The Salzburg Card gives you access to most of Salzburg’s paid attractions at fixed prices for 24 hours, 48 hours, or 72 hours. In this article, you will find out how to get the most out of the Salzburg Card with our 10 insider tips gathered by an actual local tour guide from Salzburg.
1. Start your day at the Untersberg Cable Car
To make the most of your Salzburg Card, head to the Untersberg Cable Car first thing in the morning. Why would I recommend that? Because all of the museums open at 9 am. The Untersberg Cable Car also starts at 9 am and from the beginning of March till the end of November at 8:30 am but what starts earlier in the bus. Therefore, you can take the bus first thing in the morning and don’t waste any time getting to Untersberg.
2. Combine the Cable Car with Hellbrunn Palace
The same bus that takes you to the Untersberg Cable Car also stops at Hellbrunn Palace, home to the trick fountains and the Salzburg Zoo. If you follow the previous tip, you can stop in Hellbrunn on your way back to the city. Bus number 25 leaves every 20 minutes.
Therefore, you could make the most of your Salzburg Card by visiting the Zoo, the trick fountains, and the museum inside Hellbrunn palace but you could also just hop off the bus and take a 20-minute look at the palace and the park which are pretty, even without entering any of the sights.
3. How to make the most of the Salzburg Card if you arrive in the Afternoon
The Salzburg Card is valid for 24 hours, 48 hours, or 72 hours from the time you first use it, meaning the card is valid until the same time the next day or the days after. Therefore, in case you arrive in the afternoon, you can also start using the Salzburg Card right away. You can even follow the previous tips by exploring museums in the old town in the afternoon and planning the cable car and Hellbrunn palace for the next morning. This is a better plan since you won’t have to use the Salzburg Card all in one day. You can use the Salzburg Card over two days and get the most out of it without exhausting yourself.
4. Get the most out of the Salzburg Card with Public Transport
The Salzburg Card gets active when you use it for the first time. The museums have a scanner. That’s how they find out if your Salzburg Card is valid and how it automatically activates if you have not used the card before. Public transport does not have a scanner. That’s why on the non-digital Salzburg Card, you have to write your name, the time, and the date on the back of the card.
Now, you don’t need public transport in the city center. You only need public transport to get to the Untersberg Cable car and if you explore the city and would like to make the most of free public transport with the Salzburg Card, don’t yet fill in your name, the date, and the time. Fill in the name, the date and the time only when you first use public transport. That way you can extend the free public transport beyond the actual validity of the card. However, that only works with the non-digital Salzburg Card.
What I need to mention, however, is that there is no public transport required in the old town. Apart from the Cable Car, public transport is only required for places like the Stiegl brewery or Hangar 7.
5. Charge your Smartphone Batteries
This tip is only for the digital Salzburg Card and is not actually for getting the most of your Salzburg Card but for getting anything out of the digital Salzburg Card at all. Before heading out to use the Card to the max, charge the batteries on your smartphone. If you are out of power, you are not able to use the Salzburg Card, if you have not purchased the actual card but the Smartphone version of the card.
6. Take your time exploring the Domquartier or the Salzburg Museum
If you enter a museum a few minutes before the card expires, you can still stay in the museum for as long as you want. Therefore, if you like museums, you might want to enter the museum just before it expires and then stay as long as possible. However, the only museums that are large enough for spending more than an hour or two are Domquartier and the Salzburg Museum, both history museums. The problem with entering the fortress that way is that you would have to take the funicular back down before the card expires.
The funicular ride-down doesn’t work with an expired Salzburg Card but if you don’t mind walking down, the fortress is another option to make the most of the last minutes of your Salzburg Card. You could even follow that plan by using the card for example for the first time at 9:15 on the first day and then entering a museum the next day at 9 am to stay there until noon.
7. Plan to attend the Concert Hall Tour
Most of the activities included in the Salzburg Card are not time-sensitive. You can visit them whenever you want, even if you need to get a ticket like at the river cruise or if you need to attend a tour like at the Hellbrunn trick fountains. The guided tour at the concert hall that is included in the card, however, only happens once a day at 2 pm.
Therefore, if you want to get the most out of the Salzburg Card and are interested in seeing the inside of the concert hall, time your other explorations accordingly. The guided tour is the only way to see the interior of the concert hall without attending a concert. The way to get your ticket with or without a Salzburg is to just show up at the ticket office at 2 pm.
8. Get your ticket for the River Cruise in advance
During the summer, river cruises on the Salzach river run until 5 or 6 pm. Make sure you book your ticket for the last ride during the day to get the most out of your Salzburg Card. All the museums (except for the fortress) close at 5 pm, so you can head right from your last museum’s visit to the river cruise. In those summer months, the fortress is open even longer than that. The fortress in high season is open until 8 pm, so you could even plan a visit to the fortress for after your 5 pm boat cruise.
9. End your day at the Mönchsberg Elevator
While the Museum of Modern Art on Mönchsberg mountain is by no means a must, the elevator to the museum takes you up the 60 meters to the museum in 30 seconds. Taking the elevator is great for the view from Mönchsberg and the elevator is the last of the Salzburg Card sights that closes. That’s because there is a restaurant inside the Museum and the restaurant is open late. The elevator operates until 9 pm most days and until 11 pm in July and August.
10. Forward your Salzburg Card
If you get an actual card, on the back of your Salzburg Card you need to write your name, the date, and the time you started using the card. However, no one actually cares about your name. Only the time is relevant and that is also only on the bus because they don’t have a scanner to activate and check the card.
As a result, if you get an actual Salzburg Card instead of a digital Salzburg Card and you don’t visit all the sights and have time left on the validity of the card, you can forward your Salzburg Card to someone else. However, the entrances are one-time entries. If you have seen one of the sights already, you or someone else cannot access that particular sight again.