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Things to do in Salzburg

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Hohensalzburg Fortress
Hohensalzburg Fortress is enthroned on the Festungsberg, high above the rooftops of the Baroque historical district. The biggest fully preserved castle in Central Europe, this emblem of Salzburg draws millions of tourists to our “City of Mozart” every year. In the year 1077, archbishop Gebhard had the fortress built and thus changed the Salzburg skyline forever. In the years which followed, his successors drove ongoing development of the fortress architecture. The complex acquired the appearance we recognize today under archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach in 1500. The original purpose of the fortress was to protect the principality and the archbishops from hostile attacks. In all of these years, it has never been captured by foreign troops.
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Mozart Birthplace
W. A. Mozart was born in 1756 in the “Hagenauer Haus” at No. 9 Getreidegasse in Salzburg. Today, Mozart’s Birthplace is one of the most visited museums in Austria and is an absolute highlight, above all for Mozart fans. The museum invites you to take a tour lasting about an hour through original rooms. Also amble through a middle-class apartment reconstructed as authentically as possible. Discover items of everyday life as well as furniture from the 18th century, and feel as if you have personally been transported back to the days of Mozart! Original certificates, letters and memorabilia document Mozart’s life in Salzburg. A collection of portraits, mostly done during Mozart’s lifetime, allows you to basically stand face-to-face with this musical genius. A particular joy for Mozart fans: the historical instruments, including Mozart’s own violin and clavichord.
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Mirabell Palace and Gardens
Mirabell Palace was built in 1606 by prince-archbishop Wolf Dietrich for his beloved Salome Alt. Today, it serves as the backdrop for the most romantic weddings you could possibly imagine. Mirabell Palace looks back on a colorful history. Today, Mirabell Palace is home to municipal offices as well as those of the mayor of Salzburg. Mirabell Gardens – Baroque pleasure gardens in the heart of the city. They were completely redesigned under archbishop Johann Ernst von Thun in 1690. The underlying geometric form, which is typical for the Baroque, is still clearly recognizable. The visual orientation towards the cathedral and fortress adds to the grandeur of the gardens – simultaneously incorporating them into the overall historical ensemble of the city. Mirabell Gardens, along with the Felsenreitschule and Nonnberg Convent, is one of the most important shooting locations from the famous Hollywood musical “The Sound of Music”. In the film, Maria and the children dance around the Pegasus Fountain in front of the palace, singing the song “Do Re Mi”. At the end of the scene, the Trapp family stand on the steps in front of the Rose Hill and sing the song’s final bars. At the same time, viewers are enchanted by unique views across Mirabell Gardens towards the fortress.
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Mozart Residence
From 1773 to 1787, the Mozarts lived at the so-called “Dance Master’s House”, standing on today’s Makartplatz. The spacious eight-room apartment on the first floor is now home to a museum. On 26 January 1996, the Mozart Residence celebrated its reopening. In the museum, you can see – in addition to Mozart’s fortepiano – many original documents and portraits. The exhibition provides an array of interesting facts about the history of the house, Mozart’s Salzburg years and the life of the Mozart family. A multi-vision show as well as rotating exhibitions, concerts and talks offer a very rich and diverse Mozart experience.
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Ice Caves in Werfen
The world’s biggest ice cave is the site of fascinating ice sculptures and is one of the most popular sightseeing attractions in Salzburg! Werfen’s “World of Ice Giants” is actually the world’s biggest ice cave: The cave system extends more than 42 km deep into the mountain. The first section, about a kilometer in length, features imposing ice formations and is open to the public. Since it is a protected natural monument, development of the cave has been painstakingly cautious in order to preserve its unique natural beauty and ecosystem. Stepping through the imposing cave entrance, 20 meters wide and 18 high, you enter a mysterious world of ice. Aside from its enormous dimensions, the cave impresses with its ice palaces of crystalline beauty. Monumental formations glisten to amazing effect in the light of the traditional mine lamps which are issued to visitors. Winding passageways and galleries with evocative names such “Diamond Kingdom” lead you deeper and deeper into the mountain.
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Getreidegasse
The Getreidegasse is the bustling heart of Salzburg’s Old City, its unmistakable charm as well as Mozart’s Birthplace making it an irresistible destination for countless visitors from around the world. Aside from an array of international fashion chains, the Getreidegasse also charms passers-by with its traditional inns and unique businesses steeped in history. Through-houses are very typical of the Salzburg historical district. The front and back of the buildings let directly out onto different streets, with an arcaded passageway connecting the two. Today, they often also feature artworks, art galleries and shops. The most famous of these is at the Schatz House, leading from No. 3 Getreidegasse to University Square. There, in a dark corner, you will encounter a poignant relief depicting the Madonna with the infant Jesus.
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Museum of Natural History and Technology
Giant dinosaurs from prehistoric times come together at the Haus der Natur with milestones of space travel, diverse underwater worlds and reptiles from the most distant corners of the globe. The journey into the human body is guaranteed to astonish you, as will the interactive experiments in the Science Center. The Haus der Natur in Salzburg is one of the biggest magnets for the general public in the city. Roaming through the museum, visitors discover the most fascinating aspects of Mother Nature. Right at the entrance, giant dinosaurs show us what the world must have looked like millions of years ago. And only a few steps away, a view out into the endless universe gives us insights into milestones of space travel.
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DomQuartier Salzburg
The DomQuartier is a unique cultural highlight in the heart of Salzburg City. In the magnificent state rooms, history comes alive, while a museum tour also allows you to enjoy imposing views of the city itself. The architectural complex we know today as the DomQuartier comprises the Cathedral and the Residenz – once the center of the prince-archbishops’ power – along with Benedictine St. Peter’s Abbey. With a single entrance ticket, visitors have the opportunity to marvel at five different Salzburg museums. The historical rooms of the DomQuartier also house various collections focused especially on the Baroque history of the city. The starting point for your tour of the DomQuartier are the baroque state rooms of the Alte Residenz. Strolling through the Residenz Gallery, you will pass through the Cathedral Museum and then into the museum of St. Peter’s. The Salzburg Museum’s Rossacher Collection of Baroque art in the northern oratories serves as the final stop on the tour. Yet another unique highlight: The tour also treats visitors to imposing views and a new appreciation for the historical district as well as the city mountains.
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Hellbrunn Palace & Trick Fountains
For more than 400 years, Hellbrunn Palace has enchanted and amazed its visitors with its trick fountains. A unique experience with all kinds of surprises in store! The idyllic location in the south of Salzburg was ideal in many regards: Hellbrunn Mountain is a naturally abundant source of water, which inevitably became a central design feature of the palace grounds. The centerpiece is provided by Mannerist trick fountains that are absolutely unique. From a mechanical theater to water-spewing stags, to a crown dancing atop a spout of water - the many-and-varied hydraulic attractions never fail to captivate visitors with their originality and astonishing effects. The spacious parks and gardens of Hellbrunn Palace are partially landscaped, partially natural biotope. They are a marvelous place to unwind, take a walk and enjoy a bit of outdoor sport. Children will immediately be drawn to the big adventure playground. And in winter, too, Hellbrunn is always well worth a visit: During the run-up to Christmas, the palace courtyard and the old driveway are transformed into a festive Advent market.
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Hohenwerfen Fortress
900-year-old Hohenwerfen Castle stands amid extraordinary countryside. A former defensive bastion, it is enthroned high above the Salzach River Valley, offering exciting experiences for visitors in search of adventure and culture. Hohenwerfen Castle promises a unique adventure, and it delivers! Aside from guided tours of the castle, including its exhibition of ancient weapons, a stylish castle tavern and the Knights’ Store, it is the historic State Falconer’s, with its daily falconry shows, that is an absolute magnet for visitors. The first Austrian Museum of Falconry, including a bird-of-prey theme path, is likewise located up at the castle.
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Cable Car Untersberg
The modern Untersberg cable car carries you in comfort to the top of Salzburg City’s most legendary local mountain. As you step out of the lift, you will be greeted by imposing views that stretch out to the far horizon. The ride in one of two roomy gondolas takes about ten minutes. When you step out at the top, an incredible view of Salzburg City, Berchtesgadener Land (in Germany) and the Rosittental deep below reveals itself before your eyes. In good visibility, you can even see all the way out to the Salzkammergut lakes as well as Lake Chiemsee in Bavaria. The surrounding Alpine world is also boundlessly fascinating: Panorama boards help you get your bearings so that you easily be able to make out the Dachstein Massif as well as the Hohe Tauern range, an awe-inspiring world of eternal ice.
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Gaisberg & Gaisberg Road
The Gaisberg is a popular local mountain just a few kilometers from the city center of Salzburg itself. With an elevation of 1287 m above sea level, it is an absolute Eldorado for recreational sports, hiking and nature. Readily accessible year-round, for the most part it is also suitable for children, with all kinds of opportunities for outdoor exercise, games and a bite to eat. In summer, the Gaisberg is an inviting destination for road cycling, mountain biking and hiking. “High-flyers” love to launch themselves from the top of the Gaisberg by paraglider – while spectators still summoning the courage to emulate them look on admiringly and allow themselves to be inspired. Yet another summer highlight is the Gaisberg Race for vintage automobiles. In winter, the outdoor program includes ski touring and cross-country skiing: hiking paths and touring routes are kept nicely maintained, while the XC trails are freshly tracked almost every day.
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Museum of Modern Art Salzburg Moenchsberg
The Museum der Moderne is located on the Mönchsberg, high above the rooftops of Salzburg’s Old City. On a total of four levels, international art treasures from the 20th and 21st centuries are presented in a stylish setting. In recent years, the Museum der Moderne has raised the bar in art matters to a whole new level. Displayed on an area of 2300 square meters are internationally acclaimed modern and contemporary art pieces, as well as works from their own collections, which the public can enjoy in a series of rotating exhibitions. The unique, puristic exhibition space never fails to excite visitors from around the world.
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Salzburg Museum
The Salzburg Museum has garnered numerous awards, an institution with its own unique character housed within the magnificently restored Neue Residenz. Aside from aesthetic presentations and valuable art objects, a number of multimedia installations also invite visitors to marvel and learn. During their reigns, the Salzburg prince-archbishops shaped the city and province in a multitude of ways. But aside from the spiritual and secular leaders, a series of other interesting men and women have done their part to enrich Salzburg as well. On the first floor of the museum an exhibition is dedicated to them, focused on themes that include art, science, architecture, literature, music, photography, the working world and craftsmanship.
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Salzburg Open Air Museum
The Salzburg Open-Air Museum lies in the middle of Untersberg Nature Park, close to Salzburg City. On an area of around 50 hectares, it documents rural buildings, lifestyles and aspects of the rural economy from the 16th to the 20th century. Here, just outside Salzburg, visitors are able to experience authentic farmhouses, the homes of craftsmen, mills, barns, a smithy and even a sawmill. In total, the Open-Air Museum presents over 100 real buildings, spread across 5 distinct areas representing each of Salzburger Land’s different regions. Demonstrations of a wide range of traditional crafts as well as seasonal folk events (including an Easter market, raising of the Maypole etc.) turn any visit to the museum into a truly interactive experience.
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Salzburg Zoo
From exotic lions to the domestic lynx: Salzburg Zoo captivates visitors, big and small, with its wealth of animal species. An ideal excursion destination in the south of Salzburg City. With around 1200 animals and 140 different species, the former “Tiergarten Hellbrunn” promises a fascinatingly delightful experience. From pygmy mice to white rhino, all sizes and shapes of creature are represented - and from different continents. The Africa section of the zoo is particularly popular, featuring a broad Savanna-like area and a lion house. Eurasia attracts visitors with red pandas, Alpine ibex and brown bears. From the Americas, you will get to see sloths and lowland tapirs, amongst others. Australia is also represented, for example with Parma wallabies. The broad, 14-hectare grounds provide plenty of space for broad and very open enclosures. Salzburg Zoo is committed to keeping the animals in a habitat that is as near-natural as possible. The characteristics of the different habitats blend beautifully with the landscape features of Hellbrunn itself: from imposing rock faces to hilly riparian countryside.