Picturesque Salzburg is located in central Austria, close to the Bavarian border, and straddling the River Salzach.  It is familiar to many of us as the setting of the popular film The Sound of Music and it is also famous for being the birthplace of the composer Mozart.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the earliest settlement dates back to the Neolithic era, and in Roman times, the town was known as Juvavum. In the 14th century, Salzburg became the capital of an independent state ruled by duke-archbishops, who became fabulously rich from the local salt mines and spent immense sums on creating the beautiful baroque-style buildings and monuments located in the Altstadt (old town) area.  This is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There are several notable buildings that should be on the “must see” list of any visitor.  It is impossible to miss the Hohensalzburg Fortress, which towers over the town from atop the imposing Monchsberg (Monk’s Mountain). Accessible by funicular railway, there are magnificent views of the city and a museum of medieval weaponry and torture instruments. In summer, there are often evening concerts within its walls.

Schloss Hellbrun, former summer residence of the Archbishops of Salzburg, is open to the public from April to November. When strolling through its beautiful gardens, one needs to remain alert in order to avoid a soaking from one of the quirky “trick” fountains!

Salzburg Cathedral is one of the city’s most beautiful landmarks. In summer the surrounding squares are an open-air concert venue, and in winter become home to the annual Christmas Market, selling decorations, candies, winter clothing and local craft wares.

Schloss Mirabell is a fairytale castle on the banks of the river, with exquisite gardens and a stunning marble hallway that is in great demand as a wedding venue.

There are a number of museums around the city, the most noteworthy of which are Mozart’s Geburthaus (birth-house), a museum dedicated to the composer and his family; the Natural History Museum and the Museum of Modern Art.

One of the best-known streets is Getreidegasse, a long, narrow thoroughfare which runs through the town centre, parallel to the river, whose many shops all display old-fashioned signs of profession on their frontages. Other historic shops can be found in the Alter Markt area.

There are many excellent places to dine in the city, including the Restaurant Mediterrane, serving Italian fare, and the K & K Restaurant for traditional Austrian cuisine. For true gourmets, the world-renowned Obauer Restaurant, 45 minutes south of the city, is unmissable.

Beer lovers can visit one of the small, local breweries to sample their wares; but there are also many beer gardens, bars and cafes where one can while away a pleasant evening.
Depending on your budget, you can pitch your tent in the Nord Sam campsite, enjoy a budget stay in one of the city’s youth hostels, or splash out on a hotel room.  These range from small, family-run guesthouses, such as the Pension Adlerhof, to the luxurious, 700 year-old Hotel Elefant.