is salzburg expensive

Austria’s most expensive city to visit is Salzburg. But is Salzburg expensive or just a little more expensive than other places in Austria? Due to high rents, living in Salzburg is expensive. Salzburg is a small city; not only is it hard to find reasonably priced apartments, but hotels and hostels book up days in advance, and prices rise up to astronomical amounts in the summer.

But how much would it cost to go to Salzburg? Is Salzburg really expensive to visit?

Yes, Salzburg is expensive. But it’s only a little more expensive than Vienna and other places in Austria and not expensive compared to cities like Munich or Paris. Salzburg’s average hotel room price is €150,- per night. Prices for budget accommodation range from €80,- to €150,- depending on the season, while higher-end hotels would start at around €150,- and could reach several hundred euros. Budget hostels are available from €25,- in high season. If you were to have a meal at a restaurant in Salzburg, you would have to budget about €15,-, and a day trip, a tour, or a Salzburg Card would cost between €30,- and €60,-.

So, if you want to stay at the hotel and book a tour or eat out more frequently, you will have to budget at least €150,- a day. If you are on a budget, however, you will need at least €80,- a day for a hostel room, for food, and some sightseeing but it of course entirely depends on your style of travel.

Let’s break it down in more detail how much to spend per day in Salzburg!

Salzburg in High Season

In this article on how much to spend per day in Salzburg, we mainly discuss the cost of visiting Salzburg in the high season. That’s because in Salzburg the high-season is most of the year and the duration increases. When I began working in tourism in Salzburg, in 2012, there was still a real low season.

There were months when Salzburg seemed extinct when there were only 20 guests in the hostel with a capacity of 180 beds where I worked. Currently, the hostel is half full and we are able to conduct guided tours throughout the year. Let’s have a look at how much money for Salzburg is really needed!

The Cost of Accommodation in Salzburg

The price for accommodation in Salzburg in the high season starts at around €80,- for a hotel room for two people per night but that’s the low end and you get what you pay for. You can expect a pension in a not-so-central location at that price.

If you would like to pay less for accommodation in Salzburg, you should plan ahead and book your hotel at least two weeks ahead of time. Many affordable accommodation options are booked well in advance, and the few remaining rooms are often priced according to demand.

The cost of a minimum of a four-star hotel in a central location starts at around €150,- and the sky is the limit when it comes to luxury accommodation in Salzburg. The hotel Sacher for example, one of only two five-star superior hotels in Salzburg charges several thousand euros for a night at one of the suits during festival season.

Hostels like the Yoho International Youth hostel, which I worked for for years, or big chains like the Meininger or the A&O Hostel are available but at least in July and August, they are fully booked a few days in advance and sometimes raise the prices to €30,- to €40,- for a bed in a dormitory. That is again in high season. In the low season when they are not fully booked you can also make a bargain of prices from €12-€20,- for the cheapest beds.

The most expensive months to visit Salzburg are July and August, partly also because of the Salzburg Festival. The Salzburg Festival starts in the middle of July. The day the festival starts, Salzburg becomes much more crowded for the six weeks it lasts. 

The Cost of Food in Salzburg

How much does it cost to eat in Salzburg? Other than the cost of accommodation in Salzburg, the cost of food in Salzburg is moderate. That’s a fact I personally love and that makes me proud of my hometown Salzburg. There are no tourist traps and no places with seriously low-quality food. Most of the restaurants tourists would go to, are also frequented by locals.

Prices for a meal at a restaurant start at €12,- and range up to €25,- including drinks. While the prices in the restaurants are always within reason, on the other hand, there are no restaurants where you can make a bargain. For some recommendations on Austrian restaurants in Salzburg, please refer to this list by the Free Walking Tour Salzburg.

How much money for Salzburg’s Public Transport

Except if you stay in a budget hotel in a not-so-central location or arrive by Flixbus or by plane, you will not need public transport in Salzburg. The old town is small and walkable. If you do need public transport for some reason, you should first figure out if a Salzburg Card is worth it for your sightseeing in Salzburg since the Salzburg Card includes public transport in the city center.

Other than in the city, you might need public transport to take a day trip from Salzburg but public transport to day trip destinations like Hallstatt, Bad Ischl, Berchtesgaden, or the Ice Caves in Werfen is not included either in the Salzburg Card or in the day tickets for the city buses. These bus tickets for day trips cost anywhere from €11,- to get to Berchtesgaden from Salzburg to €30,- to get to Hallstatt from Salzburg.

How much to visit Salzburg on Day Trips and Tours

While tours add extra comfort and save you time planning, public transport in the surroundings of Salzburg is efficient. Most popular day trip destinations can be reached by bus or train without a problem.

Prices for public transport to day-trip destinations range from about €11,- to about €30,-. However, on most day trips you will also have to pay an entrance fee, such as for the salt mine in Hallstatt or for additional transportation, such as the boat at Lake Königssee or the shuttle bus to the Eagle’s Nest. Day Trips therefore can cost up to €80,- depending on what exactly you are up to.

More on how to save money on day trips in the budgeting section below.

If you would like to take an organized tour for one of the day trip destinations, it costs you between €50,- and €75,-. Panorama Tours, for example, offers the Original Sound of Music tour for €50,- while a tour to the Eagles Nest costs you €75,- due to the shuttle cost to reach the top of the mountain.

Salzburg in Low Season

The low seasons in Salzburg are short. The cheapest months to travel to Salzburg are November and February but the real low season only ranges from October-November and from the second week of January to the beginning of April. The high season starts in April with Easter and ends in September with Rupertikirtag, the traditional fairground festival.

How much to spend per day in Salzburg in the low season changes because the price of accommodation changes according to the season. However, that change of the cost of accommodation in Salzburg can result in double the cost of accommodation. 

How to save money when visiting Salzburg?

Salzburg on a Budget: Things to do in Salzburg for free

Salzburg has a lot of things that are worth paying for, but it also has plenty of free things to do. If you are on a budget and don’t want to spend any money at all you won’t be bored either. Here are just a few examples of things to do in Salzburg for free:

  • Mirabell Palace & Mirabell garden doesn’t require an entrance fee. While there is not much to see inside the palace except for the Marble Hall, Mirabell garden harbors a few secrets which you can find out about in this article.
  • In addition to offering free hiking opportunities, Salzburg’s city mountains (Mönchsberg, Kapuzinerberg, Gaisberg) offer stunning views of the old town, especially from Mönchsberg. You can read about all the hikes in Salzburg in this article on the Free Walking Tour Blog.
  • If you would like to explore the surroundings of Salzburg you could also walk to Hellbrunn palace, to Leopoldskron palace or to lesser-known places like Maria Plain. These places are between half an hour and an hour walking from the city.
  • Siemens Festspielleinwand, the public viewing of the festival, is a free alternative to the expensive tickets during the festival season in July and August.
  • Hangar 7 is the private airplane, helicopter, and racing car collection of the Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz. His collection is located in an architecturally fascinating building near the airport and is open to the public for free.

All-In on Sightseeing: Get a Salzburg Card

We wrote several articles about the Salzburg Card because it’s such a great deal. The Salzburg Card allows you to visit all the paid attractions in Salzburg for a fixed price. That could save you between €100,- and €200,-, if you want to go all-in on sightseeing in Salzburg. For a detailed breakdown, read this article.

If you get the Salzburg Card, make sure to also read this article on how to make the most of your Salzburg Card and this article, if you would like to know what sights are included in the Salzburg Card.

Low-Cost Overview: Take a Free Walking Tour

Disclaimer: I am biased. I founded the Free Walking Tour in Salzburg. But when I travel Free Walking Tours would also be my go-to activities in a new city. The Free Walking Tour is on a “pay-what-you-want” basis meaning you decide at the end of the tour how much you want to pay for the 1,5-2 hour tour.

Because Salzburg is small, during the tour you pass by and hear about the most important sights. That doesn’t only save you money but also saves time researching.

How to save money on Day Trips from Salzburg

One of the best things to do in Salzburg is to explore the surroundings on a day trip. Most day trips require a tour or public transport. The cost for a day trip depends on the distance you travel on those public buses or trains. It for example costs €30,- to get to Hallstatt and back from Salzburg by public transport but it also takes 3 hours one way while Berchtesgaden in Bavaria costs €11,- for a round trip but also only takes 1 hour one way.

But while in Hallstatt the village is the main attraction you would have to spend extra money on the shuttle bus to the Eagle’s nest or the boat across Königssee to make the most of a visit to Berchtesgaden. The way to save money on a day trip to Berchtesgaden for example would be to hike the Eagles Nest instead of paying the overpriced shuttle bus to the top. Hiking is generally a great way way to explore the surroundings of Salzburg.

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