Salzburg is a small city in Austria, a small country. If the whole country is small, why would we need an entire article just about the weather in Salzburg? Well, because Salzburg’s weather has its particularities.
How come? The weather in Salzburg is special as a result of Salzburg’s geographic location on the German border, where it’s flat on the other side but at the foot of the alps on the Austrian side.
In this article, you are gonna find out what you can expect from the weather in Salzburg in the different seasons over the year.
Salzburg has the most precipitation in Austria. This is due to the Alps mountains blocking the clouds before they cool off, rise and pass. The result is what we call “Salzburger Schnürlregen”, Salzburg string rain. The Salzburg string rain refers to small raindrops falling continuously throughout the entire day or over several days. Salzburg has 10-15 days of rain a month.
But that’s not as bad as it sounds. In summer the rain often comes in thunderstorms in the evening and in winter it sometimes snows so let’s find out what you can expect from the weather in Salzburg in certain seasons.
Let’s first find out when you can expect snow in Salzburg since that’s what many of you are hoping for!
When does it snow in Salzburg?
December: Does it snow in Salzburg in December?
Many travelers expect and hope for snow in Salzburg when they visit. Especially December and the Christmas markets are associated with snow but I have to disappoint you. Let me tell you a story to make a point.
In Salzburg, there is an electronics shop called Hartlauer. Hartlauer offers a Schneewette (snow bet). If you buy from them before a certain date at the beginning of December and it snows on Christmas day at noon, you get your money back while keeping the goods you purchased. Hartlauer knows the likelihood of snow on Christmas day in Salzburg is low, or else they would not advertise with such a bet.
In December it’s unlikely to snow but in December the month when it’s most likely to snow is just around the corner. The month, when it’s most likely to snow in Salzburg, is the month of January.
January: Does it snow in Salzburg in January?
January is the month when it’s most likely to snow. With an average temperature of just above 0 degrees Celsius during the day and below 5 degrees Celsius at night, January is the coldest month.
Snow in Salzburg in February, March, April, and May
Snow in February and March is still likely but winter in Austria is not as stable as you might think and not as stable as it used to be. In February you could experience days of 10 degrees below zero but also 20 degrees plus. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect snow but chances are that it’s gonna snow.
How about when spring is just around the corner? Will it still snow in Salzburg in April or May? In German, there is a saying: the April does what he wants (Der April macht was er will). You have to be prepared for anything in April and also in May. In April and sometimes even in May, weather can range from summer-like to deep winter. More on what summer is like below.
Travel Hack: Where can you find Snow in Salzburg in Winter?
It’s common sense but isn’t always considered right away. While there might not be snow in Salzburg in the valleys in November and December or in April and May, chances are there is snow in the mountains. That’s also why many of the online snowfall averages about the weather in Salzburg are inaccurate. Yes, it 100% snows in Salzburg but at what altitude?
Where you can find snow in Salzburg from at least November till April is for example on Untersberg mountain which can be conveniently reached by cable car. If you would like to know how to visit Untersberg, read this article on the Free Walking Tour Blog! On Gaisberg you might also find snow when there is no snow yet or not anymore in the valley. The top of Gaisberg can also be reached by bus 151 or by driving your own car, but it is 500 meters lower than Untersberg and therefore less likely to be snowed upon than Untersberg.
If the weather forecast even predicts no snow in Salzburg on one of these mountains or you are coming in one of the warmer months, you still have options. Austria has several glaciers. The most popular one is on Großglockner, the highest mountain in Austria which can be reached on the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße, the high alpine road. Another option would be Kitzsteinhorn, one of the highest mountains in the province of Salzburg which can be reached by public transport and cable car from Salzburg.
The Weather in Salzburg in Summer
In the month of March, April, and May, when snow becomes more unlikely, the famous “Salzburger Schnürlregen”, the string rain I mentioned at the beginning of this article increases in likeliness. It can sometimes rain for 2-3 days at a time, small drops but constant rain and grey skies.
The closer summer comes the more likely it becomes to rain. The month with the most rain is June but that’s also when the Salzburg string rain slowly turns into thunderstorms. While string rain can be annoying, the thunderstorms in Salzburg are incredibly beautiful.
While you might associate Austria with cold weather, the temperatures in summer can rise to above 35 degrees celsius. That’s when summer thunderstorms happen in the evening. Because they almost always happen in the evening, they are not just a beautiful natural spectacle but also a welcome cool down at the end of the day.
The biggest upside to summer in Salzburg might be the long days. While in winter, during the shortest days, you only get 8,5 hours of sunlight, in summer, during the longest days, you get sunlight from 5 am to 10 pm which does not only boost energy but allows you to roam Salzburg every waking hour of the day.
Insider tip: For amazing sunsets, the months of April and July are best. The sun rises slowly in those months. The time when it rises is ungodly, but if you are a photographer or just someone looking for a unique moment and you are up early enough, you have the city to yourself. With the Free Walking Tour Salzburg, you can learn about landscape photography in Salzburg.
The Weather in Salzburg in Autumn
Autumn might be the best time to visit Austria. During that time, not only are the most popular cities, Salzburg and Vienna, less crowded, but the weather in Salzburg also becomes very nice. In the month of September and October, it can still be warm enough to just wear a t-shirt during the day but it’s fresh in the mornings and it cools down in the evenings.
There is a greater chance for rain (Schnürlregen) during the day, instead of thunderstorms in the evening like in summer, but that brings its own advantages in the form of foggy mystic moods that combine with the changing colors of the leaves to create an enchanting atmosphere.
October has generally pleasant weather. October has the fewest rainy days of the year, averaging only nine days of rain. The weather in November may be October-like, but could also be snowy-winter-like as is more likely in December, and increasingly so by the end of December and into January.
MORE QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
What’s the month with the shortest days in Salzburg?
In Salzburg, the shortest day is the 21st of December. That’s when we only get 8,5 hours of sunlight and it gets dark around 4:30 pm. The winter solstice was important in Austrian history and solstice bonfires are still lit throughout the country today.