Here are the top 20 best things to do in Salzburg
Salzburg is one the largest cities in Austria, and is frequently visited by tourists. The Alpine setting of city draws many people, not to mention the beautiful baroque architectural style of the old parts of the city, which is one of the most well preserved old city centers. The city is also famous culturally, being the birthplace of Mozart, for example, so many lovers of classical music come here. Students can be found all over because of the three universities located here. The city offers many great attractions, so here is the list of the top 20 things to do in Salzburg.
The Altstadt, which literally means “Old Town” is the old city center of Salzburg, around which the city we see today was built. This district is famous and very popular thanks to its baroque architecture. People just love to wander around the narrow streets of Altstadt and see the many attractions located around this part of the city.
The Judengasse was the old jewish district of the city, and its located at the Altstadt. Jewish people lived here since the 16th century, but today it’s just like any other parts of the old city. Shops and stalls fill the streets, with modern boutiques offering international haute couture, and many others that sell fine chocolate, lovely souvenirs, furnishings, Easter eggs and Christmas ornaments all year round.
3. Alter Markt
The Alter Markt located in Altstadt is an old market square dating back to the 13th century. It has been a popular weekly market for centuries, and it is still very frequently visited by citizens and tourists alike. Daily shopping for foods and ingredients should be done here. Festivals and smaller events were held here as well, thanks to its convenient location. There’s a beautiful fountain in the middle of the market, called St. Florian Fountain, which can’t really be missed while you are there.
4. Mozarts Geburtshaus
The Mozarts Geburtshaus is the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The building is located at the Altstadt and it’s obviously a very popular tourist attraction of Salzburg, especially among classical music enthusiasts. Mozart and his family lived here while he was a child, so the museum that now preserves the place shows his early life. Photos, documents and letters tell their story, while visistors can also check some of his old instruments, like his violin, and get a good feel of the enthusiasm of young Mozart for opera and music.
5. Salzburg Museum
The Salzburg Museum is dedicated to the history and cultural parts of Salzburg and its region in Austria. Artifacts date back to the Roman origins of the city, with paintings from the renaissance era and of course music playing from Mozart. Visitors like to come to this museum in the Altstadt because it’s a great way to get to know more about the origin and history of the city.
6. Salzburg Cathedral
The building of the Salzburg Cathedral shows the importance of religion in the city. The marvelous turquoise domes and the baroque architectural style amazes a lot of visitors. The building also served as the location of Mozart’s baptism, as well as where some of his pieces were composed during his time as an organist.
7. Hellbrunn Palace
The Hellbrunn Palace was built by an archbishop of Salzburg, and named for the “clear spring” that supplied it. It was a daily residence, so it didn’t have any bedrooms. The building is quite popular, and not just because of its beautiful design, but since it was one of the locations of the movie, The Sound of Music.
8. Hellbrunn Palace Gardens
If you are not interested in the palace itself, definitely don’t miss the Hellbrunn Palace Gardens. The garden is not only beautiful in itself, but it is highly popular thanks to the Jeux d’eau (“watergames”) found there. The archbishop who had the place built wanted to trick his guests and play a little prank on them. Throughout the gardens there are stone seats around a stone dining table through which a water conduit sprays water into the seat of the guests, and hidden fountains that surprise and spray guests while they take part on the tour. The spots where the archbishop would stand to not get wet is now occupied by tour guides. Apart from these, a mechanical theatre can also be found here.
9. Salzburg Zoo
Located near the Hellbrunn Palace, the Salzburg Zoo was also built by the same archbishop. The purpose was originally a wildlife park, which is somewhat true even today. It might not be the biggest or most unique zoo, but it has interesting animals, both domestic and exotic, and visitors can come here for a night viewing, as well a regular one. The zoo tries to not limit the animals too much, and keep them in near-natural habitats. The hilly area provides and excellet experience with this.
10. Mozarts Wohnhaus
Before moving to Vienna, Mozart lived apart from his family at the Mozarts Wohnhaus, his former residence. Visitors can see a great number of objects from his life as a composer. The museum displays the composer’s original drafts and sheet music written in Salzburg, as well as the famous Mozart family portrait. If you wish to know more about the life of Mozart, then this place is a must-see among the things to do in Salzburg.
11. Mirabell Palace
Mirabell Palace is a large palace built in the 17th century by an archbishop. The building was mostly used by archbishops until it was bought by the city. The palace is a wonderful building, built in a baroque style, and one of its best features is the Marble Hall, which is used as the venue of the “Salzburg Palace Concerts” and as a wedding location. The sister of Eva Braun, wife of Hitler, also held her marriage here, with Hitler and some other standing witness.
12. Mirabell Gardens
The most beautiful feature of the Mirabell Palace is the Mirabell Gardens. The entire baroque styled garden is a wonderful sight to behold, and visitors should see the different and unique features the garden has to offer. These include the Pegasus Fountain, the Grand Fountain, the Hedge Theater, the Dwarf Garden, the Rose Garden and the Orangery.
13. Dwarf Garden
The Dwarf Garden found at the Mirabell Gardens is a fun and weird experience. These creepy and disfigured dward statues were supposedly modeled after foreigners, peasants and small people from the court. They were removed for a long time due to the superstitions of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, but were later brought back to be placed in their original spots.
14. St. Sebastian’s Cemetery
St. Sebastian’s Cemetery is a prominent cemetery of Salzburg. Famous and notable Austrians were laid to rest here, but this isn’t the only reason why this place is popular. The cemetery is exceptionally full of depictions of death, including winged skulls, skulls with snakes emerging from their eye sockets, skulls on which angels prop themselves, skulls with hourglasses, skulls with a pick and axe for miner’s graves, and skulls that hold holy water.
15. Dom Museum’s Kunst und Wunderkammer
The Dom Museum’s Kunst und Wunderkammer holds a great collection of various objects that were once in the possession of Wolf Dietrich Raitenau, a famous archbishop of Salzburg. He owned the city’s salt mines and brought to Salzburg the baroque architecture. He was imprisoned later in his life, and his collection was opened up for the public to see. He had various curosities like shells and coral, globes and scientific devices, religious artifacts, rosaries, ivory and horn, an ocean life cabinet, an amber cabinet, and so on.
16. St. Peter’s Stiftskeller
The St. Peter’s Stiftskeller is quite possibly one of the oldest restaurants in the world, supposedly dating back to the 9th century. It has distinct dining halls, both very old and newer, though even the newest one is at least 400 years old. The restaurant has hosted numerous famous people over its 1200-year history, including cardinals, kings, Mozart, Columbus, and in more modern times, Bill Clinton and Clint Eastwood.
17. St. Peter’s Abbey
St. Peter’s Abbey is a Benedictine monastery and former cathedral, and is considered one of the oldest churches in the German-speaking area. One of the most interesting features of the abbey is the library, which is the oldest one in Austria. It holds countless volumens of manuscripts, chronicles and other old written books. A musical archive dedicated to the famous Austrian composers is also located here.
18. Panorama Museum
The Panorama Museum of Salzburg takes viewers back to 1829 in 360 degrees of lovingly painted history, as seen from the Hohensalzburg Castle. The artist painted Salzburg’s mountains in the distance, but he also depicted people going about their dull daily tasks, giving observers an accurate, living representation of the city of that time.
In stark contrast with the older parts of the city, Hangar-7 shows the modern architectural style of the present day. It’s not an actual hangar, but a multifunctional building with a collection of 25 historical airplanes, helicopters and Formula One racing cars, as it is owned by Red Bull. It houses a restaurant, two bars and a lounge.
20. Hohensalzburg Castle
Hohensalzburg Castle sits atop Festungsberg hill, and is a prominent landmark of Salzburg, as it overlooks the city. It’s one the largest medieval castles of Europe. Over the centuries, the castle served as a prison, an army camp and, of course, as a military stronghold. Today, the entire castle is open to the public, including a torture chamber, several courtyards and three small museums. To fully experience the castle, don’t forget to check the view of the city from up here. It’s definitely a must-see among the things to do in Salzburg.