Land of Music and Splendor
On a recent springtime trip to Austria, my mother, my older daughter and I stayed in the magnificent city of Salzburg. Day after day, throughout our stay, we found ourselves enchanted as we wondered the ancient streets and explored the many festive shops, deliâs, restaurants and glorious gardens. On most days mesmerizing music could be heard wafting through the labyrinth of city passages, the sweet refrains of Mozart played on a flute, a bit of Beethoven delicately plucked on the strings of a harp and the soul stirring renditions of Bach being elicited from a massive pipe organ, filling the air with the very essence of peace and joy. This city is designed for walking as the footpaths meander their way along the quickly flowing Salzach River across scenic bridges and all through the old city itself. Giant chestnut trees provide beauty as well as a cooling shade and gardens full of aromatic wisteria, colorful tulips, and every other conceivable variety of blooming flower are to be found in abundance.
Sitting like a crown above the city is the Hohensalzburg; an impressive medieval fortress built in 1077 and successfully defended throughout history. During one attack in 1525, the Fortress was under siege for months and the food supply was down to almost nothing. As the story goes, someone came up with a brilliant idea in order to make it seem as though there was still plenty of food, a cow would be paraded daily along the walls of the fortress for all below to see. The problem was that there was only one cow remaining. What did they do? Well, they painted the cow, of course! Every day the same cow was painted a different color, sometimes even adding spots. Thinking that food in the fortress was in ample supply, the attackers figured a siege could conceivably last for many more months so they abandoned their resolve and departed from the area. Today Salzburg celebrates that bit of ingenuity with statues of colorfully painted cows on display throughout the city.
Salzburg is best known for being the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and, in fact, you can tour his birth home on Getreidegasse Street. In many of the store windows around Salzburg you might notice Mozartkugeln for sale, tasty marzipan confections enveloped by delicious dark or milk chocolate wrapped in decorative blue or gold paper, each displaying a portrait of the maestro himself. These chocolates are very popular among tourists as they peruse the shelves looking for a perfect gift to bring home to their friends and family.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
This is a light-hearted rendition of the life of Mozart filled with glorious music
The best of Mozart all CD
If you want to know more about the life of Mozart delve into his biography
Another claim to fame for Salzburg comes from a highly popular movie produced in 1965 titled "The Sound of Music" based on the memoirs of Maria Von Trapp and The Von Trapp Family Singers. Special tour buses will take you past Leopoldskron where the Von Trapp family once lived as well as other historic sights that were prominently featured in the film.
The Sound of Music - The Von Trapp Family Singers
A beautiful movie filmed in Salzburg about the Trapp Family Singers. Although not completely accurate it is delightful.
There is much more to the story of the Trapp Family beyond the movie
Be sure to visit Mirabell Garden while you are in Salzburg as this glorious garden offers one of the most picturesque views of the Hohensalzburg, while the other most incredible view is located just outside the gates of Leopoldskron. If you enjoy the dazzling beauty of fine Swarovski Crystal you will find it in abundance in Salzburg as Austria is the global headquarters of Swarovski. Shops of all sizes boast an impressive array of the sparkling treasures. Whatever your tastes in cuisine, Salzburg offers the most delectable menu you could ever hope to choose from; Mouth-watering bratwurst, out-of-this-world Jaeger and Wiener schnitzels, as well as specialties from countries all over the world. I cannot even find a word with enough passion to describe the desserts. Stop in any konditorei and you will be greeted by such an amazing assortment of delicate and decadent pastries that you will be sure to think you may have died and gone to heaven. The sweet aroma in itself is enough to put ten pounds around your waist!
If you love panoramic vistas for taking pictures, one of the best vantage points for viewing Salzburg and the surrounding area is from the Hohensalzburg. You can access the fortress via funicular railway or you may decide to enjoy the scenic walkway that affords you a more energetic approach. Either way, the view is spectacular!
One of the most relaxing and enjoyable ways to tour Salzburg is by horse carriage. The old world charm of the city is never more evident then when you take a step into the past and ride aboard this rustic form of transportation. For a modest fee, you can be whisked away on an unforgettable journey.
Around Salzburg - Discover Scenic Beauty Around Every CornerClick thumbnail to view full-size
Just outside of Salzburg is Hellbrunn Palace, ancient home of the archbishop Markus Sittikus. The gardens of Hellbrunn are known as the water garden due to the many hidden spray nozzles incorporated into the design of the pathways and grottos with the aim of surprising guests and getting them soaking wet. It seems the archbishop had a wicked sense of humor and delighted in watching his invited guests flee in alarm as he would open the valves to the sprinklers on the unsuspecting revelers.
Also within a short drive of Salzburg are the salt mines of Bavaria, where you can slide your way deep into the caverns of a working salt mine and ride a specially created cart that is used by the miners to exit the mine swiftly.
Catacombs, Mountains And Lakes
If you enjoy mountain climbing, the Untersberg is within easy driving distance from Salzburg and has a good reputation among seasoned climbers. You can also ascend the mountain by cable car which commands a most awe inspiring view. There is Eisriesenwelt, where you can explore magnificent ice caves with a guided group, or take a short trip to The Salzkammergut region, which is known for its splendid lakes and unrivaled beauty. Within the city of Salzburg you might even discover the catacombs of early Christians, hewn into the Cliffside above St. Peter's Cemetery.
From Catacombs to Hellbrunn to The SalzkammergutClick thumbnail to view full-size
A Taste of Heaven
Whether you desire the sedentary pleasures of eating your way through Salzburg’s many restaurants, deli’s and konditorei’s or the rugged physical challenge of a hearty mountain climb or a slow paced stroll among scenic gardens, you are sure to find plenty of pleasure and adventure in Majestic and Captivating Salzburg, Austria.
From Melk To Durnstein On The Danube RiverClick thumbnail to view full-size
Rick Steves always seems to find the best out of the way places you may not find otherwise.
Lonely Planet has some very useful information
A very good guide