A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Bern vs. Salzburg for Old Town, Couples, Attractions, and Food

Should you visit Bern or Salzburg?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Bern or Salzburg? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Bern

Bern is a historic, charming, and beautiful city. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include nightlife, food, and shopping.

Salzburg

Salzburg is a musical, cultural, and recognizable city. You'll find world class beauty here as well. It also has that perfectly quaint feel that is like no other place. It's also known for food, shopping, and museums.

Bern and Salzburg: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere


Is there more to do in Bern or Salzburg?

You'll generally find more things to do in Salzburg than Bern. Salzburg is bigger than Bern, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Salzburg is more touristy than Bern and is known for its elegant breakfasts, its classical music scene, and its role in the Sound of Music. Also, Salzburg is famous for The Salzburg Old Town. Bern is well known for its well-preserved old town and its reputation as the home of the Lindt chocolate factory.

The Salzburg Old Town
The Salzburg Old Town

How is Bern different from Salzburg?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Salzburg and Bern. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Bern or Salzburg?

Bern
Salzburg

Both Bern and Salzburg have very good landmarks and museums for visitors.

Bern offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. The city is filled with architecture and charming character. While you're in town make sure you visit the Einstein Museum, the Clock Tower, and the Bern Cathedral.

Many visitors head to Salzburg specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. There are many historic sights to explore including Mozart's birthplace, the Mozart Residence, the Salzburg Museum, and the many stunning churches and concert halls.


Is the Food Better in Bern or Salzburg? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Bern
Salzburg

Salzburg is a well-known place for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Salzburg makes for a great culinary experience. The old town is filled with charming restaurants that serve local specialties including schnitzel, tafelspitz, and strudel. The city is also known for it's impressive breakfast spread that is often served on a three tiered cake stand and includes cheeses, salami, fresh fruit, pastries, olives, jams and more.

Bern has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. The city has cozy cafes, high end fine dining, traditional eateries, and modern venues.

Is Bern or Salzburg Better for Nightlife?

Bern
Salzburg

Both Bern and Salzburg are notable when it comes to partying.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Bern. There are bars, Irish pubs, and clubs around town.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Salzburg. The city has a number of trendy bars, pubs, and clubs where you can enjoy music and a lively atmosphere.

Is Bern or Salzburg Better for Music?

Bern
Salzburg

Salzburg is renowned for live music. However, Bern is not a live music destination.

Salzburg is a world class music destination. Although most people think of Mozart and the Sound of Music when they think of this city, there are also many music festivals, including the famous Salzburg Music Festival, as well as concert venues and an independent music scene that is excellent.

Bern is not a live music destination.


Is Bern or Salzburg Better for its Old Town?

Bern
Salzburg

Salzburg is renowned for its historic old town. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its old town.

The old town of Salzburg is one of the most recognized in the world. This beautiful old town is filled with cafes, restaurants, and churches. You can enjoy local music performed by street performers as you soak in the atmosphere and the regular chime of the church bells really gives the city personality. There are also frequent markets and shops to explore.

There is a nice variety of sights in the old town of Bern. The charming old town is filled with quaint alleys and sandstone buildings. It's a compact area that flows down a hill to the River Aare.

Is the Shopping Better in Bern or Salzburg?

Bern
Salzburg

Salzburg is renowned for shopping. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its shopping opportunities.

Salzburg is a famous shopping destination with plenty of stores. The city's historic heart is filled with boutique shops, chocolate markets, and charming local vendors. It's fun to peruse the many shops that line the streets while you shop for local souvenirs.

Bern is well-known for its shopping. The old town is filled with boutique shops and unique markets. The main shopping streets are Spitalgasse and Marktgasse and popular items to buy include jewelry, art, and watches.

Is Bern or Salzburg Better for Families?

Bern
Salzburg

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Bern or Salzburg.

Bern is a very family-friendly place to visit. This charming town has riverside parks and pools, a zoo, a waterpark, and kid-friendly museums that the whole family can enjoy. You can also visit nearby Gurten, a mountain with tobogganing, concerts, and a mini ski resort.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Salzburg is very family-friendly. Kids who know the Sound of Music will enjoy visiting the setting of a number of scenes from the movie. There are even popular Sound of Music tours that take you to the gardens where they sang "Do Re Mi" and out of town to the church where Maria married the Captain. The city also offers Marionette Puppet shows, cooking classes, castles and more around town that everyone can enjoy.


Is Bern or Salzburg Better for Couples?

Bern
Salzburg

Salzburg is renowned for romance. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its romantic activities.

Salzburg makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. The town offers a romantic setting with elaborate breakfasts, beautiful architecture, live shows, and plenty that couples can enjoy. You can simply wander around old town or explore the many gardens around town. Couples will also enjoy the concerts and music that the city is so famous for.

Bern makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. With charming restaurants, a beautiful rose garden, and nice hotels and spas, this town makes a beautiful romantic getaway.

Is Bern or Salzburg Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Bern
Salzburg

Both Bern and Salzburg are very good destinations for backpackers.

Backpackers come from all over to visit Bern. Like most of Switzerland, prices are a bit high, but there are some hostels and free activities that backpackers and budget travelers can enjoy.

Many backpackers visit Salzburg. This is a popular city to visit, so there are plenty of amenities for backpackers. If you want to save a little money, you can stay and eat outside of old town where the prices are a little less.

Is Bern or Salzburg Better for Students?

Bern
Salzburg

Salzburg is renowned for students. However, Bern is not popular with students.

Many students frequent Salzburg. International students appreciate the high quality of life, excellent educational opportunities and unique European setting that makes this city special. There are also a number of beautiful places just outside of town that you can explore, as well as many travel connections to other popular cities in Europe.

Bern is not popular with students.


Is Bern or Salzburg Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Bern
Salzburg

Both Bern and Salzburg offer very good public transit options.

Visitors to Bern can move around easily with public transportation. There are trams and buses that run around town.

The public transit in Salzburg can get you around easily. Trolleys and buses make it easy to get around town.

Is Bern or Salzburg a more walkable city?

Bern
Salzburg

Bern and Salzburg both are very good when exploring on foot.

Bern is very walkable. It's fun to explore the old town on foot. It is compact enough to that you can see all of the highlights in a few hours.

Salzburg is a very walkable city. The old town is very walkable, but if you stay outside of the main tourist areas, you'll likely want to take a bus.

For even more information, also check out Is Bern Worth Visiting? and Is Salzburg Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Salzburg or Bern?

How long in Bern or Salzburg?

In either Bern or Salzburg, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Salzburg than Bern because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Bern, and 3-5 days is enough time in Salzburg.

Families should spend more time in Salzburg than Bern. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Salzburg, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Salzburg than Bern. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Salzburg that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Salzburg than Bern if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Salzburg.


  • How many days in Bern or Salzburg? Ideal Length of Stay
    Bern 1-3 
    Salzburg 3-5

One day in Bern or Salzburg?

The beautiful city of Bern offers food and shopping. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one day here. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and live music when visiting the destination of Salzburg. Visiting the old town is also a must. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.


A weekend in Bern or Salzburg?

Bern is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Bern, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Salzburg is a fun place to experience. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Five days in Bern or Salzburg?

Bern is a popular choice for travelers. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the musical destination of Salzburg. This city offers something for everyone. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. Five days is often enough time to do most activities.

A week in Bern or Salzburg?

Bern is a great place to explore. Visiting the old town is also a must. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.

The cultural city of Salzburg offers shopping and museums. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Switzerland, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Switzerland, The Best 2-Week Tours in Austria, and The Best Tours for Seniors to Austria.


Which place is cheaper, Salzburg or Bern?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Bern is $247, while the average daily cost in Salzburg is $168. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Bern and Salzburg in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Bern $160
    Salzburg $99
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Bern $320
    Salzburg $198
Compare Hotels in Bern and Salzburg

Looking for a hotel in Bern or Salzburg? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Bern


Hotels in Salzburg


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Bern Hotel Prices and Salzburg Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Bern $33
    Salzburg $21

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Bern

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Bern:

  • Private Car Departure Transfer from Bern to Bern Airport BRN: $74
  • Private Direct Transfer From Bern to Basel: $193
  • Private Transfer From Bern to Zurich, English Speaking Driver: $230

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Salzburg

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Salzburg:

  • Private Transfer between Salzburg Airport and Salzburg City: $55
  • Salzburg Private Transfer from Salzburg Airport to City centre: $56
  • Private transfer: Salzburg to Salzburg Airport (SZG): $66
  • Saalbach-Hinterglemm to Salzburg Airport (SZG)-Departure Transfer: $66
  • Private Salzburg Airport luxury transfers to Salzburg city&Hotels: $66
  • Private transfer: Salzburg Airport (SZG) to Salzburg : $66
  • Salzburg Airport (SZG) to Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Arrival Transfer: $66
  • Salzburg Airport Private Arrival Transfer: $66
  • Salzburg Airport (SZG) to SkiWelt - Arrival Private Transfer: $72
  • Departure Private Transfers: Salzburg to Salzburg Airport SZG in Business Car: $92
  • Salzburg Airport Transfers : Salzburg Airport SZG to Salzburg in Business Car: $92
  • Arrival Private Transfers: Salzburg Airport SZG to Salzburg in Business Car: $92

Is it cheaper to fly into Bern or Salzburg?

Prices for flights to both Salzburg and Bern change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Bern $59
    Salzburg $45

Typical Food Prices in Salzburg

Some typical examples of dining costs in Salzburg are as follows:


  • Lunch Salad
    $9.79

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Salzburg

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Salzburg.

  • Cookies and Apple Strudel Cooking Class Including Lunch: $60
  • Austrian Apple Strudel Cooking Class including Lunch in Salzburg: $61
  • Salzburg Christmas Cookies and Apple Strudel Cooking Lesson: $61
  • Best of Mozart Fortress Concert and Dinner: $82
  • Best of Mozart Concert and Dinner or VIP Dinner at Fortress Hohensalzburg: $84
  • Mozart Concert with Dinner: $85
  • Dinner Cooking Class and Music: $86
  • Mozart Dinner Concert in Salzburg: $86
  • Dinner Cooking Class - Prezels, Dumplings, Apple Strudel & Music: $87
  • Christmas Advent Concert with Dinner: $89
  • Dinner and Classical Concert at Mirabell Palace: $95
  • Cruise, Dinner & Fortress Concert: $107

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Bern $33
    Salzburg $32

Tours and Activities in Bern

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Bern are as follows:

  • Self-Guided Reading City Tour in Bern: $3.35
  • Self-Guided Tour of Bern's Fountains, Clocktowers, and Legends: $9.99
  • Fribourg Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Thun Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Bern Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Guided Walking Tour in Bern: $35
  • Bern : Private Walking Tour with a Local Guide (Private tour): $60
  • Bern Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $61
  • Highlights & Hidden Gems of Small Group Guided Walking Tour: $87
  • Lake Thun and Lake Brienz Day Pass Ticket for Lake Boat Cruises: $121
  • Bern Highlights Small-Group Walking Tour with a Local: $155
  • Private Tour of Bern - Sightseeing, Food & Culture with a local: $167

Tours and Activities in Salzburg

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Salzburg are as follows:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.25
  • Cathedral Entry Ticket with Audio Guide Option: $5.42
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $6.50
  • Salzburg Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $6.63
  • Sound of Music Sightseeing Walk with Audio Guide: $6.99
  • Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt & Tour: $7.05
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $8.14
  • Mirabell Palace and Surroundings Audio Tour: $8.52
  • A taste of An audio tour through the birthplace of Mozart: $8.99
  • Sightseeing with the Sound of Music: A Salzburg Audio Tour: $8.99
  • Salzburg Self-Guided Audio Tour: $9.00
  • Salzburg Cathedral: Guided Tour with Entry Ticket: $9.76

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Bern $26
    Salzburg $28

Typical Alcohol Prices in Salzburg

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Salzburg:


  • Beer
    $4.02

Sample the Local Flavors in Salzburg

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Salzburg:

  • Stiegl Brewery Museum Entry Ticket & Beer Tasting: $16
  • Stiegl Brewery Tour with Beer Tasting: $25
  • Guided Wine Tasting in a Hidden Wine Bar: $37
  • Guided Wine Tasting in a Hidden Wine Bar: $38


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Bern and Salzburg, we can see that Bern is more expensive. And not only is Salzburg much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Salzburg would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Salzburg and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Bern would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Bern than you might in Salzburg.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Bern Expensive? and Is Salzburg Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Bern or Salzburg?

Salzburg has a larger population, and is about 24% larger than the population of Bern. When comparing the sizes of Bern and Salzburg, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Bern or Salzburg?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Bern or Salzburg in the Summer?

Both Salzburg and Bern are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Bern for the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Salzburg in the summer for the music scene and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Bern is generally around the same temperature as Salzburg. Daily temperatures in Bern average around 21°C (70°F), and Salzburg fluctuates around 20°C (68°F).

It's quite sunny in Salzburg. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Bern. Bern usually receives more sunshine than Salzburg during summer. Bern gets 250 hours of sunny skies, while Salzburg receives 227 hours of full sun in the summer.

In July, Bern usually receives less rain than Salzburg. Bern gets 63 mm (2.5 in) of rain, while Salzburg receives 91 mm (3.6 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Bern 21°C (70°F) 
    Salzburg 20°C (68°F)

Should I visit Bern or Salzburg in the Autumn?

Both Salzburg and Bern during the autumn are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Bern in the autumn for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area. Also, most visitors come to Salzburg for the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

Bern is a little warmer than Salzburg in the autumn. The daily temperature in Bern averages around 13°C (55°F) in October, and Salzburg fluctuates around 11°C (52°F).

In the autumn, Bern often gets more sunshine than Salzburg. Bern gets 126 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Salzburg receives 108 hours of full sun.

Bern usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Salzburg. Bern gets 49 mm (1.9 in) of rain, while Salzburg receives 51 mm (2 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Bern 13°C (55°F) 
    Salzburg 11°C (52°F)

Should I visit Bern or Salzburg in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Bern and Salzburg. Most visitors come to Bern for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Salzburg because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

The weather in Salzburg can be very cold. Bern can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Bern is much warmer than Salzburg. Typically, the winter temperatures in Bern in January average around 3°C (37°F), and Salzburg averages at about -0°C (31°F).

Bern usually receives more sunshine than Salzburg during winter. Bern gets 65 hours of sunny skies, while Salzburg receives 44 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Bern usually receives around the same amount of rain as Salzburg. Bern gets 54 mm (2.1 in) of rain, while Salzburg receives 56 mm (2.2 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Bern 3°C (37°F) 
    Salzburg -0°C (31°F)

Should I visit Bern or Salzburg in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Bern as well as Salzburg. The spring months attract visitors to Bern because of the natural beauty. Also, the natural beauty are the main draw to Salzburg this time of year.

In April, Bern is generally around the same temperature as Salzburg. Daily temperatures in Bern average around 11°C (52°F), and Salzburg fluctuates around 11°C (51°F).

In the spring, Bern often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Salzburg. Bern gets 164 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Salzburg receives 155 hours of full sun.

Bern usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Salzburg. Bern gets 59 mm (2.3 in) of rain, while Salzburg receives 55 mm (2.2 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Bern 11°C (52°F) 
    Salzburg 11°C (51°F)

Typical Weather for Salzburg and Bern

Bern Salzburg
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 3°C (37°F) 54 mm (2.1 in) -0°C (31°F) 56 mm (2.2 in)
Feb 4°C (40°F) 51 mm (2 in) 2°C (36°F) 49 mm (1.9 in)
Mar 8°C (46°F) 50 mm (2 in) 6°C (43°F) 53 mm (2.1 in)
Apr 11°C (52°F) 59 mm (2.3 in) 11°C (51°F) 55 mm (2.2 in)
May 15°C (60°F) 76 mm (3 in) 15°C (59°F) 82 mm (3.2 in)
Jun 19°C (65°F) 74 mm (2.9 in) 18°C (65°F) 92 mm (3.6 in)
Jul 21°C (70°F) 63 mm (2.5 in) 20°C (68°F) 91 mm (3.6 in)
Aug 20°C (69°F) 80 mm (3.1 in) 19°C (67°F) 93 mm (3.6 in)
Sep 18°C (64°F) 55 mm (2.2 in) 16°C (61°F) 58 mm (2.3 in)
Oct 13°C (55°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 11°C (52°F) 51 mm (2 in)
Nov 7°C (45°F) 58 mm (2.3 in) 5°C (42°F) 59 mm (2.3 in)
Dec 4°C (38°F) 55 mm (2.2 in) 1°C (35°F) 64 mm (2.5 in)