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    Car hire in Salzburg - Exploring Central Austria

    Birthplace of the world-famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salzburg offers a rich assortment of cultural activities along with excellent cuisine and breathtaking nature, plus events related to music and art are also regular features in the city. The historic centre has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, with much of its architecture from the Baroque period in a state of excellent preservation. History buffs can immerse themselves in the past while nature lovers can enjoy recreational activities in the surrounding mountains. With a rental car you can explore this exciting city as well as many other parts f the country, including the capital city of Vienna and the renowned winter sports centre of Innsbruck.

    Auto Europe is your top choice for a car hire in Salzburg. Not only do we provide a wide selection of vehicles, from mini-category cars to passenger vans for business and leisure travellers alike, but we also strive to exceed your expectations with our premier customer service before, during and after your car hire. We offer more than 24,000 locations internationally, with convenient pick-up options in Salzburg, including Salzburg Airport, Salzburg Central Station and numerous downtown locations. Check out our Salzburg car hire reviews section to see what others have written about their recent Auto Europe car hire experience in the city.

    How is the traffic in Salzburg?

    Salzburg is a bustling city during both the summer and winter holidays with excellent street and highway maintenance all year round. However, the city can be difficult to drive in due to its many one-way streets, bus lanes and complicated layout. It is also important to note that large parts of the city centre are for pedestrian use only. If you are visiting some of its landmarks, it’s best to park your car hire in Salzburg in a public car park and continue on foot or by public transport.

    For visitors looking to see all the main sights however, a car hire is the optimal mode of transportation. Just ensure that you take all necessary precautions, pay attention to the local traffic laws, road conditions and other drivers, just as you would at home. You will be required to have a paid toll sticker (Vignette) on your vehicle when you drive on Austrian motorways. If you plan to drive on paid toll roads, please speak to the local supplier at the time of pick-up about toll payment options and ensure that your hired car has the necessary stickers visible on the windscreen.

    In the winter months, snow tyres are mandatory with either four winter tyres or two winter tyres and snow chains. Reflective safety vests must be kept in the vehicle at all times for safety purposes in the event of a breakdown or accident. Make sure that one is provided in your car hire before departure.

    For further details on traffic regulations, please visit Auto Europe's Driving in Austria information page.

    Where can I park my car hire in Salzburg?

    Salzburg is a popular travel destination not only for Austrians but for travellers from all over the world, which means that the city is always busy. You will rarely find free on-street parking spaces because these are very limited in number. Information on prices and the maximum permitted parking time can be found on ticket machines or nearby road signs. If you cannot find a free space on the streets for your car rental in Salzburg, try parking in one of the many public parking garages in the city, like the Mönchsberg underground car park on the left hand side of the River Salzach, or the centrally-located Altstadtgarage 1 and Altstadtgarage 2 car parks. Alternatively, you can use the P+R car parks which offer parking outside inner city for a reasonable price with public transport options available to get to the centre.

    Salzburg Airport

    The second-largest international airport in Austria, Salzburg Airport is located 2 miles west of the historic centre and just 1.2 miles from the German border. The airport handles approximately 2 million passengers a year with direct flights from London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, East Midlands, Edinburgh and several other UK airports.

    Breathtaking views from the plane of both the city and the Austrian Alps make this airport a unique and convenient pick-up location for anyone wanting to partake in summer and winter sport activities or simply explore the wonderful baroque city centre. The car hire desk can be found a short walk from the airport terminal building.

    Salzburg Airport W. A. Mozart (SZG)
    Telephone: +43 66 285 800
    Address: Innsbrucker Bundesstraße 95, 5020 Salzburg, Áustria

    What to do in Salzburg

    Salzburg is rich in culture and history, so there are numerous sights that you should visit on a trip to the city. In the following section we have featured some of the most popular and interesting attractions in Salzburg;

    • Christmas Market: If you are planning your journey during the month of December, then a trip to the city's astonishing Christmas market is a must. Known all over the world as one of the most atmospheric markets in Europe, the Christkindlmarkt on Residenzplatz dates right the way back to the 15th century. Highlights include drinking a mug of glühwein while wandering amongst the many stalls offering the best and most memorable home-made treats and trinkets.

    • Old Town: A World Heritage Site since 1997, Salzburg’s Old Town has around 1,000 protected buildings offering a variety of spectacular city views, most notably Salzburg Cathedral erected in 774 and rebuilt several times since. The belltower of the Old City Hall is another important landmark that was originally a burgher house until 1407 when it was bought to use as the City hall and Court of Justice – which has since been relocated to Mirabell Palace. Mozart’s Geburtshaus has several musical instruments on display in the distinctive yellow-coloured building where he lived until the age of 17. Located at the foot of the Mönchsberg Mountains is St Peter’s Cemetery, one of the oldest cemeteries in the world, as well as catacombs and two chapels carved into the mountain rock.

    • Local Cuisine: Influenced by Bavarian and Tyrolean gastronomy, some of the country’s national favourites include schnitzel, apple strudel and Sacher torte. Austrian cuisine is very diverse and colourful combining the sweetness of Bohemia, the spices of Hungary and the seasoning of the Mediterranean. The Grünmarkt outside the University campus is the best farmer’s market if you are looking for strong-smelling cheeses, cured meats, and delicious baked pastries and cakes. For an authentic Austrian meal, the Gasthof Goldgasse and Gablerbräu are two of the city’s most popular restaurants.

    • Art and Culture: There are two Museums of Modern Art in the city, the most recent of which lies atop the Mönchsberg and peers down upon the Old Town, offering scenic views of the city. It includes works from a range of contemporary artists in addition to its permanent collection. While many come for Mozart, there are many jazz and contemporary music clubs and bars across the city that showcase new talent from all over the world. If you are devoted to Mozart, make sure you visit the Sound and Film Collection where you’ll have access to over 25,000 audio recordings.

    • Sports and Festivals: For the more adventurous, Salzburg offers you a unique winter sports holiday with several options for skiers, ice skating and many other outdoor pursuits. In the warmer months, hiking is a great option in the surrounding hills. The wide selection of annual events includes the Salzburg Marathon and the Gaisberg Race. The world-famous Salzburg Festival takes place each summer, but tickets can be expensive and difficult to get so the festival offers free screening at the open-air cinema in the Old Town. For younger visitors, the Electric Love Festival offers mainly dubstep, electro and house music.

    Best day trips with my car rental in Salzburg

    If you decide to rent a car in Salzburg, then make sure you save a couple of days for a road-trip around Salzburg with the added option of visiting neighbouring Germany. Numerous attractions await you in the Salzburg region, from which we have compiled a short-list of the most interesting places;


    About an hour’s drive south-east of Salzburg brings you to this idyllic village located beside the beautiful Hallstat Lake. The journey passes several glimmering lakes and high mountains where you can stop to enjoy some of the spectacular scenery along the way. Hallstatt’s story dates back more than 4,000 years to its beginnings as a salt mine. One of the most common activities is a guided tour of the oldest salt mine in the world where you’ll discover the meaning of the phrase ‘white gold’ before taking a peaceful ride on a traditional wooden boat around the lake. If you arrive around 9am, you will be able to enjoy all of the charms of the old town and take a short journey on a funicular to the Skywalk and its viewing platform. Remember that during the summer months no cars are allowed in Hallstatt.

    Munich (Germany)

    Across the border about a 90-minutes drive from Salzburg lies the Bavarian capital city of Munich with its panoramic views of the Alps. Here you can enjoy amazing views of the Old Town and take a walk through the famous farmer's market - Viktualienmarkt. If you're an automobile enthusiast, there is the impressive BMW Museum and, of course, the city features some truly majestic churches, palaces and gardens such as the Marienplatz Rathaus. In autumn you’ll have the chance to catch the Oktoberfest beer festival. Please don't forget to state your intention to cross the border into German at the time of making your car rental booking.

    Ice Caves

    There are two giant ice caves close to Salzburg, both of which are perfect destinations for an exciting day-trip. The Dachstein Ice Caves are located close to Hallstatt and will amaze you with their astounding ice sculptures and mind-blowing frozen waterfalls. To get there you’ll need to take a cable-car and walk for about 20 minutes, but it’s well worth it as the tour takes about 50 minutes inside the caves and you can see remarkable glaciers, icebergs and other formations. You can also drive on for another hour until you reach the Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves that were crated naturally from ice and limestone to form what is considered to be the largest ice cave in the world. They are only open from May to October and the temperature inside is below freezing most of the time. There is a cathedral in the largest room and a gigantic stalactite to see as well.

    The Eagle's Nest (Germany)

    Just over the German border is Berchtesgaden, a picture-postcard town with a dark past. A trip to Kehlsteinhaus - the Eagle’s Nest - is a journey back in time with an historic theme as it was built to celebrate Hitler’s 50th birthday before becoming a command centre as his second seat of power. Located at 6,017 feet above sea level and with panoramic views of the Bavarian Alps, nowadays it provides a great location for a relaxing meal in a fine restaurant. There is a documentation centre close by and a WWII bunker tunnel system on display.


    Less than 20 miles from Salzburg is this lovely lake that most of the time is forgotten by tourists. On the banks you can find several restaurants and small villages full of history. The lake is an outdoor adventure with hiking options and boating tours and you cannot miss the cog railway that has been running since 1893 and will take you to the top of Schafberg Mountain where you can enjoy a superb meal in the Alpine Hut restaurant.

    How to get around Salzburg

    The city's public transport system is highly efficient with buses and taxis each having their own lanes. However, it is a walkable city and very bike-friendly with a massive network of bike paths available. Taxis are also available throughout the city, although fares tend to be a bit on the pricier side.

    Bus and Tram

    Both operate with the same ticketing system, thus making them the best option to get around. All buses offer several stops both inside and outside the city, including the airport and the local train station. Tickets are more affordable if you buy them in advance from a ticket machine or a news stand, but if you plan to use public transport a lot we advise you to get a 24-hour ticket. During the night there is a BusTaxi running along 12 routes from 11.30pm to 1.30am and until 3am on weekends.


    Trains provide low-cost public transport throughout Austria with many international destinations available as well. Salzburg offers S-Bahn trains that depart every hour throughout the day, and Salzburger Lokalbahn trains from 5am until midnight most days with 30-minute intervals. Single tickets and 24-hour tickets are available and can be used on all forms of public transport, with bikes and dogs also accepted.

    Useful links

    Salzburg Tourist Info