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Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg

Great Destination:

5

Value for Money:

3

Total Stars:

8.0

Personality Types that Like it Best

Strong ratings from most personalities, but especially Centric-Venturers and Centric-Authentics

Did You Know … ?

  • The first Salzburg Cathedral was consecrated in 774.
  • The oldest child in the von Trapp family was not a “16-going-on-17” daughter named Liesl, but a son.
  • Salzburg’s Stiegl brewery is the oldest (1492) and largest (25 million gallons yearly) private brewery in Austria.
  • World War II air strikes destroyed 46% of the city’s buildings, particularly near the rail station.
  • Mozart was born in Salzburg (1756) in rooms his parents rented from a family friend.

Mozart and the sounds of music

Salzburg and the province of the same name attract visitors for many reasons, not least the city’s association with classical music and the fact it was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s hometown. Today that cultural bent manifests itself in the widely acclaimed Salzburg Festival and a rich selection of other music events.

Coincidentally, the city is associated in moviegoers’ minds with the 1965 film “The Sound of Music.” That tale is based on the true story of the von Trapp family who lived in Salzburg.

To this day, tourists look for both the Mozart birthplace and settings where “The Sound of Music” was shot. But these choices, for all their appeal, barely touch the surface.

The city, which dates at least to the Roman times, was a cathedral city by 774. Because of fires, the cathedral was rebuilt twice. The resulting edifice is Salzburg’s most important church architecture and what the city calls “the most impressive early Baroque edifice north of the Alps.”

Nearby salt mines — as well as gold and silver mines in late medieval times — funded some of the city’s finest construction, yielding an Old Town that is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The designation protects buildings dating from the Middle Ages, as well as those from Romanesque, Baroque and Renaissance periods plus later classical burghers’ houses.

Nestled among these narrow streets and in these buildings are cafes, pubs and breweries, inns, shops and still more historic churches. The province also claims the highest concentration of gourmet restaurants in Austria.

The city’s backdrop includes its never-conquered Hohensalzburg Fortress, which dates from 1077, and mountains. Two mountains in the city provide immediate access to hiking and biking options, and the Salzburg Snow Shuttle provides a handy link to Kitzbuhel, Zell am See and a number of other ski resorts. Active travelers may head for the Hohe Tauern National Park, with its pristine mountains and valleys and 10,000 animal species, for several days of trekking.

There are many ways to relax in and around Salzburg and many ways to be active, always with a keen eye on the area’s natural and manmade beauty.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Visit the Durrnberg salt mine near Salzburg (the city’s name means “salt town”). Today, like guests for about 300 years, you take a ride across a subterranean salt lake. You also can descend into the mine by riding down giant wooden slides, just the way 17th century miners got to their work.
  • Climb up the Monchsberg above Salzburg. Rewards are many: great scenery, castles, tours of giant ice caves.
  • See “Jedermann” (“Everyman”), a modern (1911) rendition of a medieval morality play, performed each summer as part of the annual Salzburg Festival. The Salzburg Cathedral provides the dramatic backdrop for the open-air production.
  • Hike in the Hohe Tauern National Park, which is home to 10,000 animal species. See how many of its unique Big Five list you can spot: the chamoix, the ibex, the bearded vulture, the griffon vulture and the golden eagle.
  • Take the Salzkammergut Lake District bike tour, a 192-mile loop that begins and ends in Salzburg but will take you to 13 of the area’s lakes where you can take a break from cycling for fishing, hiking, sailing and/or swimming. In addition, Salzburg itself is noted as a bike-friendly city. Use the two-wheeler as your transportation while seeing the sights.
  • Attend the Oktoberfest in Elsbethen, described as one of the most charming villages outside Salzburg. It’s a one-day event the first Sunday of October. The town also offers a folk museum, handicraft demonstrations, hiking and biking trails.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Spend some part of a Christmas season in Salzburg. Haunt, and shop in, the Christmas markets, which are in many towns and cities.
  • Build a Salzburg sightseeing itinerary around Mozart, beginning with his birthplace, now a museum, and ending with the Mozarteum, for a concert. Then, treat yourself to some Mozart ball candy.
  • Tour the Stiegl brewery. Stay on to sample one or more of the 10 draft beers Stiegl makes. On-site venues include a restaurant, a brewpub and a beer garden.
  • Ski using Salzburg as your base. Take the Salzburg Snow Shuttle to Kitzbuhel or other resorts.
  • Take a relaxing tour of the city in a horse-drawn carriage. Alternatively, do that sightseeing aboard the panorama boat, the Amadeus Salzburg, which departs at the Makart Bridge in the historic town center.
  • Tour the dramatically situated Hohensalzburg Fortress. Of particular interest are the medieval princes’ apartments and the museum. Dating from 1077, the structure is accessible via a funicular.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Plan a day’s sightseeing around film locations for the 1965 movie, “The Sound of Music.” Or take a guided tour to the sites. There are more than a dozen.
  • Have coffee and pastry in the Cafe Tomaselli.
  • Take in a performance of the Salzburg Marionette Theatre, the most famous of its kind and technologically very advanced.
  • Immerse yourself in Salzburg’s music traditions at the Salzburg Festival.
  • Salzburg is Austria’s fine dining capital, but you can test that assertion. Ask your concierge for restaurant recommendations.
  • Take a guided tour of Hellbrunn Palace, which is most noted for its trick fountains.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult Tourism Salzburg at www.salzburg.info and choose your language if necessary.