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Weekend trips studying abroad in Salzburg - where to go on the weekends when studying abroad in Salzburg

10 Weekend Trips to Take While Studying Abroad in Salzburg

You’re obviously one of the cool kids who has chosen Salzburg, Austria as your new study abroad home – Wilkommen! This little corner of northern Austria is one of the most beautiful areas in all of Europe and you are sure to have an awesome time!

In the olden days (like ten years ago), students on student budgets were pretty limited to where (or if) they could take weekend trips from Salzburg. The options were much more local to Austria and southern Germany, and even taking a train to Vienna was a big deal. Now, with more and more budget airlines popping up every day and train providers offering group student discounts, it is easier than ever to get around Europe, even from a small city surrounded by mountains like Salzburg.

When I studied abroad in Salzburg, I traveled practically every weekend and racked up eight new countries off of a very limited budget… and this was five years ago, when Ryanair had a monopoly on budget flights! Now that there are more options, you will have no trouble finding and affording weekend trips from this region.

Find out the easiest and cheapest places to visit on the weekends when studying abroad in Salzburg. We've done all of the work for you, just pick a few places and book your trip from Salzburg!

Traveling by Train:

Getting around Austria by train is definitely the easiest way to go. The Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, or main train station, was recently renovated and now services high-speed trains to all over Europe at practically any time night or day.

For those traveling within the greater upper Austria and Bavaria region, be sure to take advantage of the Bayern Pass, which is a 24 hour group train ticket for up to five people for a €25-49 depending on the amount of people on the ticket. This is a hop-on-hop-off group train ticket, so you can literally explore all over with four other people for an entire day on this one train ticket. Even if you are a solo traveler, this pass is still usually cheaper than buying an individual ticket. Sounds more magical than the Hogwart’s Express!

Where to travel to on weekends from Salzburg

1. Budapest, Hungary

While known for its rich history, beautiful architecture, and world-renowned art and music, the real draw for most students is the party scene. Beyond the typical bars, clubs, and restaurants, what makes Budapest really unique are its romkocsma, or “ruin bars”, which are abandoned buildings that were converted into bohemian pubs and are sprinkled throughout the city. If partying isn’t your thing, head to one of the city’s thermal spring-fed baths, which have been popular since Roman times.

How to get there:

A trip to Budapest is a bit of a splurge at around €85 for a train ticket, but it is well worth it. The journey usually takes around 5.5 hours and about 17 trains leave for Budapest daily. A trick of the trade – it is sometimes cheaper if you buy a ticket running between Munich and Budapest rather than having Salzburg as your destination. Check to see what options are available, as they all run on the same train line! Find and purchase train tickets on RailEurope.

Where to stay:

Retox Party Hostel – This hostel, as the name suggests, is not for the faint of heart. Specializing in getting its guests wasted, Retox is surrounded by bars and pubs and even has their own backpacker’s bar on-site. All of the rooms are decorated with Retox-themed graffiti, and the best part is they don’t even have a check-out time, as they understand their guests fighting hangovers!

Avenue Hostel – For the less party-inclined, Avenue Hostel is one of the top rated hostels in Budapest. It offers free breakfast and wifi, is conveniently located, and even has air conditioning for those warm days!

 

Weekend trip ideas from Salzburg

2. Ljubljana, Slovenia

Even though it is right next to Austria, Slovenia has only recently become an attraction among non-Europeans, so this is an ideal place to go if you’re looking to get away from the crowds without much effort. The city of Ljubljana is less than double the size of Salzburg but offers tons of art and music-related activities as well as hiking, skiing, and other outdoor options for the adventurous.

When taking the train, a stop at Lake Bled is a must. Right on the main train line between Ljubljana and Salzburg, Lake Bled is an incredibly scenic area tucked in between the Alps. Complete with a beautiful castle overlooking a thermal lake, you can’t get much more fairytale than this. Find and purchase train tickets on RailEurope.

How to get there:

Ljubljana is an easy 4.5 train ride from Salzburg’s main station. Tickets are usually fairly priced between €35-60 and most of the time only require one transfer in Villach, right before the border. Super easy!

Where to stay:

Zeppelin Hostel – This hostel, located only 5 minutes from the main train station, is one of the highest ranked in the city and offers free breakfast, wifi, and morning yoga. The hostel is run by an outdoor agency, so they are always offering local tours, too!

Hostel Celica – Want to sleep behind bars without having an arrest record? This hostel is a converted military prison that is known for its modern art. Besides its great rooms, on-site restaurant and cafe, bike rentals, and free wifi, it also features live music, art exhibitions, and frequent parties celebrating local talent.

 

Where to go when studying abroad in salzburg

3. Brno, Czech Republic

Less than 4.5 hours to get to by train from Salzburg, Brno is the best option if you want to experience the Czech Republic in a little bit more of a unique way. Often overlooked by its neighbor to the north, Prague, it is actually significantly easier to get to Brno and way more charming and historic. The second largest city in the Czech Republic and capital of the historic region of Moravia, Brno offers visitors a much more up-close look at the Czech culture while being a big university town, which keeps the area young and exciting. If you have time while in Brno, hop a bus to nearby Olomouc, a small city offering a much more quaint look at the region of Moravia.

How to get there:

Because of the decades of Austria and the Czech Republic not totally getting along, a lot of modern transportation routes have been left underdeveloped, making it more difficult to travel between the two countries without a car. Luckily , Brno does not fall into this category. There are about 14 trains each day that run between the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof and the Brno hl.n. (main station) and average about €50-75 for a ticket. All trains running between the two areas have transfers, with most stopping in Vienna. If you have time, take a brief Vienna stopover to break up your journey! Find and purchase train tickets on RailEurope.

Where to stay:

Mitte Hostel – Located right in the middle of the city, this hostel won Best Hostel in 2012 and is in one of the only historic buildings left in Brno. They offer gatherings in the hostel and tours around the city, and visitors love relaxing on the first-floor cafe looking out on the city buzz.

Hostel Jacob – The name is a bit deceiving, as this hostel is actually a combo guesthouse-hostel-apartment building, meaning you will have so many people to become friends with! Offering a daily breakfast buffet, free coffee and espresso machine, and situated in a super ideal location, visitors won’t want to leave!

 

Weekend trip ideas for study abroad Salzburg

4. Innsbruck, Austria

You might not feel super exotic just going to another city within Austria, but if you think the mountains around Salzburg are huge and the history is rich, you will be blown away by Innsbruck. When not hosting the Olympics, Innsbruck is known for being a mountaineer’s haven, and between the outdoor adventure options and the quaint charm that its old town has, you won’t want to leave.

Innsbruck is fondly referred to as the “Gateway to the Alps”, and that title is not to be taken lightly. If you have more than a weekend to spend in this area, be sure to hop a quick bus or train across the border to Germany, Italy, Switzerland, or even Liechtenstein.

How to get there:

Just take the only train from the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof that runs to the Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof. Pretty simple, right? The ride takes just about two hours, is super scenic, and if purchased ahead of time, can be as cheap as €19 each way. It runs about every hour throughout the day so you have plenty of choices, too! Find and purchase train tickets on RailEurope.

Where to stay:

Nepomuks B&B – A historic building converted into a backpacker’s hostel and B&B, Nepomuks is conveniently located in the old town and situated right above a cozy cafe where all guests are given free breakfast.

S14 – The S14 mini apartments are some of the most central rooms you can get in Innsbruck for a relatively low price. Spacious rooms plus a full kitchen will make for a great time away with friends!

 

Where to travel to on Weekends when studying in Salzburg

5. Bratislava, Slovakia

Another city that is a stone’s throw from Vienna, Bratislava is a short and easy four hour train ride from Salzburg. Like Salzburg, Bratislava is a super quaint city set along a river, surrounded by beautiful countryside and vineyards, and its pedestrian-only old town features a castle overlooking the city. Hard to beat, huh?

How to get there:

There are about 17 different trains each day that travel between the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof and the Bratislava hl.st. (main train station), so you have your pick. Most tickets start around €50 and stop in Vienna, which is only about an hour from Bratislava, making it the perfect place for a stopover if you have time. Find and purchase train tickets on RailEurope.

Where to stay:

Hostel Mansard – Located in the center of the old town, this hostel is one of the most popular in the city and offers free coffee, tea, and fruit, daily walking tours, pub crawls, and an outdoor terrace to relax with new friends. Discounts to the adjacent restaurant are available, too!

Hostel Downtown Backpacker’s – Only a few minutes from both the train and bus stations, this hostel offers guided tours, a library and piano available for use, live music every week, and a restaurant and bar in the hostel. If that weren’t enough, the free welcome shot of local alcohol always wins guests over, too!

 

Where to travel to when studying abroad in Salzburg

6. Nuremberg, Germany

Under 3 hours by train from Salzburg, Nuremberg is a very popular weekend destination. Besides all of the WWII-era events that made this city famous, Nuremberg is known for its medieval architecture and charming German ambiance. Nuremberg is one of the northern-most cities in the state of Bavaria, so whether you just want to kick back with a few steins in a biergarten like a local or explore the haunting Nazi Rally Grounds and Nuremberg Trials museums, there is something for everyone to do in this small but historic city.

How to get there:

It’s super easy to get to anywhere in Bavaria from Salzburg. You can either hop on any of the million trains every day that run from Salzburg to Munich and then take another train from Munich to Nuremberg, or take a train that doesn’t require a transfer in Munich. Either way, the majority (if not every) train at least stops in Munich, so don’t be afraid to stretch your legs for a bit in the city!

Remember that handy Bayern Pass we reviewed earlier? This bad boy applies to your round-trip train ride PLUS practically any public transportation you use while you’re in Nuremberg (or anywhere in Bavaria for that matter). Don’t be afraid to treat your train ride as a hop-on-hop-off situation so you can explore even more of Bavaria on your trip – the Bayern Pass covers unlimited stops for 24 hours! Seriously, take advantage of this…there is SO much to see in this region.

Where to stay:

JGH Nurnberg – If you’re one of those people who has dreamed of staying in a castle (who hasn’t?), then this hostel is for you. Located in the converted imperial stables of the Nuremberg Castle, the JGH offers an up-close look at the city’s history for a small price tag. Complete with a bar, bistro, tons of food options throughout the day, and even a “multi-vision” room for learning about the city’s Nazi past, this hostel is seriously cool.

Five Reasons Hotel and Hostel – This combo hostel/hotel is a great bang for your buck, with a more luxurious environment than your typical hostel and perks like free breakfast and wifi, spacious rooms, and a 24 hour front desk. Located next to the metro station and only a few minutes from the main sites of the city, guests are sure to love this option.

 



Rebecca’s plan to travel the world and learn as many languages as possible started when she was 12 years old and taking her first Spanish class. Now, 4 languages and 17 countries later, Rebecca fills her time writing about and marketing amazing places all over the world. When not convincing people to travel, she can be found eating hummus, belting out showtunes, and watching penguin videos. For more travel tips, baller cinnamon bun recipes, and pictures from her mountain home, follow her on Twitter (@heyrebeccabroad) and Instagram (@rebeccamoree).


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