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How to Make the Most of a Salzburg Card in Winter

Salzburg Card: Views from Fortress Hohensalzburg
Travel can be expensive. Many destinations offer a discount card for local attractions and Salzburg Austria is no exception. Buy a Salzburg Card and for a fixed price and time, enter the most popular local attractions for free. No need to stop and wonder if the admission price is worth it, use your Salzburg Card to pop in and see for yourself. Price points on city cards can vary widely and you may be wondering if the value you get is worth the price or if you are really just paying a premium for convenience. In addition, not all attractions are open year round so the value you get in winter may not be the same as the value you get in summer. Read on to learn more about our experience using the Salzburg Card on our one day trip to Salzburg in winter before moving on to visit Innsbruck for Christmas.

About the Salzburg Card

Salzburg Card

The Salzburg Card is available in 24 hour, 48 hour, or 72 hour increments. Don't worry about the time of day that you activate your card. The Salzburg Card works on a rolling time window rather than on day boundaries. The main benefits of a Salzburg Card include one-time free admission to tourist attractions and museums within the city combined with free public transportation (mainly local buses). You can buy the Salzburg Card online and use it from your smartphone or purchase an old-fashioned Salzburg Card like we did from the reception desk at our hotel or from the Tourist Information Office. The Salzburg Card costs € 29 EUR during the high season (summer months) and € 26 during the low season at the time of writing. We paid € 26 for each ticket when we visited Salzburg in December right before Christmas. Children under the age of 15 qualify for a half-priced Salzburg Card.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: What other places have city cards and how does the value compare? The Luxembourg Card is one of the best city cards we've tried and is excellent value for money. You can even use it on various day trips from Luxembourg City.

Is A Salzburg Card Worth It?

The next logical question becomes: is the Salzburg Card worth buying? We managed to cover quite a lot of ground in Salzburg in 24 hours and still there was more we could have seen.

Let's break it down:
  • Hohensalzburg Fortress (including the state apartments and marionette museum): € 16.30
  • DomQuartier € 13.00
  • Panorama Museum € 4.50
  • Sound of Music World € 8.00
  • Mozart Residence € 12.00
  • Public Transportation (24 hours in the central zone):  € 4.20
TOTAL: € 58.00
24-Hour Salzburg Card Ticket Price: € 26.00
Savings: € 32.00

As you can see, we definitely got our money's worth from the 24 hour Salzburg Card. In addition, we had the convenience of not having to whip out our credit card at every attraction to pay for a ticket or make sure we had change for bus fare. There are both monetary and the intangible benefits to the Salzburg Card. 

What We Saw With Our Salzburg Card

We may have saved a ton of money on Salzburg attractions with our 24 hour Salzburg Card, but what were those attractions actually like? Were they worth the price of admission?

Sound of Music World

Sound of Music World is a must-see attraction in Salzburg, especially during the Christmas season. The lines between fiction and reality blur in this small museum comprised of about three rooms of exhibits on the second floor of a home in Old Town Salzburg. Explore the lives of the Trapp Family singers, the story upon which the Sound of Music musical and movie was built. You may wonder: did Captain von Trapp really make his children march or use a whistle to get their attention? Did Maria really leave the convent for love? Find out the answers to these questions and more through video interviews with members of the Trapp family in their old age. Discover if the story behind the Sound of Music detailing the escape of Captain von Trapp and his family from Austria during WWII was accurate or romanticized.
Salzburg Card: Sound of Music World
If I had been paying individually for tickets, I may have balked at the € 8.00 price tag for admission to Sound of Music World. However, with the Salzburg Card, there was no real risk of popping in and we found that while the museum was small it was chock full of fascinating information and was totally worth it.

DomQuartier

Entrance to DomQuartier in Salzburg includes the state apartments at the Residenz.
The interior decoration was sumptuous and stunning. I felt like royalty just walking through the rooms. I absolutely adored the gilded ceramic heaters in the corner of each room. Each one was nearly camouflaged by the rich patterned wood floors, colorful tapestries on the walls, and luxurious furnishings. Not only is admission to the Residenz free with the Salzburg Card but the audio guide is also included. Listen and learn about the various residents who called the royal apartments home.
Salzburg Card: Curiosities Cabinet in DomQuartier
The Salzburg Cathedral is also part of the DomQuartier ticket. Enter via the upper alcove next to the organ and choir stalls. Just beyond, you'll find a series of Baroque curiosity cabinets housing artifacts from the period that a typical royal resident of the time may have collected. You could easily spend hours exploring DomQuartier so the € 13.00 entrance price is definitely worth it even if you don't have a Salzburg Card.

Panorama Museum

We used our Salzburg Card to go to the Panorama Museum. The Panorama Museum, located just around the corner from Mozart Square, houses an early 19th century 360 degree painting of Salzburg in a center room with a few supporting exhibits leading up to the main event. Yes, it was pretty cool to see such an old and intricate work of art and to think about how the city had evolved over the past two centuries. The € 4.50 EUR entry fee is a relatively low barrier to entry even without the Salzburg Card but even so, we might have ended up skipping it were it not for the convenience of our Salzburg tourist card.

Mozart Residence

The Mozart Residence is another place we were curious about given the famous composer's connection to Salzburg. In fact, you can also see Mozart's Birth House (Mozart Geburtshaus) with your Salzburg Card but we were short on time and had seen this more famous attraction on a previous trip to Salzburg over 15 years ago. Is the Mozart Residence worth the rather steep € 12.00 entrance fee? Without the Salzburg Card? Probably not. With the Salzburg Card? Why not! The Mozart Residence museum is actually really small with only a few rooms of exhibits and focuses on Mozart's father, Leopold Mozart. The coolest part about this museum is the chance to see a couple of violins owned by Wolfgand Amadeus Mozart himself. It was really exciting to think about being in the presence of musical instruments played by the hands of Mozart himself to create timeless music that still resonates today.

Schloss Hellbrunn

Tree decorated with red Christmas ornaments at Schloss Hellbrunn in Salzburg
Take Bus No. 25 (the fare is included with your Salzburg Card) from Salzburg City Centre to 17th century Hellbrunn Palace. The main attraction at Schloss Hellbrunn is the gorgeous grounds and trick fountains. However, if you visit in winter like we did, the opening hours are shorter and you'll have less daylight hours to work with. The sun had set by the time we arrived so we'll have to save the beautiful grounds for another visit. In December, Schloss Hellbrunn is home to a popular Austrian Christmas Market. Keep an ear open for a peculiar jingling of bells. That means there may be krampuses in your midst! We got super-lucky and arrived just in time for a parade of krampuses representing various alpine towns. You may be wondering: what's a krampus? Krampus is frankly terrifying with horns and a devil-like appearance. The threat of the krampus is used to scare naughty children into better behavior. In the U.S., we are told as children that Santa will leave us coal in our stocking if we aren't good little boys and girls. In Austria, parents raise the threat of the krampus to similar effect. All around the grounds of Schloss Hellbrunn, you could hear the jingle of krampuses. Check out the video embedded below to experience the full effect of these furry creatures with terrifying countenances.

Fortress Hohensalzburg

Salzburg Card: Fortress Hohensalzburg
Festung Hohensalzburg from left:
1. Doorway to the state apartments
2. Walking the ramparts
3. The imposing fortress walls
4. Views of Old Town Salzburg and the Salzach River
Fortress Hohensalzburg sits high above Salzburg and is another must-see attraction with your Salzburg Card. The card includes not only admission to the fortress but also the funicular ride from and to Old Town Salzburg. The best part about taking the time to visit Hohensalzburg Castle is that you are immediately rewarded with spectacular views of Salzburg City and the surrounding countryside and Austrian Alps. The Salzburg Card also includes entrance to both a set of state apartments that are small on space but big on luxury and a marionette museum. Take the self-guided tour and then walk the historic walls and steep in the beauty of Salzburg nestled in the valley below against a backdrop of snowcapped mountains.
Salzburg Card: Marionette Museum at Hohensalzburg Fortress

As you can see, you can cover a lot of ground quickly and easily with a 24-hour Salzburg Card. Did you enjoy this post about making the most of a Salzburg Card in winter? Sharing is caring...

Getting the Most from a Salzburg CardIs a Salzburg Card Worth It?
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: How to Make the Most of a Salzburg Card in Winter
How to Make the Most of a Salzburg Card in Winter
Visit Salzburg in winter and discover: is the Salzburg Card worth buying? Learn how to get the best value from a Salzburg Card on a trip to Austria in the winter.
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