovery on our way to visit the Salzburg Fortress with kids was the Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter bakery. We discovered it by the delicious aroma wafting from a ground level window – we made note to come back after the fortress.
Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter is the oldest bakery in Salzburg and makes just a few varieties of bread in a log fired oven. We each ordered a brioche raisin bun, which was still warm from the oven when she put it in our bag. The buns were delicious!
It’s worth tracking down this little hole-in-the-wall (literally!) and waiting in the line for their delicious fresh baked bread.
Fortress Hohensalzburg (Salzburg Fortress)
The Salzburg Fortress is an imposing structure high up on a hill overlooking town. No matter where you are in Salzburg, it seems like the fortress is looking down on you. What makes it especially interesting, is that this massive 11th century fortress has never been conquered.
Given that the Hohensalzburg Fortress is high up on a hill, there is a convenient funicular available to whisk visitors up from Old Town to the top. But, as we typically do, we skipped the funicular and walked up. It only took a few minutes and we enjoyed some amazing views of Salzburg below.
When we entered the Salzburg Fortress at 9am on a Saturday morning it was nearly empty. As with exploring Old Town early in the morning, what an incredible treat to visit the most popular kid-friendly attraction in Salzburg and have it nearly to ourselves.
We spent almost 3 hours at the Hohensalzburg Fortress, exploring nearly every corner. Fortresses are such fun activities for kids as it really lets their imaginations run wild.
At the start of our self-guided Panorama Tour of the Salzburg Fortress, we found some activity books for our kids, called Explorers Pass. Our kids love these activity books and they ran from exhibit to exhibit trying to find the answers to the questions.
The Panorama Tour follows a well-marked set path, which is really nice when exploring a massive structure such as the Salzburg Fortress. Our kids really liked the dungeon, while Celine and I loved the 360 degree views of the historic city from the high tower.
After the Panorama Tour, we visited the family-friendly museums. Our son loved all the medieval weapons and suits of armor, while our daughter really enjoyed the video presentations on how the fortress evolved over the centuries.
The Armory was our final stop during our visit to the Hohensalzburg Fortress with kids and it was actually a ton of fun. This section of the fortress featured more weapons and suits of armor, but it also had a ton of interactive fun for the kids.
For example, our daughter loved making her own suit of armor and getting her picture taken, while our son learned to build archway structures with big foam building pieces. We all got involved in the ball maze, trying to solve the puzzle faster than the posted daily record (we were too slow – haha!)
Note, when we passed the Salzburg Fortress funicular station around lunchtime, it was lined up well down the street.
On our way back through Salzburg Old Town, we passed through the town square with the amazing Goldene Kugel artwork. We saw the Goldene Kugel (a giant gold ball with a man standing on top of it) on our first day in Salzburg with kids, and we wanted to come back for some fun pictures with the kids.
Salzburg Natural History Museum (Haus der Natur)
After the Goldene Kugel, we bought some ice cream and meandered our way through Old Town to the Salzburg Natural History Museum. This place was awesome – and huge! We were really amazed with how many high quality exhibits there were in the museum.
Our kids had an amazing time at the Salzburg Natural History Museum. It’s a really big museum, with exhibits spread over 5 floors, so we can’t mention everything, but some of our favorite exhibits at the museum were:
The surprisingly good aquarium is on the first floor. It featured a lot of fan favorites such as sharks, stingrays, clown fish (Nemo!) and seahorses. It even had axolotls – our daughter’s favorite!
The kids really enjoyed the birds exhibit and spent a lot of time discovering the names of the many birds on display. I thought it was really cool seeing a Dodo bird skeleton, but the kids didn’t see the big deal.
In the days leading up to our visit to Salzburg with kids, we had a road trip through Austria and spent a lot of time in Hohe Tauern National Park, so it was a lot of fun exploring the exhibit on the animals of the park.
The space exhibit at the Haus der Natur was a lot of fun, especially the chance to see how much we’d each weigh on the various planets.
Where to Stay in Salzburg with Kids
We stayed at the Hotel & Villa Auersperg Salzburg, just a few minutes outside of Old Town. This very kid-friendly Salzburg hotel featured a kids play area, an outdoor garden, and an outstanding buffet breakfast. We stayed in the Villa building, giving us a nice & big hotel room to spread out in.
A city as popular as Salzburg has lots of kid-friendly accommodations. If the Hotel & Villa Auersperg Salzburg isn’t right for you, we recommend you check out the other kid-friendly Salzburg hotels. When we stay at hotels, we always start with Booking.com as we really like their useful Top Picks for Families search results.
Of course, staying in a Salzburg vacation rental has a lot to offer families as well, especially if you are staying longer than a few days. We love vacation rentals for the separate bedrooms, kitchen and laundry facilities. Staying in a vacation rental with children is just easier than in a standard hotel room.
We hope you enjoyed reading about our family trip to Salzburg – we loved our time in Mozart’s birthplace! Our next stop on our Austria family vacation, was an amazing family-friendly cycling tour through the Austrian Alps.
Dan Brewer is an intrepid family travel blogger with a passion for exploring the world's most captivating destinations. With 58 countries under his belt and a sense of wanderlust that knows no bounds, he has made it his life's mission to share his travel experiences and insights with fellow families who love to travel.
When Dan isn't traveling with his wife and kids, he's either out enjoying the Canadian Rockies he calls home or working on one of his three travel sites (Family Can Travel, Travel Banff Canada and Ultimate Sports Road Trip).