If you’re looking for a place to visit or see in Austria—other than Vienna, that is—then Salzburg is the way to go.
Salzburg (meaning “Salt Fortress” because of the barges which carried salt that passed through the Salzach River in the 8th century) is a city near the German border and only less than 3 hours by train from the capital city of Vienna. It is perhaps best known for being Mozart’s birthplace and the setting of Julie Andrew’s well-loved movie “The Sound of Music”.
Salzburg, though, is more than just a famous virtuoso’s hometown or the backdrop of a famous flick. It is also home to grand palaces, beautiful architectures, and many scenic spots. Why, the whole city itself has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1997!
Find out the many things you’ll love and can do in this courtly city, and see that it’s well worth a spot on your bucket list.
Located in the heart of the city’s Altstadt (Old Town), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Geburtshaus (birthplace) is somewhat a mecca for music enthusiasts and anyone who’d like to know the beginnings of this prolific composer. But even if you’re not a fan, it’s still worth the visit and the minimal admission fee.
Painted in cheery yellow, its hard to miss this home that has now been devoted as a museum of Mozart and his family. Here you’ll find writings, memorabilia and some precious insight on what life could have been during the 1700s.
As it could get really crowded especially during the summer, going in is by batches. At the end of the tour, there’s a gift shop where you can snag a memorabilia of your own to remember your visit by.
Also, if you’d like to explore further, there’s another house located on the opposite side of the Salzach River where the Mozart family transferred to later in the composer’s years. It’s now also a museum that provides film showings of Mozart’s public years as a musician.
Getreidegasse is a famous street in Altstadt. It’s long, narrow, and framed with shops, stores, and restaurants on both sides. Mozart’s Geburthaus is in fact located in this street. This lane is difficult to miss as it’s always bustling with travelers, tourists, and just lots of people. Don’t miss checking out the interesting old signs of professions found outside the shops.
3. Festung Hohensalzburg
For stunning views of Salzburg and its sorrounds, head up to the top of Festung Hohensalzburg. This fortified compound was once a military dwelling, an army base, and a prison camp. It now houses three museums, a torture chamber and a number of courtyards.
To get to the fortress, ride the cabled railway (furnicular) that operates from the bottom of the hill.
4. Schloss Hellbrunn
For a peek into Salzburg’s grand past, head on to Schloss Hellbrunn, once the summer place of the Archbishop of Salzburg who ruled the region and constructed its palaces. Its simple exterior is a huge contrast to its richly decorated interior, which boasts of lavishly bedecked ballrooms, halls and other areas.
Sitting on a hilly perch, it also offers exquisite gardens and several fountains that could get you wet when you’re not careful. Be sure to wear sensible shoes when you visit or pack a rain coat to keep yourself dry. Otherwise, just try to stay away from the fountains.
On the subject of gardens and fountains, another one worth strolling into is the gardens of the Schloss Mirabell located on the east of the Salzach River. Peppered with fountains, sculptures and several winding paths, this paradise provides a good complement to the palace at the back that once housed Salzburg’s municipal government. Get happily lost in this oasis, and don’t forget to see the set of stairs that was in one of the scenes of The Sound of Music.
6. Alter Markt
Make sure to make time to visit the Alter Markt, an area in the Old Town that dates back to the 13th century. It’s peppered with many old and awesome shops that were constructed as early as the middle ages. It’s a nice place to get a memorabilia or two.
Salzburg is replete with various museums to satisfy every museum-lover’s appetite. Topping the list is the Salzburg Museum in Altstadt, which delves into the history of the city. There are also the Salzburg Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Natural History, and the Toy Museum.
8. Dom zu Salzburg
Marvel at the magnificent Baroque ecclesiastical architecture that is the Dom zu Salzburg or Salzburg Cathedral. Destroyed and rebuilt many times in the past, this religious structure is a great testament to Salzburg’s power and wealth. It is where Mozart composed some of his works and where he was baptized.
Have a wonderful time in your visit to Salzburg. Happy travels!