As the gateway to Austria from the northwest, Salzburg is probably best known for being the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but it also happens to be one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Occupying both banks of the River Salzach where it emerger from the Salzburg Alps into the lower land expanse, Salzburg is dominated by the 1,853 meter high Untersberg that allow visitors to soak up the most breathtaking view of the spectacular city.
Top Attractions in Salzburg
The house where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born can be found at Number 9 Getreidegasse in Salzburg. The house has been declared as a museum and boasts some very interesting features like young Mozart’s violin, portraits and original scores. The second floor of the building is an exhibition area called Mozart in the Theater and depicts some of Mozart’s best achievements on miniature stages.
Located in the heart of Old Town Salzburg is the Residenzplatz, arguably the city’s largest square and the best base for exploring the city. The impressive Residenzbrunnen, is the focal point of the square and the marble masterpiece sculpture dates back to 1661. The fountain is the largest and finest this side of the Alps and boasts massive figures of horses, the god Atlas bearing dishes, dolphins and the god Triton with a conch shell. After you’ve spent some time browsing the quaint shops and cafés you might want to head out to Salzburg Cathedral and other attractions like the Residenz.
The Salzburg Residenz
The Residenz dominates the western side of the Residenzplatz, and it was the former palace of the Prince Bishops. The palace was built between 1596 and 1619 and boasts 3 courtyards, a large main front and a marble gateway that was later added. The beautiful State Apartments with their Late Baroque and Early Neo-Gothic décor is a brilliant sight. The Knights’ Hall, the Conference Hall and the Audience Hall are all among the palace’s top attractions. You might also be interested in seeing the White Hall with its stucco ornaments, the Imperial Hall with its Holy Roman Emperor and King portraits and the art gallery called the Residenzgalerie.
The city of Salzburg is dominated by the fortress of Hohensalzburg perched on the Mönchsberg. The original castle was built in 1077, but much of what you’ll see today dates back to the 1500’s. as you approach the fortress you’ll pass through some impressive arched defensive gateways 17th-century Fire Bastion to the Reisszug, through the Horse Gate into the Haupthof with its ancient lime tree and cistern from 1539. The courtyard with its Church of St. George, the famous Salzburg Bull organ, the Princes' Apartments, the Golden Room, the Golden Hall, the Fortress Museum and the Rainer Regiment Museum are all worth seeing, so be prepared to spend the whole day exploring the captivating site.
The Salzburg Cathedral is prominent mainly due to its two 79 meter high towers. The Italian style building was completed in 1657 and was the place where Mozart was baptized. The west front of the cathedral faces the Domplatz, and boasts 4 huge marble stature representing St. Rupert and Virgil, St. Peter and Paul. The 3 huge bronze doors with their Faith, Love and Hope symbols, the painted frescoes and the high altar are among the cathedral’s main attractions. But there are also the burial vaults and artifacts in the crypt that are worth seeing, as is the Cathedral Museum.
Just across from Salzburg Residenz is the New Building(Neugebäude), built in 1602 and expanded in 1670. This is the home of the Salzburg Museum and the famous Glockenspiel (the carillon) with its Mozart tunes played on 35 bells 3 times daily. You might also want to stop by the nearby St. Michael's Church at the corner of Mozartplatz with its Mozart Monument.
Old Town Salzburg
The Old Town of Salzburg ranges from the Universitätsplatz down through passages known as Durchhäuser northwards towards Getreidegasse, a pedestrian area filled with old merchant homes that date back to the 15th and 18th centuries. The beautiful old courtyards, galleries, boutiques, workshops and cafés are what take you back into time here. Make sure you see the Old Town Hall in Kranzlmarkt, the Old Market, St. Florian’s Fountain, the Judengasse and the Chiemsseehof with its arcaded courtyard and coat of arms décor.
Schloss Mirabell and Gardens
In Mirabellplatz you’ll find the remodeled Schloss Mirabell with its Grand Staircase and a number of statues by Georg Raphael Donner and his pupils. The Marble Hall and the Schloss Mirabell Baroque Museum housed in the Gardener's Building are also well worth seeing. The Mirabellgarten is a beautiful Baroque landscape design laid out in 1690 and comprises of various terraces, marble statues and fountains that are simply breathtaking. You might also be interested in seeing the Hellbrunn Palace with its exquisite gardens.
Hallein is an old Celtic town located alongside the River Salbach, just 10 minutes away from Salzburg city center. The quaint streets, gateways and statues amidst the historic homes make this a great day trip destination. Hallein is the birthplace of the organist Franz Xaver Gruber, the composer of Silent Night, but it’s also home to the Celtic Museum which is a great site to explore to delve a little deeper into the Celt history.