I don’t have children. However, I am not only a Salzburg tour guide, I was once a Salzburg kid. I was born and raised in Hallein, 15 kilometers outside the city of Salzburg, and spent most of my life in Salzburg and its surroundings. What I share with you in this article are, therefore, partly my childhood memories. I will share my most vivid memories with you, so your children can have equally vivid experiences in Salzburg.
We will first explore what there is to do in the city of Salzburg with kids before exploring the best family-friendly activities in the surrounding areas. In this article, you will learn that even if the city is small, you could spend a week in Salzburg with children without running out of exciting things to see and do.
Whether learning about the Middle Ages at the Hohensalzburg Fortress, reenacting scenes from the Sound of Music at Mirabell Gardens, or exploring the surrounding area to get wet at the trick fountains in Hellbrunn or even take a day trip and ride a boat on Lake Königssee, the deepest lake in neighboring Germany. There are plenty of exciting things to do in Salzburg with kids.
Things to do in Salzburg with Kids
Here are some things to do in Salzburg with kids. All of these activities are in the old town and within walking distance of each other, even with smaller kids. If you are planning to visit all of these recommended sights for kids in Salzburg, you should absolutely consider a Salzburg Card.
All of the sights listed are included in the Salzburg Card. To find out why the Salzburg Card is probably worth it and how much the price of the Salzburg Card for children is, read this article.
1. Hohensalzburg Fortress: Experience Medieval Salzburg
Salzburg’s Hohensalzburg Fortress is not only a must-see for families with kids, but for everyone who visits. The kids, however, seem to have a special fascination for everything medieval, from cannons to knights and stories about life on the fortress. By 2021 the armory was converted into another museum with video games and interactive quizzes the fortress became even better for kids. Plus the funicular ride is a lot of fun when in Salzburg with kids.
2. MIRABELL GARDENS: Reenact the Sound of Music
Mirabell garden is not only a great area to roam free for children but actually harbors a few not-so-obvious secrets. Mirabell features a maze, a hedge theater, and a historic dwarf garden. The dwarf statues of different themes that represent the months of the year, play volleyball and are clowns and theater dwarfs of which one is even a Sound of Music dwarf. However, the dwarf is not the only thing that had a role in The Sound of Music.
To learn about all the Sound of Music filming locations in Mirabell garden to enable you and your family to reenact the scenes, read this complete guide to Mirabell Garden.
3. HAUS DER NATUR: Learn Science & Natural History
Haus der Natur (house of nature) is the science and natural history museum of Salzburg. Besides the toy museum, this is by far the best place to go in Salzburg with kids. Haus der Natur is also one of my most vivid childhood memories when it comes to activities like that. That’s in part because these memories are easy to refresh because parts of the museum, like the dinosaurs or the space station, are exactly like they were 30 years ago when I was a child.
There is a sense of nostalgia for parts of the museum, whereas other sections, like the science center, are completely brand new. It’s not uncommon for locals with kids to visit Haus der Natur repeatedly since kids don’t get bored seeing the same thing over and over again.
4. Spielzeug Museum (Toy Museum): Play, Play, Play
The toy museum features historic European toys of the last 250 years and has the biggest collection of toys in Austria. When I was a child, my parents did not take me to the toy museum in Salzburg. It may have been because the museum was not as prominent before it was refurbished in 2011. However, nowadays the museum is doesn’t only feature historic toys but also invites children as well as young at heart to actively play and interact with the museum.
5. Salzburg Boat Cruise: Dance on the Salzach River
It is not a must for tourists, but if you are in Salzburg with kids and if you have a Salzburg Card, you should definitely go on the cruise. There’s not much to see along the river in Salzburg, so it’s not a must for tourists. Salzburg is not Paris or Budapest. But if you are in Salzburg with kids, the cruise will be a lot of fun. Kids love being on a boat, and the captain lets the boat dance on the river before docking.
If you get a Salzburg Card, make sure to read this article on how to make the most of your Salzburg Card.
The Surroundings of Salzburg with Kids
Salzburg is small. Hence, you can leave the city and get into the green area within 15 minutes.
6. Hellbrunn Palace & the Trick Fountains
The Hellbrunn Palace is located five kilometers from Salzburg’s center. The Palace from the 17th century served as the party palace of Archbishop Markus Sittikus. While this may not sound very appealing to children, the highlight of Hellbrunn Palace is the trick fountains behind the palace. The trick fountains served as amusement for the Archbishop’s guests and for himself.
They included statues and structures that spewed water at unexpected times. Maintaining dryness is almost impossible, and laughter is a guarantee. If you are not going for the Salzburg Card, you might also consider combining the previous point with Hellbrunn by going to Hellbrunn by boat on the Salzach river. which also includes the ride on a double-decker bus from the boat to Hellbrunn.
BONUS TIP: Hellbrunner Park is a large green space with a playground and is wildly popular among local families on the weekends in summer. It might get a little crowded but is much more relaxed and ideal for a picnic and a break when in Salzburg with kids.
7. Visit The Salzburg Zoo
Kids love Zoos, and the Zoo in Salzburg is especially beautiful and fun. Considering Salzburg is a small city, the zoo is 14 hectares in size large. The setting of the zoo on the mountain face of Hellbrunnerberg is beautiful. The Zoo is in the same location as Hellbrunn Palace, the previous activity, and only 5 minutes walk away. A wildlife park was already present in Hellbrunn in the 16th century.
Nowadays the zoo consists of 150 kinds of animals including free-running lemurs, Alpakas, and a petting zoo. The Salzburg Zoo is also included in the Salzburg Card and comes highly recommended if you are looking for things to do in Salzburg with kids.
8. Take a Bike Tour
Salzburg is well known as the most bike-friendly city in Austria. There are bike paths everywhere that make cycling safe which is especially important if you are on the road with your kids. You might decide to rent a bike and explore the surroundings of Salzburg with your family on your own or consider taking a bike tour. Bike tours in Salzburg add another unique spin to your adventure since a popular bike trail in the area was used in the filming of Sound of Music. Therefore, both of the bike tours available are Sound of Music themed.
9. Visit Hangar 7: Planes, Helicopters and Racing Cars
I don’t want to stereotype here, but hangar 7 will probably be more appealing to boys. Dietrich Mateschitz displays his collection of racing cars, helicopters, and planes for free inside a magnificent building shaped like a huge glass dome. Salzburg’s Hangar 7 is located near the airport and can be reached by bus or car within 15 minutes.
Day Trips from Salzburg with Kids
10. The Salt Mines in Hallein or Berchtesgaden
When I was a kid we visited the salt mines countless times. That’s because I was born and raised in Hallein, just outside of Salzburg, and that’s where one of the Salzburg salt mines is. There are also salt mines in Hallstatt and in Berchtesgaden but the Hallein salt mine is the salt mine, local families, with kids, would visit. That might also be because Hallein is harder to reach than Berchtesgaden for example.
Hallein is just as easy to reach by car as Berchtesgaden but requires two buses or a bus and a train to reach by public transportation. To the Berchtesgaden salt mine, on the other hand, there is a direct bus connection and Berchtesgaden is where the organized salt mine tours go to. Therefore, you might want to consider Hallein by car or Berchtesgaden by public transport or with an organized salt mine tour from Salzburg.
11. Riding a boat on Königssee
Königssee across the border in Germany, nicknamed the “Bavarian Fjord”, is not only one of my favorite day trips from Salzburg but considered by many Germans the most beautiful place in all of Germany. The mountains at Königssee reach all the way into the lake. Therefore, it’s impossible to hike around the lake. The only way to cross the lake is by boat. The boat rides on Königssee have a long tradition since on the other side of the lake, there St Bartholomä, one of the oldest sites of pilgrimage in Germany.
My Dutch grandfather was the director of a shipbuilding site. When I was 6 years old and he was already dying of cancer, he visited us in Salzburg and convinced the captain of the ship to let me take the wheel. I don’t remember a lot of situations of my childhood but I do remember that. A highlight of the boat ride is when the crew plays the trumpet and the echo reverberates on the walls of the mountains. Königssee is not only recommended in Salzburg with kids but highly recommended for everyone visiting Salzburg.
Here is how to get to Berchtesgaden and Königssee and if you don’t want to think about public transport or driving your car, here is an organized tour you can take to Königssee from Salzburg.
The Best Playgrounds in Salzburg
Playgrounds are not only a great way to entertain your kids but a great way to get a peek into local culture and daily life. Playgrounds are places to sit and watch and for your kids to make some local friends. Here are the best playgrounds in Salzburg:
- Volksgarten Spielplatz: The Volksgarten playground is probably the most high-end playground we have in Salzburg. The Volksgarten playground, refurbished in 2021, now has a high ropes course that is 4.5 meters high. A mini boulder wall, climbing poles, or suspended ladder must be climbed to reach the upper level.
- Zauberflötenspielplatz: The Magic Flute playground is the most central of the playgrounds listed here. Under the wall of the Dwarf Garden, next to Mirabell Garden. Dedicated to Mozart’s 250th birthday, the playground was built in 2006. Named after Mozart’s most famous opera has a bird carousel, a dance chime, and a 13-meter high exam temple, a climbing tower with a tube slide.
- Playground and climbing course Müllner Schanze: the playground on the Müllnerschanze is more for climbing than playing, but there are some elements like climbing frames, equipment designed to cultivate dexterity, a moving balance, beams, and other small elements. On the way up to Mönchsberg, Müllner Schanze makes for an easy sightseeing hike recommended when traveling with children in Salzburg.
- Playground Franz Josef Kai: The playground at Franz Josef Kai is located next to the Salzach river, just a few minutes from Getreidegasse, the most popular tourist area in Salzburg. However, this playground would not be my preferred choice since it’s small, old, and adjacent to a busy street.
More Questions & Answers
Is Salzburg child friendly?
Salzburg is very child friendly. It’s a safe city. Most of the old town is a pedestrian area and places like the Mirabell Gardens, the fortress and some of Salzburg’s big squares invite children to roam free. Activities with kids in Salzburg are plenty even if Salzburg is small, so you will not run out of things to do in Salzburg as a family.