Salzburg – The birth place of Mozart and where the hills are filled with The Sound of Music, is one of the most exquisite cities you can visit in Austria and perhaps the world. A small city with extraordinary heritage nestled on the banks of the Salzach River.
Salzburg is filled Baroque architecture and adorned by a dominating fortress which claims to be the largest preserved fortress in Europe. Tucked between the Alps and Germany Salzburg has some gorgeous mountain scenery and a charming Old town which is UNESCO World Heritage site.
Best time to go.
Though Salzburg is beautiful all year round it is most popular with tourists in the summer months. The Salzburg Festival is a prominent festival every summer and brings in large crowds along with some of the most popular international stars from around the world. The best time to visit would be September to October when the summer crowds have returned and you enjoy the beauty of this city and the weather is still pleasant.
Salzburg is well connected with Europe and the rest of the world with the second largest airport in Austria. However being just sort of 300 km away from the capital it can easily be done on a day trip from Vienna. It is well connected by roads but the best way is to take a train and marvel at the Austrian countryside. For as little as €48 you can get a return ticket from Vienna and children under the age of 12 are just €1. The 2 train companies that operate o tis route are OBB and Westbahnn. We went with Westnbahn which is a private entity and had much more competitive fares.
Things To Do
There is so much to do in Salzburg from cathedrals, museums, and elaborate palaces to cafes, parks and castles but all this can be done in a days trip if you plan it.
We started with the Hohensalzburg Castle built in 1077 and still standing strong overlooking the city. With magnificent views of the city and the surrounding natural beauty I would highly recomend this. Marvel at the old town to the North and stunning views of the Alps it is the perfect place to start you tour of Salzburg.
Hohensalzburg Castle sits atop the Festungsberg, a small hill and in its 800 year history, the castle has never been attacked or conquered. During peaceful times it was used as a storage depot as well as a dungeon. You can reach the top of the castle by a funicular that whisks you away in a few minutes and costs a few €.
You can also walk to the top for free but if you are on a tight schedule like we were it is best to enjoy the views from the funicular. There are 2 restaurants with bread taking views where you can enjoy some traditional Austrian cuisine or simply sip on a coffee and enjoy the views.
The Old Town
As you defend from the castle you are in the Old Town which is on the left bank of the river with narrow roads and beautiful architecture. Rows of shops and cafes where you can purchase some of the finest Austrian products. Dedicate the afternoon to a pleasurable stroll through the old town and experience the colourful history and some of the most important sights such as the Festival Hall, The Cathedral, St. Peter’s Abbey Church along with the birthplace of W. A. Mozart. Enjoy the Mozartplatz a large square with a statue of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
We stoped for lunch at the popular Austrian restaurant call the K+K . The restaurant is located within a historically listed merchant’s home from the Middle Ages right next to Salzburg Cathedral on the famous Mozartplatz Square. The seating outside on a sunny day is out of this world and combined with some authentic Austrian cuisine with a modern twist you can’t ask for more. The K+K is an amazing place to enjoy your lunch, coffee or afternoon tea and do some people watching.
No. 9 Getreidegasse Salzburg, the birth place of Mozart
Follow on to the birth place of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He was born here in 1756 and the house has been converted into a museum which introduces visitors to his early life and some of the first musical instruments the genius used. The third floor exhibits Mozart’s childhood violin as well as portraits and documents from his life. The second floor houses the famous clavichord on which he composed The Magic Flute.
Love Lock Bridge
Salzburg is full of scenic walks but my favourite one was across the pedestrian Love Lock Bridge. We decided to walk across this pedestrian bridge over the Salzach River to our next destination the famous Mirabell Garden. The bridge is nicknamed “The Love Lock Bridge” because of the many loving couples who like to put a lock on this bridge to show their affection and commitment to each other.
It has become a popular site with tourists now and as you walk across this bridge you get some picture perfect views of the old town and Salzburg Fortress overlooking it.
As you walk across the bridge you enter the 19th century Neustadt, or New Town and home to the popular Mirabell Palace and Gardens.
The Mirabell Palace was built around 1606 at the behest of Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau as a pleasure palace for him and his mistress Salome. The palace is home to the current mayor’s office and the Marble Hall inside still plays host to concerts and dates back to the time when Mozart performed here with his sister. The Palace is surrounded by beautiful Baroque styled gardens with it’s highlights being the Donnerstiege (stairway) and the Pegasus Fountain.
One of the main reasons for my visit to the Mirabell Palace and garden was because of it being the film location of one of my favourite films “The Sound of Music” The palace is featured in the film as the Von Trapp family home along with the Horse Pond. The Sound of Music is probably one of the biggest musicals and if you are a fan like I am there are numerous location where scenes were shot both in and around Salzburg. The Mirabell Palace is one of the most popular destinations in the city and entrance is free.
St. Peter’s abbey and its cemetery dates back to the 7th century and is the spiritual heart of the city of Salzburg. The oldest tombstone that you can find in the cemetery is of Abbot Dietmar who died in 1288. Walking through the cemetery you will discover the graves of Mozart’s sister Nannerl and the composer Michael Hayden.
The builder of Salzburg Cathedral, Santino Solari, is also buried here. You can also vist the catacombs here that date back to the Early Christian era and are cut into the rocks of the Festungsberg mountain.
- Walk the streets of the Old Town one of the largest UNESCO World Heritage sights by area.
- Ride the funicular to Hohensalzburg Castle and enjoy a birds eye view of Salzburg.
- Pay a visit to “Mozarts Wohnhaus” in Makartplatz the birth place of Mozart.
- Shop in the narrow street of Getreidegasse
- Marvel at the Salzburg Cathedral which has been demolished and rebuilt several times from its initial creation in 774.
- Sing along to the Sound of Music at the Mirabell Palace.