Surrounded by mountains and straddling the Salzach river, the beautiful Austrian city of Salzburg has splendid architecture. The Alpine surroundings, UNESCO World Heritage historic centre of cobbled streets, narrow alleyways and elegant squares are the amazing destinations to visit.
Salzburg is the birthplace of the great musical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who was born in 1756. Inspired by the composer, Salzburg has developed an incredibly rich musical life. Started in the 1920s, the Salzburg Festival is considered one of the important musical events in the world. Salzburg organizes around 4,000 musical and cultural events every year.
The culture of Salzburg reflects in the cosmopolitan sophistication of the Old Town as well as in the many Bierstuben taverns. Salzburg has a proud history of its beer which is more than 500 years old. Although the city is a bit quaint and poky, Salzburg has a young and energetic side to it.
The city is a house of universities, museums, bars, and clubs along the river. Salzburg is truly treasuring its past and embracing the future.
Salzburg has its early roots in the Stone Age, the Roman town of Juvavum was established around 15 BC. After the fall of Rome, it was abandoned. St Rupert had saved the city, who was gifted the site at the end of the 7th century by the Duke of Bavaria. He became the city’s bishop. Today he is remembered as a patron saint of Salzburg.
The city began to grow after 1077. Salzburg’s fortress turned out to be one of the biggest in Europe which became the abode of the archbishops of Salzburg. A century later, the German emperor Barbarossa destroyed the city. In the 14th century, Salzburg gained independence from Bavaria and became a prince-bishopric in the Roman Empire. In 1492 the Stiegl brewery was founded, while in 1525 the peasants sieged the fortress for three months.
In the 16th century, Salzburg was beautified due to the vision of the prince-archbishop, Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau. He constructed cobbled streets, narrow alleyways, elegant squares, and churches. The Old Town of fabulous baroque architecture had emerged during the 17th and 18th centuries. The archbishops lost their power amidst the Napoleonic Wars, and Salzburg became the part of the Austrian Empire.
In the 19th century, the city was modernized, but the Empire collapsed after WWI. In 1920, the iconic Salzburg Festival was founded, attracting the elites from across Austria and Germany. In the post-WWII years, the city recovered quickly, and in 1997, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Salzburg airport is situated near Austria’s border with Germany. It is a few miles away from Salzburg city and several most popular ski resorts. An information desk is loc in the arrivals hall and is open from 0500 until the last incoming flight.
Public Transport Bus: Public buses regularly ply between Salzburg Airport and Salzburg city. Buses 2 and 27 run every 10 - 20 minutes between Salzburg’s prime railway station and the airport. Bus 10 plies every 10 minutes between the city centre and airport (Journey time: 15 -20 minutes; Fare: €2.30).
Taxi: Various taxis, shuttle, and ski bus services operate from the airport terminals. The journey time to the city is around 15 to 20 minutes. Fares vary according to the provider.
The city has a comprehensive bus route network that covers Salzburg and its environs.
During weekdays, buses ply every 10 minutes. On weekends, bus services are less frequent.
A single bus ride in the inner zone costs €1.70, and the regional zone costs €2. In addition to single-fare tickets, tourists can buy 24-hour bus cards, which give access to the entire transport system of Salzburg.
Visitors can buy the card for 3.30 Euros from the tourist information centre (prime train station). It costs 5.30 Euros when purchased on the bus. For a stay of more than three days, visitors can buy a weekly pass (Wochenkarte) which costs around € 35.
The tourists can also grab Salzburg Card, which is valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours and the cost ranges from 23 Euros to 41 Euros. It allows admission to all the major attractions and gives unlimited access to public transport.
Taxi rides are quite expensive, and it’s often easier to walk most places.
Bicycle hire Salzburg is a great place for cycling where you can hire electric bikes.
Salzburg museum has won many awards. It is housed within the magnificently restored Neue Residenz. Apart from aesthetic presentations and art objects, various multimedia installations invite the visitors to marvel and learn. The first floor of the museum displays an exhibition dedicated to several men and women who have played their part to enrich Salzburg. It is focused on themes that include art, science, architecture, literature, music, photography, the working world, and craftsmanship.The second floor houses a permanent exhibition called “Mythos Salzburg” which focuses on the cultural, artistic and historical development of Salzburg in the present era. The exhibition throws light on the themes relating to the present day as well as the bygone days. It also has beautiful paintings by artists of the Romantic period. “Archaeology and the Middle Ages,” a treasure chamber can be found in the Mirror Hall on the second floor of the Museum. The Panorama Passage is s subterranean walkway which connects the Salzburg Museum with the Panorama Museum. The visitors can view archaeological excavations from the Neue Residenz, models of the city, art objects and historical data about the development of Salzburg since Roman times. The Art Hall of Salzburg Museum lies beneath the inner courtyard of the Neue Residenz. Every year, three major exhibitions are presented at this extraordinary location. Designed by Munich architecture team Friedrich Hoff and Zwink, Museum der Moderne is located above the rooftops of Salzburg’s Old City. It displays international art treasures from the 20 – 21st centuries, contemporary art pieces, and their collections which can be enjoyed in a series of rotating exhibitions. Museum der Moderne has raised the bar in art matters to a new level. The edifice has four levels, and it is spread over an area of 2300 sq m. The Museum was officially opened in 2004.
Built-in 1606 by prince-archbishop Wolf Dietrich, Mirabell Palace and Gardens serves as the backdrop for the most romantic weddings. The Marble Hall is regarded as one of the “most beautiful wedding halls in the world. Nowadays, the place is famous for hosting weddings, conferences and awards ceremonies. The beautiful Mirabell Palace is a home to municipal offices as well as those of the mayor of Salzburg. Mirabell Gardens were redesigned in 1690 under Archbishop Johann Ernst von Thun. The visual orientation towards the cathedral and fortress adds to the grandeur of the gardens.
The Pegasus Fountain, Grand Fountain, Hedge Theater, Rose garden and Dwarf Garden are the major attractions in and around Mirabell Gardens. Located on the western side of Salzburg's Kapitelplatz, the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter was founded by St. Rupert in 690 AD which served as the residence of the Archbishops until 1110. It has a tall onion-shaped tower, one of the first of its kind in Europe. Highlights include St. Peter's Churchyard, a burial ground surrounded on three sides by arcades and family tombs from the 17th century.
To the south, you'll find Early Christian catacombs and St. Maximus' Chapel. House Number 9, Getreidegasse, Salzburg is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birthplace where he was born on January 27th, 1756. Today, Mozart's Birthplace (Mozarts Geburtshaus) houses a museum, including rooms once occupied by the Mozart family. The museum displays numerous interesting mementos including the young Mozart's violin, portraits, and original scores. On the second floor is an exhibition called Mozart in the Theater with several illuminated miniature stages depicting his achievements. A prominent building with 79 m twin towers, Salzburg Cathedral was completed in 1657. It is famous for Italian style architecture and as the location of Mozart's baptism. The building's west front has four colossal marble statues, representing St. Rupert, Virgil, Peter, and Paul. The three massive bronze doors are symbols of Faith, Love, and Hope. The burial vaults and artifacts in the crypt are worth seeing. Cathedral Museum houses the collections of liturgical objects, art objects from the Salzburg archdiocese, Gothic statues, the 8th-century Carolingian Cross of St. Rupert, and paintings.
Salzburg is famous for the picturesque fortress of Hohensalzburg which is located on the southeastern summit of the Monchsberg. It is readily accessible by a 20-minute walk from the Old Town center or via funicular railway from Festungsgasse. The original castle was built in 1077. The highlights include ancient lime tree, cistern, arched defensive gateways, the courtyard with St. George (Georgskirche) church, the Salzburg Bull - an organ from 1502, the sumptuous Princes' Apartments with their Late Gothic décor, fine painted wainscoting, the Golden Room with its marble doorways, and the Golden Hall.
DomQuartier is a cultural highlight in the heart of Salzburg. A museum tour also allows visitors to enjoy imposing views of the city itself. DomQuartier houses various collections focused especially on the Baroque history of the city. The highlights include the baroque state-rooms of the Alte Residenz, Residenz Gallery, Terrace above the cathedral arches, Cathedral Museum, Cathedral Organ Loft, Chamber of Art and Wonders, Long Gallery, the museum of St. Peter’s and the Salzburg Museum’s Rossacher Collection of Baroque art.
In the heart of Salzburg's Old Town, on the left bank of the Salzach is the Residenzplatz, city's largest squares and the best place from where visitors can begin exploring the tourist attractions of Salzburg. The major attraction of the Residenzplatz is the stunning Residenzbrunnen, a masterpiece of marble along with the largest and finest Baroque fountain which was made in 1661 by an Italian sculptor. Tourists can spend time relaxing in the terraced cafes and boutique shops lining the adjoining streets. The square is occasionally used for concerts and celebrations like public New Year's Eve parties, and It serves as an excellent Christmas Market.
Salzburg has been famous for its music festivals. Several historic theaters and concert halls are collectively known as the Festival Theaters (Festspielhauser). It consists of the large Festspielhaus and the smaller Haus fur Mozart. The Karl-Bohm Hall is used for exhibitions and receptions. The famous Salzburg Festival has been held at this place since 1925. It is a five-week-long summer event showcasing the best of European music and drama. Getreidegasse is the bustling place in Salzburg’s Old City which attracts visitors with the wide range of international fashion chains, traditional shops, and dining opportunities.
Apart from folk wear, ornaments, trendy accessories, antiquities, leather goods, stationery and perfumes, avid shoppers can also pick up groceries in the Getreidegasse.
Several surrounding areas of Salzburg such as Eisriesenwel and Hellbrunn Palace are must visit.
You can learn more about the sightseeing's and also how to see the sightseeings by reading this article.
Eisriesenwelt is located near the town of Werfen, 40 km away from south of Salzburg. A half-hour commute south of Salzburg is the picturesque village of Werfen, home to the incredible Ice Giants (Eisriesenwelt). It is referred as the world's largest system of ice caves that extend for more than 30,000 sq m with a total of 45 km of underground tunnels.
Highlights of the two-hour guided tours include a visit to the Great Ice Wall; the Hymir Hall, impressive ice formations - icicles, and the Ice Gate (Eistor) - a 1,775 m high sheer wall of ice. Hellbrunn Palace is an early Baroque villa located near Morzg, a southern district of Salzburg, 5 km away from the city. It was built during 1613 - 1619 by Markus Sittikus. It is also famous for water games which were conceived by Markus Sittikus.
Hellbrunn is surrounded by a large park with a zoo, a stone theater, and Monatschlossl, or the "little month-palace" which was built within a month after a visitor suggested that constructing a building on the hill would enhance the view from the Schloss' windows. The archbishop took heed of his advice, and when the visitor returned a month later, the Monatschlossl was built. Today, it houses the ethnographical section of the Carolina Augusteum Museum of Salzburg.
A variety of restaurants and local eateries can be found in Salzburg which offers traditional Austrian dining.
Wilder Mann serves staples such as goulash, schnitzel, dumplings, and plenty of roasted meat.
On the edge of Salzburg’s Old Town is Republic cafe, a small bar/restaurant with a diverse and vast menu at the affordable prices. The menu includes salads-soups, pasta, Chinese stir-fries, fish, game, and beer. Republic turns into a club from late evening onwards.
Goldener Hirsch Restaurant has the most coveted tables. It mainly serves traditional Austrian food. Sternbrau is a microbrewery with plenty of traditional Austrian dishes and self-service bar. It’s located in a Salzburg courtyard between Griesgasse and Getreidegasse.
M32 offers the view of the Old Town and fortress. The place is popular for traditional dining with modern flair. The menu has Austrian cuisine with international influences in an elegant setting, adjacent to the Museum of Modern Art.
Stiftkeller St Peter is Europe’s oldest restaurant which dates back to 803. The restaurant belonged to the monks. Today it serves fine dining in cozy, candlelit dining rooms. It is popular for Chestnut wine soup and Austrian goulash.
Brunnauer is a stylish restaurant in the corner of the Old Town. Try the beef tartar or leek ragout, accompanied by some of the finest regional wines in a modern setting.
Being a university town, a city of music and culture par excellence, Salzburg has a bustling nightlife with several bars, clubs and live music venues.
Stiegl-Brauwelt is the most iconic brewery of Salzburg.
Alchimiste Belge is a small pub. Augustiner Braustubl Mullin is popular with locals and tourists alike.
The monastery of Mülln has been brewing here since 1621. The pub is a well-preserved corner of Salzburg’s proud drinking culture.
Havana is a swanky lounge bar, with modern furniture and high ceiling. Havana turns into the upmarket location for late-night hedonism.
Vis-á-Vis is one of the trendiest nightspots in Salzburg. It offers a variety of delicious cocktails beneath old vaults. It’s a combination of modern bar and a club.
Rockhouse is the prime venue for rock and pop. With tunnel-like setting, it is regarded as one of the most innovative bars in Salzburg. DJ sessions, gigs, and small-scale clubbing are organized over the weekend.
Smoking is strictly forbidden in public buildings and means of transport.
Locals are more reserved and formal. Kissing, touching and physical closeness in public are not common.
Avoid wearing shorts in the city, especially when shopping.
Greet the locals formally by shaking hands and saying, "Gruss Gott" or "Gruss Dich" (greet you). Upon leaving, say "Auf Wiedersehen" (Good-Bye).
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