Land of Mag­i­cal Beauty

Lo­cated in cen­tral Europe, Aus­tria is a land of magic and beauty. The name means “East­ern King­dom” or “East­ern Em­pire” in me­dieval Latin. Set­tled from an­cient times, Aus­tria is a beau­ti­ful land full of his­tor­i­cal re­mains. From this won­der­ful coun­try, our

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here are about five main cities in Aus­tria, the first be­ing the cap­i­tal, Vi­enna. Then fol­low Graz, Linz, Salzburg and Inns­bruck. Salzburg, the fourth-largest city (in terms of pop­u­la­tion), has some in­ter­est­ing spots for hun­gry tourist eyes. Not only is this the birth­place of Mozart; Salzburg is also the lo­ca­tion where breath­tak­ing views of the land­scape in the open­ing scene of the movie The Sound of Mu­sic were filmed.

The Birth­place of Mozart Salzburg peo­ple are proud to live in the birth town of that most tal­ented and fa­mous mu­si­cian, Wolf­gang Amadeus Mozart. When in town, do not miss the chance to stop by the at­trac­tive yel­low house lo­cated on Ge­trei­de­gasse in the old city. This is where Mozart was born in 1756.Although it was al­most three cen­turies ago, the house to­day still con­tains the orig­i­nal items and fur­ni­ture that be­longed to the Mozart fam­ily. There is also an ex­hibit dis­play­ing orig­i­nal works by Mozart in­clud­ing mu­si­cal in­stru­ments that be­longed to him, such as his clavi­chord and orig­i­nal mu­si­cal manuscripts writ­ten by him. Next, be pre­pared to visit the venue where Mozart spent his teenage years. This sec­ond mu­seum is lo­cated in the cen­tre of the new city, across the main ve­hic­u­lar bridge. The brightly painted house is where the once-wealthy Mozart fam­ily moved in 1773 as it was more spa­cious. It is well lit and the dis­plays well spaced so guests will not feel cramped or hur­ried. Mozart spent about seven years here, creat­ing sym­phonies, con­cer­tos and songs. It is said that the key to en­joy­ing this mu­seum is the au­dio guide which is quite com­pre­hen­sive, fea­tur­ing in­ter­ludes of Mozart’s mu­sic. Even though World War II bomb­ing par­tially de­stroyed the house in 1944, it was faith­fully re­stored and re-opened to the pub­lic in the 1990s.

‘Sound of Mu­sic’ Ex­pe­ri­ence Do you re­mem­ber the house where Maria danced in The Sound of Mu­sic? Or the church where the wed­ding scene was filmed? You will find them here in Salzburg. Small wonder the place draws fans of the film world­wide, keen to en­joy the scenery and soak up the at­mos­phere. Be­ware, though, for some say the Sound of Mu­sic tour is re­ally a scam. The bus is so large it can­not reach some of the more in­ac­ces­si­ble lo­ca­tions. Con­se­quently, you may pre­fer to put to­gether your own tour.

Here are some tips:

See the Leopold­skron Palace from across the lake. It is pri­vately owned so can­not be vis­ited, but the view alone is re­ally lovely. You may get here by num­ber 21 or 22 pub­lic bus. Visit Nonnberg Abbey, where you can take a short de­tour and see the Abbey chapel, and, if you are lucky, may hear the nuns singing their devo­tions, hid­den be­hind a screen. Mag­i­cal. The glass pavil­ion at Hell­brunn Cas­tle is a must-see place, ac­ces­si­ble by pub­lic bus 25. The pavil­ion was orig­i­nally at Leopold­skron Palace but was re­lo­cated. Mond­see is place where the wed­ding scene was filmed, and the in­side of the church is stun­ning. Worth the visit if you still have some time. Un­ters­berg ac­ces­si­ble by pub­lic bus 25, has very pic­turesque lakes and moun­tain scenery.

Ho­hen­salzburg Fortress

At dif­fer­ent times, Ho­hen­salzburg Fortress was used as a prison, res­i­dence and fortress. Orig­i­nally built in 1077, Ho­hen­salzburg evolved into Europe’s largest for­ti­fi­ca­tion. It is very well pre­served, thanks in large part to its favourable po­si­tion and the fact it was never taken over. In­side is a mu­seum with the World of Mar­i­onettes, the Burg mu­seum, which has a me­dieval art col­lec­tion, and the Rainer mu­seum where me­dieval ar­mor and weapons can be seen. You will be able to see what Salzburg first looked like and how it has grown to what it is to­day from the prints and plans on dis­play. En­joy the Gothic ar­chi­tec­ture and see the in­stru­ments used for torture. If that does not ap­peal, sit back and lis­ten to the the Salzburg Bull, an open-air bar­rel or­gan con­structed in 1502. It plays melodies from Haydn and Mozart ev­ery day af­ter the glock­en­spiel chimes. An­other in­ter­est­ing ob­ject in this fortress is the ever-pre­sented turnip sym­bol of Prince Leon­hard von Keutschact. No one re­ally knows why the Prince chose this un­usual sym­bol, but he had a con­sid­er­able role in ex­pand­ing and dec­o­rat­ing the fortress in the 15th cen­tury. This is why the turnip sym­bol can now be found in 58 dif­fer­ent places through­out the fortress and Salzburg. To get to the Ho­hen­salzburg Fortress, fol­low the up­hill path­way from Kapitelplatz or Monchs­berg. How­ever, the fu­nic­u­lar rail­way from Fes­tungs­gasse be­hind Salzburg Cathe­dral might be an eas­ier op­tion. Don’t for­get to en­joy the fan­tas­tic views from the ter­race that look over Salzburg and the Alps, they’re lovely.

Mirabell Gar­den and Al­te­nau Palace

Al­te­nau Palace is also known as “A pre­cious jewel”. The large build­ing has some charm­ing sculp­tures and beau­ti­ful lit­tle cherubs dec­o­rat­ing the balustrade made from mar­ble. It is said that the Prince-Arch­bishop Wolf Di­et­rich von Rait­e­nau had this palace built in 1606 as a to­ken of his love for Salome Al­te­nau, and they had 15 chil­dren to­gether. Be­sides the ro­man­tic back­ground story of the palace, an­other in­ter­est­ing part of this palace is the gar­den. The Mirabell Gar­dens are very beau­ti­ful, be­ing given the ti­tle hor­ti­cul­tural mas­ter­piece. There are many lovely stat­ues and foun­tains dot­ted around the gar­den. One of these is the Pe­ga­sus Foun­tain which has four groups of stat­ues sur­round­ing it. They sym­bol­ize the el­e­ments fire, air, earth and wa­ter. This is the foun­tain where Maria and the chil­dren sang ‘Do-Re-Mi’ in the Sound of Mu­sic. There are also the Urns with an­gry faces that were sit­ting on the fence line of the Palace, which one of the favourite ob­jects to be snapped by tourists. Don’t for­get to go to the top ter­race of the gar­dens, the view of dif­fer­ent de­signs of flow­ers swirls to­gether are just won­der­ful, and the Per­gola, which is a long vine-cov­ered tun­nel with a ro­man­tic at­mos­phere. To­day, the Palace is the home of Salzburg’s mayor and the mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil. It has a mar­ble hall con­sid­ered to be one of the “most beau­ti­ful wed­ding halls in the world”. Meet­ings, awards cer­e­monies and con­certs are held here reg­u­larly. En­try is free, but it is closed to the pub­lic for spe­cial events.

Culi­nary Stops

Cafe Mozart

I once re­mem­ber a friend from Salzburg told me that who­ever vis­ited the city must try the lo­cal spe­cial­ity, Salzburger Nock­erl. This is a de­li­cious egg and sug­ar­based sweet souffle freshly pre­pared and served warm with caster sugar. Lo­cated just me­tres from Mozart’s birth­place on Ge­trei­de­gasse, is Cafe Mozart, which served this par­tic­u­lar lo­cal food. The cafe is packed with tourists, so you might have to wait a while be­fore get­ting a seat. The price of Salzburger Nock­erl here is around 10.50 eu­ros and con­sid­ered cheaper than any other place in town. How­ever, the drinks are fairly ex­pen­sive but still worth it. Bear in mind that Salzburger Nock­erl may come in a large por­tion so it is wise to or­der one first and see how it looks be­fore or­der­ing an­other if you come ac­com­pa­nied. The over­all ap­per­ance of Salzburger Nock­erl is like a large souffle with a meringue-like sur­face and tex­ture. The slightly crispy ex­te­rior cov­ers a softer, sweeter in­te­rior that some­how feels like egg cus­tard, and there is also a layer of rasp­berry sauce in­side. It tastes good and is worth a try.

Au­gustiner Braus­tubl

This is a large gar­den where you will find hun­dreds of chest­nut trees spread through­out. Set be­hind a 16th-cen­tury Au­gus­tine church, this won­der­ful beer gar­den lies ad­ja­cent to the brew­ery. You can buy only drinks here. If you have a crav­ing for food, you may go in­side a part of the church where a long hall is lined with deli booths sell­ing cheese, meat, sal­ads, sand­wiches and desserts. You can take the food away for a gar­den pic­nic as long as you buy drinks. Even though you have to walk about 10 to 15 min­utes west of the old town to get to this place, it’s worth it. It is full of life and you can find many types of vis­i­tor here, from stu­dents and tourists to lo­cal celebri­ties hang­ing out and hav­ing a good time un­der the trees.

Restau­rant StieglKeller

Sit­u­ated above the rooftops of the Old Town and sur­rounded by the mighty fortress, Restau­rant StieglKeller of­fers a mag­nif­i­cent view, pleas­ant Aus­trian dishes, home-brewed Stiegl beer and friendly ser­vice. Start your din­ner with few glasses of Stiegl, fol­lowed by the house spe­cial­ity dishes, Stiegl Pfandl and Eier­schwammerl.You can also find Salzburger Nock­erl here as a dessert.The food here is tasty and the view ex­tra­or­di­nary, worth vis­it­ing on your culi­nary ad­ven­ture in Salzburg.

Where to Stay

Ho­tel Sacher Salzburg

If you want a high-end ho­tel for hol­i­day in Salzburg, then Ho­tel Sacher Salzburg is it. The high­light of a stay at this beau­ti­ful ho­tel is sim­ply to look through the win­dow and en­joy the river scenery. The en­tire old city, in­clud­ing Ho­hen­salzburg Palace, is lit up at night, a stun­ning sight be­fore you re­tire to bed. The ho­tel re­tains its clas­sic ar­chi­tec­ture in­clud­ing a ma­jor stair­case wor­thy of roy­alty, with each room dif­fer­ent and with both hall­ways and rooms dec­o­rated with fine art. The restau­rants all over­look the river and the fa­cil­i­ties in­clude a fit­ness and health club. The lo­ca­tion is good, not far from the Mari­bell Gar­dens and the Mozart Mu­seum, and it only a short walk across the pedes­trian or State Bridge to the old city.

Ad­dress: Sch­warzs­trasse 5 - 7, Salzburg, Salzburg, 5024, Aus­tria.

Schloss Monch­stein Ho­tel

This ho­tel is in a se­cluded lo­ca­tion, away from the bustling crowds. It is a 12-minute walk through the for­est to an el­e­va­tor that takes you down to the heart of Salzburg town. The rooms are quite small, just like those in many other Euro­pean ho­tels, but very com­fort­able and lux­u­ri­ous. The staff are po­lite, pro­fes­sional and able to speak English flu­ently. It is about a 15-minute taxi jour­ney from the cen­tral sta­tion. The ho­tel also gives you free ac­cess to the lift at the mod­ern art mu­seum, just five min­utes’ walk to the cen­tre of old Salzburg. It is also said to be a favourite place for celebri­ties mainly be­cause of its pri­vacy and ex­cel­lent ser­vice.

Ad­dress: Monchs­berg Park 26, Salzburg, 5020, Aus­tria.

Bris­tol Ho­tel Salzburg

The ho­tel is well lo­cated and oozes old­fash­ioned ser­vice and charm as only an in­de­pen­dent ho­tel could. Bris­tol Ho­tel Salzburg is per­fectly sit­u­ated in the new town op­po­site Mozart’s house and next to the Gar­dens, also just five min­utes’ walk from the river and old town. The ho­tel in­te­rior is clas­sic and charm­ing, the rooms are spa­cious, and the bath­rooms roomy and mod­ern. Wifi in­ter­net cov­ers the en­tire build­ing and they also serve a large, buf­fet-style break­fast. Some of the rooms pro­vide breath­tak­ing views of the Fortress and Un­ter­ber­gen moun­tain.

Ad­dress: Makart­platz 4, Salzburg, Salzburg, A-5024, Aus­tria.

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