Salzburg is a beauty. With its gorgeous Baroque architecture and appreciation for music (we’re looking at you, Mozart and The Sound of Music) Salzburg is for sure one of our favorite European cities. While there is so much to see and do in this magical city, these are a few of my favorite things (now go back and sing that like Maria!)
Visit Hohensalzburg Fortress
Towering over the city, this impressive castle was built back in 1077, and today it is still one of the largest fully preserved castles in Europe. To get to the top, you have two options: walk, or take the funicular (we 100% recommend taking the funicular, trust us, that’s a long way to walk uphill). Look for the “Festungsgasse” to find tickets for the funicular (“Festungsbahn”). You have a few different options for tickets, we chose the Basic Ticket, which was 12,20 euros. If you want the full package, there is an option for the All-Inclusive Ticket for 15,50 euros, which includes access to the Prince’s Chambers and the Magic Theater. We had a full day planned, so we just stuck with the basic ticket and were more than happy with everything we saw. When you reach the top, take the audio guided tour throughout the fortress. It gives interesting information about the different building stages the castle went through, what life was like during that time, and even tells about some of the history of Salzburg itself. For instance, we found out that Salzburg literally translates to “Salt Fortress”, and was named for the salt-mining industry, which sent salt barges through the Salzach River. Once you’re done with the tour, feel free to wander around and find more of the treasures hidden in this massive fortress. St. George’s Chapel is a beautiful little chapel outside the main compound, and the Fortress Museum includes exhibits depicting everything from cultural artifacts to the weapons used to defend the castle hundreds of years ago. Also, be sure not to miss any of the panoramic views of the city below!
Explore Salzburg Churches
There are so many beautiful churches and cathedrals around Salzburg. Two of our favorites that we visited were the Salzburg Cathedral (Dom zu Salzburg) and the
Franciscan Church (Franziskanerkirche). The Salzburg Cathedral was first built in 774, and has undergone numerous reconstructions. One of this cathedral’s claims to fame is that it contains the baptismal font in which Mozart himself was baptized in 1756. It is located next to the Residenzplatz in Old Town. The Franciscan church also has a long history dating back to the 8th century, and it is thought to be even older than the Salzburg Cathedral. This church is a combination of different architectural styles, ranging from Roman to Gothic to modern.
If you’re looking for souvenirs from your trip or just to window shop, you have to visit the Getreidegasse, the main shopping street in Old Town Salzburg. All of the iron store signs are original, and each is intricate and unique. You will find every type of store on this street, from large name brand stores to small Austrian labels. This is the perfect place for an afternoon stroll to take in the charm and history of the city.
References to Salzburg’s most famous son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, can be found everywhere in the city. Located in the old town is one of Salzburg’s most famous sites, Mozart’s Birthplace (“Mozarts Geburtshaus”). You won’t be able to miss this striking yellow building (or the mass of tourists surrounding it). He was born on the third floor in this house at No 9. Getreidegasse in 1756. The third floor has now be transformed into a museum about Mozart’s early life. If you’re curious about the later life of this famous composer, also be sure to check out the house he grew up in, known as the Mozart Residence at No 8 in Markatplatz Square. This house has also been turned into a museum with even more details about Mozart’s life.
Visit Mirabell Palace and Gardens (Schloss Mirabell & Mirabellgarten)
Sound of Music fans, this one’s for you! The beautiful garden surrounding the palace was one of the most important filming locations for the movie musical. If you’re familiar with the movie, you will probably be able to recognize the Pegasus Fountain, which made an appearance in “Do Re Mi”. Furthermore, the palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’re able to enter Mirabell Palace, be sure to check out the Marble Hall, a beautiful ballroom that is a popular location for weddings and concerts.
No tour of a city is complete without food! Salzburg is home to many traditional Austrian/German restaurants, but we had the best time at the outdoor food market, the “Grünmarkt”. Open from Monday-Saturday, the numerous stalls sell local produce, cheeses, pastries, and more! We enjoyed the pretzels and sausages for a quick lunch. It is located at Universitätsplatz behind Mozart’s birthplace. We also found numerous cafes scattered around the city. Our favorites included Kaffee Alchemie for third wave coffee (check out our previous post about the cafe!), Cafe Tomaselli for the history and atmosphere, and Cafe Würfelzucker for the best apple strudel!
We were only able to stay for a day, but there is so much more to do and see in this Austrian city. The history, architecture, and character of Salzburg is stunning, and it is a must-see for any classical music lover. If you’re ever nearby, be sure to visit Salzburg, we promise you won’t regret it.