Two Weeks in Austria: Salzburg and the Alps

Along with Vienna, Salzburg and the Alps are Austria’s top draws and the perfect place to spend the second half of a two week trip. Mozart’s Salzburg is adorned with beautiful gardens, a mighty fortress and great museums. Salzburg is the perfect gateway to the Austrian Alps, dotted with quaint villages like Hallstatt, pristine lakes and Austria’s most well known resorts, including the famous Kitzbühel. Trek through the Alps or just enjoy the views from cities like Salzburg and Innsbruck.

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.
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.
Herzog-Friedrich-Straße
With majestic views of the Alps and a medieval old town, Innsbruck is not short on charm. Get lost among the colorful Baroque buildings of Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse, see the famous Golden Roof, view Lucas Cranach the Elder’s “Madonna and Child” at the St. Jakob cathedral, and enjoy the splendid rococo style at the Hofburg.
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.
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.
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.
Hofgasse 1, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
At the end of Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse stands the symbol of Innsbruck, the Goldenes Dachl, or Golden Roof. It was believed to have been added to the building by Maximilian I to celebrate his second marriage. However, it’s not actually gold, but rather 2,657 gilded copper roof riles. For the best view, take the 148 steps up to the viewing platform of the Clock Tower, where you’ll also have a nice view of the beautifully adorned 15th century Helblinghaus.
Kristallweltenstraße 1, 6112 Wattens, Austria
Swarovski, world-famous Austrian crystal maker, has made it its mission to amaze. While the glittering creations do that on their own, the family has also built a whole world of wonder for you to enjoy. The Crystal World is a dream-like place of beauty and art, where visitors can share in the brand’s fascination with glamorous products. Enter through the mouth of a giant, whose grassy face emerges out of the ground, and explore the otherworldly creations of Brian Eno and Alexander McQueen. The Crystal World allows you to let your imagination roam freely and see things through completely different eyes.
Just a short trip from Innsbruck, the Stubaital is beautiful valley that is perfect for unwinding in one of the most parts of Tyrol. This unspoiled landscape is filled with cool streams and lush Alpine fauna, along with a few charming little villages like Mieders and Neustift im Stubaital. The beautiful Grawa waterfall is also nearby and a highlight of any hike.
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.
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