Situated near the Bavarian German border in sight of the snow capped Alps lies Salt Castle. Literally. That’s what “Salzburg” translates to! Whether you’re popping over from a visit to Munich, trekking down from Prague or flying direct, you will not be disappointed with your time spent in this beautiful city.
1. Hohensalzburg Fortress
We’ve been to our share of castles, fortresses and medieval sites but let me tell you, the experience of visiting this fortress exceeded any and all expectations we had.
For a VERY CHEAP €8 (~$9USD) you are not only granted access to the Fortress grounds, but you are able to explore a large museum AND take an audio tour (all included in the price - no upselling!) There are several points along the Fortress walls with sweeping views of the entire city of Salzburg and the nearby Alps. Being on the top of a small mountain (or a very large hill) you have a clear 360 degree view of everything surrounding you. You truly feel on top of the world, as I’m sure all of the Archbishops felt during the 14 and 1500s.
Added Bonus: Bathrooms inside were free to use. It sounds ridiculous, but if you forget to go, you'll be popping Euros into the potty machine at McDonald's down the street... see who’s laughing now!
There were also small cafes and sit-down restaurants inside the fortress for those who needed a bite or wanted to take in the views.
Just be sure you have your walking shoes on! Unless you plan on using the cable car services (good idea just for a beautiful view and nice ride) the HIKE up to the fortress is not for the faint of heart. Remember- it’s a fortress. It was built to be inaccessible. We took more than one break on our way up from the city streets, but the "work" was well worth the effort.
2. Music History
Mozart, Carollin bells, The Sound of Music - you’ve come to the right place.
Pictured above is the Salzburg Bull (Stier), the only organ to survive in its entirety since the Middle Ages. This open-air instrument has no keyboard (like a standard Carillon) and only plays in F major. The Archbishop in 1502 allegedly had it built to wake the town inhabitants at 4am and also to "send them to bed" at 7pm. In the 1700s 12 musical pieces were composed by Mozart to "add variety" to the ringing tones and signaled the 12 months of the year....all in F major of course! This was my favorite thing I saw in Salzburg. You can find it housed at the end of the (free) audio tour in the Fortress.
River walks, love locks and mountain views. Winding around the Salzburg streets certainly held a romantic vibe. Whether you’ll be hand in hand with a partner, arm in arm with a friend or passing through with your entire family, the clapping of horse drawn carriages and drone of church bells humming throughout the town will have you feeling a world away.
4. Gollinger Waterfall: Day Trip
1 waterfall, 3x the fun, $5 USD entrance fee. This was, by far, the most random site we've ever visited. Tim saw a random sign along the highway for wasserfall and decided we needed to see this specific attraction.
After a brief hike up to the base of the falls, the path allows you to continue UP the mountain. There are 2 narrow bridges in which you cross in front of the falls, allowing for some awesome photo ops. Then, as you continue the path ahead, the Gollinger Waterfall saves the best for last. Upon arrival at the top of the waterfall, to our complete surprise, you are able to see where the falls begin - from INSIDE the mountain. WHAT?! We sat here for almost 20 minutes and just watched the rush of water endlessly push through a cave in the side of the mountain cascading down the moss covered rocks. I have never seen anything quite like it.
5. Austrian Alps: Day Trip
Depending on what the weather has in store for you you might find yourself skiing or hiking the alps just a quick drive away from Salzburg. As you would expect, the rolling “Sound of Music” green hills surrounded by snow capped mountains is just ‘average life’ in these parts.
Have you been to Salzburg? There's lots more to see than just these 5 highlights! Share below!