It’s famed as the birthplace of Mozart and the film location for the Sound of Music. Yet, Salzburg’s combination of the historical UNESCO World centre with trendy new neighbourhoods means there’s more to discover in this city in the Eastern Alps. Come in summer for the Salzburg Festival, which declares, “The whole city is a stage" with open-air performances, or visit in winter to sip on Glühwein (mulled wine) at Schloss Fuschl Adventmarkt, one of the world’s oldest Advent markets, and follow the trail of Silent Night.
Salzburg's Altstadt (Old Town) is the main attraction of the city. It was built as a display of prosperity by the Catholic Prince Archbishops inspired by the Papal States of Rome, growing from the wealth of salt trading (Salzburg translates to 'salt castle').
Salzburg is a UNESCO World Heritage site with over 1,000 protected buildings, overlooked by the medieval hilltop castle, the Hohensalzburg Fortress. The baroque city's treasures include the Dom Quartier residence with Salzburg Cathedral, St Mark's Church, and the Italian style Kapitelplatz (Chapter Square). The rooftop of the Museum of Modern Art offers some of the best views of the city.
The main shopping street, Getreidegasse, is a centrepiece of the old town, lined with detailed iron shop signs in bygone harmony. Mozart was also born here at Getreidegasse 9 in 1756, a house with a striking yellow façade that’s now a museum and one of the city's main attractions. Looking for the original Mozartkugel chocolate with the silver and blue wrapper? It's at Fürst on Brodgasse, whose sphere of green marzipan, hazelnut nougat and dark chocolate was invented here in 1890. If you’ve worked up a thirst, head for the Augustiner Brewery, Austria's biggest beer tavern. Established in 1621, they serve beer in traditional stone steins.
One of the best places to stay on this street is Hotel Goldener Hirsch, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Salzburg – an original country house turned boutique hotel dating back to 1407 and in our pick of unusual hotels. The hotel’s restaurant, Herzl, is one of the oldest in town and offers delicious, hearty portions of traditional Austrian cuisine. The smallest house in Salzburg is just around the corner at 10a Alter Markt.
Cross the Salzach River and head to the other side of Salzburg city to Neustadt (New Town) directly opposite Altstadt. First, head to Salzburg's oldest street, Steingasse. Walk the length of this historical cobblestoned alley, becoming one of the city's growing hip neighbourhoods and street art locations. The composer of the Silent Night song, Joseph Mohr, was born in Salzburg and lived at Steingasse 31.
Neustadt's attractions are the Mirabell Palace and Mirabell Gardens with its Archbishop design legacy, like the former ballroom known as the Marble Hall where Mozart once played. The magnificent, manicured grounds were redesigned in 1690 to Baroque style. The Sound of Music fountain? It's also here.
Don't just visit the palace grounds and then leave, but get to the adjacent neighbourhood of Andräviertel. It's urban, with a bohemian village feel, mixing old stores and social spaces with modern outlets and eateries, and has become the home to the LGBTQ+ scene. Offering spectacular mountain and city views from its guest rooms, the 5-star Sheraton Grand Salzburg is located in this neighbourhood, adjacent to the stunning Mirabell Palace Gardens.
Further north is the Elizabeth Vorstadt neighbourhood, where you can find one of the more alternative things to do. While mostly quiet and residential, it is home to the alternative social venue, Jazzit – a cultural venue hosting jazz music nights from a former government building.
Cross the main street, Moosstrasse, and you'll find yourself in the Maxglan neighbourhood. It's home to the Stiegl Brewery – Salzburg's privately owned brewery since 1492. There are daily guided beer tasting tours (with audio guides for English speakers). The beer is also best enjoyed at the Stieglkeller gastropub and beer garden located in the Old Town.
One of the most interesting and unique things to do is located at Salzburg airport - the modern landmark of the Hangar-7 Aviation museum. The glass arched transparent wing-type structure showcases Red Bull racing cars, but the star attraction is the display of the Flying Bulls aircraft fleet. In the accompanying glass towers is the Restaurant Ikarus, known for its guest chef menu concept that changes monthly.
You can’t help but notice the buses that ferry fans of 1965 classic film The Sound of Music to locations from the movie including Leopoldskron Palace, Frohnburg Palace, the Mirabell Palace Gardens, the old town of Salzburg, the basilica in Mondsee, and many more. One of the fun things to do is join Panorama Tours and see all the sites from the inner city to the lakes of the Salzkammergut region.
Join the locals and stay here, escaping the city for nature. Lake Fuschl (Fuschlsee) is one of the closest to Salzburg city - just 20 minutes away by car. Stay in Schloss Fuschl, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Fuschlsee-Salzburg, a lakeside castle built in 1450.
Published: July 26, 2022