Salzburg isn't a huge city, but that's part of what makes it instantly likable. Known best as the setting for the Sound Of Music and as Mozart's birthplace, this old-world city nestled up against the Alps offers many pleasures for the visitor. The locals do a good job of exploiting their associations to the famous movie and famous composer, but a Sound Of Music tour can be fun, and one of the many nightly concerts featuring the music of Mozart can be an unforgettable experience in such a grand setting.
What to do
The Hohensalzburg Fortress above the city is worth the effort to get there if only for the views of the city and the Alps, but the interiors offer some unique things including displays of medieval weapons and torture devices. For something a bit lighter you can visit the Schloss Hellbrun just outside of town to see a former archbishop's summer palace that was outfitted with hidden fountains that surprise visitors who tour its lush and gorgeous gardens (stand near the guide if you don't want to get too wet!).
The cobblestone streets in the old district are so picturesque that you won't mind getting lost, but the city is compact enough that it's easy to do on foot without much fear of going astray. For an unforgettable drinking experience check out the Augustiner Brewery. The monks there have been brewing beer for centuries and there are traditional beer gardens, which are great in summer months, and perfectly preserved beer halls for when the weather isn't ideal. And for something as informative as it is fun, journey to the salt mines outside of the city for an impressive tour and a minor thrill ride through the mines themselves.
It's unlikely that Salzburg will be the only stop on your trip so it might be best to fly into a larger city and visit Salzburg by train, although the city does have its own regional airport. The most convenient connection would be a flight to Munich and then the two-hour ride by train, which takes you to the well-located station near the center of Salzburg. The city itself is best done by foot, but local buses do journey to all the top nearby attractions. And of course taxis can be a decent deal if you are in a group.
Where to stay
The historic center of town is the best and most memorable area in which to find a Salzburg hotel, but as you might guess the prices tend to be high. The city is small enough that you can save some money by staying a bit further away and still be able to enjoy everything. There are several Salzburg hostels from which to choose, but this is a touristy city and things tend to fill up in advance during peak times of year.