Salzburg is as charming as European cities can get. Its picturesque historic centre lures you in with beautifully preserved Baroque architecture, taking you straight back to the days of Mozart, all while singing the off-key version of ‘The Hills are Alive’… or is that just me? There’s no denying that ‘The Sound of Music’ filming locations now take up a big chunk of Salzburg’s DNA, but even if you’re not a fan of the musical yourself, Salzburg will sweep you off your feet. One weekend is just the right amount of time to explore the city’s hidden and less hidden gems, most of which are within walking distance. Here’s some of the best to add to your must-see list!
Stood on a hill right in the middle of the city, it’s hard not to spot Hohensalzburg Fortress even from kilometres away. While the museums inside are nothing to write home about, the views over the rooftops of Salzburg are well worth the visit – trust me. You can reach the 900-year-old fortress by hopping on a funicular for a €12.90 return (entry included) or walking up the hill and paying €10 to enter the grounds.
P.S. If you’re on a tight budget and would rather enjoy the views of the city completely for free, head over to Kapuzinerkloster on the other side of the river instead. The panorama is not as spectacular, but great nonetheless.
The geometrically-arranged gardens in front of the Mirabell Palace are open to the public and completely free to visit. Of course it’s best to visit them during the spring and summer, when all the flowers are in bloom, but the fountains and the steps from The Sound of Music’s ‘Do-Re-Mi’ scene can be enjoyed year-round.
This Renaissance palace is only a 15-minute bus drive away from the city centre, but the grounds have a proper countryside feel. There’s a few things there to keep you busy: a tour of the palace with its trick fountains (open only from April to November), a Folk Museum and a massive public park with ponds, sculptures, a heart-eye-emoji chrysanthemum garden and the famous pavilion from… you’ve guessed it – The Sound of Music.
Serenity is the best word to describe the beautiful surroundings of Leopoldskron Palace, one of the main exterior locations of The Sound of Music. A fantastic view of the palace over the lake is a good enough reason to visit, but what if you want to see the “von Trapp home” up close? Leopoldskron Palace is now a luxury hotel technically closed to the public, however, if the gates are open, you can easily “sneak in”. Just don’t tell them I’ve sent you!
Altstadt is THE centre of Salzburg, where you can find most of the popular attractions from Mozart’s birth house to Petersfriedhof, the most unique cemetery with catacombs and proper eerie vibes. It’s also a great place to shop! Handmade Mozart balls make the perfect souvenir, by the way. The original can be found at Café Fürst, but between me and you, they sell the same at many tourist shops. For cheaper!! Look for the ones wrapped in silver foil. And one last thing – if you’re visiting the city during the days leading up to Christmas, make sure you add the main Christmas market to your list too. It’s right next to Salzburg Cathedral.