SALZBURG

Exuding excellence in art, architecture, and music, Salzburg is called the Golden City of High Baroque, by art lovers. It is considered the Florence of the North or the German Rome, by historians. Music lovers revere it because Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91) was born here.

Located beside the Salzach River, the beautiful domes and spires, magnificent clifftop fortress and majestic mountains, make Salzburg picture perfect, and was home to the once all powerful prince-archbishops till the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Dotted with baroque churches and monumental squares, graceful domes and towering spires, the Altstadt (Old Town) is an UNESCO listed district.

Salzburg’s another major, if not historic, attraction is the famous movie, Sound of Music, which narrates the story of the von Trapp Family, which was filmed extensively in Salzburg and its surroundings.

It was a movie about a novice, Maria von Trapp and her singing family, starring Julie Andrews in the main role, which went on to become a truly pan international hit. The songs from “The Sound of Music” are sung even now throughout the world. How many of us have not sung “Doe, a deer, a female deer…”.

Every year, nearly 300,000 people visit Salzburg just to take in the sites made famous by the von Trapp Family.

Besides the well-known connection of Salzburg with Mozart and The Sound of Music, the burgeoning art scene, fabulous food, beautiful parks and concert halls where traditional musicals are held throughout the year, are also to be experienced.

Let not the opulence of art and architecture fatigue you. Move away from the main streets and step onto the side ones, where you can hear mellifluous music as it floats from open windows and enjoy Salzburg unhurriedly, while sipping a cup of coffee with cake.

Top Reasons to Go to Salzburg

The view from Fortress Hohensalzburg

Go to the top of the fortress and look down to admire the spectacular baroque architecture that blends seamlessly with the natural beauty of the Salzburg,

A pilgrimage to the Rome of the North

The elaborate baroque churches were meant not only to celebrate God but also herald the importance and power of the ruling prince-archbishop during the 17th century.

Concerts, operas, and more

Soak in the 1300 years of the city’s musical history as you experience and marvel listening to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s music in the Marble Hall of the Mirabell Palace. The opulent operas and innumerable music festivals showcase the best of world class talent in various genres of music, and you will be spoilt for choices in this city of art and music. Even the choral music that reverberates from majestic churches after Mass is just mind-blowing

Medieval city

After taking in the opulence and grandeur of the Aldstadt, cross the Salzach river to get an entirely different perspective of the medieval lifestyle where working people once lived in the narrow, 16th century Steingasse. Now the area is full of shops, clubs and galleries.

Rulers’ delights

Take a trip down, preferably by boat, to Schloss Hellbrunn, a Renaissance style palace with trick fountains, verdant surroundings best suited for picnics, and the famous gazebo where the some of the song sequences were filmed for the film, “Sound of Music”.

When to go

September and October are the best months to visit Salzburg. This is when there are less crowds after summer and the temperature is pleasant and you could have the beautifuly manicured gardens all almost to yourself. March and April would have been excellent choices with spring round the corner and flowers in full bloom, but the temperature could be a bit nippy. Summer rings in higher temperatures and bigger crowds. Winter though not icy cold, it would be a challenge for those not accustomed to cold weather. The few gardens that are open in winter are a perfect excuse for some brisk walks to shrug of the cold. Precipitation is common all through the year and hence carrying an umbrella would be better. The mountains receive lots of snow in winter and hence provides ample recreational opportunities for the skiers.

How to reach Salzburg

By Air
Salzburg airport lies about four kilometres west of the city. It is Austria’s second largest international airport and is well served by direct flights from London and other European cities.

Airport Transfer
Salzburger Mietwagen runs buses to and from the airport. From Salzburg airport reaching downtown is easiest by taxi, which costs around Euro 15 to 18 and takes about 20 minutes. Every 15 minutes, a city bus no.2 makes a stop by the airport. It runs to Salzburg’s train station in 20 minutes. Bus no.8 runs to the city centre directly.

Train Travel

Salzburg can be reached by rail from many European cities. The main train station, Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, is just a 20 minute walk from the centre of the town in the direction of Mirabellplatz. A cab will take you to the city centre in 10 minutes and costs Euro 10. The ‘Bayern Ticket’ of the Deutsche Bahn helps you travel on all regional trains to Salzburg and costs Euro 22 per adult and Euro 38 for a group of five.

Salzburg straddles the Salzach River at the section where it is sandwiched between two mountains, the Kapuzinerberg and the Monchsberg. There are many beautiful Alpine peaks in the background.

The construction of the city commenced on a grand scale during the reign of Wolf-Dietrich von Raitenau in the latter part of the 16th century. Wolf Dietrich was only 28 when envisioned ‘his’ Salzburg to be the Rome of the Alps, with a grander cathedral than St. Peter’s, a more splendid Residenz than a Roman palace and his private Mirabell Gardens flaunting the most fashionable Italianate horticulture.

The Bavarian rulers deposed him and the cultured and refined prince-archbishops took over. The masters of Viennese Baroque, Fischer von Erlach and Lukas von Hildebrandt, were commanded by the prince-archbishops, Johann Ernst von Thun and Franz Anton von Harrach, to complete Wolf-Dietrich’s vision, and the resultant product is that nowhere else in the world has Baroque architecture so harmoniously and cohesively represented elsewhere than in Salzburg’s buildings and architecture.

Panoramic view of Salzburg skyline with FestungHohensalzburg and river Salzach

In accordance with the changing times, Salzburg is now home to the iconic Museum der Moderne. Standing on the very spot where the song ‘do-re-mi’ of the movie ‘The Sound of Music’ was picturised, is the avant-garde museum, an ode to Cubism and cutting-edge art. The museum stands at the site where once the Café Winkler stood atop the Monchsberg mount.

The Altstadt: Salzburg has 1300 years of continuous history of music, which is best experienced in its concert halls, churches, restaurants, bars and even in its city aquares.

Fortress Hohensalzburg: The medieval fortress is an enchanting attraction and offers panoramic views of Salzburg.

North of the River Salzach. The old and the new architectures blend beautifully and merge picturesquely well with the nature all around from its verdant gardens to the rolling hills.

Things to See

Mozart’s Birthplace

Mozart was born on January 27th, 1756, in Number 9, Getreidegasse in Salzburg. The Mozarts Geburtshaus is today an interesting museum, where visitors are allowed to see the rooms once occupied by the Mozart family and on display are numerous mementos, young Mozart’s violin, portraits and original scores. The second floor has an exhibition called Mozart in the Theatre which exhibits his many achievements depicted as illuminated miniature stages.

The Residenzplatz

Residenzplatz is on the left bank of Salzach at the heart of Salzburg’s old town (Altstadt). It is one of the city’s largest square. It is the best place to begin exploring the other attractions of the city. Residenzbrunnen, a magnificent masterpiece of marble made by an Italian sculptor in 1661, is the focal point of Residenzplatz, with its finest Baroque fountain, standing 15 metres high. There are figures of majestic horses, with the Atlas bearing the dishes. It also has sculpted on it, dolphins and the centrepiece, Triton with a conch shell, which crowns everything.

Terraced cafes, boutique shops lining the adjoining streets, the Salzburg cathedral and the Residenz (the former residence of the Bishops) – all have their unique charm. Concerts are periodically held in the square. Public New Year’s Eve parties and an interesting Christmas market are also held in the square.

The Salzburg Residenz and the Residenzgalerie

The Residenz is a huge palace, extending around three courtyards, built between 1596 and 1619, dominates the western side of Salzburg. The marble gateway was added in 1710. The majestic State apartments with opulent decoration in Late Baroque and Early Neo-Classical styles, exquisitely designed walls, ceiling paintings, stucco ornaments and handsome fireplaces, can all be enjoyed on the tours of the property.

The highlights are the Knights’ Hall (Rittersaal), the Conference Hall (Konferenzsaal), and the Audience Hall (Audienzsaal) with Flemish tapestries from the 1600s, Parisian furniture, the Louis XVI style (1776) stucco ornaments fill the White Hall (Weisse Saal), the 18th century silk carpets decorated Function Room (Gesellschaftszimmer) and the portraits of Holy Roman Emperors and Habsburg dynasty Kings fill the Imperial Hall (Kaisersaal). Established in 1923, Residenzgalerie, the art gallery exhibiting the works of European painters from the 16th to 19th centuries include paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Brueghel, is also of equal importance.

Hohensalzburg Castle

Accessible by a 20 minute walk from the old town, the picturesque fortress of Hohensalzburg on the southern summit of Monchsberg, dominates the Salzburg skyline. It can also be reached by a funicular from Festungsgasse. Though much of what is seen today dates back to the early 1500s, the original castle was built in 1077. Arched gateways lead to the fortress past the 17th century Fire Bastion onto a unique hoist named Reisszug dating from 1504, which was used to haul supplies to the fort, and then through the Horse gate into the Haupthof (outer ward) where there is a cistern from 1539 and also an old lime tree.

Some of the highlights include the courtyard with a church of St. George (Georgsirche) dating back to 1502 and the Salzburg Bull (Salzburger Stier), an organ that still plays daily the carillon in the Neugebaude. The lavish Princes’ apartments in late Gothic décor and finely painted wooden panelling, the Golden Room (Goldene Stube) with marble doorways and the Golden Hall with gold embossed on blue coffered ceiling and columns of red marble are also worth visiting.

The Fortress Museum with weapons and torture devices and the Rainer Regiment museum that has artefacts from the old Salzburg household regiment on exhibit are also interesting places to visit.

Salzburg Cathedral

Completed in 1657, the Salzburg cathedral had the beauty of its façade enhanced by the 79 metre twin towers. Its Italian style of architecture is very pronounced. It was here where Mozart was baptised. The west front that faces the Domplatz, has four marble statues, the outer ones of which represent St. Rupert and Virgil, the patron saints of the province, and the inner ones represent Peter and Paul. The three bronze doors with symbols of Faith, Love and Hope are not to be missed. The Resurrection painted on the high altar that dates back to 1628 and the frescoes in the vaulting, are noteworthy. The artefacts in the crypt, the burial vaults, the liturgical objects in the Cathedral Museum and objects d’art from the Salzburg archdiocese, and the 8th century Carolingian Cross of St. Rupert, Gothic statues and paintings and items from the Cathedral Treasury, are worth seeing.

St. Peter’s Abbey

The Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter (Erzabtei St. Peter) was founded by St. Rupert in 690 A.D. on the western side of Salzburg’s Kapitelplatz. It served as the residence of the Archbishops until 1110. Dating back to the 17th and the 18th centuries, the present buildings stand as odes to the architectural skills of that period. Its onion shaped tower is one of its kind in Europe. St. Peter’s Churchyard (Friedhof St. Peter) is a burial ground encompassed by arcades and family tombs of the 17th century on three sides. It backs onto the rock face of the Monchsberg to the south. Early Christian catacombs and St Maximus’ Chapel hewn from solid rocks, can be seen there. The churchyard and the outer courtyard is connected by a passage where there is a St. Peter’s fountain (Petrusbrunnen), built in 1673, and the Haydn memorial that depicts the life and work of Johann Michael Haydn, the brother of Joseph Haydn, the famous composer.

Nonnberg Abbey, founded in 714 AD, is yet another landmark in Salzburg.

Neugebäude

The New Building (Neugebäude) erected in 1602 as the Archbishop’s guesthouse, is opposite the Salzburg Residenz. It was expanded in 1670. Since the Prince-Archbishop Wolf-Dietrich’s archiepiscopal court couldn’t fit into the main Residenz across the plaza, this building was built as an extension, featuring 10 state reception rooms. The Hallstatt Age relics, remains of the ancient Roman ruins and the Celtic bronze flagon are highlights of the archaeological collection.

The spectacular Sattler Panorama, one of the 360 degree paintings in the world, holds the pride of place. It shows the city of the Salzburg as it was in the 19th century. The original ‘Silent Night’ was composed by Franz Gruber in nearby Oberndorf in 1818.

Salzburg’s Festival Theatres

Well known for its music festivals in its historic theatres and concert halls, Salzburg is home to the Festival Theatres (Festspielhauser), a set of buildings that have the large Festspielhaus and the small Haus fur Mozart with a foyer with fine frescoes in between them, and the Karl-Bohm hall, a hall that is used for exhibitions and receptions, decorated with 17th century frescoes.

The notable festivals include The Salzburg Festival has been held here since 1925. It is a five-week long summer event that showcases the best of European music and drama. Mozart week is a week long winter event focusing on his works and Salzburg cultural days is an annual two week festival in October that includes symphonic and chamber concerts and opera performances. The Salzburg Marionette Theatre, one of the oldest puppet theatres in Europe, established in 1913, will give you a totally different theatrical experience.

The Franciscan church

The Franciscan church (Franziskanerkirche) is to the north of St. Peter’s church. It was the town’s parish church until 1635. The high roof of the choir and the south side tower that goes back to 1498, are its notable features. The 13th century dark Romanesque nave is in contrast to the high, bright 15th century Gothic choir added in 1709, and well known for its late 15th century carved Madonna, the high altar is in front of a ring of Baroque chapels dating back to 1606. There is a winged marble altar from the old cathedral, behind the altar in the central chapel that dates back to 1561. The Franciscan Friary opposite the church is still operative.

Old Town Salzburg

Many paths known as Durchhauser lead northward to Getreidegasse from Universitatsplatz. Getreidegasse is a busy pedestrian area housing old merchant homes that date back between the 15th and the 18th centuries. The wrought-iron signs of shops and inns, its beautiful courtyards, and the various galleries, boutiques, workshops and cafes, can all be enjoyed on a walking tour. Kranzlmarkt is at the eastern end of Getreidegasse. There are many medieval houses, some five storied, around the old town (Rathaus). The 13th century Court Pharmacy (Hofapotheke) is in the old market (Alter Market). The 17th century St. Florian’s Fountain, with its octagonal basin and a spiral grill dating back to 1583, is found in the middle of the square. The narrow lanes of Judengasse, the 1305 built Chiemseehof and the Chiemsee Prince Bishops’ residence until 1806, which has an arcaded courtyard with its coat of arms, are some of the other highlights of the Old Town.

St. Sebastian’s Church and Cemetery

St. Sebastian’s Church (Sebastianskirche) is the high point of the modern district lying on the right bank of Salzach. The church was built in 1512 and was completely remodelled in Rococo style in 1753, with its flight of steps that leads to St Sebastian Cemetery (Friedhof) that was established in 1595. St. Gabriel’s chapel (Gabrielskapelle) stands in the middle of the cemetery. Its ceramic decoration is charming. The chapel was completed in 1603 as a mausoleum for the Archishop Wolf Dietrich. The grave of Mozart’s father Leopold and his widow Konstanze, lies on the path to the chapel. A passage leading to the Loreto Convent (Loretokloster) and the Paris-Lodron Strasse, lies to the west of the church.

Schloss Mirabell and Gardens

Schloss Mirabell in Mirabellplatz, was redesigned initially in Baroque style between 1721 and 1727. Later, after the fire of 1818, it was restored in the neoclassical style of the period, which was simpler. Built in the 18th century by George Raphael Donner and his pupils, the grand staircase with many statues, are highlights of the place. The marble hall that is still used for concerts and functions and the Schloss Mirabell Baroque Museum in the Gardener’s building (Gartnergebaude), are the other attractions. The Schloss Mirabell museum is part of the estate’s Orangery and exhibits the European art of the 17th and the 18th centuries.

The Mirabellgarten stretches south of Schloss Mirabell. It exemplifies Baroque style in its beautiful landscape, designed in 1690, with many terraces, marble statues and fountains. It was an aviary in the 18th century, which is now used for exhibitions. A small open air theatre is at the southwestern corner of the gardens.

Schloss Hellbrunn (Hellbrunn Palace)

The Hellbrunn Palace (Schloss Hellbrunn) is a villa built in 1619. It is known for its exquisite gardens. The Lustschloss Hellbrunn is 6 ½ km south of Salzburg. It was the prince-archbishop’s pleasure palace. Santino Solari built it in the early 17th century, for Markus Sittikus, after Markus had imprisoned his uncle Wolf Dietrich, in the fortress. The castle has an octagonal music room and a banquet hall with a trompe-l’oeil ceiling. The Mannerist style formal gardens has a mechanical theatre with exotic fountains. It highlights the fantastic world in which the Salzburg archbishops indulged.

Hangar-7

Dietrich Mateschitzm, founder of Red Bull, has opened his vintage wonders for the public to view. Airplanes, helicopters, motorbikes and Formula One racing cars are on exhibit under the multipurpose dome. Red Bull’s aerobatic experts the Flying Bulls, with their fleet, stay here when they are not busy going around the world on air show tours. Daytime take-offs and landings can be viewed from near the World War II bomber at the Carpe Diem Lounge-Café or from the sunny outdoor lounge. The Ikarus Restaurant has a new international guest top chef takes over its kitchen every month and changes the menu to serve his specialities. Since the reservations are difficult to make, booking early is advisable, sometimes months ahead.

If the Ikarus Restaurant is an expensive proposition for you, then the Mayday Bar is an economical option.

Untersberg

The final scene of the movie The Sound of Music, where the von Trapps escape the Nazis, by toddling over the Alps, was filmed here, Salzburg’s pet mountain, the Untersberg. That was fiction, as actually, the border separating Austria and Bavaria passes through Untersberg. They would have been getting into Germany.

It presents spectacular views, from its cable cars, or from atop the hiking trails that offer 360 degree views of the mountains.

The Salzburg Festival

The Salzburg festival is one of Europe’s greatest annual event that transforms the city into a highbrow hub, between July and August. International orchestras and soloists are invited; operas and plays are staged, in or in front of many landmark buildings, like the Residenz and the Dom. Book your tickets in advance.

Skiing

The Flauchen ski region is perfect for occasional skiers and boarders who are interested to explore the city and the piste. Hotel rates at Salzburg are lower in the winter but the resorts hike their prices.

Casino Salzburg

Schloss Klessheim was designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. This Baroque palace is a grand casino now.

The Eisriesenwelt

Near the village of Werfen, on a mountain, is the largest ice cave, Eisriesenwelt. A bus ride followed by a cable car ride and a 40 minute uphill hike will take you there. The breath-taking views on the way make the trouble worth it. The 1400 steps around ice walls, tunnels and a polar bear shaped stalagmite and stalactite formation can be seen inside.

Salt mines

The salt mines gave the city its name and wealth. A few of the salt mines are open for the visitors. A German town, Berchtesgaden lying 26 km south, is the most interesting of the salt mines. Little trains, miner’s slides, funiculars and a raft over an underground lake gets you through the 500 year old mine. A huge salt shrine and an educational centre are its subterranean highlights.

AugustinerBraustubl

The beer is poured out of wooden barrels into one litre and half litre stoneware mugs. Your favourite German pub food can be ordered from the counters, but it is the beer that all come here for. There are four massive underground beer halls where everyone gather to drink the beer. Augustiner Braustubl is inside the monastery and the brewery was established in 1621. The largest beer garden of Salzburg is here.

Wolfgangssee

The Wolfgangsee is a serene lake, an hour away from Salzburg. Electro boats can be rented in summer to go around the lake. The cost is between 6 and 10 Euros, per hour. For more details see Austrian Lake District

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