Any classical music buff out there will know exactly what Salzburg is famous for, and even if you’re not into classical music, you’d still get so much out of a visit to this beautiful, albeit small, city. As the birthplace of the legendary Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, plenty of fans flock to the city to immerse themselves in Mozart culture and get to know the infamous composer that little bit better.
Aside from this famous connection, Salzburg is also very well known for its baroque architecture in its Old Town, so much so that in 1997 UNESCO added it to their list of World Heritage sites. Salzburg makes you feel like you’re walking through a scene from the 18th century, and those with a romantic, whimsical, yet sophisticated mind-set will feel right at home in this Austrian treasure. Here are our Top Things to Do in Salzburg Austria.
Take a Sound of Music Tour
Salzburg isn’t only famous for being the birthplace of one of the greatest musical minds in history, those fans of something a little more modern out there will know that Salzburg was where much of ‘The Sound of Music’ was filmed. We took a Sound of Music tour with Panorama Tours, and were taken all over the city to various spots where the movie was shot, from the gazebo where Liesl sang ‘16 going on 17’, to the gardens where the epic ‘Do-Re-Mi’ was filmed with Maris and the children. This is a completely unmissable tour for any Sound of Music fan in the area, and you’ll be so inspired that you may ever take to the surrounding hills to recreate your own version of the iconic opening scene.
Otherwise known in English as Hohensalzburg Castle, this mighty and ancient fortress standing atop the hill, towering over the city, is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. Construction of the castle began in 1077 and it took hundreds of year before it was fully completed. Refurbishment was carried out again in the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century it was used as a prison for Italian prisoners of war and Nazi activists. There are numerous chambers you can walk through here, decorated with ornate gold panels and intricate paintwork. There are very few other places still standing in Europe with over 1,000 years of history, so definitely make the most of this stunning fortress and all the stories that took place within its walls.
Sound of Salzburg Dinner Show
For over 20 year, the Sound of Salzburg Dinner Show has been mesmerizing tourists and locals alike with their beautiful productions. The show was once simply a Sound of Music Dinner show, but in the year 2000 the show was enhanced and developed to include not only songs from the famous movie, but also a repertoire of Mozart’s music and famous Austrian Operettas. You can enjoy the show over a candlelit dinner, either 3- or 4-course, depending on how indulgent you’re feeling. If you really want to see the very essence of Salzburg and what really makes it the city that it is, this is definitely the perfect starting point.
As I mentioned before, the city of Salzburg is famous for its baroque architecture, and the Hellbrunn Palace is a gleaming example of these kinds of buildings. Built in the 17th century for the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg as a summer home, this building is painted a beautiful bright yellow, and in the style of baroque is ornate and extremely grand. The palace stands within large grounds with fountains dotted all over the place, making it perfect setting for a relaxing summer stroll.
Take a city walking tour
There are many great sights littered all over Salzburg, so it’s worth your while taking a city tour whilst you’re there. There are plenty to choose from, so it really depends on your taste as to which one you want to go on. Any tour that includes a trip to the beautiful St Peters Cathedral, the Mirabell Gardens (the setting for the ‘Do-Re-Mi’ song from the Sound of Music!) and all of the stunning baroque architecture is worth going on.
If you’re a bit more of a nature lover instead of a music fanatic, the Eisriesenwelt – German for ‘World of the Ice Giants’ – is the perfect spot for you to visit (it is located about 40km south of the city). These are natural limestone ice caves and are hidden inside a section of the Alps. They are in fact the largest ice caves in the world, stretching over 42km. The caves are only open from May until the end of October, and the temperatures in the cave are (obviously) below freezing, so make sure you wrap up very warm before you visit!
A visit to Salzburg would be incomplete without at least a quick visit to see where Mozart was born (located at Getreidegasse 9) and where his family lived for 26 years. This museum has been remodeled and expanded over the years, a testament to Mozart’s time-transcending popularity. Here you can see some of Mozart’s very own instruments, as well as belongings and documents. To be in the presence of any of these items, once touched by the hands of one of the greatest musical minds in history, is a treat for any music lover.
Take a tour of the Salt Mines
The Hallein Salt Mines are located just outside of Salzburg and they have been functioning as mines for over 7,000 years. Yes, you read that correctly – 7,000 years! It turned Salzburg into a thriving trading community, and was the main reason why people settled in the area. It’s been a museum since World War I, and you can take a 1 hour tour through the tunnels with a guide, who will tell you all about their history. Some of the caves are lit up beautifully, and you feel like you’re in hidden underground lagoon as the light reflects so beautifully off the cave walls, turning the water a dazzling blue.
Even though Salzburg is mainly famous for its classical music scene and as the setting of The Sound of Music, it can’t be denied that there is something for everyone in the city. Incredible architecture, a thriving culture scene, and beautiful surroundings to please nature lovers and adrenaline junkies alike, Salzburg is diverse enough for every kind of traveler.
For more information on all the wonderful activities on offer in Salzburg, visit www.salzburg.info
What other suggestions would you add to this Salzburg list?