Free Salzburg Walking Tour:
Walking Tour Location: Old Town Salzburg (Altstadt)
Cost: Free, Self-Guided (Museum and funicular/lift costs below)
Style: Do-It-Yourself Walking Tour (Self Guided)
Start: Mirabell Palace
End: Bräustübl Beer Hall
Walking Distance: 3.4
Time: 2.5 Hours for Walk (with attractions 5-6 hours)
Fun Scale: 10 out of 10
Salzburg Walking Tour Overview:
Our free Salzburg walking tour focuses on beautiful Old Town (Altstadt), which is well known as the home of Mozart and the setting for the hit movie The Sound of Music. From its Alpine surroundings, to its powerful history, and rich architecture, it is no wonder that so many visitors flock to Salzburg’s Old Town each year. Old Town is very compact and you will be able to breeze through the main sights thanks to our free Salzburg walking tour map.
We like to start this Salzburg walking tour early in the morning, sometimes even right dawn when the Mirabell Palace Gardens are opening. Starting early is a great way to avoid feeling rushed throughout the day and will give you plenty of extra time to explore sights longer, shop on Getreidegasse, or just stop to relax. We hope you enjoy our free Salzburg walking tour!
Brief History Of Old Town Salzburg:
The core of Old Town Salzburg’s history started as Celtic settlement called Luvaum which the Romans developed into a formal town (controlled from 15AD to 488AD) complete with a large forum. Luvaum sat right on the intersection of two trades routes and because of an abundance of nearby white gold (salt), the town was gradually renamed Salzburg (meaning Salt Fortress) during post Roman re-development.
Throughout its almost 500 years of independent rule by Prince-Archbishops a medieval Salzburg, the city of Mozart, grew quite wealthy and full of graceful Baroque architecture. Salzburg’s city center was lucky enough to retain its beautiful by avoiding The 30 Years War and by suffering relatively minor damage during WW2. Because Salzburg’s Old Town still holds much of its original charm, he hills are very much still alive with The Sound of Music.
Free Salzburg Walking Tour:
1. Sacher Cafe:
About Sacher Cafe: The Sacher Café is known for having the best slice of chocolate cake you can find anywhere. Their world-famous cake, known as the Original Sacher-Torte, was the creation of Austrian chef Franz Sacher who was asked to make a desert for a Royal party in 1832 while only 16 years old. Word of the Sacher’s amazing cake spread and he quickly became a household name. Known as the family of rich cake, Sacher’s son opened the Sacher Hotel and Café in Vienna in 1876 and spared no expense decorating every elegant detail. With over a century of success, the Sacher business expanded to Salzburg in 1988 with their riverfront location and has become a local staple ever since. The fancy sit down area is wonderful, but they also have outdoor umbrella’d tables facing the river, and a takeout shop where you can even have desserts shipped back home. They actually have a wide range of food and can be a good breakfast option. If you are confused and which coffee goes best with the cake, the traditional drink in Vienna is hot black coffee with foamed milk and whipped cream. If Sacher is too busy for some reason, you can also great a great bite to eat next door at the Cafe Bazar. Coffee house culture is an essential part of Austrian culture and stopping at one while on this free Salzburg walking tour is a must.
Hours: Daily 7:30am-11pm. Website: Here.
2. Mozart’s Residence (Wohnhaus):
About Mozart’s Residence: Welcome to the house that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived in with his family from age 17 to 25. We will cover the more popular home where Mozart was born later in this free Salzburg walking tour, but we love this building which is often overlooked by tourists. After returning from a European music tour in 1773, the Mozart family realized they had outgrown their original Salzburg home and needed to upgrade. Mozart’s dad Leopold decided to move the family to the large Tanzmeisterhaus building you see before you. They rented half of the building, complete with 8 spacious rooms, which became known as the Wohnhaus. Amadeus ended up producing many famous works in the new house and the family thrived in their new social environment. After 8 years in the Wohnhaus, Amadeus was ultimately driven from Salzburg in 1781 after an argument with the Archbishop and moved to Vienna. Mozart had long felt under the thumb of the Archbishop and wanted more personal and creative freedom outside of Salzburg, although is father was upset by the move. Two years later, Mozart’s beloved sister Nannerl moved to nearby Saint Gilgen Austria after marrying the city’s administrator, but oddly left her new born baby here at the Wohnhaus with her dad Leopold. When Leopold died in 1787 the home changed hands many times and was later heavily damaged by WWII bombings.
Decades after the WWII, with Salzburg’s tourism on the upswing, the Mozart’s Residence was faithfully reconstructed and opened to the public as a museum in 1996. Exhibits include original documents and portraits showing the history of the Wohnhaus building, Mozart’s compositions during his Salzburg years, and of the large social gatherings of the family. Special attractions include Mozart’s original forte piano and the famous family portrait in the Dance-Master’s Salon Room. Separate areas in the museum are dedicated to topics such as the women in Mozart’s life, especially his sister Nannerl, and even sport shooting (Bölzlschießen) which was a popular pastime among the family, as well as info on the family’s extensive European travels.
Visiting Hours: Daily 9am-5:30pm; in July & August 8:30am-7pm; last entry an hour before close. Cost: Adults are 11€, or 18€ for a ticket that also includes Mozart’s Birth Place. Children are only 3.50€ and a family ticket is 23€. Website: Here.
3. Mirabell Palace & Gardens:
About The Mirabell Palace Gardens: The Mirabell Palace Gardens, laid out in 1730, offer some of the best views of Old Town Salzburg. Filled with flowers and fountains, the grounds are laced with scenes from the hit movie The Sound of Music – especially from the song ‘Do Re Mo’. Any visit to the Mirabell Gardens begins with the large pairs of statutes at the Southern entrance which are leaping toward each other with a triumphant fists in the air. As you enter the Mirabell Gardens, make sure to turn around and check out the amazing views of Hohensalzburg Fortress towering over Old Town Salzburg.
Working your way through o the Northwest corner of the grounds you’ll find one of the most iconic structures the Mirabell Gardens, the Pegasus Statue Fountain. In the movie The Sound of Music, the Von Trapp children danced around this Horse Fountain (added in 1913) while singing and used the nearby terrace steps as a musical scale. Make sure the follow the other set of steps West of the Fountain across a small foot bridge to the Dwarf Gnome Park (Zwerglgarten). Commissioned in the early 1700s, there are still 15 of the original 28 Gnome statues park and they were all said to have modeled after real royal court dwarfs. Each statue is fun and unique, but the dwarf with the glasses on was the one all the Von Trapp kids patted on the head during The Sound of Music movie. Near the Dwarf Garden is a long pergola vine tunnel and hedge maze which are also featured in the movie. To learn more about the nearby film sight see our Sound Of Music Movie Tour.
The main palace itself was built in 1606 by Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau for his mistress Salome Alt whom he had 12 children with. Originally called Altenau Palace in her honor, it was outside of the original city walls at the time and was considered a country escape for the not-so-secret couple. The Archbishop was expelled in 1612 and the next one tried to erase his memory by renaming the palace Mirabell after its beautiful views of Old Town. While the Palace has been re-built a couple times, Mozart used to have concerts in the Marble Ball Room as a child which is now used for weddings. During Salzburg’s short stint as part of Bavaria, Prince Otto was born in Mirabell Palace in 1815 and later went on to be the King of Greece. The Palace has been owned by the city since 1866 and they use it for offices including the Mayor of Salzburg. If you choose to go into Mirabell Palace make sure to check out its 3-level staircase adorned with angel statues, in addition to the historic Marble Ball Room.
Getting Here: You can easily walk from the main city center or take the bus, pretty much every bus line will have a Mirabell stop. Cost: The Gardens & Palace are free. Garden Hours: Main gardens open all year from Dawn to Dusk; the Hedge Maze and Dwarf Garden close each Winter. Palace Angel Staircase Hours: Daily 8am-6pm. Palace Marble Hall Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 8am-4pm; Tuesday & Friday 1-4pm. Photos: (Pegasus Fountain | Entrance | Garden View | Front of Palace| Pergola | SOM Gnome | Palace Interior – Staircase Angels).
4. Saint Sebastian Church & Cemetery:
About The Cemetery: The Saint Sebastian Cemetery (Sebastianskirche Friedhof) is home to the graves of Mozart’s wife Constanze and his father Leopold. While the family graves are small, it is easy to find them near the large Mausoleum. We love the outdoor corridors lined with statues and headstones. The entrance to Saint Sebastian Church (built in 1505) is a favorite among photographers as it has a very photogenic group of playful angel statues on a gate added in 1752. If you aren’t into the Mozart sights or are pressed for time feel free to skip the cemetery right to the next stop, but if you’re a history or classical music lover it’s only a block or so out of your way to get here. Visitors often say that this cemetery is one of the most peaceful places in Salzburg.
5. Kapuzinerberg Monastery:
About The Monastery: Kapuzinerberg Hill is the highest point in Salzburg and has very rewarding views of Old Town. In 1594, the Archbishop of Salzburg started to convert a small fortified building on the hill into a monk’s monastery which opened as Kapuzinerkloster just two years later. A mild, winding stroll will brings you up to the monastery located 1/4 of the way up the 2081 foot tall Kapuzinerberg Hill. During your hike up you’ll pass by a lot of interesting parts of the Medieval city wall and even scenes from the Passion of Christ in small chapel built into the wall. During normal daytime hours you are feel to check out the monastery and learn more about the Monks’ way of life. As you can imagine being up so high, the amazing views of Old Town Salzburg across the river are unbelievable and really make it worth the short hike. Sadly most tourists don’t go through effort to get up the Hill and miss out and a great experience.
The monastery is a good jump off point if you are hiking further up the hill (0.8 miles) to Franziskischlössl. In the 1600s, Franziskischlössl was built as a watch tower for the city wall and is now a restaurant. On your wooded hike to the top of the hill, you will cross multiple parts of the old Medieval city wall. The walls had been re-enforced following The 30 Years War which Salzburg managed to stay out of. If you hike even closer to the top of the hill they have discovered two settlements from the Neolithic Period that date back to around 1000 BC. This is even far older than the Celtic and Roman settlement of Old Town you will see next on this free Salzburg walking tour.
Terrace Hours: Daily from Dawn-Dusk. Monastery Hours: Monday-Saturday 6am-6pm; Sunday 8am-6 pm; Closed during Mass. Photos: (Monastery on Hillside | View From Monastery | Wall Carving). Monastery Website: Here.
6. Stone Alley (Steingasse):
About Steingasse: The naturally protected Stone Alley (Steingasse) connected Salzburg to important trade routes securing it as a major salt hub for local mines. Steingasse helped salt from come into town safely and was a popular route to cross the Alps in the South on the way to Italy. Walking down the fortified Stone Road is kind of like you’re walking inside a wall as it is wedged between the River and the cliff of Kapuzinerberg Hill. It truly feels like you are stepping back in time as you stroll down the compact pedestrian street which is no wider than an alleyway.
The most notable person to live on Steingasse was Joseph Mohr in who lived in house #9 where he wrote the lyrics to the Christmas song ‘Silent Night’. Across the street from Mohr’s house, you’ll notice a large chunk is missing from the corner of another house. Local folklore says that this gash from the stone happened when a drunken American solider tried to drive his tank down the narrow street on his way to a brothel in WWII and got stuck. Through Medieval times, the Stone Road was home to many of Salzburg’s craftsmen including the Geigenmacher House at #25 which where Mozart’s first violin was made.
As you wander through the cobblestone street you come across a lot of doorways that are fun to take photos of from some that have a door within a door, to others like #2 that have an charming coat of aged blue paint. You’ll also notice that many doors will also have a chalk marking on them saying 20+C+M+B+17. This marking is a traditional Catholic marking usually put above one’s door to bless visitors on the 12 night of Christmas which is known as the Feast of the Epiphany. Is Salzburg they take this spirit to a new level and decide to use the chalk marks to bless visitors year round. The 20 & 17 represent the current year and the C, M, & B are the initials of the traditional names of the three wise men from the Bible known as Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. The initials also have a second meaning as they represent the Latin phrase Christus Mansionem Benedicat which translates to May Christ Bless This Home. The + signs are actually crosses that represent the protection of Christ.
7. Mozart Footbridge (Mozartsteg):
About The Mozart Footbridge: This pedestrian foot bridge named after Salzburg’s most famous resident, Mozart, opened in 1903. In the movie The Sound of Music, the Mozart Footbridge (Mozartsteg) is home to the scene where Maria and the kids skip across while pointing during the song ‘Do Re Mi’. Along the bridge’s grassy riverbank, the children also skip along during the song “My Favorite Things”. To learn more about the nearby film sight see our Sound Of Music Movie Tour.
Like all of the main bridges in Salzburg today, the Mozart Footbridge had to be rebuilt after WW2 bombings. As you stand on the Mozart Footbridge, the next bridge over to the West called the State Bridge (staatbrücke) was first built in 1599AD next to the old Roman bridge which was not rebuilt after the war. The Roman bridge was originally from Salzburg’s early days as a Roman settlement called Juvavum in 15BC and was the only bridge to span the river for over 1500 years. Beyond the State Bridge is another modern footbridge called Makartsteg which is filled with Love Locks left by passing tourists.
8. Mozart Square (Mozartplatz):
About Mozart Square: With a large statue of the city’s number one son, Mozart, this square is the coolest place to enter Old Town Salzburg. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart made Salzburg his home for the fist 25 years of his life (1756-1781) before moving to Vienna and a tall Mozart statue dominates the center of the square. During WWII an air raid bomb blasted a hole just steps away from the statue but it was unharmed.
The real highlight of Mozartplatz may actually be the exterior of the beautiful pink Church of St. Michael which originally dates back almost 1,000 years before Mozart to 813AD. The inside of the church is a little bland to be worth your time, but the outside pop of color is great. If you need to re-fuel for the rest of the free Salzburg walking tour we suggest stopping for a coffee and pastries at the sprawling Café Glockenspiel. The cafe has a nice outdoor seating in the square plus a covered balcony area which are perfect both for people watching. We especially love watching all of the horse carriages at line up in the Mozartplatz, but if you can hold off the historic Cafe Tomaselli is coming in just a few stops.
9. New Residenz & Panorama 1829:
About The New Residenz: Starting in 1587, the Archbishop started opening up a new main square for Salzburg including the building of New Residenz (Neugebäude) to serve as his guest house. The mansion sized guest house on the East side of the new square replaced some Medieval homes and today holds museum space. Notice the huge Glockenspiel Bell Tower sitting on top of the New Residenz. If you are lucky enough to be there at 7am, 11am, or 6pm you will get to hear the Glockenspiel’s 35 bells from the 1600s ring out a tune set to match the current month. At the top of the Tower is a depiction of an upside down flaming heart surrounding the solar system is meant to symbolize God’s love for all of creation.
Inside the New Residenz there are a few different things to do that make it worth a stop. If you are looking for great local knickknacks and handcrafted items make sure to stop by the New Residenz’s Heimatwerk Shop. If it is a rainy day consider checking out the Salzburg Museum of History and Art (website). The one thing you really shouldn’t miss, which actually neighbors the New Residenz, is the Salzburg Panorama 1929 (website) painted by Johann Michael Sattler. The Panorama boasts a series of stunning 360 degree panoramic paintings of how many European cities looked in the early 1800’s. The one of Salzburg is pretty straight forward, however, finding out what cities the others paints are is set up as a fun game. The challenge is to guess the correct city for each painting only by following the clues and studying the painting. They even give you a cheat sheet so you can verify your answers after you’ve investigated the paintings.
Salzburg Museum Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 9am-5pm; Closed Mondays. Salzburg Museum Cost: Adults 8.50€; Kids 4€; Family pass 17€. Panorama Hours: Daily 9am-5pm. Panorama Cost: Adults 4€; Kids 1.50€. Glockenspiel Tower Hours: Carillon plays music Daily at 7 am, 11 am and 6 pm. Glockenspiel Tower Tours: March-October Thursday 5:30 pm, Friday 10:30 am and by prior arrangement. Glockenspiel Tower Cost: Adults 4€; Kids 2€. Website: Here.
10. Residenz Square & Fountain:
About Residenz Square: Sitting on site of a ancient Roman Forum, Residenz Square was once part of the Roman Forum with an altar to Jupiter and a Pantheon temple to all the gods. While the Forum was largely built over in the centuries after the Romans left in 488, modern excavations of Residenz Square have revealed a lot. Beneath the square they found blocks from the time of Emperor Septimius Severus (193-211), ruins of Roman buildings, walls, a road, and a Weihealtar with inscriptions of the river god Iuvavus. In 1587 the Archbishop of Salzburg leveled many Medieval homes that had been built over the Forum as well as a cemetery so he could expand his palace and open the area up into a large square with Italian style architecture. Originally called Main Square (Hauptplatz), this new square lined with Baroque buildings once again became the heart of town and today still shows off the Archbishop’s Italian ambitions.
The vast Residenz Square is well known to movie lovers as the place where the Von Trapp family performs ‘I Have Confidence in Me’ in the movie The Sound of Music. Maria enters through the Domplatz arches on the Southwest corner of the Residenz Square and splashes in the 45 foot tall Horse Fountain (Residenzbrunnen). The Horse Fountain is the focal point of the busy Square and is complete with a Triton which matches Bernini’s famous Triton Fountain in Rome. Completed in 1661, the fountain is considered the the largest Baroque fountain located outside of Italy.
The people watching in Residenz Square is awesome as it if the the center of everything Salzburg. There have been local painters setting up in Residenzplatz forever and many of them even take on fake Italian last names so they can charge higher rates for their work. Circling the square clockwise is pink Saint Micheal’s Church to the North, the New Residenz (Neugebäude) to the East, the Salzburg Cathedral (Dom) to the South, and the Old Residenz (Alte Residenz) to the West.
11. Gold Lane (Goldgasse):
About Goldgasse: Curved narrow Goldgasse alleyway gains its name from the goldsmiths that once had there shops here in Medieval times. While the shops along Goldgasse are still a little upscale today, this will be your first look at Salzburg’s picture perfect back lanes. For us the highlight of the alley is the beautiful Gasthof Goldgasse Restaurant (website) which resembles an Alpine lodge inside. The restaurant has excellent meals and is out favorite place of this free Salzburg walking tour to get traditional Austrian food. They have lunch specials daily ranging from 11-19€ including a meal and dessert.
Gasthof Restaurant Hours: Daily Noon-11pm; kitchen open until 10 pm; reservations suggested during lunch and dinner. Gasthof Restaurant Website: Here.
12. Old Market (Alter Markt):
About Old Market: Although they had rights to a grain market in 996AD, it wasn’t until after the citizens of Salzburg were granted full political in 1287AD that the Old Market Square really took shape. While it may seem tucked away today, the large Old Market (Alter Markt) served as Medieval Salzburg’s main market place. The location of the square an important gateway going back to Roman times as it directly lined up with only bridge crossing the river into town from 15AD until 1599AD. We really love the square’s Saint Florian Fountain which goes back to 1488 and has a statue of the saint from the 1700s.
The weekly fresh produce market moved to University Square in 1857, but the Old Market (Alter Markt) is still great to visit as there are tons of shops and stands selling excellent tourist souvenirs. Some buildings of note around the square are Salzburg’s smallest house (#10a) and the old Royal pharmacy called the Hofapotheke (#6, website). The former Royal pharmacy dates back to 1591, has a beautiful Rococo facade which as added in 1777, and is great to take photos of. You will also want to check out the Café Konditorei Fürst (#13, website) where confectioner Paul Furst created the now world famous Mozart Chocolate Balls known as Mozartkugel in 1890. You can wash your chocolate down with a uplifting cup of coffee from Cafe Tomaselli (#7, website) which is the oldest cafe in Austria. Frenchmen Johann Fontaine opened the first cafe on nearby Goldgasse in the year 1700, which was moved to the present location in 1764 and acquired by Carl Tomaselli in 1852.
Just off the Northwest corner of the Old Market is the slightly hidden Old Town Hall (Alter Rathaus). Built in the 1300s as a Citizen’s Hall, the city bought the building to use as the Town Hall in 1407 and added the bell/clock tower. The tower served as the lookout for the nightwatchman in Medieval times and its clock also has a timeless moon dial. In 1618, the marble statue of Justitian was added above the door to represent the justice of the court inside. The Old Town Hall was given a Rocco-style facade in 1772 and the government offices later moved to Mirabell Palace in 1947.
13. Old Residenz Palace:
About Old Residenz Palace: When they call it the Old Residenz Palace, they aren’t kidding. There has been a mansion here for Salzburg’s Archbishop since 1120AD including the current one which was rebuilt in 1596 as part of an Italianate makeover. In order to enlarge the Old Residenz Palace and open up a new town square, the Archbishop had to tear down a bunch of Medieval homes and a cemetery which themselves had been built over an ancient Roman forum. Today you can tour 15 of the Palace’s elegant staterooms which are lavishly decorated plus a classic art gallery that has Rembrandts and Rubens. Film lovers may remember that in the Sound of Music movie,the palace had a large Nazi flag draped on facade of the Old Residenz Palace facing the square.
Hours: Wednesday-Monday 10am-5pm; Closed Tuesdays. Time Required: It takes about 30 minutes for the Staterooms and 45 minutes for the art gallery. Cost: Adults 12€; Kids 5€; Family Pass 22€. Guided Tours: 90-120 minute guided tours for large groups; audio guides are also available for smaller groups and individuals. Website: Here.
14. Salzburg Cathedral (Salzburger Dom):
About Salzburg Cathedral: The Salzburg Cathedral (Dom) is by far the biggest church in Old Town, faces 3 town squares at once, and is where Mozart was baptized. The original Christian parish on the grounds was completed by Saint Virgil (Bishop from 767-84) and was about half the size of the current Cathedral. This first parish was consecrated on September 24th, 774 when the remains of Saint Rupert were moved here and an annual festival still marks the day. Saint Rupert was the Bishop of Worms who came here in 696 to establish a new center to spread Christianity in the region. Rupert spent the next 20 years building churches and a convent in what remained from the then sparsely occupied Roman town of Juvavum which once filled all of today’s Old Town. While Saint Rupert’s work is considered the founding of modern town, the name Salzburg wasn’t used until after Bishop Virgil (from Ireland) took over the church building work of his predecessors and was in honor of the ancient fort that was on the site of Nonnberg Abbey.
Bishop Virgil’s parish was subject many fires and expansions over the centuries and grew into a large complex including a choir, clergy house, a crypt, and cemetery. After a 10 year rebuild from a fire in 1167, the Virgil Dom become the mightiest Romanesque Cathedral North of the Alps. Another huge fire in 1598 led to church’s 8th re-build and the magnificent Baroque style Salzburg Cathedral you see today. The new cathedral was planned by Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau who was already in the midst of revamping the neighboring Residenz Palace and new square with help from an Italian architect. Some say he may have even been involved in the fire as an excuse to clear more room for his other building projects. Although he was anti-Protestant, Bishop Raitenau was expelled by Bavarian forces and imprisoned for life after refusing to join the Reformation’s Catholic League. The next Bishop was both a relative and nemesis of Raitenau, but also stayed out of the Catholic League and laid the cornerstone for the Cathedral in 1614 (opened 1628). It is a miracle that the new Salzburg Cathedral was built at all as most of Austria got swept up in Europe’s Catholic versus Protestant 30 Years’ War during the construction. While other cities were in the middle of this turmoil, Salzburg was able to rely on its rich salt production to have enough money to remain independent from the War. Because of their independence, Salzburg was able to build this massive Church while most other cities had to scale back on their building projects.
Before entering the Salzburg Cathedral it is hard to miss the beautiful Virgin Mary (Madonna) Statue in Dom Square in front of the doors. While it appears odd that the Mary statue is looking away from the church, further inspection reviles that the statue is actually interacting with the Church’s facade. The two angels on the front of the Church are holding a crown and as you walk closer their relation to the Mary Statue give the appearance that they are actually placing the crown on her head. Moving closer to the Cathedral’s entrance you’ll notice large scene with the Statues of Four Saints (1600s) and three towering bronze gates (1900s). The 4 statues are of Saint Rupert holding a salt barrel, Saint Virgil with a church, Saint Peter with keys, and Saint Paul holding a sword. Statues of apostles as well as Moses and Elijah are further up the facade. The three gates are made to represent the Three Virtues (Göttliche Tugenden) and go from left to right: The Gate of Faith (Tor des Glaubens) the Gate of Love (Tor der Liebe), and the Gate of Hope (Tor der Hoffnung).
Inside the entrance look for the bronze baptismal font (1311) with lion statues (1200) where Mozart was baptized. The most impressive part of the interior is the huge 233 foot tall dome which is painted into two eight piece sections depicting scenes from the Old Testament to go with murals of Passion of the Christ along the nave. During WWII a bomb crashed right through the dome, but luckily didn’t explode. Also awaiting the curious traveler is the working organ from 1703 that Mozart played during two years as the Church’s organist, an old tomb filled crypt with exposed pieces of the old Romanesques foundations from both 774 and 1167, plus an interesting Cathedral museum (website) covering 1300 years of history. While the modern 4,000-pipe organs impressive, the 7 huge tower bells (2 from the 1600s) are a real treat. The group of bells is considered the finest sounding in Austria and among them, the Salvator Bell, is the second largest in Austria weighing 14 tons.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 8am-6pm & Sundays 1pm-6pm; Summer months open until 7pm; Winter Mondays closes at 5pm. Cost: Free, however donations requested. Mass: Sunday 10am. Organ Performance: June-Sept Wed & Sat 11:15am for one hour. Museum Hours: Wednesday-Monday 10am-5pm (last entrance 4pm, closed Tuesdays); Open daily in December; July & August also open daily until 8pm. Museum Cost: Adults 10€, Kids Free.
15. Chapter Square (Kapitelplatz):
About Kapitelplatz: Kapitelplatz is a large festive square, often hosting music and artist events, that has a bunch of very interesting sights. The first two things to check out are the giant over-sized chess board, with almost life-sized pieces, and a 30-foot-tall yellow orb sculpture with a man on top called Sphaera. Sphaera was made in 2007 by artist Stephan Balkenhol and is locally called Mann auf Mozartkugel. Balkenhol is well known for using this same male figure in a series of statues throughout Europe (Mann on Giraffe, Mann on Stump, Mann on Elk). If you’ve been to Munich Germany’s city center, you may have noticed the same male figure from this Salzburg sculpture walking off a steel beam in another of the Balkenhol’s works. Continuing through Kapitelplatz Square, you’ll run into a medieval Horse Bath Fountain (Kapitelschwemme) from 1732 AD which is framed by two lovely trees. Nowadays the Bath is more of a well and pond, but back it the 1700s the Horse Bath served as the equivalent of a full blown car wash for your horse. Until it was disbanded in 1803, the square was home to Dom Abbey where the high clergy of Salzburg lived. Sound of Music movie fans will recognize the Horse Bath as where Maria and the kids danced around while singing ‘My Favorite Things’. The square is also an excellent spot for photos of the High Fortress on the hilltop above you.
If you have been looking for a bathroom, there is a public restroom under the archways separating Kapitelplatz from Cathedral Square. Also under the archways, opposite the bathrooms, is the Coat of Peace copper statue by artist Anna Chromý which is one of of favorite hidden gems of Salzburg. Photos: (Chess Board | Horse Bath).
16. Stieglkeller Beer Hall & Restaurant:
About Stieglkeller: The Beer Hall that locals recommend the most to us is the historic Stieglkeller which is elevated 1/4 the way up the side of Mönchstein Hill. Partially shaded by trees, the multi leveled beer garden has room for over 1000 guests and almost every outdoor table has a great view of Old Town Salzburg. It is a perfect place to rest your feet and grab a beer on a warm summer afternoon. The inside of the Beer Hall is decorated to look like an old hunting lodge and has good traditional food.
One of the main reason locals love Stiegl so much is that they opened their brewery in Salzburg in 1492 and are the largest brewery in Austria that is still privately owned. Located on the South of Mönchstein Hill, you can visit the Stiegl Brewery and museum for daily tours. There are two other very popular beer halls and beer gardens in Salzburg. The Sternbraeu off of Getreidegasse Street, but it does not have the same commanding view as StiegKeller. There is also the classic 1,000 seat Bräustübl Tavern attached to a monk’s brewery from 1621, which is our overall favorite and where we will end this Old Town Salzburg walking tour. StieglKeller Hours: Daily 11am-10pm; open until 11pm in Summer. Website: Here.
17. Fortress Funicular (Festungsbahn):
About the Funicular: There has been a lift up Mönchsberg Mountain to Hohensalzburg Fortress since at least two decades before 1515AD and a modern funicular since 1892. It is by far the easiest way to get up the cliff side as it turns a very steep hike into an easy 54 second ride. The glass enclosed cars can carry 55 people per trip and service 1.7 million visitors a year. Hours: Varies but usually 8am-Midnight. Cost: 2-4€. Your ride will be added onto your ticket for Hohensalzburg Fortress. Website: Here.
18. High Salzburg Fortress (Hohensalzburg):
About High Salzburg Fortress: Since 1077 AD, this castle-like High Salzburg Fortress (Hohensalzburg) has been towering over Salzburg from Mönchstein Hill offering an ever steady sense of protection. Thanks to an expansion around 1500 AD, Hohensalzburg is one of the largest fortifications in Europe and one of the only ones never over taken. With views grand enough to match The High Fortress’ massive scale, the castle has easily become Salzburg’s number one tourist attraction. Hohensalzburg holds a decent Fortress Museum and Medieval Prince Apartments which are worth a visit, but the best room is the gilded, Golden Fortress Room. Even if you are short on time at least stop to take in the 360 degree views which let you see all over Salzburg and even all the way to the Alps toward the South.
Hours: May-September 9am-7pm; October-April 9:30am-5pm; last addmission 30 minutes before close. Cost: With Staterooms and funicular Adults are 15.50€ and Kids 8.70€. You can save a couple euros by hiking up and a couple more by visiting by 10am during peak season. Website: Here.
19. Saint Peter’s Cemetery (Petersfriedhof):
About The Cemetery: The beautiful Saint Peter’s Cemetery was started in 700 AD with underground catacombs that go back even further to 215 AD. The oldest headstone at the cemetery that we have found is from 1288 AD and it is also where Mozart’s sister Maria Anna is buried. If was this beautiful flower-filled cemetery where the Von Trapps hid from Nazis in The Sound of Music movie, although the actual scene was filmed in Hollywood. The cemetery’s serene grounds, which also has a cliff-side waterfall, may just be the most peaceful stop in all of Salzburg.
The most interesting thing about Saint Peter’s, unlike most cemeteries around the World, is that you do not buy the plots but instead rent them. Relatives of the dead must pay rent for the plot every 10 years and must also be the care takers. If your family doesn’t pay your rent, the church tosses your body out.
Cemetery Hours: April-September 6:30am-7pm; October-March 6:30am-5:30pm. Cemetery Cost: Free. Catacomb Hours: May-September Daily 10am-6pm; October-April Daily 10am-5pm; Closed on holidays. Catacomb Cost: Adults 2€; Kids 1.50€.
20. Saint Peter’s Abbey:
About The Abbey: Saint Peter’s Abbey, founded by Bishop Ruprecht in 696AD, is the oldest church in Salzburg. Ruprecht has also built another church on the site of today’s Salzburg Catherdral and later became the Patron Saint of the Salt miners after his death on Easter Sunday in 710. The main attraction for most tourists at Saint Peter’s Abbey is the Stiftskeller Restaurant which is widely considered Europe’s oldest restaurant. Charlemagne himself even ate here back in 803AD. The restaurant also holds nightly Mozart Dinner Concerts (more info) at 8pm, which are great, but at 45€ per person they are a little pricey on most budgets. Our favorite part of Saint Peter’s Abbey is the church’s interior. The inside is impressive to say the least, from its architecture to the extra long painted murals that crowd the walls.
21. Franciscan Church (Franziskanerkirche):
About The Franciscan Church: There have church here since 1139, but it is the current Gothic-style one that will make your jaw drop. You’ll enjoy trying to wrap your head around the scale of the forest of columns holding up the uniquely designed vaulted canopy of a ceiling. The breathtaking beauty is impossible to get into one photo unless you have a fish eye lens. The interior is pretty bare as all of the color and attention is meant to be drawn to the gilded Virgin Mary alter in the center of the Church.
Church Hours: Daily 6:30am-7:30pm; No visits during mass. Church Website: Here.
22. Festival Hall Complex:
About The Complex: The cliffs on this part of Monchsberg Hill served as an early quarry to build local churches and in 1693 the Archbishop decided to fill quarry cave with new royal horse stables. The well named Rock Riding School (Felsenreitschule) became important to Salzburg for horse training and riding competitions. As part of the 1st annual Salzburg Festival, the Nazi’s turned the riding school into a Festival Hall (Festspielhaus) in 1925. It is most well know today as the place where the Von Trapps performed ‘So Long, Farewell’ prior to escaping the Nazis in the movie The Sound of Music. Toscaninihof Square to the Eastern end of the Festival Hall is also where Captain sings ‘Edelweiss’ in the film before going onstage. The complex now holds 3 separate theaters and is fun to visit even when no shows are going on.
The first theater, formerly called the Small Festival Hall (Kleines Festspielhaus), is now known as House for Mozart (Haus für Mozart). It seats over 1,500, is used mainly for productions of Mozart’s operas, and has an awesome mural filled entrance you should take a peak at. The second and grandest theater is called the Rocky Riding School (Felsenreitschule) which can seat more than 2,000 over three tiers, has a partially retractable roof, and is was the stage the Von Trapps preformed on prior to escaping the Nazis. The final theater, Great Festival Hall (Grosses Festspielhaus) didn’t open until 1960, has over 2,100 seats, and shows a lot of Wagner productions.
Address: Hofstallgasse 1. Guided Tour Cost: Adults 7€; Kids 4€. Guided Tour Hours: 50 minutes guided tours usually leave at 9:30am and 2pm; check the schedule here. Photo: (Exterior from the West). Website: Here.
23. Collegiate Church & University Square:
About Collegiate Church: The massive Collegiate Church was started in 1694, but took over 70 years to fully complete as the original builder went blind a few years into the project. While the outside facade of the Church is awesome in scale, the interior is fairly bland. The Collegiate Church overlooks University Square (Universitätsplatz) which serves as Salzburg’s main open-air market with growers from all over selling delicious produce. We recommend recharging by buying some fruit and taking a short brake to do some people watching. Numerous windows in Mozart’s Birth Place House, which you’ll visit next, will give you some great elevated vantage points to admire the scale of Collegiate Church towering over the square. Hours: Open daily. Website: Here.
24. Mozart’s Birth Place (Geburtshaus):
About Mozart’s Birthplace: On January 27th, 1756 one of the true pioneers of Classical music was born in this very home, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. You simply can’t miss the home with its bright yellow facade and large groups of tourists milling around the entrance. This museum is by far the most visited Mozart landmark in Salzburg.
The three stories of interesting exhibits are labeled in multiple languages and take about 90 minutes to get through. Everything starts on the 3rd floor where you are introduced to the different members of the family and even get to check out the room Mozart for born in. The 2nd floor primarily focuses on Mozart as a composer of operas. There are a ton of set models and costumes from his operas, plus excerpts from Mozart’s most famous operas for you to listen to. We especially love the different musical instruments that are on display including one of the famous violins Mozart preformed with. The 1st floor and final floor is dedicated to everyday life of the family both while at home and while traveling. The collections included 18th-century travel utensils, original documents, and paintings telling the Mozart family’s story in Salzburg and abroad. A few of the rooms are staged with period furniture to help give you the atmosphere of the age.
Hours: Daily 9am-5:30pm; in July & August open until 7pm; last entry 30 minutes before closing. Cost: 10€ for Adults; 3.50€ for kids; 21€ for a family ticket. Combo ticket available with his adult home. Guided Tours: While the Museum is mainly self-guided and takes 90 minutes, you can book a staff guided tour as well for 66€ per group. All staff tours must be booked at least 2 weeks in advance. Website: Here.
25. Grain Lane (Getreidegasse):
About Getreidegasse: Grain Lane, or Getreidegasse (pronounced Ga-try-Da-gah-see), is the main shopping street in Salzburg since Medieval times. It is complete with high-end stores like Louis Vuitton, many jewelry stores (schmuck), and even a very fancy McDonald’s which has silverware and outdoor seating. You can really see the Medieval roots of this compact pedestrian street by the signage that hangs above each shop. In the Middle Ages almost no one could read so instead of having signs with business names on them, the shops would hang an icon for their trade or craft. Notice how the signs for the hat maker, locksmith, umbrella shop and many more have kept this signage tradition alive. One of the best parts of this free Salzburg walking tour is getting lost among the shops on Getreidegasse for a good hour and it’s even better if you stop by any of the roadside gelato stands for a delicious treat.
At the beginning of Getreidegasse Street is a very inviting bar known for its schnapps drinks called the Sporer Schnapps Pit Stop (No 39, website). Sporer has located in the building since 1905 and their staff very English-language friendly. If you like what they have to offer you can even buy an eighth of a liter (achtel) of schnapps to bring with you. It’s crazy to think that there have been homes documented on the site of the Sporer shop going back to Roman times in 174AD with the current house dating to 1407. Even if you aren’t shopping make sure to stop into the active Wieber Blacksmith Shop (No 28, Facebook) to get a real life look into the trade as local craftsmen hammer their red-hot creations into an anvil. They make everything from custom keys, modern works, and the decorative outdoor signs that adorn the street’s shops. There has been a blacksmith here since 1415AD and the current shop is on its 4th generation of owners.
Sporer Shop Hours: Monday-Friday 9:30am-7pm; Saturday 8:30am-5pm; Closed Sundays. Blacksmith Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30am-5:30pm; Closed Saturday & Sundays.
26. Horse Bath (Pferdeschwemme):
About The Horse Bath: Hugging the side of Mönchsberg Hill is Salzburg’s largest Medieval horse bath. In the Middle Ages this was like a car wash for horses. With tthe Royal Stables being built nearby, the Archbishop add the fountain with its horse mural facade fountain in 1693. In the Sound of Music this was where Maria and the kids danced around while singing ‘My Favorite Things’. There are actually two of horse baths in old town Salzburg, a smaller one at #15 called Kapitelschwemme with a beautiful fountain and the larger one located here. Photos: (At #4 | This one).
27. Winkler Terrace:
About Winkler Terrace: The breath-taking Winkler Terrace sits high up on Monks’ Hill (Mönchsberg) overlooking the West side of Old Town Salzburg from a steep cliff ledge. The Terrace provides probably the best views of the Salzburg and was where ‘Do Re Mi’ began in The Sound of Music movie. It’s not just the views that make Winkler amazing as it is also surrounded by a timeless fortified wall called Burgerwehr which was built in 1487 to protect Salzburg. As you work your way long the ramparts of the Medieval wall, you’ll see other defensive structures like the old Mülleggertor city gate built in 1280.
Near the wall and elevator is the small Stadt Alm Cafe & Hostel (website, Facebook) with decent views, but our favorite view from the terrace is from the M32 Cafe (website) at the Modern Art Museum (website). The cliff top is also home to Schloss Mönchstein (website) & Johannes Schlössl which are beautiful castles turned hotels.
Getting Up To Winkler Terrace: The easiest access is from the Mönchsberg Elevator (website) which sits behind the Salzburg Museum and takes you directly to the Terrace. You can’t miss it as it sticks out from the cliff making is easy to see. Alternatively you can take the stairs at Toscaninihof (behind the Festival Hall) up to the top of Mönchsberg and reach the terrace with a 10-15 minute walk, or 25 minutes from the High Fortress. Elevator Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 8am-9pm; Monday 8am-7pm. July & August Daily 8am-11pm. Elevator Cost: Adults 2.30€ one way or 3.60€ round trip; kids half off. Modern Art Museum Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm; Wednesday 10am-8pm; Closed Mondays. Museum Cost: 8€. Photos:(View From Terrace | View From Cafe at Night | Schloss Mönchstein | Johannesschlössl).
28. Castle Mönchstein Hotel:
About Castle Mönchstein: The beautiful Castle Mönchstein (Schloss Mönchstein) was first documented 1350AD as the Tetelheimer Tower (Tetelheimer Turm). For the most part, the tower served as a home and fort until Saint Peter’s Monastery acquired the property in 1654 as a retreat for its professors. During this period the tower was expanded and called the Professors Castle. What is now the tower room on the castle was then used as an astronomical observatory. Castle Mönchstein was turned into a luxury hotel in 1948 and has gone on to win countless castle hotel and restaurant awards. It is one of our favorite castle hotels in the world and a great place to stay in Salzburg. Even if you can’t stay here, walking past the castle and the grounds are pretty impressive.
Hotel Website: Here.
29. Augustiner Monks Beer Hall:
About The Augustiner Beer Hall: There is no better place to end a long Salzburg walking tour than an amazing Augustiner Beer Hall (Bräustübl) that has been open since 1621 AD. The beer is even older as before coming to Salzburg, the Augustiner monks opened a brewery in Munich in 1328. Over the centuries the monks perfected brewing and their light beer (Helles) is our favorite. Out of the beer hall’s 1500 seats, we like hanging out in the outdoor beer garden section the most.
When choosing where to sit there two types of service, Waiter Service (bedienung) and Self-service (schank) where you wash your own cup at the cleaning fountain (krüglwasch brunnen) before getting your beer. The mugs themselves are a great throw back as it is one of the only places still serving beer in traditional ceramic beer steins. Waiters do not serve food, but as long as you purchase a drink mug you can bring any food you want with you. You can either bring your own food with you picnic-style or hit up the deli upstairs for a great selection of pizza, deli meat, and cheese.
Depending on how early arrive, consider touring the brewery to see what happens behind the scenes and get an exclusive tasting. Tours run Monday-Friday afternoons with advanced booking for 13.90€ per person. They require a minimum of 10 people, but you may be able to join an existing group, online bookinghere. From the tavern you can easily walk up the back side of the Monchsberg Cliff (#23) to get a great night time view of Salzburg. The Mönchstein elevator closes after midnight, so if you are trying to get into Old Town from the cliff viewpoint late at night you will need to back track to the Bräustübl Tavern and follow the river back.
*If you are not yet ready to end your night there are a couple other inviting taverns as you wrap back around Monchsberg Cliff toward Old Town. On the way back to the elevator you used for Stop #23 on Gstättengasse St you’ll also find the youthful bar scene at the Soda Club and a little Irish flair at Murphy’s Law Irish Pub. There are also a number of fun bars back on Steingasse (stop #5) including one really cool one with a red Hellish, but artsy interior.