In our Gay Salzburg Travel Guide, let us take you on a journey through this beautiful city to see all it has to offer LGBTQ travellers – spoiler alert, we were very impressed!
Salzburg is a picturesque city, with the Salzach River running through the centre splitting it in two and the skyline being lined with breathtaking snow topped mountains. It’s the fourth largest city in Austria at c150k people.
On our first morning in Salzburg at breakfast on the 14th floor of our hotel, we were immediately wowed by the views of the city and surroundings below us.
Salzburg is known as ‘The Stage of the World’ with a huge range of cultural offerings, art, festivals, concerts, beautiful architecture and perhaps most notably, being home to Mozart and the filming for The Sound of Music (albeit Austrians are not a fan of the film!).
When it comes to gay Salzburg, there is a lot of activity going on year round as well as a growing gay nightlife scene. In this gay travel guide to Salzburg, we explore how gay friendly the city is, where to find the gay bars and what wider activities happen year round for local LGBTQ people and tourists alike.
Gay Travel Guide: Salzburg, Austria
Is Salzburg a Gay Friendly City?
The short answer is yes. Salzburg may not have a huge and thriving gay scene like some other cities in Europe, but what it does have is a lot of culture and substance that is well interwined with the LGBTQ community here.
This is something that clearly has been building over the years and what struck us during our time in Salzburg was how the LGBTQ community (HOSI especially) was not as silo’d as you might expect.
Many businesses, organisations and instituitions are well invested in supporting the local LGBTQ community and LGBTQ tourists alike. They work closely with the tourism board to make sure people feel welcome. We hope that as this work continues it has a knock on effect on the wider population bringing more openess and acceptance.
It’s important to remember that no city is ever free from homophobia, so yes, we felt well welcomed and safe but on occasion there was the usual ‘look’ or two. Stay safe and enjoy Salzburg!
Where is the Gay Area in Salzburg?
The gay scene in Salzburg is relatively small with just a handful of gay bars (see below), however these bars are all conveniently within walking distance of each other on the right-hand side of the Old Town in a part of town called Andräviertel which could therefore be classed as ‘the gay area of Salzburg’.
You might also hear locals refer to the gay area in Salzburg as the gay triangle which is made up of the three gay bars (HOSI-Mexxx-Dark Eagle).
Gay Friendly Hotels in Salzburg
The tourism board, along with the organisers of Gay Salzburg work closely with each other and closely with local hotels.
They have shared some of their recommendations below based on those that have been the most forthcoming when working with the LGBTQ community and those near the gay triangle (we stayed at Arte).
This is where we stayed in Salzburg and highly, highly reccomend.
This hotel has the best views from breakfast on the 14th floor looking out over the mountains (as well as a huge selection of food).
The rooms were super comfy and stylish and we enjoyed using the on site sauna after a long day of walking (and the gym when we had the energy!).
This hotel is in a great location, 650 yards from Mirabell Palace and Salzburg Main station, and also just opposite the gay bar, Dark Eagle…
Rooms are light, spacious and well decorated with guests saying they are spotless.
If like us, you enjoy staying somewhere 5* and luxurious, make sure to check out Sacher Hotel.
This is a grand, historic and elegant hotel located by the river with state of the art rooms and suites. We had the chance to see the ‘Suite with Terrace’ and it was stunning, if you are in the mood to treat yourself this is the place to be.
Hotel Bristol Salzburg
Steps away from the beautiful Mirabell Gardens, Hostel Bristol Salzburg is another beautiful 5* hotel with a lot of character and an award winning restaurant on site.
The hotel itself is decorated with antiquities, paintings, and collectibles and offers a concierge service and valet parking. It is even possible to book massages in your room.
Gay Friendly Cafes and Restaurants in Salzburg
During our queer tour of Salzburg, our guide pointed out a number of gay friendly or gay owned cafes to revisit later on. We also went to a number of incredible restaurants during our time, all of which are listed below.
Cafe Friendly Cafes in Salzburg
- Café N°5 Salzburg is a gay run cafe.
- Johannes Keller is a gay friendly restaurant and bar.
- Fungos is a gay owned and run cafe.
Gay Friendly Restaurants
- St. Peter Stiftskulinarium – This a a really unique place to eat mixing tradition with style and dates back to 803 (trying to get the Guiness World Record for the oldest restaurant in Europe). The food was fine dining style and simply delicious (I had super soft beef cheeks with truffle). They also have a lot of Austrian dishes including the famed Salzurgburger Nockerl for dessert.
- Trumerei – this is a new urban restaurant with great local beer, traditional Austrian cuisine with a twist of ingenuity.
- Sacher Grill – Traditional recipes are blended with vision and creativity to delight and surprise guests. From the famous SalzBurger to the tasty Tafelspitz or the WienerSchnitzel. This was likely the fanciest place we ate, one great choice for your final evening.
Gay Events in Salzburg
When it comes to gay events in Salzburg there are two key things to look at. Of course LGBTQ Pride but then across the year, take a look at all the events HOSI is running….
LGBTQ Pride Salzburg (CSD)
LGBTQ Pride in Salzburg has been growing from a weekend to a week long programme of events and activities!
Pride in Salzburg is much more than a party and involves many local cultural instituitions such as the Salzburg Museum and State Theatre. Expect to see queer uplifting workshops honouring local LGBTQ pioneers and teaching the wider community about gender and diversity.
The list goes on, get involved in cooking events, queer city tours, wellness events and so much more.
When it comes to developing LGBTQ acceptance in a city this is exactly what we like to see, events that encompass all types of people and interests and ultimately bring people together regardless of their sexuality.
Pride is usually later on in the year, you can see the latest dates here.
One of the bigger gay events in Salzburg is HOSI-Fest which is held 4 times a year. This is the largest clubbing event for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people and their friends. Party-goers from all over Austria and southern Germany come to Salzburg four times a year to celebrate the party of the season.
Beyond HOSI-Fest, The Homosexual Initiative (HOSI) is a human rights organisation for the LGBTQ+ community.
It’s a non-profit association that has been running for 30 years and the work they do is nothing short of incredible.
They provide counselling for LGBTQ people and their families within the city, but also to people further outside the city looking for support.
They also run educational projects and almost 70 other events throughout the year to help promote openness and acceptance. Make sure to visit their premises, grab a drink and learn more about their work during your stay in Salzburg.
Gay Bars in Salzburg
There are just a few gay bars in Salzburg which means that at the weekend the bars can get quite busy given that everyone looking for a gay night out in Salzburg is going to be at 1 of 3 places.
The bars attract a mix of tourists and LGBTQ locals so if you want to get to know more about gay Salzburg, these are the places to be:
- Mexxx Gay Bar- this was the most popular gay bar in Salzburg when we visited. A relatively intimate bar with a dancefloor and pole in the middle (if you want to put on a show!) this is a great place to start and finish your evening and is open until the early hours.
- Dark Eagle – something for later in the evening, Dark Eagle lives up to many bars of the same name across other cities. Upstairs they have a nice bar to sit and chill, downstairs they have a large play area with many rooms, places to explore and big screens showing films….
- HOSI (human rights organisa-tion for the LGBTQ+ community) – we loved HOSI, this is super social space and they do a lot of great work from here. This should be your starting point for the night to build up to some of the more ‘clubby’ type bars later on.
Gay Nights in Salzburg
One of our highlights during our visit to Salzburg was the drag show put together by Magic Garage and hosted at the NarrenCastl Cafe & Bar.
When it comes to drag shows we can be hard to please, however this particular show gave the stage to 10-15 different performers for 5 minutes each and we were blown away by how unique and creative each act was. Some simply had us bawling with laughter and some had our jaws drop.
This was not your typical drag night with exclusivley drag queens, this was a super queer mix of drag queens, drag kings and everything inbetween – we loved it.
The show by Magic Garage is usually once every 4-5 weeks and you can find out about the next show here.
Activities for Gay Travellers in Salzburg
Salzburg has a lot to offer straight and gay travellers alike, they have a little something for everyone from a variety of cultural experiences, to outdoor excursions, culinary experiences and nightlife.
Heres a few unmissible things to do whilst in Salzburg:
Queer City Tour
Join the best gay guide in Salzburg, Roman Forisch for a very special “Queer City Tour”.
There is a lot of LGBTQ history and influential characters that make Salzburg what it is today. On this tour you will get to explore the city and learn LGBTQ stories that have shaped Salzburg.
For registration or other appointment arrangements please mail to: email@example.com
Sound of Music Tour
Keeping things camp, put on your lederhosen and go on a Sound of Music tour! Salzburg is home to many of the film locations and on this tour they are brought to life.
This tour takes you around the city centre but also gives you the opportuntity to get out of the city and into the hills which are beautiful and might even give you a chance to do your best Julie Andrews impression and belt out ‘the hills are alive….’.
We finished the tour at a small restaurant next to a lake to enjoy some apple strudel.
For registration or other appointment arrangements please mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mirabell Palace & Gardens
This is one of the top city centre attractions in Salzburg. Its a beautiful and romantic place, especially popular for weddings.
In the gardens look out for the Pegasus fountain and the Grand Fountain where there are four scultures representing fire, air, earth and water. There are also lots of areas where filming took place for the Sound of Music.
Skulptur Die Tanzerin at Kurgarten Park
This small park overlooks Mirabell Gardens and is home to some cheeky gay history.
You will find the Skulptur Die Tanzerin atop the hill and also find a rainbow bench. This park was (possibly is) a known cruising area until all the bushes were removed to deter people from cruising…
Apparently if you are sitting down on one of the benches its to indicate you are passive and if standing, active! Who knows wabout versatile…maybe they lay on the floor!
Try the Original Salzburger Mozartkugel
Salzburger Mozarthugel are famous in Salzburg. They are handmade chocolates, usually marzipan covered in nougat, dipped in chocolate and sealed in silver foil.
They are sold in many places but we suggest checking out Furst (where they were first created) or Josef Holzermayr in the ‘Chocolate Square’.
Explore the Old Town
One of the things we loved about Salzburg was how the city was split by a river which makes for some beautiful views.
If not on a tour, explore the Old Town yourself, especially Getreidegasse which is a beautiful street full of shops with decorative signs.
Fortress Hohensalzburg is the landmark of Salzburg. It is the oldest fortress in central Europe, dating back to 1077. From up there you have a 360-degree view of the city and the surrounding mountains.
The best way to access the fortress is to take the furnicular. It runs from 09:00 to 17:00 each day and you can get different ticket bandings to include access to different parts of the fortress (see here).
We highly recommend stopping here for lunch if you have time.
Castle Concert at Schloss Mirabell
You can’t come to Salzburg and not hear about Mozart! This is where he grew up and there is lot of history dotted around the city paying homage to Mozart and his work.
If you enjoy classical music, book a Castle Concert at the Schloss Mirabell (Marble Hall, Mozart used to play here). The musicians here are world class!
Museum of Modern Art Salzburg
The Museum of Modern Art often has exhibitions dedicated to LGBTQ themes.
When we visited we saw the Queer Fem Magazine exhibit at the Rupertinum, one of the two locations of the Museum der Moderne Salzburg and later this year there will be an exhibition of photographs by Samuel Fosso – a contemporary photographer from the Central African Republic who blurs the lines of gender in their work.
Hellsbrunn Palace & the Trick Fountains
Salzburg’s prince-archbishop Markus Sittikus planned Hellbrunn Palace as a never-before-seen oasis of enjoyment and leisure.
Its a quirky and unique place to visit, with Unicorns indoors and trick water automats, grottos, and fountains in the gardens – the original system was built to astonish, entertain and befuddle his guests.
If that sounds intriging, take a look at www.hellbrunn.at/en/ for more information!
A top tip for your stay would be to get the 72 hour Salzburg Card.
With this you gain free admission to many tourist attractions and museums, free use of public transportation (incl. cable car up to the Untersberg, funicular up to the Fortress, Monchsberg elevator and river cruise tour) and many additional discounts for other activities.
- Salzburg has one airport to fly into, ‘Salzburg Airport’. From the airport you can be in the city in 20 minutes via taxi.
- Get yourself as Salzburg card as mentioned above.
- Currency is the Euro.
- You can use public transport to get around or use Uber.
- The most popular time of the year to visit is September/October when the summer crowds have eased but the city is still warm. We went in March which was chilly but beautiful with extra snow!
We would love to return to Salzburg and explore more of the city, as well as the surrounding countryside and mountains. We hope you found this guide useful!