Nabbing two spots in the cultural history books, Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart and the setting of the film The Sound of Music. Spend your time here delving into the city’s lively arts scene, sampling culinary delights and taking in the historic architecture that the city is famous for. Lift your eyes from the charming paved streets and phenomenally well-preserved baroque buildings of the World Heritage Listed Altstadt (Old Town), and take in the ancient cliff-top fortresses and imposing snow-capped mountains beyond; the perfect backdrop to this romantic city. Before you leave, belt out a rendition of Climb Every Mountain. You know you want to.
Make your way to Mozart Geburtshaus (Mozart’s Birthplace), a sunshine yellow townhouse that has been converted into a museum. Wander through the exhibits that chronicle the childhood of this musical prodigy, including his first instruments and early works. Move on to Mozart Wohnhaus (Mozart’s Residence), where Mozart lived when he was older, and discover his original fortepiano among a wealth of other treasures.
You can’t take a trip to Salzburg and not witness one of its breathtaking castles, most notably Hohensalzburg Castle. Perched high above the town, this imposing 900-year-old medieval castle is one of the largest in Europe. A steep 15-minute walk from the city centre (or a short ride on the funicular), the castle is open to tourists. Visit the Golden Hall, Fortress Museum and Marionette Museum before relaxing and admiring the stunning views over Strazburg. Learn how powerful archbishops created the baroque wonderland of Salzburg at DomQuartier, a fascinating cathedral-museum complex. Step inside the State Rooms of the Residence Palace, wander through the gallery of 16th to 19th century masterpieces, and explore the cathedral and museums.
And finally, you’ve simply got to partake in a Sound of Music Tour. A guided tour of the city will take you to famous locations and historical landmarks from this much-loved film. Highlights include the Mondsee Cathedral where the wedding between Maria and Captain von Trapp took place.
Eat and Drink
Reservations are recommended for the up-market restaurants in the Old Town, but it’s worth the effort – Salzburg has some of the best fine dining in Austria. Local must-eats include broiled sausages, which are available from street stalls around the city, and the famous Salzburger Nockerl, a sweet soufflé made with egg yolks, flour, sugar and vanilla. Beer is the beverage of choice here, so be sure to explore the breweries or beer taverns for an authentic local flavour.
Where to Stay
At the heart of the action, the charming Old Town is full of historic guesthouses, chic boutique hotels and rooms with river views. It’s wise to book well in advance as places fill up quickly. If you’re travelling through Austria by car, staying on the outskirts of town will be more convenient.
The Old Town offers a diverse retail experience, serving up little boutiques alongside larger retail chains. Explore the winding passageways and narrow streets to find some real treasures. If slick and modern shopping is more your thing, visit the award-winning Europark for everything you could possibly need under one space-age roof.
You can’t leave town without a box of Mozartkugeln, a Salzburg-born treat created with dark chocolate, marzipan and nougat and named after, well, Mozart. Pick them up in any of the city’s coffee shops.
Salzburg Like a Local
Stock up on fresh produce and street food and enjoy an excellent alfresco meal without the price tag. The manicured Mirabell Gardens on the right bank of the Salzach River are the perfect spot for a picnic. For a rollicking night out, follow the locals to a few key beer houses along Rupertgasse and in the narrow laneways near the cathedral. For a more relaxed nightlife experience, join the young locals down by the river, particularly the section along the Old Town, for a charming way to wile away a summer evening in this enchanting city.