Vienna and Salzburg are two of Austria’s most sought-after destinations. Visitors put them at the top of their must-see list for a reason: Vienna is an elegant-yet-dynamic culture capital with jaw-dropping architecture. Salzburg has the nostalgic feel-good energy of its most famous pop culture portrait, “The Sound of Music.” This mini itinerary will get you from Vienna to the city of Mozart with ultimate ease.
Vienna’s international airport is a common point of arrival for visitors. The capital is also the perfect starting off point if you’re trying to get a quick overview of Austrian culture. For centuries, Vienna was the political nexus of Europe, with the Habsburgs ruling over Austria and its territories. Visit the Imperial Palace and Schönbrunn Palace to get a sense of this dynasty’s influence in Vienna and beyond.
The Habsburgs also were passionate and resourceful art collectors. Visit their treasures at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which spans across centuries of art history and features masterpieces by Caravaggio, Rubens, Titian, Bruegel, and many more. Fans of 20th century Austrian art (think Klimt and Schiele) should head to the MuseumsQuartier and Belvedere Palace, or get up close and personal with Wiener Werkstätte designs at MAK.
Drink one last melange at one of Vienna’s iconic coffee houses before boarding the Railjet at Wien Hauptbahnhof station. Direct connections to Salzburg run almost every 30 minutes and get you there reliably in under three hours. On your way to Salzburg you can choose to get off in cities like Linz, which harbors under-the-radar gems including the Lentos museum and the Ars Electronica Center.
Salzburg’s Hauptbahnhof station sits north of Old Town, inside a historic railway terminal. Take Obus lines 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 to the historic core and start exploring within 10 minutes of arrival! Salzburg is all about music, whether it’s the legacy of Mozart, the acclaimed Salzburg Festival, or the nostalgia of “The Sound of Music.” Musical must-sees include Mozart’s Birthplace, a historic apartment-turned-museum, Mirabell Palace of von Trapp fame, and the Great Festival Hall, which hosts the A-list of classical music each year.
Zip up to Hohensalzburg Fortress for stunning views over the city and a peek behind the curtain of historic Salzburg. The city was ruled independently of the Habsburg Empire by Prince Archbishops who amassed great wealth and power in the then second largest church state after the Vatican. Hohensalzburg, along with the DomQuartier residence are breath-taking reminders of this turbulent history.
Continue your train journey west to Innsbruck and Arlberg, or south to the charming city of Graz. If you’re pressed for time, hop back on the Railjet to Vienna, which takes you back to the main station or even the airport!
Travelling on the ÖBB Railjet Xpress and Railjet, you can reach Salzburg from Vienna in less than 2.5 hours - 32 times per day.
ÖBB Kombiticket: Salzburg Card & More
When departing from Vienna, the „Salzburg Card“ combination tickets for one adult passenger are available for € 118 at the ticket counters and online at tickets.oebb.at/en/shop as well as at railtours.oebb.at. The Salzburg Card gets you tons of perks like city tours and museum entries!
You can also find reduced tickets to Mozart Museums Salzburg and Casino Salzburg at your ÖBB ticket counter!