Salzburg and Salzburger Land

It’s true that Salzburg is indeed alive with the Sound of Music, from Mozart to the Von Trapps, but there’s much more to this regal city. Salzburg’s beautiful Baroque palaces, enchanting gardens, cozy cafés, and stunning views of the Alps keep visitors singing the praises of this stylish Austrian city. The natural wonders of the Salzburger Land provide the perfect Alpine contrast to Salzburg’s city life, where lakes and waterfalls accent the stunning mountain scenery.

34 Mönchsberg
As the largest fully preserved fortress in central Europe, the more-than-900-year-old Hohensalzburg has long been the medieval crown above an elegantly baroque city. Its current appearance dates back to the 1495–1519 reign of Prince-Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach, during which the fortress was expanded using funds generated from the nearby salt and silver mines. Inner courtyards lead to an extensive, but not exhausting, collection of medieval curiosities and other artifacts from the political elites of the Holy Roman Empire. The apartments of the prince-archbishops—including the ornately decorated Golden Chamber and Bed Chamber—are highlights of a wonderfully maintained interior, while the views over the city are simply stunning. Access to the fortress is by foot or a short funicular ride.
9 Getreidegasse
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg in a burgher’s house at Getreidegasse 9 on January 27, 1756. He lived here in the heart of the city for several years before his family moved into a more spacious residence, now called the Mozart-Wohnhaus, across the river. Mozart’s birthplace (or Geburtshaus) features several floors showcasing historic furniture, letters, memorabilia, and many of the family portraits painted during his lifetime (although Mozart’s musical genius was not appreciated in the city during his life). It also displays his early instruments, including violins, his clavichord, and a harpsichord, as well as locks of the composer’s hair.
27 Getreidegasse, Salzburg, Austria
Since the 12th century, Getreidegasse has been Salzburg’s best-known shopping street, with high-end establishments jostling with souvenir shops and restaurants in tall, narrow buildings with ornately designed wrought-iron guild signs. Alleyways lead to tranquil courtyards with vaulted passageways and molded cornices. Stores here offer a wide selection of fashions, leather goods, and perfumes, as well as handmade Trachten (traditional garments) from shops like Wenger Trachtenmode and Trachten Stassny. Whether people-watching, window-shopping, seriously spending (shops here are rather pricey), or simply enjoying the Old World splendor, a stroll down Getreidegasse is indeed a feast for the eyes.
Lindhofstraße 7, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
As Austria’s beer capital, Salzburg offers a half-dozen solid breweries. For those who prefer their suds served straight from the barrel in massive steins, however, there’s only the Augustiner Bräu at Mülin Monastery, which has been brewing beer since 1621 using a carefully guarded recipe. Since the Augustiner isn’t near a major tourist attraction, it’s relatively calm, allowing locals and travelers to mingle peacefully. Enjoy a drink in the cozy Bräustübl (the monastery’s pub) or the quaint beer garden. The beer selection is limited but you can be sure whatever you order will be super fresh. If you want something to soak up your suds, food is available at the Schmankerlgang, an arcade of stalls selling just-baked breads, pretzels, radishes, fish, and, of course, sausages.
Fürstenweg 37, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
While the 17th-century Italian-style Renaissance palace at Hellbrunn is splendid, and its spacious park is filled with grottoes, sculptures, and fountains, the real draw is the unique Wasserspiele, or “trick fountains,” which feature water shooting from various sources. (A highlight is the mechanical theater among the fountains with around 200 water-driven figures.) Commissioned by Prince-Archbishop Markus Sittikus in 1613, the palace and grounds were designed as the ultimate Lustschloß, or “pleasure palace,” worthy of entertaining a who’s who of nobility—at least those who would tolerate his shenanigans. It still makes a fun getaway on a hot summer day in the Alps. The palace can be visited independently (an audio tour is available), but the trick fountains are fenced off and require a guided tour.
2 Gangsteig
Fuschlsee (Lake Fuschl) is the lake closest to Salzburg and includes four public beaches, all with breathtaking scenery that makes it easy to relax and unwind. Its pristine emerald green waters are considered the cleanest of the Salzkammergut region and suitable for drinking. The Archbishops of Salzburg used the lakeside castle as their hunting lodge - meaning all the fish from the lake ended up on their own tables.
Eishohlenstrasse 30, 5450 Werfen, Austria
The largest ice caves in the world lie just 30 miles south of Salzburg in the Eisriesenwelt at Werfen. Only a portion of the more than 20 miles of caves are open to the public on a 75-minute guided tour, but what’s available to visit is impressive. Magnificent ice formations, frozen waterfalls, and a smooth, rinklike ice palace can be found in this underground world. Visitors will also see Hymir’s Castle, an enormous ice sculpture named for the ice giant of the Edda (the oldest Germanic-mythology saga), and witness layers of time, much like rings on a tree, encased in the glacier (which is actually not a glacier but a massive chunk of accumulated ice).
5440 Golling an der Salzach, Austria
Around 17 miles south of Salzburg between Golling and Kuchl is the Golling Waterfall, a popular motif for 19th-century painters of the Romantic period. A path follows the Schwarzenbach (“Black Brook”) leading to the lower falls and natural pools before following the roaring water to the upper falls via wooden footpaths and bridges. All in all, the water tumbles over more than 500 feet of rock, providing a beautiful introduction to the natural features of the Tennengau area, a beautiful district where much of Salzburg’s salt mining took place.
Mirabellplatz
Follow the sound of music to the iconic Mirabell Palace and Gardens, where Fräulein Maria and the von Trapp children delightfully sang “Do-Re-Mi.” Mirabell has become a dream destination for marriage ceremonies, boasting what some call the most beautiful wedding hall in the world. Of course, you don’t have to tie the knot to enjoy this elegant slice of Salzburg: Stroll through the gardens and admire the charming flower beds, statues of Roman gods, hedge theater, Pegasus fountain, and garden of baroque marble dwarfs.
Brodgasse 13, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
While many know the famous Reber brand Mozart Kugeln outside of Austria, those delicious marzipan and pistachio filled chocolate balls, they are by no means the original. They were created in 1890 by a Salzburg confectioner named Paul Fürst, who received a gold medal for these treats at the Paris Exhibition of 1905. The “Original Salzburger Mozartkugeln” are still created using the same family recipe by his great grandson, Norbert. They can only be purchased, along with truffles and other specialties, at one of his four namesake Cafe-Konditorei Fürst locations in the city.
Makartplatz 8, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
By 1773 the Mozart family had outgrown their residence on bustling Getreidegasse and moved across the river to the more spacious Tanzmeisterhaus, the former home of the court dancing instructor. Mozart lived here until 1781, when he moved to Vienna. His father Leopold remained until his death in 1787. More than half the building was bombed during World War II, but it was restored and opened as a museum in 1996. Inside the house are documents, portraits, and instruments that detail what life was like for the Mozart family during their time here. The Wohnhaus and Mozart’s Birthplace are both worth checking out, particularly if you’ve purchased a Salzburg Card that provides entrance to both; this one, however, is usually less crowded.
5020 Salzburg, Austria
It’s easy to walk right by the Christmas Museum and be none the wiser. But, these two rooms above a cafe at Mozartplatz offer an interesting look into the holiday as experienced in Salzburg. With so many great sights and experiences in Salzburg, it’s difficult to call this a “must-see”, however, with two or more days and a Salzburg Card to cover admission, it deserves at least a quick visit. From vintage Advent calendars to ornaments and depictions of Santa and his Alpine accomplice for the naughty kids, Krampus, the museum takes visitors through traditional Christmas in Austria from the 1800s up to 1940. The final display brings with it a strong dose of nostalgia: a 1930s living room lit by the warm glow of Christmas lights.
Alter Markt 9, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Café culture is an essential part of the Austrian experience, and there’s no better place to find it in Salzburg than at the historic Café Tomaselli. Dating back to 1700 and owned by the Tomaselli family since 1852, the great coffees, delicious pastries, and warm ambience mean the marble-topped tables don’t stay empty for long. It’s a place to see and be seen, a traditional institution popular with visitors, intellectuals, and celebrities. Even Mozart was a regular here. His widow, Constanze, later returned to the city with their children and lived upstairs with her second husband, Georg Nikolaus von Nissen, from 1820 to 1826. A Mélange (similar to cappuccino) or Einspänner (mocha with thick whipped cream) are two top picks from the extensive coffee menu. Order pastries separately—from the large selection brought tableside by one of the so-called “cake maids.”
Linzer G. 41, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Built between 1595 and 1600 and modeled after the Italian Campo Santo, this quiet cemetery behind the baroque St. Sebastian Church is worth a quick peek at the very least. The arcades lining the cemetery include ornately designed tombs of some of Salzburg’s more notable residents. It’s the final resting place of many members of the Mozart family, including his widow Constanze and father Leopold. The composer himself, at least most of him anyway, is somewhere in St. Marx cemetery in Vienna.
Domplatz 1a, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg’s 17th century Baroque cathedral, built upon a site where cathedrals have stood since the 8th century, is connected with St. Peter’s church and the Residenz by arcades to form a cluster of Salzburg’s most important structures.

Inside is not entirely different from other major cathedrals, with beautiful artwork, ornate carvings and a selection of relics (Virgil, Rubert and Martin of Tours among others). Most notably, however, is that it contains the baptismal font used for Salzburg’s most famous resident, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It rests on four lions which, being designed at a time when very few knew what an actual lion looked like, resemble something more like a beastly bulldog than king of the jungle.
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