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The Hohensalzburg fortress overlooks the town and is located on the Mönchsberg hill.

- © Rasto SK / Shutterstock
Salzburg
Salzburg

The city of Mozart and the Austrian archbishops

Salzburg in short

Salzburg, literally "fortress of salt", is the capital of the federal state of Salzburg. Independent for a long time, it only became part of Austria in 1816, after having been part of Bavaria for six years. So for a long time, it was part of the Holy Roman Empire!

That's why Salzburg has seen the construction of numerous monuments synonymous with the power of the prince-archbishops. It's no coincidence that Salzburg is known as the "Rome of the North". This title is also due to certain privileges: the Archbishop of Salzburg, like the Pope, had the power to appoint the bishops of his four bishoprics himself. And until 1806, he reigned over the second largest ecclesiastical state in the world. The residence of the prince archbishops in Salzburg, renovated in 2016 under the name Dom Quartier, is a monumental architectural ensemble bearing witness to this sumptuous power. Today, it houses fascinating museums (ceremonial rooms, painting gallery, including the famous painting by Rembrandt known as "The Praying Mother"), all linked to the cathedral (known as the Dome).

The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, particularly for its ancient houses.

- © canadastock / Shutterstock

The Domquartier 's grandiose appearance contrasts sharply with the small middle-class streets, such as Greteidegasse (Sign Street). Located in the old town (itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the alleyway is famous for its many wrought-iron signs. They do not all date from the same period, but are all designed in the same style. The McDonald's branch is no exception - it has a lovely one, as does Zara! As well as these numerous shops, Greteidegasse is also known as the street where Mozart was born in 1756.

Mozarts Geburstshaus, the world's most visited museum dedicated to a person!

- © canadastock / Shutterstock

Salzburg is therefore indelibly linked to the famous composer, and its inhabitants continue to harbour a fascination for their child prodigy. You can follow in the footsteps of Mozart, who is everywhere in the city: in Mozart Square, a superb statue of him is dedicated to him. A little further on, make a pilgrimage to the house where the composer was born, then to the Mozarteum museum, another house-museum where he later lived.

Statue of Mozart on Mozart Square in Salzburg

- © Sergii Figurnyi / Shutterstock

Finally, you can enjoy a Mozart dinner concert in Salzburg's oldest inn, Stiftskeller St Peter, which dates back to 803, and listen to the Christmas carol "Douce Nuit Sainte Nuit", which was composed right here. In general, classical music is still very much in evidence in Salzburg, with numerous concerts organised every year in exceptional venues such as Mirabell Castle.

On a more modern note, Salzburg is also famous for being the location for the Hollywood film The Sound of Music. Every year, according to the Salzburg tourist office, 300,000 tourists come to visit the locations where the cult scenes were filmed. These include the Mirabell Gardens, the Manège des Rochers and Leopoldskron Castle.

Mirabell Gardens

- © DaLiu / Shutterstock

If you're feeling more sporty, don't forget that the town also boasts an exceptional natural setting, as it lies at the foot of the Alps. Hikers and other nature-lovers will be able to indulge in mountain sports (the presence of the funicular makes the climb much easier!). The Salzburg region is a walker's paradise, with mountain trails dotted with lakes and pretty villages. In winter, the ski slopes of Flachau are just 50 minutes away. To get a good feel for the city and its surroundings, you'll need to combine historical visits, cultural events and outdoor activities.

The Salzburg region is a walker's paradise

- © auerimages / Shutterstock

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All the must-sees

How to get there?

🚌 Salzburg can be reached by train, or even by car. However, the fastest way is still by plane. As an example, a journey from Paris to Salzburg will take around 5 hours, compared with over 7 hours by train. Salzburg is only 140km from Munich and 5km from the German border. There are no direct flights from France, so you have to go via Munich.

Salzburg

✈️ Flights to Salzburg

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Where to stay?

🛎 In Salzburg, there's no shortage of diversity in accommodation and atmosphere. If you want to be right in the heart of the city to feel its hustle and bustle, and have the major sights nearby, head for the Old Town. There you'll find plenty of luxury hotels and private flats ready to welcome you (prices will inevitably be a little higher in the city centre). If you're looking for peace and quiet, the outskirts are a better bet. There you'll find accommodation with spectacular views.

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Practical information

🛂 Documents and visas :

Austria is part of the Schengen Area, so there are no border controls for EU nationals. Despite this, it is advisable to carry valid identity papers at all times.

🩺 Covid:

Austria no longer requires a health pass to enter its territory since 16 May 2022. However, you should continue to keep a close eye on the situation, in case your country of origin is considered to be at high epidemiological risk. In this case, a health pass, registration and quarantine are still required.

🛩️ Beware if you are flying:

Airlines may have specific requirements before you board. In particular, they may require you to wear a mask during the flight. Please check directly with your airline to find out what health measures are in place.

👉🏼 Organisation of visits

Take the Salzburg Card! Valid for 24 hours (for €24), 48 hours (€39) or 72 hours (€45), it gives you access to Salzburg's museums, the Fortress funicular, the Untersberg cable car, the ship on the Salzach and all means of public transport. You can also take advantage of numerous discounts for concerts, theatre performances and excursions in the Salzburg area.

For information on your various visits, don't forget to contact the Tourist Information Centres in the city. You'll find one at Salzburg station and another at Mozart Square. Here, they'll help you - from booking a hotel to signing up for a guided tour!

The city's official website also offers a host of interactive maps, brochures and leaflets that can be consulted online.

☔️ When to go?

In terms of climate, the best time to visit Salzburg is often between mid-May and mid-September, as it is the sunniest time of the year. However, Salzburg also displays many charms in winter: between the Christmas markets, the arrival of the snow allowing you to enjoy winter sports, and the many events planned for the festive season, you won't be disappointed!

👜 What can you take home?

Buy the "Mozart balls" sweets (Mozart kugeln), if possible from the Cafe Konditorei Fürst patisserie where the originals can be found, or a bottle of schnapps, a typical Austrian liqueur that can be bought in Greteidegasse from the "Sporer Liqueur & Punch Manufacturer" shop.

lightbulb_outline Editor's tip

If you're not a music lover, don't go to Salzburg between the end of July and the end of August, when the summer classical music festival takes place! Even though it might be tempting, the crowds of tourists are huge, and the prices are accordingly high.

Useful links
Salzburg Tourist Office

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