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Trip List by TITraveller

Wonderful Salzburg

29 Jun 2007  
4.5 of 5 stars based on 12 votes

Highlights from a great three days

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Salzburg
  • Category: Recent trip
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Shopping, Never been before
  • Appeals to: Tourists
  • Seasons: Summer
  • 1. Salzburg Fortress (Festung Hohensalzburg)
    Salzburg Fortress (Festung Hohensalzburg), Salzburg

    Monument to how important humble sodium chloride was to so many. We take refridgeration for granted now but in days of yore, preservation of meat using salt was absolutely critical and salt was almost as valuable as gold. Needless to say the city was rolling in wealth in no time and took pains to show it off. A succession of archbishops took great pains to expand the fortress not only so that it could accommodate the salt and the resulting wealth but also to protect against the marauding commoners who from time to time got it into their heads that sharing the wealth might not be a bad idea and could they get some salt as well, please. Don’t walk up the hill - I didn't (not wanting to exacerbate an recent foot injury) - just pay the extra for the ride up the funicular railway. It's included in the Salzburg Card in any case.

  • 2. Mozart's Birthplace (Mozart Gerburtshaus)
    Mozart's Birthplace (Mozart Gerburtshaus), Salzburg

    Rather like Shakespeare's place of birth in Stratford - it's a house and apart from a few things displayed here and there, actually there's nothing really special about it (except whom it commemorates) - particularly when you know that the whole house was not occupied by the Mozart family (only about three or four rooms - the house belonged to a merchant). Still, the tourists flock there myself included and we all make a beeline for the souvenir shop and the Mozart chocolates at the end. Thankfully admission is included as part of the Salzburg Card. Yes, if you are fan you should see it because you can say you went there but don't expect anything spectacular.

  • 3. Mozart Residence (Mozart Wohnhaus)
    Mozart Residence (Mozart Wohnhaus), Salzburg

    Better than the Geburthaus and a bit more significant because the Mozart family actually took up more of this house and lived here for many years - there are more musical instruments here and the audio guide has a lot more music and information about the family and about the travelling around Europe that the family did when Mozart was a kid (considerable for the times !). The insights on Mozart's father Leopold and his sister Nannerl are interesting and in some cases quite revealing as to the way they saw Wolfgang and life in general. Definitely worth a visit if you are a fan. Also included as part of the Salzburg Card.

  • 4. Grosses Festspielhaus
    Grosses Festspielhaus, Salzburg

    If you've heard of the Salzburg Festival (classical music and drama), keep reading. If not or either bore you, move on to the next item. A tour of the Festspielhaus (including the Grosse Festspielhaus and the new Haus für Mozart) is part of the Salzburg Card and as I will never be able to get a ticket, much less afford one, compulsory as this would be the only way I could get a look in. The Grosse Festspielhaus is indeed big and the stage is in fact partially carved into the stone wall at the back. You could stage virtually anything here. The Haus für Mozart has only just been opened and apparently its acoustic is a bit too good - you can hear every bad note ! Worth a look.

  • 5. Salzburger Residenz
    Residenzgalerie Salzburg, Salzburg

    Palace of the Archibishop and court when they were not taking refuge in Hohensalzburg. Stately and ornate. Those of you familiar with the movie 'Amadeus' might have an idea of what I am talking about (even though the movie was filmed in Prague - the architecture and look is very similar). If you like visiting royal palaces or stately homes this you have to see. My reason for going was Mozart-related - he worked and performed here and I simply wanted to see what his working / performing environment was like (fantastic, of course).

  • 6. Wasserspiele Hellbrunn
    Wasserspiele Hellbrunn, Salzburg

    Hellbrunn was the summer retreat of a particularly clever Archbishop, Markus Sittikus who obviously had a sense of humour. The palace is most famous for its water fountains and features which you can experience on a short guided tour. (Spoiler warning !). You get an idea of the 'games' he used to play on his guests at the famous dining table that is the first stop on the tour - apparently a very good dinner would be put on as well as wine. However the archibishop could then activate a water conduit that sprays water into the seat of the guests to wake them up ! One seat lacks such a conduit: that of the Archbishop. There's a fascinating mechanical, water-operated and music playing theatre built in 1750 showing various professions at work, and at the end a grotto and a crown being pushed up and down by a jet of water, symbolising the rise and fall of power. You will get wet - there are trick / hidden fountains where you least expect it. The only spot which is never wet is where the Archbishop stood or sat, which is coincidentally where tour guide stands or sits. Good fun.

  • 7. Panorama Tours Original Sound of Music Tour
    Panorama Tours Original Sound of Music Tour, Salzburg

    I debated long and hard whether to subject myself to the 'Sound of Music' tour. Put yourself in my shoes - how would you like to spend four hours in a bus with a horde of habit-wearing, continuously singing banshees ? In the end sanity and good judgement prevailed - it seemed like a nice way to see some of the countryside outside the city so I put all inhibitions and biases aside and took the plunge. Panorama Tours runs what it calls 'The Original Sound of Music Tour' and although some of the other operators copy it, this is the best one to take. We got a good guide (Trudy - she's a Brit) with a wicked sense of humour who's not afraid to spill the beans on the facts (like the fact that it is not Christopher Plummer singing and that Switzerland is not over that mountain at the end, it is in fact the other way !) and not the myths as they appear in the movie. You do get to hear the various numbers as musical interludes (you know, 'The Hills are alive etc.' / 'Do-Re-Mi' / 'These are a few of my favorite things etc') and you do get to see some great sights such as the Nonnberg Abbey, the drinkable Lake Fuschl (where Red Bull comes from, actually), St Gilgen / Lake Wolfgang, Mondsee and a bit of Schloss Hellbrunn (as that is there the pavillion is now). One bonus for me was the sommerodelbahn (luge) near Lake Fuschl which was actually easier than others I have been on. But I have renewed respect for the movie and the committed fans even though I wish there was a way to make them stop singing !

  • 8. Mozartkugel

    Debate rages as to whether who invented the national chocolate of Salzburg, if not Austria. A loose consensus suggests that confectioner Paul Furst may have got in first ('scuse the pun). No matter which side of the fence you sit on, it is worth visiting Café Kondoritei Furst (the original location is the best which is near the Dom - but there there are three others). Other rivals / copies include Mirabell (sold everywhere), and Reber (which are not completely round and which are actually made in Germany). Having sampled the various offerings I (still) like the Mozartkugel made by Reber but the Furst original is unique.

  • 9. Museum der Moderne Rupertinum
    Museum der Moderne Rupertinum, Salzburg

    Most people go to the Monchberg for the view of the city, not the art gallery. So I probably took the attendant by surprise when I said I wanted to see the exhibitions. Being intrigued by the publicity (and because admission was included as a freebie on the Salzburg Card), I had a look at a fascinating exhibition of photos by the US artist Joel Meyerowitz of which 'aftermath' (photos of the World Trade Centre recovery and rebuild) are particularly impressive - if you get the chance to see Meyerowitz's work, do. Next to that were some very well crafted, often amusing wood-carved sculptures by Stefan Balkenhol. I like his dancing sculptures which are amazing (in how you would go about carving them) but also amusing in the poses which are struck. [NB: the Museum der Moderne in the Rupertinum (which is close to the Festspielhaus) isn't as impressive - you need not go].

  • 10. Salzburg Card

    Get one. EUR 34 for the three day one and this gives you free entry into basically all of the significant buildings and tours in Salzburg including a cruise up and down the Salzach river - ridiculously good value.