There’s something familiar about Salzburg, Austria, likely because the city’s been around for centuries. Lately however, it became famous not only as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birthplace, but also the setting for the movie, The Sound of Music. For many visitors, sights and attractions associated with the composer and the movie are understandably popular, but don’t overlook other charming locations that are just as historic and fascinating. The city, after all, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has been deemed so since 1997. Here are the top attractions in Salzburg.
Top Attractions in Salzburg
The city’s most famous son is quite possibly the musical prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. You can visit his birthplace, now a museum, located on Getreidegasse 9 and see the original rooms where Mozart’s parents, Leopold and Anna Maria, lived. There are also plenty of artifacts from musical instruments that belonged to Mozart as a child to letters written by his family.
The best way to get to know the decorated history of the city of Salzburg is by visiting the Salzburg Museum. Opened just eight years ago, the museum does a very good job of introducing valuable artifacts to visitors using a thoroughly modern approach. There are multimedia presentations that showcase the artistic and cultural background of the city and well-curated exhibits of military memorabilia from the 19th century. The museum also showcases various works of art made by the working class men and women of Salzburg. It also documents what life in the city was like over the centuries.
Standing high above a hill and overlooking the city of Salzburg is the Hohensalzburg Fortress, one of the most interesting and most visited attractions in Salzburg. Its foundation goes back to the 1077 when Archbishop Gebhard decided to break ground. It is the largest fully-preserved citadel in Europe and contains a couple of rooms richly decorated with Gothic wood carvings and ornamental paintings. The fortress served as a residence to many prince archbishops, a military barracks, and a prison in its 900 plus history. In addition to the interior exhibit halls, visitors to the fortress will also get a lovely view of Old Town.
What was once a space reserved for the privileged few is now the city’s playground. Hellbrunn Palace, its expansive gardens, and its trick fountains are some of the most beautiful attractions in Salzburg. The palace itself is considered to be one of the best remaining examples of Renaissance architecture while its trick fountains present a unique and enjoyable experience for both children and adults. The park on the other hand, served as a background for some of the scenes in The Sound of Music.
Sacher Hotel, Salzburg
One of Europe’s grandest hotels sits right in Salzburg on the banks of the Salzach River and is convenient to many of the top attractions in Salzburg. The Hotel Sacher, Salzburg with its elegant accommodations, also feature a café where you can order an Austrian culinary specialty, the sachertorte. This specific type of chocolate cake or torte was created by Austrian Franz Sacher for Prince Wenzel von Metternich some 200 years previous and its original recipe and preparation remains a closely guarded secret.
Salzburger Spielzeugmuseum (Toy Museum)
The Spielzeugmuseum is a unique attraction that features historical toys and games and is the perfect place for visitors with children. There are a number of hands-on exhibits and plenty of rides and games for everyone in the family to try. The ground level features marble runs and a room that contains giant wood construction sets while the first level has a life-size dollhouse where children can look for treasures. The main draw of the museum however is on the second floor where several cars and locomotives can be driven around a 12-meter model circuit.
Have a peak inside the Salzburg Cathedral and you’ll immediately be amazed by its towering façade and stunning architecture. The current building was built in the 17th century featuring some of the most beautiful Italian Baroque designs made by architect Santino Solari. The large nave leads to an intricately designed altar that also features a painting showing the resurrection of Christ. Look up at its turquoise ceiling and admire the individual murals that drape its dome but don’t miss the Romanesque font where famous resident and composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was baptized.
Mirabell Palace and Gardens
One of the best free attractions in Salzburg sit just on the east side of the Salzach River. The Mirabell Palace and Gardens are where Julie Andrews and her company of younglings practiced their “do-re-mis” and where you can see a number of incredibly stunning Baroque sculptures and designs. Don’t miss the Pegasus Fountain located just below the Grand Parterre.