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Salzburg When to Go
You can’t miss that this was the home of Mozart, a distinction the city takes pride in. See both his birthplace (an oft-photographed yellow building in the center of town) and a house he lived in as an adult, but be prepared for crowds in July and August, when the tourists in Salzburg outnumber the locals. The temps average in the low 70s in June, July, and August, making it quite comfortable to get outside and tour around.
The world-famous composer inspired more than just musicians—he’s the namesake of Mozartkugeln, confections of pistachio marzipan, nougat, and dark chocolate you’ll see all over town. The Salzburg Festival, a five-week summer event with music and theater, also owes its roots to him, having started as a Mozart festival. If you’re in town at this time, cool off from the heat with a visit to Schloss Hellbrunn, a castle on the outskirts of the city where the trick fountains will get you wet if you’re not paying attention.
As in much of the rest of Europe, spring and fall are shoulder seasons with typically pleasant weather and fewer crowds. Temps linger around the mid-50s, low 60s.This is a good time to visit Festung Hohensalzburg, the big fortress on the hill and one of the best-preserved castles in Europe. The view of the city below is spectacular from the top; you can trek to the peak to behold it, or take a funicular up. Back on flatter ground, a bicycle is a nice way to take in the town. Pedal to Residenzplatz, the well-maintained city center, which puts you within striking distance of all the main attractions.
You’ll find the fewest tourists in the winter months, although activity spikes in December with the popular Christmas markets. It may be cold outside (mid-30s), but if you want to get into the holiday spirit, this is one of the best places to do it—with the snowy mountains as a backdrop, a glass of mulled wine in your hand, and countless gifts to browse. The biggest and best known of the markets is the Salzburger Christkindlmarkt, located on the Domplatz (“Cathedral Square”) in front of the Salzburg Cathedral.
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