Maybe you only have a few hours in Salzburg and are unsure of what to see and do to make the most of your time. Well, here are my suggestions to ensure you capture the essence of this lovely city. Salzburg is quite large but the old town, Altstadt, is small and pedestrianised so it is relatively easy to get around. If you are tight for time then you probably won’t have time to visit any museums or the Fortress so these have been omitted.
Getting to the Old Town
If you are coming into the city from the railway station, then your first stop should be the Mirabel Gardens. This is on the main bus route from the station into the old town. Catch either a number 1, 3, 5 or 6. All of the buses have a screen that shows you the next stop so look out for Mirabel. Either buy a ticket from one of the machines at the railway station, or you can pay the driver but this will cost a little more.
Mirabel Palace dates from 1606 and was built by Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau who wanted a pleasure palace for him and his mistress. Inside the palace is the Marble Hall used for both concerts and weddings, pop in and have a look if you have time. The gardens date from 1687 and follow a geometric pattern containing mythology themed statues and have a lovely view of the Fotress. If you are a fan of The Sound of Music then go to the left side of the Palace and you will recognise the Pegasus fountain and of course, the “Do-Re-Me” steps.
Leave the gardens at the gateway facing the Fortress and out onto Makartplaz. Opposite you will see a pink building on the corner, this is where Mozart lived from 1773 to 1787. If you fancy a coffee, tea or a snack, then there is a nice cafe on the ground floor.
Turn right out of Mirabel Gardens past the theatre (Salzburger Landestheater) and cross the main road to the river. Here you will find the footbridge over the Salzach with magnificent views of the city dominated by the Fortress. On the other side of the bridge cross the two roads and on your right you will see the entrance to Sternbrau (it has a big star on top of the building). Go into the small square and then through one of the passages on the other side and you will find yourself in the main shopping street, Getreidegasse. It has both traditional and designer shops. By the way, Sternbrau has a number of restaurants and bars, and outside tables if you want to stop for lunch.
Turning left from Sternbrau will take you past Mozart’s birth place (Geburtshaus) and into the centre of the old town. A bit further on from here is Altermarkt, turn right into this square and up to the top. On your right you will see Cafe Tomaselli, the oldest coffee house in Austria where they say Mozart was a patron.
Residenzplatz / Cathedral
Turn left and on into Residenzplatz. Here is the famous Horse Fountain and Salzburg Cathedral. You will also see the Carillon tower and to the left, the square goes into Mozartplatz with the majestic statue of Mozart at its centre.
If you are facing the cathedral you will see on your right the palace of the Prince-Archbishops, the Residenz. Between the palace and the cathedral is the way through to the Cathedral Square, Domplatz. Here is the entrance to the cathedral with the 4 large statues of the saints. The cathedral is well worth a quick look as it is very ornate and has the font in which Mozart was baptised. In the centre of Domplatz is the impressive column of Maria Immaculata.
Kapitalplatz / The Fortress
From the cathedral go through the arches into Kapitalplatz where a magnificent view of the Fortress awaits. The golden sphere with a man on top is called “Sphaera” by Stephan Balkenhol. In the left corner is an ornate horsepond that was used to wash the horses.
Make your way to the gap between the buildings on the far right top corner of the square. Through here you will find the old bakery complete with waterwheel.
St Peter’s Cemetery & Church
Opposite the bakery is the gate through to St Peter’s Cemetery with tombs in arcades. There are also ancient catacombs cut into the rock.
Exit the cemetary through the tunnel to the left of the church. As you come into the square on the right is the oldest restaurant in Europe. They have been serving food since 803! The large church is the monestary chuch of St Peter which used to be the cathedral.
Haus Fur Mozart / Horsepond
If you go through the archways on the opposite side of the square to the church you will come out next to the Haus Fur Mozart, the main venue for the famous annual Salzburg Festival. Opposite the Haus Fur Mozart is the Collegiate Church. Follow the road past the concert halls and you will see the Horsepond on your left just over the road.
Monchberg Lift / View of Salzburg
Go past the horsepond for another 200 metres and you will see the entrance to the Monschberg Lift on the left. The lift costs €3.80 to go up and down but it is well worth it for the best view of Salzburg.
Coming out of the lift entrance, cross the road and follow the road back to the river.
I hope you enjoyed this quick tour of the City – Enjoy the rest of your holiday.