Do you plan to visit Salzburg? Then you may be wondering how to get to Salzburg. You may be wondering whether taking a plane, a train or a bus is the best option to reach your destination. If so, here’s my guide to getting to Salzburg!
Salzburg has an airport, but the city and the airport are small and chances of you flying directly to Salzburg Airport are slim. The airlines that fly to Salzburg are limited and most flights from and to Salzburg are expensive. In fact, we as locals, most often leave and arrive in Salzburg by train when traveling, since most international connections leave from the airports in Munich or Vienna.
Also, most travelers arriving in Salzburg visit Salzburg as part of several destination journeys.
Therefore, chances are you arrive in Salzburg by train since the connections from other popular destinations like Munich or Vienna are frequent and convenient.
Let’s talk about arriving in Salzburg by train before we discuss the less popular option of taking a bus and the arrival when you fly directly to the airport.
Arriving in Salzburg by Train
Salzburg is at the intersection between Munich and Vienna as well as destinations in the Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia, and Switzerland. Munich and Vienna are the most frequented destinations with Munich even closer to Salzburg than the Austrian capital Vienna.
When arriving in Salzburg by train from Munich
While the Railjet train only takes 1,5 hours from Munich to Salzburg, the Bavarian ticket, for the slower regional trains, is a great way to save money. The Bavarian ticket is a group ticket and saves you money if you are traveling with 2-5 people. The more people, the cheaper the ticket per person. Here is a detailed explanation and an introduction to the Bavarian ticket.
The train from Munich is the train you take, if you get to Salzburg from anywhere in Germany, from the Netherlands, and from many other destinations. If you arrive from that direction, you always have to change trains in Munich.
When arriving in Salzburg by train from Vienna
Taking the train from Vienna, you have two options. ÖBB and Westbahn. While ÖBB is the more traditional train company, with discounts only for yearly discount cardholders, and if you purchase a ticket a while in advance, Westbahn offers more innovation and more competitive prices. For a full comparison, read this article about the train connection between Salzburg and Vienna.
The train from Vienna to Salzburg leaves in Vienna either from the central train station or from “Wien Westbahnhof”, the west station, takes about 2,5 hours and arrives at Salzburg Hauptbahnhof.
If you come from Budapest to Salzburg, you also change trains in Vienna and get on the same train and if you come from Prague, for example, you also get on the same train one hour before it arrives in Salzburg.
How to get around Salzburg from the train station
Arriving at the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, the main train station, the only train station in Salzburg, you have many options like taking a cab, a bus or simply walking to the old town, to your accommodation or to whatever your first destination during your visit to Salzburg is. Walking from the train station to Mirabell palace for example, to the first sight on the way to the old town, only takes 10 minutes.
Cabs and buses park and stop right in front of the station. Most bus lines start at the station and buses like for example 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 head to the old town. But if your accommodation is in a central location and your luggage is not too heavy, public transport is not required to get around Salzburg. Here is another article, if you would like to find out more about public transport in Salzburg and why you probably won’t need it.
How to get to Salzburg by Bus
Bus connections are less frequently available and not as widespread as train connections but when there are bus connections available, they are usually the least expensive option. Bus connections to Salzburg are offered by Flixbus, a now global brand that has bought up many European bus companies in the last decade.
Bus connections to Salzburg are offered from various directions all over Europe for example from Croatia, Bulgaria, Paris, or from the Netherlands. While you might sacrifice comfort on a long bus trip, you can make a bargain on some of these rides. One of my favorite, least expensive, and little promoted ways to explore Europe is the Interflix ticket. Read this article on how to take full advantage of the Interflix ticket!
Unfortunately, arriving in Salzburg by Flixbus has become a little less convenient a few years ago. In the effort of reducing traffic in the city center, the Flixbus station was moved from a convenient location behind the train station to the park & ride in the south of Salzburg. When arriving in Salzburg by bus, you, therefore, have to take another 20-minute bus ride to reach the city center. The bus you need to take is bus number 3 which leaves close to the place where your Flixbus drops you. Bus number 3 takes you straight to Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, the Salzburg train station, but if you want to explore the old town right away you could also get off the bus at Mozartsteg, at Makartplatz or Mirabellplatz.
Arriving in Salzburg by Plane
As mentioned before, you most likely arrive in Salzburg by train due to the size of the airport and the associated lack of flight connections. That doesn’t mean you can’t get to Salzburg by plane but that you most likely fly into the nearest major airports.
Where do you fly into for Salzburg?
When traveling to Salzburg by plane, it’s more likely that you take a plane to Munich or Vienna than directly to Salzburg. Salzburg airport is the second largest airport in Austria after Vienna but Vienna airport is 8x times bigger than the one in Salzburg. The advantage of landing at Vienna airport is that there is a direct train to get from the airport in Vienna to Salzburg.
When flying into Munich, you either take a Flixbus from the Munich airport to Salzburg or you take the subway to the Munich station where you catch a train to get to Salzburg. Remember that you need to take another 20-minute bus ride from the Flixbus stop in Salzburg to the center of Salzburg.
What if you fly directly into Salzburg?
There are airlines like Ryanair, Wizzair, Eurowings, and EasyJet who offer reasonably priced flights from and to Salzburg from certain destinations. In case you take a direct flight to Salzburg, you are in luck. A direct flight to Salzburg is the second easiest option after arriving by train. In many cities, the airport is located far from the city center. Not so in Salzburg. The airport is only 4 kilometers from the center of Salzburg. Bus number 2 and number 8 leave from the airport every 10-20 minutes, cost about €2,–€3,- and take about 20 minutes to Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, the main train station.
Taxis are of course another option. Taking a taxi from the Salzburg airport to the city center of Salzburg costs about €20,- but because the bus is convenient and, therefore, preferred. A taxi from the airport would make sense, if you are several people, if your accommodation is not central or if you arrive too late for the last bus.
The most common way to get to Salzburg is by train, as Salzburg is at the intersection of other major destinations such as Munich and Vienna. The connections are excellent and even if you arrive by plane, it is much more likely that you will arrive in Munich or Vienna and head to Salzburg from there.
But even though you would fly directly to Salzburg or arrive by bus, you would still arrive at the train station because all buses go there and you would probably arrive by bus from the airport or bus station.