It’s always great fun to travel with the family to Austria, and you’re in luck if you and the kids are headed to the beautiful city of Salzburg. There are tons of incredible things to do in Salzburg with kids! This fascinating old town offers excitement for people of all ages, including the young and the young at heart.
Taking in the sights of Salzburg’s natural splendor is one of the most enjoyable activities you can do on your trip. Kids from all over will be blown away by the magic of this fairytale town.
Taking time to appreciate and explore the city’s natural and wonders, sights, and landmarks with your family can make for unforgettable experiences.
If you want the entire family, and especially the kiddos to enjoy a memorable vacation to Salzburg, we’ve compiled a list of the finest activities to do in Salzburg, Austria with kids.
Table of Contents
- List of the best things to do in Salzburg with kids
- 1. Fortress Hohensalzburg
- 2. Mirabell Palace
- 3. Schloss Hellbrunn
- 4. Salzburg Cathedral
- 5. Mozart’s Birthplace
- 6. Haus der Natur
- 7. Toy Museum Salzburg
- 8. Hellbrunner Wasserspiele
- 9. Salzburger Weihnachtsmuseum
- 10. Mozartplatz
- 11. Stift Nonnberg
- 12. Old Town Hall
- 13. Salzburg Zoo Hellbrunn
- 14. Mozart Residence
- 15. Kapitelschwemme
List of the best things to do in Salzburg with kids
1. Fortress Hohensalzburg
Address: Mönchsberg 34, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Perched high atop Festungsberg with towering views over the Baroque historical district, the Hohensalzburg Fortress is one of Europe’s largest castle complexes.
This iconic landmark and popular tourist attraction was commissioned by archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg in 1077.
Since then, the castle has served as the seat of his successors who drove continuous development of its architecture. The current Baroque appearance we know now was the result of Prince-Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach’s management in 1500.
As powerful religious and political figures, the prince-archbishops of Salzburg expanded on the castle to safeguard the interests of the Catholic church, and protect the vital trading and mining city of Salzburg.
In 1525 during the German Peasant’s War farmers, townspeople, and miners planned to oust the archbishop. This was the only time the fortress came under siege, but the captors failed to take the fortress.
In its history, the fortress has never been captured by foreign troops as a result of siege or battle, but it was surrendered to the French without a shot fired during the Napoleonic Wars.
Museum-hopping is one of Hohensalzburg Fortress’ most popular highlights, as this vast castle is home to three terrific museums.
The Fortress Museum offers exhibits that detail the lives of Salzburg’s prince-archbishops. The Museum of the Rainer Regiment details the glorious record of one of Austria’s most decorared historical regiments. The Marionette Museum is a great one for kids, as it home to hundreds of puppets, many from Salzburg’s famous marionette theater.
The Hohensalzburg Fortress is open all year and can be easily reached via the Fortress Funicular train situated on Festungsgasse.
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2. Mirabell Palace
Address: Mirabellplatz, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
In 1606 Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich erected Mirabell Palace for his mistress, Salome Alt, and their children. It now serves as the setting for some of the most romantic weddings imaginable.
Formerly known as “Altenau”, the palace was re-named “Mirabell” by Dietrich’s successor, Markus Sitticus von Hohenems. The name is a play on words derived from two Italian words; mirabile, which means ‘admirable’ and bella, or ‘beautiful’.
During this time, the Mirabell Palace was situated on the outskirts of Salzburg’s city walls. It became part of Salzburg’s city area when Prince-Archbishop Paris von Lodron constructed new city walls and fortifications.
With several remodeling efforts between between 1721-1727, Prince-Archbishop Franz Anton von Harrach was responsible for turning the stately palace into a full-on baroque palace complex.
Today, the Mirabell Palace is home to the mayor’s and the city’s administration offices, as well as a popular location for grand weddings.
The palace’s breathtaking Marble Hall, once a banquet hall for prince-archbishops, is touted by many to be one of the world’s most beautiful wedding halls.
The Pegasus Fountain and the Angel Staircase are often used as backdrops for wedding photographs.
In front of the Mirabell Palace are the equally famous Mirabell Gardens, made famous by beloved musical film The Sound of Music where the Von Trapp children sang Do-Re-Mi. Take the kids there and see if they can pull of their own rendition!
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3. Schloss Hellbrunn
Address: Fürstenweg 37, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Water is the cornerstone of Salzburg’s Prince-Archbishop Markus Sittikus von Hohenem’s Hellbrunn Palace; a stunning Baroque castle in Salzburg.
Here, everything revolves around the universal solvent, which feeds spectacular fountains and powers unique mechanisms.
The Prince-Archbishop commissioned Santino Solari, a famed Cathedral architect, to build a vacation house that rivaled the beauty of Italian architecture, with which he was captivated.
Just south of the city, an architectural masterpiece was constructed, and it is still one of the most spectacular Renaissance structures north of the Alps.
The banquet hall and its projecting octagon, with paintings by Arsenio Mascagni, are the most notable interior elements of the Hellbrunn Palace.
The gardens, however, are Hellbrunn’s biggest draw.
The Lustgarten, (or Pleasure Garden), was planted north of the castle and contains a unique collection of water features including grottoes, ponds, fountains, as well as other structures and sculptures, including the faux Roman Theatre, a tiny exedra topped by a depiction of Rome.
To amuse von Hohenem’s visitors, the famous Stone Table with seats that spurt water was constructed here, complete with an innovative hydro-mechanic that still functions to this day.
The Mechanical Theatre, which features moving water-driven figures created by Lorenz Rosenegger, is another popular attraction which kids love.
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4. Salzburg Cathedral
Address: Domplatz 1a, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Rating: 4.7 out of 5
Considered as Salzburg’s most sacred building, the Salzburg Cathedral is known for its beautiful Baroque design, its 5 ornate pipe organs, and the medieval font where Mozart, one of the world’s most influential composers, was baptized.
From the cathedral plaza, visitors can take in the majesty of the cathedral. The Virgin’s Column, with a statue of the Virgin Mary, is the plaza’s centerpiece.
Salzburg Cathedral features a stunning facade crafted from Untersberg Marble. From outside, visitors can see the twin west towers capped with green domes, both of which flank a large green central dome. During WWII, the dome was destroyed but subsequently repaired in 1959.
The structure is considered to be the among most perfect Renaissance structures of all German-speaking countries.
The majestic interiors are embellished with ornate Baroque murals, a few of which are the work of Mascagni of Florence.
Right next to the entryway, visitors can see the Romanesque font crafted from bronze and embellished with saint reliefs.
This was where Mozart was baptized. From 1779 until 1788, the renowned composer was also the organist of this grand cathedral
Some of the composer’s works, such as the Coronation Mass, were created specifically for the cathedral, and many were debuted here.
Young kids will be entralled by the majesty of this place, as will you if you’ve never seen it before!
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5. Mozart’s Birthplace
Address: Getreidegasse 9, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Rating: 4.2 out of 5
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 1756 in a home that is today one of the world’s most popular museums dedicated to music. This old home, is imbued with a unique vibe thanks to lighting and background music.
The three-level exhibit is a look into the renowned composers’ early life, his passion for music, and the people he held close to him.
Along with documents and original portraits, the museum includes an assemblage of extraordinary rarities such as Mozart’s childhood violin, his beloved clavichord, and the composer’s most renowned portrait, painted by his brother-in-law, Joseph Lange, two years before his death.
The first level is a tribute to Mozart’s daily living at home and on the road. Visitors can learn about his family’s life through 18th-century travel gear, mundane objects, documents, and artworks.
The second level exhibition focuses largely on Mozart’s work as an opera composer. This floor houses designs and set models from the past and present, several costumes, and excerpts from his most renowned operas.
Visitors can learn about the composer’s family members and roam around the room where he was born on the third floor. One of the rooms is equipped with genuine furniture from Mozart’s period which replicate the era’s ambiance.
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6. Haus der Natur
Address: Museumspl. 5, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Rating: 4.7 out of 5
In 1924, Salzburg’s Haus der Natur (Nature House) or Natural History Museum, was founded. Housed in a sprawling space of 7,000 square meters, visitors can enjoy natural history displays, an outstanding zoological area, and an interactive science center.
In the Ice Age and Climate exhibition, visitors will get insights into the last 2.6 million years of the Earth’s natural history through an interactive model of the Salzach glacier.
There’s also an incredible example of a naturally mummified extinct rhino species, and life-sized models of a mammoth, cave hyena, and giant deer, which will really give the wee ones a sense of wonder.
The Science Center is jam-packed with hands-on physics and technology displays. Visitors can use turbines to produce power, fly across the room on a floating platform, or design a bridge and then test it out for themselves.
The aquarium, which houses sea animals from all around the world in 42 exhibit tanks, is another famous attraction. Each tank is a live environment that closely resembles the animals’ native homes.
Visitors to the reptile zoo may expect to see snakes, alligators, turtles, and iguanas, among other scaly creatures.
In the human body exhibit, large-scale realistic models of the body’s organ systems provide visitors a vivid image of what our bodies do on a daily basis.
The exhibitions, some of which are interactive, range from animated videos that transport us to the innermost regions of our lungs to a game where we can track food as it goes through our digestive system. Eeeeew!
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7. Toy Museum Salzburg
Address: Bürgerspitalgasse 2, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Founded in 1978, The Salzburg Toy Museum, also known as the Spielzeugmuseum, is a must-see for families who travel to Salzburg.
The Toy Museum is one of the many mini-museums within the Salzburg Museum, and it shares a ticket with the Museum of Historic Musical Instruments if you want to make a day of it.
The museum itself is housed in a former Baroque-style hospital (a magnificent sight to see in its own right), and has a huge variety of toys dating from the Baroque period to the present.
A visit to the museum will have families gawking over Austria’s largest collection of historical European toys, including everything from antique dolls and dollhouses to paper theatres, puzzles, tin and pewter figures, and moving model railways.
As a museum especially made for children, most of the exhibits here are positioned at children’s eye level.
Luckily, the toys on exhibit aren’t just for show; the museum also includes several items that kids can tinker with. A tiny toy display, a children’s library, a labyrinth, and a cinema are also available at the museum.
Aside from the permanent exhibits and play areas, the Toy Museum presents special exhibitions on a range of fascinating themes that are sure to pique everyone’s interest. On some days of the week, the museum also organizes spectacular puppet shows.
For families with young children, this is definitely one of the best things to do in Salzburg with kids.
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8. Hellbrunner Wasserspiele
Address: Fürstenweg 37, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Rating: 4.7 out of 5
While several gardens in Germany, Italy, and the British Isles were embellished with fountains, water games, and dispensers during the end of the 16th Century, only the work of the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, Markus Sittikus, was exquisitely adorned with its early Baroque features.
The trick fountains of Hellbrunn Castle have enticed tourists to play with the water for almost 400 years.
Each of the park’s jeux d’eau (water games) has been meticulously created, and visitors will find it amazing how many mechanisms and contraptions can be powered by water.
Sittikus, a gentleman with a wonderful sense of humor, developed these water games as a series of pranks to be played on visitors.
Some of the castle’s most notable water features are a group of stone chairs surrounding a stone dining table.
Here, a water conduit shoots water into the visitors’ seats, and concealed fountains surprise and shower tourists while they tour the area.
Visitors will also see an assemblage of other water features, including a water-operated, music-playing theatre which was erected in 1750 and features 200 automata depicting various vocations hard at work.
Gawk over the various grottos that pay tribute to mythological figures, and see a crown propelled up and down by a water jet symbolizing the rise and fall of authority.
An interesting fact to note is that all of these games have one location that never gets sprayed with water. This spot is where the Archbishop once positioned himself, and where tour guides now stand!
The water games are simply incredible and it’s hard to imagine that they are around four centuries old. If you’re looking for magical things to do in Salzburg with kids outside, this is the one for you.
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9. Salzburger Weihnachtsmuseum
Address: Mozartpl. 2, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Rating: 4.3 out of 5
For unwary visitors, it’s possible to stroll right by the Christmas Museum without realizing it. Hidden above a cafe on Mozartplatz, this zany museum provides an intriguing glimpse into the world’s most famous Christian holiday.
This is clearly one of the best things to do in Salzburg with kids…I mean it’s about Christmas for Rudolph’s sake!
The Salzburg Christmas Museum offers fascinating displays dedicated to the holiday season. The exhibit is split into eleven sections, each focusing on a different aspect of Christmas custom.
Here, visitors will learn about Christmas customs and traditions from the mid-nineteenth century up to the current day in both Austria and Germany.
Ursula Kloiber created the museum based on her own collection of objects that she had amassed over a 40-year period.
Despite the fact that it was only founded in 2014, it already features a large collection of authentic xmas artifacts dating from 1840 to 1940.
Individual exhibit sections include the intriguing history of the Advent calendar, Christmas tree decorations through the years, an example of a 19th Century living room decorated for Christmas morning, and many styles of nativity scenes, among other topics.
Christmas books, models of buildings and shops, and Saint Nicholas statues are also on display.
One of the museum’s most popular attractions is a frightening model of Krampus, the malevolent creature from German folklore. Unlike Santa Claus who rewards Children, Krampus’ mission is to punish youngsters who have been misbehaving!
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Address: Mozartpl., 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Mozartplatz is a rectangular plaza in Salzburg’s Old Town, located in the city’s heart. The magnificent Mozart statue, created by Ludwig von Schwanthaler, is the primary picturesque attraction in this square.
Mozartplatz was designed by Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau in 1588, and today, this plaza in Salzburg’s old town gives access to the city’s various landmarks and ancient town buildings.
The world-famous Salzburg Glockenspiel, which chimes every day from the archiepiscopal palace, also delights many visitors.
The Mozart monument in the square has a fascinating backstory. On the 50th anniversary of Mozart’s death, the monument was constructed in 1841, but its unveiling was delayed by a year due to the discovery of an ancient Roman mosaic, which needed time to restore.
The monument was unveiled in a ceremony on September 1842 with the participation of Mozart’s sons.
The marble pedestal was given by King Ludwig I of Bavaria, who was a significant backer of the Mozart monument. At the foot of the statue, a replica of the Roman mosaic may still be discovered.
The tourist information office is located in Imhofstöckl (No. 5) on the north side. A section of the old city wall may be seen behind it, which dates back to the rule of Prince-Archbishop Paris Lodron.
On the south is the Neue Residenz which houses the Salburg Musuem. The Salzburg Christmas Museum and the famed Café Glockenspiel are located on the west side, facing the Cathedral.
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11. Stift Nonnberg
Address: Nonnberggasse 2, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Salzburg’s Nonnberg Abbey is the oldest surviving nunnery in German-speaking Europe, but tourists will most likely associate it with the film The Sound of Music.
This Benedictine monastery was built by Saint Bishop Rupert of Salzburg on the Salzburg Fortress Mountain between 712 and 715.
A catastrophic fire in 1423 severely damaged the church and vast portions of the structures. In 1464, extensive renovations began, which would last more than 30 years.
The film The Sound of Music brought superstardom to Nonnberg Abbey. Contrary to the film’s story, Maria Auguste Kutschera was not yet a nun when she was sent to Baron von Trapp’s residence to take care of his kids. Maria was only a governess and a novice then.
Maria Auguste and Georg von Trapp married in the Nonnberg Abbey Church in 1927. This does not align with the film, where the wedding took place in the Mondsee Church.
Those who watched the film will find no shots of the abbey’s interiors, as it was solely filmed in front of the abbey and its graveyard.
The abbey now contains a significant collection of medieval texts, sculptures, and paintings.
The sisters also manage a guesthouse, a pottery business, and a farm in the Erentrudishof that has been in operation for over 40 years, in addition to their conventual duties.
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12. Old Town Hall
Address: Kranzlmarkt 1, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
The Old Town Hall, which stands in a prominent location in the middle of one of Salzburg’s most historic districts, can tell stories that stretch over generations.
The town hall is an ideal attraction in and of itself, with its popular “Hall of Pillars,” tower clock, and the famed Kulstrunk Panorama. Visitors are drawn to the Old Town Hall because of its 1772 Rococo façade and distinctive tower.
The Old Town Hall currently contains a gallery as well as the municipal council’s conference chambers, as well as the city’s oldest clock and bell.
The purpose of this structure has evolved throughout the ages, as it once served as a place for dancing events. The city council meeting chambers are located on the second and third levels. It also served as a place of residence for some of the city’s key civic positions, as well as the old mayor’s office.
On the fourth story, the civil guard store their collection of historic uniforms and weapons. The famous painting by Franz Kulstrunk titled “The Town of Salzburg in 1916” is on display on the second floor and open to the public.
Today, the Old Town Hall still has a variety of fascinating sights. On the first floor, the Hall of Pillars invites visitors to the City Gallery which hosts exhibits by Salzburg artists.
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13. Salzburg Zoo Hellbrunn
Address: Hellbrunnerstraße 60, 5081 Anif, Austria
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Salzburg Zoo is a great place for a family excursion, with over 1,500 animals representing 150 distinct species ranging in size from massive white rhinos to tiny harvest mice.
In the year 1424, an archbishopric zoological park sat where Salzburg Zoo now stands.
The zoological garden was discontinued with the end of the Archbishopric of Salzburg in 1816, and a zoo that houses species endemic to Austria’s alpine habitat was established on the same grounds in 1961.
Salzburg Zoo has been considered a “geo zoo” since 1990. The grounds of the zoo are separated into several regions based on continents.
From ordinary house mice to Arctic wolves, chamois, red pandas, brown bears, and reindeer, the Eurasia section is home to species unique to the European and Asian continents.
In the South America section, a variety of unusual species abound. Flamingos, monkeys, reptiles, alpacas, and even a few large cats consider this section their home.
The Australia section has a vibrant aviary, while the Africa section offers more exotic animals including lions, white rhinos, cheetahs, and more. A new penguin habitat has been open to the public since 2020.
The Salzburg Zoo also provides a variety of guided tours that add to the value of a visit and is up there among the best things to do in Salzburg with kids.
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14. Mozart Residence
Address: Makartplatz 8, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Rating: 4.1 out of 5
Mozart’s Residence, situated on the Makartplatz, was first referred to as the “Dance Master’s House” in 1713.
Since 1711, a man named Lorenz Spöckner has been teaching nobles how to dance in this house to prepare them for their courtly duties.
The Mozart family was initially situated in a house in Getreidegasse (where Mozart was conceived), but the house had simply grown too tiny for the family to live comfortably in.
As such, the Mozarts, who were friends with the Spöckners, moved into “The Dancing House” immediately after their third trip to Vienna in 1773.
The home changed hands numerous times after Mozart died in 1787. An allied air raid on the city damaged the structure in 1944, destroying two-thirds of the historic building. In 1955, the International Mozart Foundation purchased the surviving section of the property.
On the location of the ruins, an office building was built, which the Foundation also purchased in 1989. After being demolished, the Mozart Residence was rebuilt according to the original blueprints.
The reopening of the Mozart Residence as a museum took place on 1996. Here, visitors can learn from exhibits dedicated to Mozart’s life.
In addition to Mozart’s pianoforte, the museum houses several authentic documents and photographs, as well as a wealth of information on the house’s history, Mozart’s life in Salzburg, and his family.
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Address: Kapitelpl., 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
The Kapitelschwemme is a Baroque horse well in Salzburg’s Old Town, situated close to the Salzburger Dom church on Kapitelplatz Square.
It resembles a miniature replica of Rome’s Fontana di Trevi, which is presumably why so many travelers toss coins into it to make a wish. Though it is not a destination for minimal walking for you need to walkalot to explore the whole place.
The Kapitelschwemme was erected in the early 17th century, when it formerly housed the Pegasus statue currently on display at the Mirabell Gardens.
The current look of the well dates from 1732, when Prince Archbishop Firmian updated its facade for the pump house, complete with the whimsical statue of a Baroque Neptune.
The well’s monument shows the deity Neptune riding a sea horse, alluding to the well’s role as a horse well as well as the Residenzbrunnen on the opposite side of the cathedral.
The two Tritons flanking Neptune are much older, having been created in 1690 for a separate well. Save for the two Tritons, all of the artwork was created by Josef Anton Pfaffinger, a local mason.
The plate above Neptune depicts angels carrying a vase, Archbishop Leopold von Firmian’s coat of arms, and the Latin phrase LeopoLD Vs prInCeps Me eXtrAIt (I promise you, it is absolutely written like that) which translates to “I was created by Prince Leopold.”
Why is it written so funky like? The Roman numerals and capitalized letters of the phrase equate to the year 1732 when Kapitelschwemme was erected!
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