July – August: Salzburg Festival
On to the big one, made even more special due to the centenary celebrations in 2020! Established in 1920, it brings the whole city to life, with an extended programme of concerts and events.
The Salzburg Festival is the main event, running in the peak summer months of July and August. Given Salzburg’s history and passion for arts and music, and the famous musicians that hail from the city, it’s no surprise that Salzburg and the Salzburg Festival have established themselves as one of the leading classical festivals in the world. So much so, tickets sell out months in advance so you’ll need to plan accordingly.
The festival is a rich offering of the arts, including Drama, Opera and Concerts in various forms. From Mozart to international composers, classics to more modern performances, and chamber concerts in incredible venues to solo recitals in more modest settings.
Over the festival some 300,000 people will attend over 200 different performances across Salzburgs grandest venues, with the Festival Hall being the main venue, beautiful any time of year. From Abbeys, churches and cathedrals to the Mozart Hall, the programme stretches across the whole city.
October: Jazz & The City
I was lucky enough to time my last visit to Salzburg with the Jazz and the City festival, which takes place in various venues across Salzburg, even spilling out onto the streets.
From magical performances of soulful vocals in the impressive Church’s of the city to packed out Jazz performances in the back rooms of bars from international artists, everywhere we went in the city there seemed to be part of this festival alive. Whether we were sipping on a local Steigl beer, or just walking down the street and meeting pop-up events and performers, this to me is a perfect time to visit Salzburg as the crowds aren’t too much to contend with, and the Jazz festival offers a programme to suit all tastes.
Running for less than a week, you’ll need to plan your dates accordingly, but amazingly, most of the performances and events are free to enjoy during this time in Salzburg.
November – December: Advent
Salzburg is the birthplace of the famous Christmas carol, Silent Night, so it’s no surprise amongst the Christmas Markets and the charm of this stunning UNESCO old-town, Advent is a celebration unto its own.
Folk music has been ringing out at this event for over 70-years, sharing the love of Christmas as music across the streets. Parades and performances can be enjoyed in the lead up to Christmas, both as part of Advent and the Winter Festival.
November – January: Winterfest
Breaking away from the traditional markets and carol singing for Christmas, the Winterfest brings something a little different to the Salzburg year-round calendar of events.
This festival of contemporary circus runs for around six weeks, with a whole host of events, workshops, and concerts to enjoy, with both local and international circus troupes sharing their magic throughout the exciting festive months.