Cross-talk between exogenous salicylic acid (SA) and endogenous phytohormone pathways affects the antioxidant defense system and its response to salt stress. The study presented here investigated the effects of SA treatment before and during salt stress on the levels of endogenous plant growth regulators in three barley cultivars with different salinity tolerances: Hordeum vulgare L. cvs. Akhisar (sensitive), Erginel (moderate), and Kalayc (tolerant). The cultivars' relative leaf water contents, growth parameters, proline contents, chlorophyll a/b ratios, and lipid peroxidation levels were measured, along with the activities of enzymes involved in detoxifying reactive oxygen species (ROS) including superoxide-dismutase, peroxidase, catalase, ascorbate-peroxidase, and glutathione-reductase. In addition, levels of several endogenous phytohormones (indole-3-acetic-acid, cytokinins, abscisic acid, jasmonic acid, and ethylene) were measured. Barley is known to be more salt tolerant than related plant species. Accordingly, none of the studied cultivars exhibited changes in membrane lipid peroxidation under salt stress. However, they responded differently to salt-stress with respect to their accumulation of phytohormones and antioxidant enzyme activity. The strongest and weakest increases in ABA and proline accumulation were observed in Kalayc and Akhisar, respectively, suggesting that salt-stress was more effectively managed in Kalayc. The effects of exogenous SA treatment depended on both the timing of the treatment and the cultivar to which it was applied. In general, however, where SA helped mitigate salt stress, it appeared to do so by increasing ROS scavenging capacity and antioxidant enzyme activity. SA treatment also induced changes in phytohormone levels, presumably as a consequence of SA-phytohormone salt-stress cross-talk.