The Seven Sees: Salzburg
Salzburg is one of the most picturesque cities in all of Europe. The city is divided in two by the Salzach River. The Old Town was influenced by Italy and features many buildings in the Romanesque or Italian Baroque style. The Old Town is now a UNESCO’s World Heritage site.
The beautiful backdrops became the inspiration for beautiful music. Mozart was born in Salzburg before later moving to Vienna and the Sound of Music was filmed in and around the city. The symphony of sights and sound have made Salzburg a hot tourist attraction. Here are the seven must see’s on your visit.
Mozart is everywhere in Salzburg. Mozart’s Geburtshaus or birthplace in the Old Town is now a popular museum that contains various artifacts and photos of the famous composer. Another of Mozart’s former residences is also now a museum on the other side of the Salzach River. The Mozarts Wohnhaus is arguably a better museum but is not as popular as his birthplace.
In addition to the museums you will not be hard pressed to find Mozart trinkets and souvenirs all of Salzburg. One of the most popular gifts are the Mozart chocolate balls or Salzburg Mozartkugels’. There are many imitations, but the original and the best are at Cafe Konditorei Fürst located in Salzburg’s Alter Markt.
The most famous street in Salzburg is known for its guild signs which line both sides of the pedestrian only lane. Running parallel to the Salzach River in the Old Town, it has numerous restaurants, shops as well as the home of Mozart’s birthplace.
The plaza is truly the heart of the Salzburg’s Old Town and anchors one end of the Getreidegasse. Many top attractions are steps away, including the Salzburg Cathedral and Residenz. The Residenzbrunnen fountain is the squares prominent feature. Throughout the year it plays host to numerous events including Salzburg’s famous Christmas Market.
Salzburger Dom sits prominently in the Old Town. The marble facade facing the Domplatz has a center column dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Among its defining features are the Baroque architecture and the 4,000 pipe organ. Mozart served as organist for 3 years and was also baptized here.
Built in 1077, Hozensalzburg Castle dominates the skyline of Salzburg. A funicular takes you to the top of the hill. The commanding views of the city below and the surrounding mountains are a visually treat, but don’t miss exploring one of the best preserved medieval fortresses in Europe.
Schools Mirabell and Gardens
Highlights of the baroque style Mirabell Palace include a beautiful grand staircase and marble hall. It has become a very popular wedding venue and is also used for various special events.
The colorful and well manicured gardens that sit outside the palace are the main draw. They were designed to have a direct line of sight to the Salzburg Cathedral and Hozensalzburg Castle that stand on the other side of the river. Sound of Music fans will recognize the gardens as the location of the “Do Re Mi” scene.
St. Peters Abbey and Cemetery
The founding of St. Peter’s goes back to 696, making it one of the oldest monasteries in Europe. St. Peter’s Church has a combination of Romanesque and Baroque styles and boasts one of the most beautiful interiors you will find anywhere. Mozart directed his famous Mass in C-minor at St. Peter’s Church in 1783.
Known locally as Petersfriedhof, the cemetery is wedged in at the base of Mönchsberg Mountain The gorgeous cemetery is famous for its catacombs carved into the mountain and as a key filming location for the Sound of Music.
Getting To Salzburg
Salzburg is located on the western edge of Austria and in the northern corner of the Alps. The easiest way to arrive without a car is by train. It takes a little over 2.5 hours from Vienna and 1.5 hours from Munich.
The Old Town is easily walkable and can be done in a a day trip from Munich and even Vienna if you are up for a long day. Otherwise, the best option would be to use Salzburg as a 1-2 night stop in between Vienna and Munich or can be a home base for exploring the northern Alps region including scenic Halstatt.