Salzburg is located in the so-called Salzburger Becken (Salzburg Basin), on the northern border of the Alps, surrounded by the
In 1997, Salzburg's
In the western part of the
The area to the north of Salzburg is mainly residential and the buildings are more modernized the nearer you get to the main train station. Head northwest and you will soon discover that the charming older buildings, such as those found in proximity to
A big US-style shopping mall is situated in the Taxham district and is called
The district of Aigen, in the southern part of town, is known as a rather a well-to-do area. Living there could cost you a small fortune, as real estate prices tend to be extremely high.
As a city that draws most of its annual profits from tourism, Salzburg offers myriad accommodation possibilities in all price ranges, sometimes depending on where you want to stay.
Altstadt and Rechte Altstadt
The districts of Altstadt (Old Town) and Rechte Altstadt (Old Town on the right bank) generally offer the most hotels, and the most luxurious hotels. People who want to be as close to the sights as possible, will be delighted by the Hotel Stein, which sits directly on the River Salzach! A short walk takes you to the bustling center of Salzburg. Here you'll find another very central hotel, the Hotel Am Dom, which, as the name suggests, is extremely close to the Salzburger Dom. Another high profile choice would be the Hotel Sacher Salzburg, also situated on the River Salzach. From here, you can enjoy magnificent views over the old city. The Hotel Bristol, which overlooks Markart Square, is another exquisite address, close to the aforementioned Hotel Sacher Salzburg. Located in a beautiful, partly residential neighborhood of the Rechte Alstadt is the Hotel Blaue Gans. The staff at the Hotel Trumer Stube will readily welcome to you to their beautiful premises at the top of Linzergasse, one of Salzburg's oldest and most impressive roads!
Andräviertel & Nonntal
For a couple of slightly further out options, visitors looking for a hotel renowned for its luxury, excellent service, and tranquil location may want to book the Sheraton Salzburg Hotel, which is situated amidst a quiet park near Mirabell Palace, in the northern part of Rechte Altstadt in a neighborhood called Andräviertel. Fairly close to the city center, in a neighborhood called Nonntal, which is south of the Altstadt right on the river, the Künstlerhaus is housed in a wonderful old building and outfitted with comfy rooms.
A bit inland from the Rechte Altstadt, you'll find the neighborhood of Elisabeth-Vorstadt. For a lovely four-star experience, check out the Renaissance Salzburg Hotel Kongresszentrum, very close to the city's main train station and central bus terminal. Another great option for train and bus travelers is the Haunsperger Hof, a small family-run hotel that exemplifies Austrian hospitality.
Salzburg Süd If you leave the Altstadt and drive about 15 minutes south, you'll find a selection of bed and breakfasts and small inns in a countryside setting. Most of these offer their visitors typical Austrian food, atmosphere and hospitality. One such place is the Hotel Mostwastl, already an institution in its own right. It is situated in the shadow of the Untersberg, and from here, you have magnificent views of the mountains, despite the relative proximity to the center of Salzburg.
Outskirts: Airport, Gnigl and Maxglan
If you are arriving by plane, then the Airporthotel Salzburg is a four-star hotel with all the comforts you expect. The Hotel Schöne Aussicht in Gnigl, on the road to the lake district of Salzburg (to the east), also ensures beautiful views - from here, tourists can enjoy panoramic views of the city. Salzburg has quite a few one- and two-star hotels that provide sufficient comfort for the weary traveler, and you really can't avoid warm Austrian hospitality no matter where you go! In Maxglan, to the far west of Salzburg, sits the Hotel Wastlwirt, right next to the famous Stiegl brewery. This small, family-run hotel is small and tidy and cheap. Plus, the city center is actually only a few miles away.
This is just a short summary of the numerous hotels that Salzburg can offer its visitors. There is sure to be one that suits your requirements! Do book well in advance though - remember that you are one of the many people who want to explore the beautiful city of Salzburg. The best offers are always gone first!
The city's beginnings
The city of Salzburg, the capital of the province of the same name, defines Austria's culture, fine arts and history. Findings in the surroundings of the Hallein district have led archaeologists to believe that there were settlements here in the Paleolithic Age. The territory today known as Salzburg was settled after the Neolithic period, and following the rise of the Roman Empire in 15 BC, the former cave settlements on the left bank of the river were replaced by a city known as Salzach. The buildings in the area were named "Ivavo." A Christian community came into being after the Roman administration began to falter, but members of the Celtic-Roman population remained until the early Middle Ages.
In 798, Pope Leo proclaimed the blossoming city on the river an archdiocese. (The German name "Salzburg" didn't become used until the mid-8th century.) Bishop Virgil, who originally came to Austria from Ireland and lived here at the end of the 8th century, was an important figure in Salzburg's cultural development. Salzburg is the oldest town in the territory we now know as Austria, although Vienna and Enns admittedly have older town charters.
From the late 11th century through the late 15th century, the city underwent rapid changes as it grew in number and area. Walls were built, destroyed, rebuilt and fortified. One of the most famous landmarks in Salzburg, the Hohensalzburg Fortress, was built in 1077, commissioned by Archbishop Gebhard. After the relative darkness of the turbulent Middle Ages, Salzburg emerged in the 1500s as a cultural capital of Europe.
The "German Rome" – Baroque in Salzburg
One of the most striking features about Salzburg is its architecture. Unlike any other city in the world, Salzburg looks exactly like you pictured it. Five-story buildings with baroque façades line the narrow cobblestone streets, and one can easily picture a young Mozart galloping down one of these little alleys on his way to a concert. Part of the attraction of Salzburg's architecture is due some brilliant Italian and Austrian architects, who, throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, created such magnificent eye-pleasers as the famous Hellbrunn Palace, Salzburger Dom, Mirabell Palace, and more.
Salzburg and Austria
The Habsburg dynasty annexed Salzburg to "Österreich ob der Enns" ("Austria on the River Enns") in 1805, but between 1810 and 1815, it once again belonged to the south German province of Bavaria. After this brief interlude, it was part of Austria once and for all and in 1848, it even became the capital of the crowned lands of Salzburg. Along with a series of economic developments, the opening of the "Westbahnstrecke" (1860), the main railroad through Austria, ensured that Salzburg saw its fortune improve. In the 19th century, tourism also became a focus of attention, and the famous "Salzburger Festspiele" (Salzburg festivals) were founded.
Salzburg acquired a new image in these years, and the city grew, adding new neighborhoods. Things took a turn for the worst, however, in the years leading up to WWII, when Austria willingly annexed itself to Nazi Germany. Because of their complicity, (these days largely understated by the Austrian government), Salzburg, among other Austrian cities, was subjected to Allied bombings during the War, and roughly 40% of Salzburg's buildings were destroyed.
Salzburg after WWII
Salzburg became the headquarters for US troops stationed in Austria after the downfall of the Third Reich. Since then, Salzburg has often been called the "secret capital" of Austria. American troops stayed until 1955, when the Treaty of Austria was signed. By 1959, the Salzburger Dom had been rebuilt and blessed, and the University of Salzburg re-opened three years later.
1997 saw the Altstadt's inclusion on UNESCO's World Heritage list. What was then classified as a cultural monument worth preserving is today a city within a city with a population of over 150,000. Over 6.5 million tourists visit Salzburg every year, many of them attending some of the 4000 cultural events that take place there annually. Apart from Vienna, no other Austrian city is as important for Austria's tourism industry as glorious Salzburg.
Salzburg's historic town center, which covers an area of half a kilometer, is of unparalleled architectural splendor. Undoubtedly, the best way to explore the Old Town (Altstadt) is on foot; nearly the whole of the Old Town is a pedestrian zone, so it is actually hard to do it any other way. The area is bordered by the Salzach River, the Mönchsberg, and the Festungsberg with the Festung Hohensalzburg (Hohensalzburg Fortress) on top of it. If you visit the rooftop of Cafe Stein on the opposite side of the River Salzach, you can get a near-perfect view of the historic center of town. In 1997, Salzburg was nominated as a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO. If you look around, you will notice that the silhouette of the Old Town is dominated by the Salzburg Fortress, which is also the town's main landmark.
A Walk Through the Old Town
You start your walk at the Rathausplatz near the Staatsbrücke. From there, you pass the Altes Rathaus to reach Salzburg's most famous lane, the Getreidegasse. In summer, it is full of tourists, especially in front of Mozarts Geburtshaus. Sometimes, there are so many people here that it's hard to walk past! It's Salzburg's most popular sight besides the Festung Hohensalzburg. At the western end of the Getreidegasse, you reach the Bürgerspital, where you find the city's Toy Museum. Turn right into Gstättengasse, an old alley that leads along the foot of the Mönchsberg. Follow it for about 50 meters until you get to Anton-Neumayr-Platz. This is where you'll find the entrance to the Mönchsbergaufzug. The lift will take you right to the top of the Mönchsberg in less than a minute.
After gazing over the Old Town, you can walk back to the Old Town along the staircase behind the Festival Halls. This is where St. Peter's Monastery is, and the first passage you see will take you to the Michael-Haydn-Memorial. The next courtyard you see is home to a statue of St. Rupert, the patron saint of Salzburg. Every year, a local festival called the Ruperti-Kirtag takes place here. You are now in the largest courtyard of St. Peter's monastery, and you would be well advised to visit the Stiftskeller St. Peter, which claims to be Central Europe's oldest restaurant, dating back to the year 803. Leaving the monastery, you will find yourself next to the Franziskanerkirche. Turn right to the square in front of the Cathedral. This is where the Jedermann play is staged every summer. The cathedral itself is said to be one of the most beautiful of its kind north of the Alps. The Residenzplatz, the square in front of the cathedral, is also bordered by the Residenz, which is where the archbishops once lived. Another square, the Mozartplatz, is located at the eastern end of the Residenzplatz. Its centerpiece is a statue of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Now you have two options: the first is to walk to Kaigasse, where you get to the Nonnbergstiege. These stairs lead up to the Nonnberg convent and the Festung Hohensalzburg. Alternatively, you can go back to where you started your tour by crossing Waagplatz to the west of Mozartplatz and then move along Judengasse and Getreidegasse.
Another Side to the Old Town
You can also explore another part of the Old Town, which covers attractions such as Linzergasse, where you can find the St. Sebastian Cemetery. This is where Archbishop Wolf Dietrich is buried, as well as Mozart's father and his wife, Constanze. You can also find some cozy cafes and restaurants directly on Linzergasse. From here, you can continue your walk in the direction of Kapuzinerberg, a hill covered by a park-like forest.
Hellbrunn Palace and its Surroundings
If you visit Salzburg, you should put aside at least half a day in your schedule to visit the Hellbrunn Palace, located on the southern outskirts of the city. The castle, which was built by Archbishop Markus Sittikus, holds among its main attractions a beautiful park and interesting gargoyles and trick fountains. Very little has changed here since its beginnings, so a walk through the grounds can really conjure up images of past times. There is also a zoo, the Tiergarten Hellbrunn. The nearby hunting lodge, Monatsschlößchen, today houses a folklore museum.