Best things to do in Salzburg including the history of Salzburg
I visited Salzburg for only two nights on our way down to Venice and found it really difficult to find the best things to do in Salzburg all in one place. I knew I wanted to find the best things to do in Salzburg, as well as find out a little more about the history of Salzburg itself. So that’s why I have put it all together for you, so you have all the need-to-knows in one place! We visited in early spring and this worked really well for us. The weather was bright, a little chilly, but the town wasn’t swarmed with tourists like it can be in the summer, this gave us enough time to walk around and enjoy the ambience of this amazing, historical city.
This majestic Fortress, also known as Hohensalzburg Castle, sits atop the Festungsberg Hill in a commanding position and has been a significant power hub as part of the history of Salzburg since the 1000s. The castle has undergone numerous alterations, extensions, and expansions since its foundation, including the building of a Funicular Cable Car that runs from the bottom of the hill to provide tourists with easy access.
There are several rooms and wings to explore inside, each with its own artefacts and traditional design; the bath room has a big Aerophon (Organ), the Golden Hall has many marble pillars, and the Chapel is covered with stuccos and ornate busts. The fortress is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Salzburg. If you are feeling adventurous you can walk all the way up and appreciate the views or you can buy a ticket and make your way up using the fortress railway system. You can buy your tickets here-
One of my favourite parts of this excursion was getting the most delicious coffee of my life at the fortress restaurant overlooking magnificent views.
Salzburg old town
The Salzburg Old Town, or Altstadt, holds many of the city’s principal sights and is packed full of historical buildings, wonderfully built squares, and delightful small side-streets leading off to forgotten corners. It is one of the largest UNESCO World Heritage sites and gives a good idea of what to do in Salzburg. The predominant architectural styles are Medieval and Baroque, and the old town is a wonderful spot to stroll through and snap some great pictures of your visit. The Old Town is a great site to start your trip in Salzburg, and you might easily lose yourself in the streets for a day, enjoying the attractions, having a coffee, or doing some shopping.
It’s undeniable that Mozart plays a huge part in the history of Salzburg. Mozart’s influence and popularity can be seen everywhere in Salzburg — he was born in a modest house and later moved to what is now known as “Mozarts Wohnhaus” in Makartplatz. After being destroyed during World War II, the structure was restored as closely as possible to the original design and is now available as a museum. This wonderful museum has bios of the family members as well as demonstrations of their daily lives and how they would have lived. This museum is a must-see for any Mozart aficionado. This walking tour is a great way to see the city as well as Mozart’s residence- you can book here.
This well-known and popular street goes for a stretch through the old town and is a must-see shopping attraction. Many buildings are crammed together along the tiny street, many of which have wonderful designs and quaint little windows. Many passages and courtyards branch off the main street, creating charming areas to explore, while minor touches like the wrought iron guild signs add to the beauty and character of Getreidegasse.Fine jewellery, couture, antiques, traditional costumes, and several stores are among the shops.
You might think that a toy museum is just for kids, but the Salzburg Toy Museum disagrees.
This wonderful location, adjacent to Mozartplatz and Mirabell Palace, will bring hours of pleasure and delight for both children and adults. The “museum” area features numerous historical displays of old toys and games, whereas the “hands-on” section contains many interactive rides and activities such as a marble run, a tiny race-circuit, and an imitation shop where children may discover how an old business looked and operated.
You can always find something new and entertaining in this fantastic museum, which offers seasonal and special themed events.
Mozartplatz is a calm area in the heart of the Old Town, dominated by an elegant Bronze statue of the square’s namesake, which was inaugurated in the presence of his sons in the 1800s. Apart from the statue, the area is home to a number of museums and attractions, including the Salzburg Museum, the Traklhaus, and the Salzburg Christmas Museum.
In addition, just off the square are two more neighbouring squares worth visiting: the Residenplaz and the Domplaz.
The home of this great Classical Composer is a must-see sight in Salzburg, since it is one of the world’s most visited museums. Mozart has numerous museums, monuments, and sites dedicated to him across the city, but his birthplace is unquestionably the most important.
Because it is located in the Old Town, the site is easily accessible, and a thorough tour of the displays and exhibits should take around an hour.
The museum houses everything Mozart, from personal items to musical instruments that he owned and used to produce his famous symphonies. It’s a tremendous joy to get such a close look into Salzburg’s most famous residence life.
St Peter’s abbey
The Abbey dedicated to St. Peter, not to be confused with Salzburg Cathedral, was built over earlier Christian ruins in 696 by Saint Rupert and has stood in some form ever since.
This Benedictine Monastery was founded in the German-speaking era and houses Austria’s oldest library. The abbey presently combines Romanesque and Renaissance architecture.
The Abbey is a beautifully built and opulent religious structure with public Catacombs, a gorgeous Cemetery, The Long Gallery with many great artworks, and an extensive Library with over 100,000 volumes (Unfortunately the Library is only accessible by very selective guided tours). St. Peter’s Abbey is a fascinating destination to visit if you are interested in history of Salzburg.
The Eagles nest
This Third Reich-era structure was built as a mountain retreat in the German town of Berchtesgaden, and while it is not in Salzburg, it is easily accessible as a day trip from Austria from around the beginning of May when the snow starts to clear from the mountains. Today, the structure serves as a restaurant and tourist attraction, attracting many people not only because of its architecture and historical value, but also because of the breathtaking views of the Bavarian Alps. It takes around two hours to walk from Obersalzberg to the summit, and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding hilly terrain. To get into the building, you must first go through a 124-metre underground tunnel before descending into a lift that will transport you another 124 metres inside. This is a really great tour if you don’t fancy the hike!
As you can see Salzburg is an excellent place to spend a few days exploring. Whether you are looking to find out more about the history of Salzburg or more about what to do in Salzburg I hope this guide has given you an idea of the best things to do in Salzburg whether you are visiting with family, friends or even for a couples weekend in Austria.