Salzburg may be somewhat small, but there is an abundance of things to see. The 'city of pretty' has many sights to exclaim and gush over – with many seeming as though they have been lifted directly out of a fairytale. When only visiting for a short time it can be hard to decide what you should let slip off the end of your list, and what you should certainly make time to take a look at. Here are my Top 5 things to see in this Austrian architectural gem of a city:
1. MIRABELL GARDENS
Sound of Music fans will recognise this location almost immediately as the infamous spot where Julie Andrews sang 'Do-Re-Mi'. However, this location was a dazzling one long before Hollywood ever arrived – having been an impressive palace from Prince Archbishops since 1606. Initially built as a love token, this sentiment has been carried forth into the present day with the The Marble Hall serving as one of the world's most popular wedding venues. As a result, regardless of the day of your visit, you are likely to see wedding parties milling about in the grounds as photos are taken of the bride and groom. The gardens are a great place to visit regardless of the season because they are beautifully maintained all year round. In winter take refuge in the warmth of the Orangerie while admiring the exotic plants or, if there in summer, take a stroll over to the Dwarf Garden to take some amusing selfies. Personally, I enjoyed strolling through the gardens on a Sunday to walk off my earlier brunch at nearby Cafe Fingerlos.
2. MOZART'S GEBURTSHAUS
This is one of those 'tick off the list' classics. Not particularly enthralling, but pleasant all the same, you can't visit Salzburg without at least taking a peek at this pretty little yellow house where the one of world's music geniuses was born. I wouldn't recommend going inside – there's not much to see and you tend to be shuffling along behind line after a line of tourist groups. Luckily the house is situated on one of my 'must see' streets, so you can take time for a quick look without having to go too much out of your way.
City streets don't often get more beautiful than Salzburg's famous, somewhat higgledy piggledy (at least by Austrian standards) Getreidegasse. Feel like you have stepped back centuries and wander down the narrow street admiring the old fashioned shopfronts with their carefully crafted classic iron signs. Although the main Getriedegasse is more than enticing, I encourage you to also explore the various passageways leading off it – discover more tiny shops, courtyards with their own individual twists, and most importantly of all: slip away from some of the tourist crowds.
4. THE CITY FROM ABOVE
Salzburg is a city of hills (it's often disputed exactly how many...4...7 like Rome...more? ), and these are the best places to wander and soak up views of the city for free. If your visit is a short one then hiking up one of the hills in the city centre such as this one is the obvious choice but, if you do have a little extra time to spare, then I can recommend the following spots a little further outside the city to take in some perfect alpine panoramas:
Hellbrunner Berg – wander up to the top after you've played the 'Water Games
Gaisberg – you need your hiking boots for this one
Plainberg – a pilgrimage spot. Making a journey to Maria Plain church is worth every step for the vista that awaits you
Another place in Salzburg which became famous thanks to its appearance in the Sound of Music (the von Trapps hid here to escape the Nazi soldiers). But, this cemetery nestled at the foot of the fortress should really have become admired in its own right from the offset. Spend time admiring the elaborate graves and their accompanying wrought iron crosses and floral displays, before heading into the catacombs carved into the rock face. The cemetery was part of monastery, and there is another old part of the abbey nearby to explore: Salzburg's oldest bakery Stiftsbäckerei St.Peter which is still run by a working water wheel.