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How to prepare for the Salzburg Festival

Everything you need to be perfectly prepared for the Salzburg Festival

Summer in Salzburg means festival time. Lasting six weeks, this extravaganza puts its stamp on the heart of the historic centre. People even refer to it as the “Festival district”, a large part of which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. For visitors, locals and festival staff alike it means “preparation is half the fun”:

Do your homework

Experience shows that many operas and classical music concerts need to be heard several times to reveal their subtleties. Listen to and watch the pieces, which can be long and complex, at least once beforehand for maximum fun and so you roughly know what the story is about. You don’t have to, but it will definitely make it more enjoyable.

Book as soon as possible

You should book the tickets as well as your overnight accommodation as soon as possible. The historic centre itself is fully booked months in advance. A hotel or some other kind of accommodation in surrounding SalzburgerLand will definitely be cheaper and less stressful. You could try your luck and see if there are any tickets at the door, but don’t depend on it.

Getting there and parking

Regardless of how beautiful Salzburg has become over the centuries and regardless of how strategic its location is between the mountains and the river, drivers don’t have it easy during the Festival. If you are going to drive to the concerts, it’s easiest to take the exit “Salzburg-Mitte” and Neutorstrasse to the garages in the mountain. Otherwise, public transport (S-bahn and trains to the main station or buses to the historic centre) is undeniably the less stressful choice.

Weather check

Make sure you check the weather conditions. If you have tickets for Everyman, you can experience anything from stifling heat to icy temperatures. And should it rain, then Everyman will be performed at the Large Festival Hall. Special tip for bad weather: one hour before each ‘Everyman’ performance on the Domplatz Square, you can try your luck at getting a standing ticket in the Franziskanergasse street and if you are lucky, then you will get to see a star-studded performance.

These tips should help you be perfectly prepared for your visit to the Salzburg Festival, as well as the Whitsun and Easter Festivals. If you are planning on combing the Festival with a tour of the city, then you should get the SalzburgerLand Card, which is also a 24-hour Salzburg ticket for most attractions and public transport in the city of Mozart. You can pre-order your card online for your holiday in SalzburgerLand.

The eternal what to wear question

The Salzburg Festival does not have an official dress code but here’s a quick guide:

  • Men have the luxury of just needing a suit and tie most of the time
  • Women should wear summer dresses during the day and evening wear in the evening
  • People often wear traditional costume to the Everyman performances
  • At the Operas, the men wear smoking jackets and the women wear long evening dresses
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