The joke 'if it's baroque, don't fix it' is a perfect maxim for Salzburg; the tranquil Old Town burrowed in below steep hills looks as much as it did when Mozart lived here 250 years ago. Its cobbled streets are overshadowed by ornate 17th-century buildings, which are in turn dominated by the medieval Hohensalzburg fortress from high above. Across the fast-flowing Salzach River rests the baroque Schloss Mirabell, surrounded by gorgeous manicured gardens.
Things you may not know!
- The Salzburg Dom opened in 1968 and is the cities most popular attraction.
- Don't buy your Mozart balls in the local stalls or shops the supermarkets are much cheaper!
Eat on the right side of the river. The restaurants in the centre are over priced, the small side alleys offer some of the best value grub.
A Unesco World Heritage site, Salzburg’s Old Town is entrancing both at ground level and from the hills above.
Residenzplatz is an excellent starting point for exploration. The Dom (cathedral; Domplatz), just to the south, has bronze doors symbolising faith, hope and charity, and excavations of a medieval cathedral and Roman remains. When you come out of the cathedral, head west along Franziskanergasse and turn left into a courtyard for St Peterskirche (St Peter Bezirk 1/2). Among the lovingly tended graves in this abbey’s grounds is the entrance to the Katakomben. The Stift Nonnberg (Nonnberg Abbey) is back east of the Festung Hohensalzburg and where The Sound of Music first finds Maria.
Castle-fortress Festung Hohensalzburg (Mönchsberg 34), built in 1077, was home to many archbishop- princes (who ruled Salzburg from AD 798). Inside are the impressively ornate staterooms, torture chambers and two museums.
The formal gardens, with their tulips, crocuses and Greek statues, are the main drawcard at this palace, built by the princearchbishop Wolf Dietrich for his mistress in 1606. Standing at the western end and looking east towards the fortress gives you an iconic Salzburg view. Having featured in The Sound of Music, the gardens are now popular for weddings and open-air concerts (normally at 10.30am and 8.30pm May to August).
Although Mozart is a major Salzburg attraction, the man himself couldn’t wait to leave. Consequently, Mozart’s Geburtshaus and his Wohnhaus cover only his early years before he left town in 1780 at 24 years of age. The more extensive Wohnhaus houses the Mozart Sound and Film Museum.
In summer, Salzburg Schiffahrt operates 40-minute round-trip river cruises and trips to Schloss Hellbrunn. Boats leave from the city side of the Makart Bridge at the Salzach Insel boat landing.
Festivals & Events
The famous Salzburg Festival of classical music is held from late July to late August. Book online well in advance if you want cheap tickets.
Mensa Toscana (Sigmund-Haffner-Gasse 11) University Mensa in the heart of the Old Town.
SKS Spices (Wolf-Dietrich-Strasse 1) If you’re into healthy eating, don’t pass over this tiny eatery that specialises in vegan and vegetarian food from the Indian subcontinent.
Wilder Mann (Getreidegasse 20) Traditional Austrian food in a friendly, bustling environment, located in the passageway off Getreidegasse. Tables, both inside and out, are often so packed it’s almost impossible not to get chatting with fellow diners.
Il Sole (Gstättengasse 15) Fill up on tasty pasta dishes and wood-fired pizzas at Il Sole, a small trattoria with a lively buzz and superfriendly staff.
Afro Cafe (Bürgerspitalplatz 5) This vibrant, multicoloured restaurant-cafe-bar is bedecked with retro furniture, palm trees and junk art, and its full menu features the likes of Pemba Island prawns and ostrich kebabs. A delightful, unpretentious eatery.
Humboldt Stub’n (Gstättengasse 4-6) Perennial favourite with students – the decor is particularly wacky, featuring cartoons and purple antelope horns.
Like my Busabout Guide, I love the Sound Of Music, and the tour we did didn't disappoint."