Going on Your Family City Break in Salzburg, what should you expect from this historical city?
Salzburg, Austria’s 4th largest city, has so much history in it. It’s wonderful to walk around whether it’s summer, spring, or winter. We’ve yet to visit in autumn but, I’m pretty sure it will be as picturesque as any other season. Visiting Salzburg with children is also enjoyable, it’s not hard to find pretty spots to take their photos at, and one can relive the songs and scenes of the movie the city is famous for: The Sound of Music.
While we live near, we can always go back without having to stay overnight, however, if planning to stay longer, we recommend to check this piece on where to stay in Salzburg before you go. Surely, there are a lot of beautiful, hidden places to visit in Salzburg but, let’s save those for another post. For now, let’s look at this checklist of the spots you should see and things you should do during a city break in Salzburg.
The Mirabell is Part of Salzburg’s Historical Centre- and is always well-maintained.
It’s not as vast as Vienna’s garden palaces, but it’s beautifully landscaped lawn is as picturesque. By the entrance is a fountain with bronze statue by the middle. The figure is of a motionless squatting young woman, slender, girly and graceful, who holds a silent conversation with four little birds. A bird sits on her head, another on her left shoulder, and one each on her hands. Small jets of water splash from the beak of each bird in different directions. It can be seen from the young woman’s feathered robe that she is Papagena, the mate of the Papageno from the “Magic Flute” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The Mirabell Palace, once of Italian and French architecture, is now known for its baroque style after undergoing a renovation. Mirabell, wonderful in Italian, was given to it as a rightful name. To this day as during the days of Mozart, concerts and exhibits are held within the palace’s wall. Nowadays, it can also be rented out for wedding receptions.
Sound of Music
At the garden, one can re-do the scenes made famous by the film the Sound of Music. Dance around the Pegasus fountain while singing Do-re-mi, go up the stairs, run under the covered hedge, and raise up your arms under the statues by the exit.
The stairs and the Pegasus fountain where the Von Trapp family can be seen singing, and circling around can be found at the side of the castle, near the Palace’s other entrance. These two photos were taken during a summer trip with just my youngest boy and friends.
Whatever season you choose to visit, it will be beautiful and perfect for a family city break in Salzburg.
In spring, the flowers are in full bloom, giving more life to the already picturesque landscape.
In summer, the greens and blues will be intense and perfect for photoshoots.
In autumn, nature’s colors and the smell of dried leaves give a nostalgic atmosphere as you walk around.
And in winter, despite the cold, the illuminated night sky, the occasional snow would inspire you to take those perfect postcard shots.
Like many European city, Salzburg has an old town that is a beautiful place to walk around in whatever time of the day. It is famous for the wrought-iron signages of the shops through the whole Getreidegasse stretch.
Getreidegasse is a shopping street. There are many clothing shops, artisan shoe shops, even traditional Austrian clothing stores to be found. As for food, there are restaurants within the buildings and also specialized stores for sausages, cheeses, and other Austrian specialties.
You can shop for souvenirs and other items at Getreidegasse as well. Have coffee, or dine before you plan on going around the plaza or going up the famous castle.
Mozartkugel, is a type of chocolate that is the usual take home of people visiting Salzburg. These are marzipan, pistachio, and nougat covered in chocolate.I’m not a big fan of pistachio on chocolate so I rarely give this out to friends. ^_^
Another is the Mozarttaler, same as the Mozartkugel but in form of big, thicker coins. (Talers/Thalers are large German coins used until 1907). These ones I find better than the Mozartkugel, so I do buy them sometimes.
You can also search for ceramics, display items with “Salzburg” embedded in them. This could be a plate, a mug, or special kinds of bric-a-brac.
Austria’s most celebrated musician was born in Salzburg. The building where the apartment he was born in has been turned to a museum showcasing his life – all 5 floors. Unfortunately, taking photos inside is not allowed, so we can only take photos of the ochre yellow facade.
Mozarts Geburthaus (Mozart’s Birth house) is located at Getreidegasse no.9.
Another museum-house dedicated to the musician is Mozart-Wohnhaus (Mozart’s Residence) which can be found at Makartplatz 8. It is a few minutes from the Salzach bridge. The residence showcases the life of Mozart but may not be as extensive as the display in Vienna’s Mozarthaus.
Although not a museum, another nod for Mozart is the Haus für Mozart (House for Mozart) at Hofstallgasse 1, a few minutes away from Mozarts Geburthaus if going to the city plaza. It is a concert and events hall that holds plays and operas on schedules.
Salzburg’s dedication to Mozart’s memories can be seen in the sentiment of the city, with many stores bearing his face, street performances clad as him, and as mentioned above, the chocolates that were named after him.
Museum Ticket costs: 19-99 year-olds : €11
15-18 year-olds : €4.00
6-14 year olds: €3.50
Salzburg’s Residenzplatz is a square at the historic center listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The plaza features a number of historical buildings namely; Salzburg Cathedral, Salzburg Museum, the Alte Residenz in the west, the Neue Residenz in the east, and a number of Bürgerhäuser (historic private houses).
In the middle of the historic plaza is a a fountain made of Unterberg limestone thus its golden-bronze color. It is named the largest baroque fountain in Europe and features Triton. The fountain was designed and erected between 1656 to 1661 by Tommaso di Garona .
Fiaker & Rickshaw
While walking the old town and the bigger part of Salzburg is totally doable. You have the option to tour around with a Fiaker or Rickshaw service to make your city break in Salzburg a lot more memorable.
Pietà (Coat of Peace)
An interesting but somewhat creepy installation could be found at the plaza (at the back of the cathedral), it prompted son 2’s curiosity. The piece is one of a series by Czech painter and sculptor Anna Chromý’s Cloak of Conscience and Tolerance. The pieces are situated in different cities and are called differently.
The empty shell sculpture is a symbol of what survives us. The love we gave, the works we created, the suffering we endured…
Walk a bit further and there would be a big chess board with life-size chess pieces (the bishop is as big as son 2).
The area is also a market of sorts, selling austrian delicacies: sausages, gingerbreads, salamis, knödels, and others. Salzburg shirts, handmade items, and other souvenirs are also sold around.
Atop Salzburg’s mountain Festungsberg, is a castle that has stood the longest and the largest in Europe. It has a vast courtyard (even a chapel) with plants and trees still thriving like residents have not ceased to live from the area. Nowadays, the castle has become a tourist attraction accessible by a funicular and footpath if you’re not in a hurry.
How much does a ticket to the Hohensalzburg fortress cost?
Funicular tickers : 6 – 14 year-olds: €6.80
15 – 99 year-olds : €12.00
Footpath tickets: 6 – 14 year-olds: €5.20
15 – 99 year-olds : €9.20
Group discounts are of course available.
The castle has a number of terraces all around. The views are all picturesque no matter where you stand. There’s a restaurant at the edge of the castle just outside the platform when you get off the funicular.
There are many chambers that can be visited within the complex. To list them quickly: Golden Hall, Golden Chamber, Bed Chamber, Torture Chamber Museum, and the creepy Marionette Theater. Entry tickets to these chambers can be bought as a combination with the funicular or footpath tickets.
The rooms would have an atmosphere and smell of really old walls and soil, truly characteristic of the rather aged castle.
The climb to the tower, despite being steep will give you a good view of the Salzburg plaza, and the Salzach river stretching through the urban settlement – so don’t miss that out.
In the movie Sound of Music, there’s a glass gazebo/pavillon where the oldest child sang Sixteen going on Seventeen. This was not where the original spot for the gazebo was, but it was moved to Hellbrunn Palace to avoid trespassing. The palace and its grounds served as a day residence for the Archbishop of Salzburg.
The palace is installed wit a lot of hidden hoses and fountains that will spurt at any time, aimed at getting the visitors wet. ^_^ There’s a lot of history installed in the form of statues and other installations.
At the back of the Palace is a garden with an enclosed lake that speaks of tranquility. The deep blue waters of the smallish lake is a reflection of the sky and the greeneries surrounding it.
Palace and Museum
Hellbrunn’s palace is meant to be a day palace, thus, there are no bedrooms in it. The palace now displays antiques of old, and other treasures of royalties who once set foot there. Although a little bit far from the city center, your city break in Salzburg, specially in spring, would be more special with a trip to the Hellbrunn grounds.
One of the most beautiful rooms in the palace is the ballroom, with its beautifully painted high-ceiling, marbled walls and intricate sculptures strategically displayed around.
There are a number of rooms to navigate into displaying clocks, painting, and other valuables. From inside the palace, the courtyard can be seen along with a sprawl of beautiful clouds.
There, from one of the windows, you can also see the Monatsschlössl, sitting on top of a nearby hill. It literally means month-little-castle (word for word) as it was erected within a month. Today, it holds the ethnographical section of Salzburg’s Carolina Augusteum Museum.
Family City Break in Salzburg Checklist
Depending on how long your stay in Salzburg will be, there are a lot of things you can do. Staying for 36 hours in Salzburg for example, can make you see the entire city attraction with a trip to a neighbouring town, Hallstatt.
Remember the attractions on this list when you go for a family city break in Salzburg. Have you been? Let us know in the comments which your favourite spots in Salzburg are.