Austria City Guide: Salzburg


Salzburg Panorama
© Salzburg Tourismus


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Salzburg is a showcase of natural and manmade beauty: an alpine paradise, a 'baroque jewel', the home of the immortal Mozart, a World Heritage site, and backdrop to the heartwarming antics of Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music - all in all a stunningly beautiful city. First, a bit of history.

The area around what is now Salzburg was settled around 15 BC. The town was controlled by the Romans and called Juvavum. The city's fortress, the Festung Hohensalzburg, was built in 1077 and expanded over ensuing centuries. The city won its independence

The next notable period in the city's history began on Halloween in 1731 when Roman Catholic Archbishop Count Leopold Anton von Firmian signed his Edict of Expulsion banishing Protestants from the city.

Land was seized and children under twelve forced to be raised as Catholics. Non-land owners were given 8 days to leave Salzburg. Many fled to areas of Germany that were under Protestant rule. Many died or were robbed en route. Refugees fled to as far away as the British colonies in the US.

In 1805, Salzburg was annexed into Austria, briefly returned to Bavaria, and then finally, in 1816, rejoined Austria. There it remained until 1938, when the Nazis, led by the Austrian Adolf Hitler, invaded and occupied his native land.


Salzburg Panorama
© Salzburg Tourismus

The city owes its wealth and patronage of the arts to the rule of a succession of powerful prince-archbishops, who commissioned most of the city's beautiful baroque buildings, investing profits from their control of the lucrative salt trade in nearby Hallein. The prince-archbishops only lost control of the city in 1816 after the Napoleonic Wars when the Congress of Vienna awarded Salzburg to Austria.

Allied bombing destroyed many homes but the cathedral and much of the city survived. 2006 marked the 250th anniversary of native

The city is split by the River Salzach, with the Aldstadt located on the left bank (linkes Salzachufer) and the main station on the right bank (rechtes Salzachufer).

Today most tourists begin in the city's Altstadt, or Old City. The center of the Old City is located at Mozartplatz. Mozartplatz is dominated by a monument to Mozart unveiled in 1842,

In this area is the Residenz, the palace of the city's princes. Inside there is a gallery that houses Dutch and Flemish works. €7.25 for adults. Nearby is the Glockenspiel, the amazing carillon tower that plays tunes by Mozart at 7 am, 11 am, and 6 pm. Mozarts Geburtshaus is the building in which the master was born in 1756. €5.50.

Salzburg's Cathedral is located in Cathedral Square (Domplatz). This has been the site of a cathedral since the year 774, but the ravages of time and war mean that two more consecrations of renovated/rebuilt structures have taken place since then in 1628 and, most recently, in 1959 after damage in World War II. Salzburg Cathedral's baptismal font is famous for having been the one that Mozart was baptised in. He became court organist and concert master, meaning that much of sacred music was composed specifically for perforance in this edifice. It main organ and its cathedral portals are both staggering in their ornate grandeur. Open 6.30am-5pm in winter, 6.30am-7pm in summer.

Mozarts Geburtshaus, Salzburg.Hellbrunn Palace, Salzburg.

Hohensalzburg Fortress is over 900 years old, and is the largest fully intact fortress in central Europe. It features the living quarters of medieval princes, beautifully decorated with fine woodcarvings in the Gothic style, as well as a museum. Open 9.30 am-5 pm Jan-Apr & Oct-Dec; 9am-6 pm May, Jun, Sep, advent-weekends, Easter; 9am-7 pm Jul, Aug. NB. Last entrance 30 minutes before closing time.
At Mönchsberg 34. Accessible by funicular railway from the

On the opposite side of the Salzach River, but an easy walk, are the Mirabell Gardens. €3.00, and the Mirabell Palace, now the City Hall, and is free. Mozart Wohnhaus, where the Mozart family lived from 1773-1787, is also on the right bank and has been rebuilt after World War II damage and features high-tech, multi-media exhibits of the composer's life and works. Nearby is the 18th century Dreifaltigkeitskirche an exquisite church designed by Fischer von Erlach - Austria's most influential architect of the baroque period. Von Erlach also built the Kollegienkirche and the Markuskirche in the Old Town.

Just outside Salzburg's main center to the south is Schloss Hellbrunn, an Italian-style summer palace built for the fun-loving Archbishop Marcus Sitticus by Italian architect Santino Solari in 1619. The extensive grounds contain a water garden (Wasserspiele) with bizarre fountains, the Volksmuseum (containing folk costumes and festival effigies) and Hellbrunn Zoo. Take bus

A further 7km south still is St Leonhard where there is a cable car to the summit of Untersberg (1853m).

12km west of town towards the German border near Grossgmain is Salzburg's Open Air Museum (Salzburger Freilichtsmuseum) with a collection of re-assembled traditional farm houses from all over the region and demonstrations of folk art and crafts. Bus #180. Also just over the German border, south west of Salzburg is the wonderful scenery of Berchtesgaden and Adolf Hitler's mountain lodge Eagle's Nest, built on the occasion of the dictator's 50th birthday.

Salzburg Nightlife

Music and opera predominate. The Salzburger Festspiel - which began in 1920 - is one of the premier opera events in the world with opera and classical music performances from late July to late August. Mozartwoche (Mozart Week) is a celebration of the composer's music around his birthday on January 27 every year. The Landestheater, Salzburg's main theatrical venue, has performances throughout the year.

Gambling is also available at Casino. (Tel: 0662 854455). Free to enter. Jacket and tie and passport required. There is a free shuttle to and from hotels.

The Shamrock Irish Pub is a more down to earth option. (Tel: 0662 841610).

Salzburg Shopping

The best areas for shopping are along Getreidegasse and Judengasse.

Tourist Offices in Salzburg

Salzburg Tourismus
Mozartplatz 5
Tel: 0662 889 87 330

There is also a tourist information kiosk on platform 2A at Salzburg's main station.

The small village of Grödig, 8km south of Salzburg, also has a tourist office, and is a alternative place to stay if Salzburg's accommodation is full. Take bus #25 from Salzburg station.

Grodig Tourismus
Gartenauerstrasse 8

Getting To Salzburg


The Salzburg airport has regular service to London, Dusseldorf, Vienna, Moscow, and other cities in Europe. Both British Airways (BA) and KLM have scheduled flights. Bus #20 takes 30 minutes into Salzburg's main railway station from the airport and costs €1.80 (children €0.90) The airport is 3km west of the town center.


From Vienna, there are several options. A non-stop train takes a bit more than three hours. For details, go to the Austrian federal railway's site: OBB's web site. Salzburg is only 90 minutes by train from Munich.


There are long-haul buses from the UK to Zurich or Munich: 18 hours in a Eurolines coach. It is however the cheapest way to get within shooting distance. From there you will need to take a train or bus.

There are several private bus lines within Austria:

Columbus: 01/53411-0
Post und Bahn: 01/50180-0
Dr Richard: 01/33100-0


By car, the city is at the intersection of the A1 and A10 routes.

From the north, use the A1 Autobahn. If you are driving from the south, take A10.

Getting Around Salzburg

Winter scene, Salzburg.

Salzburg in Winter
© Salzburg Tourismus

Most of Salzburg's sites can easily be accessed on foot and the Altstadt is mostly pedestrianized. The local bus network radiates out from Südtirolerplatz in front of the main station. There are 24-hour tickets and weekly passes (Netzkarte) available.

The Salzburg Card (24, 48 or 72 hours) available from tourist offices allows for free public transport and free admission to most of the town's sights.

There are BusTaxis operating at night - 11.30pm-1.30am (3am at weekends) - on fixed routes to the suburbs. Departure from Hanuschplatz on the left bank or Theatergasse on the right bank.

Car Hire

Car hire is available at the airports and in the major cities.

Accommodation in Salzburg

Featured Hotels

Altstadthotel Kasererbrau - Originally a brewery, it was reborn in the early 90s as a luxury hotel. Dates from the 1300s.

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Eating in Salzburg

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Football Team

FC Red Bull Salzburg logo.FC Red Bull Salzburg was founded in 1933 as SV Austria Salzburg. In 1978 the team became SV Casino Salzburg and in 1997 SV Wüstenrot Salzburg. FC Red Bull Salzburg plays its home matches at the Stadion Wals-Siezenheim, which has a capacity of 18,686, which will

FC Red Bull Salzburg recruited Italian Giovanni Trapattoni and German Lothar Matthaus as their new coaching team in 2006.

The club has signed a number of German internationals nearing the end of their careers as well as two Japanese J-League players.

SV Austria Salzburg logo.Supporters wishing to keep the traditions of the original club reformed SV Austria Salzburg, which was reborn in 2006 and entered the seventh tier of Austrian football. The club was taken over by the energy drink Red Bull and its billionaire owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, in

The takeover lead to a bitter split in the club's support as Mateschitz rebranded the club in Red Bull colors of red and white doing away with the team's traditional violet and white shirts and claimed the club had "no history". Mateschitz has also purchased MLS' Metrostars rebranding them as Red Bull New York.

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