This picturesque city looks exactly as Mozart’s hometown should, with baroque squares, majestic spires and a fairytale fortress bearing down on cobbled streets. Pilgrims flock here for another musical triumph – The Sound of Music was filmed in the city.
The gardens of Schloss Mirabell are where Julie Andrews and the von Trapps
sang Do-Re-Mi while dancing around the rose beds and fountains. Classical music
concerts are regularly held in its Marble Hall (tickets from £25).
Gaisberg is a 1,287m peak with views of the city and surrounding lakes. The
three-mile Gaisberg Runwanderweg is a circular path around the top of the
mountain – a road winds its way to the summit, with regular buses
departing from downtown Mirabellplatz (£2).
The Geburtshaus in the Old Town is where the
composer penned his earliest compositions. Exhibits include a tiny violin he
played as a toddler (Getreidgasse 9; £6).
Built in the 17th century for an archbishop with a penchant
for pranks, Schloss Hellbrunn became known
for its wasserspiele – trick fountains designed to squirt water at guests. Now,
cherubs, stone lions and picnic tables continue to drench unsuspecting summer
visitors (Fürstenweg 37; closed Nov-Mar; £8).
The Museum der Moderne
– a futuristic building housing avant garde art – provides for Salzburg’s
contemporary culture. As well as paintings, there’s photography and video
installations. Look out for notes from Mozart’s Don Giovanni inscribed on the
museum’s marble façade (closed Mon; £7).
Eat and drink
A monastic brewery since 1621, Augustiner
Bräustübl claims to be Austria’s largest tavern, with drinkers swigging
from steins in the vaulted hall or beneath the beer garden’s chestnut trees.
Fill your mug in the foyer and grab a pretzel from the food stands
(Augustinergasse 4-6; litre of beer £5).
Alter Fuchs is an
eccentric Old Town restaurant serving staunch Austrian fare. Bandanaclad
stuffed foxes guard the bar and diners feast on four varieties of schnitzel,
and beef goulash with dumplings and pickled gherkins (Linzergasse 47-49; closed
Sun; mains from £8).
With hot-pink walls, butterfly chairs and art made from
junk, Afro Cafe is a departure for
Salzburg’s café scene. Punters drop in throughout the day for Ethiopian coffee
and South African tea. Try a dinner of springbok with green beans and masala
sauce (Bürgerspital Platz 5; closed Sun; mains from £9).
Nearly 400 stag antlers are mounted on the walls of M32, the Museum der Moderne’s fusion restaurant atop
a castle hill. Try orange-fennel soup followed by tortellini of beef on pumpkin
purée (Mönchsberg 32; closed Mon; mains from £17).
A sleek, Michelin-starred restaurant in the Old Town, Riedenburg provides modern Austrian gastronomy
– go for venison and guinea fowl crêpes with wild herbs. You’re best off
getting a table in the outdoor pavilion (closed Sun-Mon; mains from £23).
A welcoming pension surrounded by meadows, Haus
Reichl has three cosy rooms, one with spectacular mountain views. The
owners use homegrown fruit in the delicious pastries and jams made for
breakfast, which is often served on the outdoor patio (Reiterweg 52; from £50).
Looking a little like a Marrakesh riad transplanted to
Austria, Arte Vida has a lantern-lit communal
salon and a Moorish garden replete with tent and shisha pipes. Individually
styled rooms feature knick-knacks inspired by the owner’s travels in Asia and
Africa. Yoga classes are also on offer (Dreifaltigkeitsgasse 9; from £70).
A family-run pension near the Old Town, Haus Wartenburg is a 17th-century
chalet full of creaky floors and family heirlooms. Rooms feature chunky
pinewood furniture and floral motifs, and there’s an attractive garden strewn
with vines (Riedenburgerstrasse 2; from £90).
Less palatial than the house in the movie, Villa Trapp was the real home of the von
Trapp family, tucked away in a private park two miles east of the Old Town.
Baron von Trapp’s model boat collection and an elegant balustrade are in
keeping with the romance of the story. Visitors stay in tastefully decorated,
wooden-floored guestrooms (Traunstrasse 34; from £95).
A boutique downtown hotel, Hotel am Dom juxtaposes the original
vaults, beams and rickety stairs of its 800-year-old building with
contemporary, minimalist design and mood lighting. Rooms feature art inspired
by musicians who have performed at the Salzburg Festival (Goldgasse 17; from
When to go
Salzburger Festspiele in July and August features classical music, opera
and drama, while the Mozartwoche in January is another excuse to raid the
composer’s back catalogue. Christmas markets around the Domplatz are a festive
highlight, and winter also sees skiers descend on the mountains around the
The Old Town is relatively compact and easily navigated on foot. Salzburg
has an excellent cycling network, and scenic trails follow the Salzach river
out of the city. Hire bikes from Top Bike,
which has two branches (from £9 per day).
From December, easyJet runs winter
flights to Salzburg airport from Luton (from £57) while BA
flies from Gatwick (from £110). Bus number 2 runs between the airport and Hauptbahnhof station
in the town centre (£2).
The article 'Mini guide to Salzberg, Austria' was published in partnership with Lonely Planet Magazine.