With traditional markets, a festive feel, and a historic, UNESCO-listed city center, Salzburg is one of the best places in Austria for celebrating the holidays. Here are some activities to make sure you have the merriest Christmas while visiting.
See the Salzburg Christmas Markets
When winter descends and the festive Christmas season comes around, both locals and travelers come to Salzburg to celebrate. At Hellbrunn, St. Jakob am Thurn, and St. Leonhard markets, traders sell traditional handicrafts amid the scent of mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, and hot waffles. Walking tours take travelers through the streets and stalls—past top attractions such as 17th-century Hellbrunn Palace—with guides on hand to offer insight into centuries of rich Austrian history.
Take a Horse-Drawn Sleigh Ride
For a true taste of the festive season in Salzburg, a horse-drawn sleigh ride is hard to beat. Opt for a day trip along the Salzach River Valley and climb 3,281 feet (1,000 meters) to the Alpine mountain of Dachstein for a sleigh ride, or get led to traditional villages such as Faistenau or Ramsau for views of the wintry scenery.
Head to the Silent Night Chapel
If you’re looking for a truly unique holiday experience, the Silent Night Chapel offers the best of Christmas in Austria. Choose a tour from Salzburg that takes you through the foothills of the Austrian Alps to the quaint town of Oberndorf, on the banks of the Salzach River, where the historic Silent Night Chapel awaits. On arrival, stroll the Christmas markets and browse for souvenirs, then, take part in a Christmas Eve mass in the chapel—built in honor of the Christmas carol “Silent Night” and its composer, Franz Xaver Gruber.