Salzburg: The Hohensalzburg Fortress, Birthplace of Mozart and The Sound of Music

Looking out over Salzburg Cathedral

Last weekend we went on a road trip to the magnificent city of Salzburg in Austria. It only took two hours to drive there from Passau and it turned out to be an amazing day trip. Salzburg literally means ‘salt fortress’ and it is the fourth largest city in Austria.

Our tickets to the Hohensalzburg Fortress

Salzburg is famous for a lot of things, and one of them is the Hohensalzburg Fortress. It is located on a small hill (called Festungsberg) overlooking the city and it is one of the largest and best preserved medieval castles left in Europe.

The magnificent Hohensalzburg Fortress

You can walk up the hill to the fortress (like we did) or you can take the Festungsbahn cable car right up into the castle. The castle is also known for its private Reisszug line, which was a primitive cable railway built around the 1500’s to provide freight access to the castle – the first of its kind in the world.

Looking out over Salzburg city from the fortress

It cost 8 Euros to get in and it was almost like a small town inside the castle walls. There were a lot of lookout points in the fortress and the view of the city from up there was breathtaking.

The Golden Chamber

The money we paid at the gate also included the admission fee for the museum and viewing the Prince-Archbishop’s residence inside the castle. The Archbishop’s residence had three beautifully preserved rooms and my favourite was The Golden Chamber which was richly decorated with rosettes, golden foliage and animals.

The lookout tower

There was also a part of the castle where you were given a headset to listen to an audio tour in your own language while you looked at various rooms (like the torture chamber). From there the spiral staircase lead up to the 360 degree view of Salzburg from one of the high towers. It was a brilliant experience!

Salzburg Cathedral

After descending the fortress hill, we walked to the Salzburg Cathedral or Salzburger Dom.

The interior dome of the Salzburg Cathedral

The cathedral is a Baroque style Catholic church and the interior, especially the dome, was stunning. It was a kaleidoscope of colours, paintings and intricate engravings!

Salzburg Residenzplatz

Next to the cathedral was the Residenzplatz, which featured the largest Baroque style fountain in middle Europe, which was made of marble and known as Residenzbrunnen.

The marble horses of Residenzbrunnen

There was a lot of imagery of horses throughout Salzburg, from the fountains, to engravings and paintings on buildings to real live horse carriages traveling on the roads.

Horse carriages

From the Residenzplatz, we meandered through the Salzburg Altstadt or ‘old town’ which is known for its well-preserved Baroque architecture and it is marked as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The birthplace of Mozart at no. 9 Getriedegasse

18th-century composer Mozart was born in Salzburg and his childhood home was located in the altstadt, which is now a popular tourist destination. The admission fee was 10 Euros so we decided to skip this particular attraction, but you could also visit the Mozart Wohnhaus where he lived later on in his life.

The Sound of Music tour bus

Salzburg is also famous as being the main setting of the 1965 musical film The Sound of Music. My mum loves this film and I watched it with her a lot when I was younger, so she was pretty excited when I told her I was visiting Salzburg!

Mirabell Palace and gardens

As anyone who has seen the film would instantly recognise, the Mirabell Palace gardens were used as a setting for the song sequence of ‘Do-re-mi’.

‘Do-re-mi’ pegasus fountain

The von Trapp children skip and sing around the pegasus fountain (above) and use the garden steps like a scale as they sing (below). The view of the fortress and cathedral from the gardens was also spectacular.

Looking out towards the cathedral and fortress from the Mirabell Gardens

All in all, I really enjoyed Salzburg – a day trip really wasn’t enough to see everything. There is so much history and awe-inspiring sights here that it’s a treasure trove of wonders just waiting to be explored further. I would love to go back and show my mum around (and maybe even take The Sound of Music tour together)!

So, did you like Salzburg as much as I did?

Would you like to visit this city for yourself?