"Salzburg" Austria Favorite Tip by furioso

Austria General: 282 reviews and 255 photos


Favorite thing: Austria's home town of Baroque, and the birthplace of that talented tunesmith Mr Mozart, is picturesquely sheltered by surrounding mountains and straddles the Salzach River near the border with Germany. The Salzburg that everyone knows and loves was largely built by three bishop-princes in the late-16th and early-17th century, which is what gives the city its Italian flavour and its skyline punctuated by countless medieval spires, domes, belfries and turrets. The old town, on the south bank of the river, is a Baroque masterpiece of churches, plazas, courtyards and fountains, oozing so much charm that it's enough to make you forgive young Wolfgang for being so precocious and omniscient. Museums, houses, squares, chocolate bars, liqueurs - you name it and it's got a Mozart tag stuck on it.

The high point of a visit to Salzburg (literally and metaphorically) is a tour of the 11th-century Hohensalzburg Castle, which stands on a rock outcrop about 120m above the city. It's almost a separate village in its own right, with all the usual self-sufficient accoutrements of a tiny settlement like torture chambers, state rooms, a tower and two museums. On the east side of the old town, the stunning Museum of Natural History has the standard flora and fauna displays, good hands-on physics exhibits and some stomach-churning deformed human embryos. To round off the grisly experience, there are tours of the catacombs in the graveyard of the 9th-century St Peter's Abbey.

If you're on a musical pilgrimage, you can visit Mozart's birthplace, his home, the grave of his father and widow, and the house of a person who once knew someone who knew someone whose great-great grandfather once played second bassoon in a Mozart opera.

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  • Written Sep 27, 2002
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