Whether you recognize the name of the town Salzburg or not, I am sure you have seen 12 children frolicking through its streets singing “doe, a deer.” Salzburg, Austria, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and birthplace of Wolfgang Mozart, is known for its beauty, operas, and of course, the classic movie, The Sound of Music. After arriving via train in the morning from Vienna, we spent one day and one night in Salzburg. Being a city only 25 square miles large (NYC is 302), it is easy to squeeze a lot of Salzburg’s highlights and attractions into a short and sweet visit. The two sides of the city are split by the Salzach, with many walking bridges connecting the town and a fortress that sits overhead, protecting below.
So, I am sure you know the scene, Maria has just sewn the von Trapp children clothes out of the curtains and they’re running through a garden signing “Do-Re-Mi.” The garden featured in this scene are the Mirabell Palace and Gardens. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Mirabell Palace is one of the most popular sites to see in Salzburg. Entrance to this baroque landmark is free of charge and its two most popular highlights are the Marble Hall and the Rose Garden. This is a great (and free!) experience to have while in Salzburg. Wander through the palace and garden and try not to sing your heart out.
Visible from nearly anywhere in the city, the Hohensalzburg Fortress sits high above the skyline, as one of Salzburg’s most famous landmarks. Open every day, it should be easy to work this tour in to your agenda. The Fortress opens at 9:30 AM and depending on the month (or holiday) closes anywhere from 5 PM to 7 PM. It is required to purchase a ticket and thankfully an online ticket is offered so you do not have to wait in line, as Salzburg and its fortress becomes ever more popular. We purchased the all-inclusive ticket, which provides a ride up and down on the funicular, an audio guide tour giving access to the Prince’s Chambers, the Magic Theater and the Alm passage exhibition. The ticket also includes the castle museum, Rainer Regiment museum and puppet museum. The castle is in Salzburg’s old town, making it not accessible by car, as Old Town is a pedestrian-only zone. However, the funicular runs every ten minutes and will bring you to the castle’s hilltop in about one minute, whereas climbing the hill by foot will take approximately 20 minutes. After our tour, we made our way to the back of the castle to enjoy the incredible view of the Eastern Alps and valley.
DOM ZU SALZBURG – SALZBURG CATHEDRAL
Found in the heart of Salzburg with its two towers and giant dome is the centerpiece of Salzburg, the Salzburg Cathedral. There is much to be discovered here, from the crypt to the two towers with seven bells and even the cathedral’s three entrancement doors (representing Faith, Love and Hope). Definitely do not pass this cathedral by! Entrance to the cathedral and crypt is free, however, the hours of operation vary. In addition to the Cathedral’s beautiful architecture, this UNESCO World Heritage Site also has some incredible history. The Cathedral was founded in 774 and, over the course of its time, it has suffered through ten fires, been rebuilt three times and houses two million visitors each year. Most notably, this is where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the writer of “Silent Night”, Joseph Mohr, were christened. As this was Mozart’s childhood church, he performed many of his pieces here for the community and churchgoers.
It is likely you’ll naturally find yourself wandering along this famous street in Salzburg’s Old City. The entire old town is a pedestrian zone and is not accessible by car. This shopping street is lined with small boutique shops, large fashion chains, locally owned restaurants and most famously, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Be sure to take your time, notice the unique doorways and check out the identifying signs hanging overhead.