The fourth largest city in Austria, Salzburg is a UNESCO World Heritage site, was the birthplace of Mozart and was the setting for the Sound of Music. It’s a pretty stunning Interrail destination too. What’s not to love?
In fact, Salzburg is the Sound of Music city. Literally. Not only did the real Trapp family once live here but the Julie Andrews classic was filmed in and around the city. So yes, you actually can roam in the footsteps of the musical nun-to-be Maria and her charges, from Mirabell Gardens to the Felsenreitschule and Schloss Leopoldskron.
The essentials – top five
Salzburg castle – the city’s emblem, Hohensalzburg Fortress sits atop the Festungsberg, a small hill in the heart of the city. Erected at the behest of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg, it is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe and is open year round. To get there, you can go on foot or (preferably) take the fortress funicular (“Festungsbahn”) from the Festungsgasse. Once at the fortress, highlights include the medieval princely chambers as well as a fortress museum, a marionette museum and a multimedia Magical Theatre.
Hike the mountains – Situated between several local mountains (the Festungsberg, the Mönchsberg, the Kapuzinerberg, the Gaisberg, and the Untersberg to be exact), the city’s natural landscape is ideal for a spot of hiking or, ok, a nice leisurely stroll to drink in the spectacular views if you’re feeling slightly less energetic. For hiking paths on the Mönchsberg and Kapuzinerberg click here, for hiking paths on Gaisberg, click here.
Enjoy a beer or two – Beer has been brewed in the city for more than 600 years so where else would you kick back with a cold one? There are eleven breweries in and around the city, from the renowned Stiegl and Augustiner Bräu Kloster Mülln, to the Weissbierbrauerei as well as microbreweries at inns that produce only for their own guests. At Stiegl-Brauwelt, you can get an insight in the world of brewing or, alternatively, and book yourself onto a beer themed tour of the city.
Go Mozart – Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756 and the Mozart Residence (see Mozart’s fortepiano) on Makartplatz and the Mozart Birthplace (featuring numerous original items and a reconstructed period apartment) on the Getreidegasse, are both museums. Needless to say the city is extremely proud of its musical son. There’s a Mozart Week, you can treat yourself to Mozart chocolates, Mozart rubber ducks or Mozart ice cream to name but a few, oh and there are Mozart tours of the city too.
Hellbrunn Palace and fountains – A beautiful, early Baroque villa of palatial size, Hellbrunn Palace was built in 1613–19 as a summer day residence for the Archbishop. Hellbrunn Mountain is a naturally abundant source of water, which inevitably became a central design feature of the palace grounds. The centrepiece is numerous, unique Mannerist trick fountains including grottoes, water-powered figures and hidden water jets waiting to surprise unsuspecting visitors. Hellbrunn is particularly picturesque in winter when, in the run-up to Christmas, the palace courtyard and driveway are transformed into a festive Advent market
The Budget or Broke Recommendation (i.e. free)
Mirabell Gardens may forever more be synonymous with the Sound of Music, but this glorious parkway is worth a visit in its own right..or you know, to relive how much you loved that movie when you were a kid.
Schnitzel, cheese noodles, dumplings, Kaiserschmarrn, Sacher Torte, Salzburger Nockerl. You’ll probably want to forget the diet. Let’s take for example the strudel – a layered pastry filled with nuts, cherries, plums or (if you’re feeling very Austrian) apple or cheese. Yum.
Whether Mozart or a singing nun are your thaing, there is plenty on offer. Salzburg is also the world capital of folk costumes so you might even pick yourself up a nice new outfit too.
Photographer / Credit ©Ivan Adrejic.