Salzburg has a delightfully-wonderful blend of natural beauty and unique urban sites throughout the city for visitors and locals alike to enjoy. From outdoor excursions to famous attractions, here are some of the many experiences that will make a trip to Salzburg one that tourists will remember forever.
The Ice Caves at Werfen
Located roughly an hour’s drive south from Salzburg’s city centre, these underground formations are a fine example of nature producing art. The labyrinth, which stretches across a staggering 42km (26.1 miles), is the largest of its kind in the world and contains an awe-inspiring display of unique structures formed of ice and limestone. Resembling a palace fit for a snow queen, don’t miss its beguiling appearance on a trip to Salzburg. Opened between May and October, would-be tourists must book a guided tour to enter the caves.
Visitors can best see the staggering views of the jagged mountains and lush meadows surrounding the city up high—and hiking provides the best method of transportation in Salzburg. One of the most scenic—and ambitious—trails is the ‘Grosses Hafner.’ Definitely not intended for lighthearted hikers, this epic trek takes people across challenging terrain of steep climbs and rocky landscapes. For a more-forgiving route, try the ‘Salzburger Almenweg’, a romantic amble that takes hikers past waterfalls, chapels, and meadows.
The legitimacy of this creepy and strange artifact remains in dispute, but many avidly claim that the skull belongs to the world’s most famous classical composer, who was born in Salzburg. Located at the University Mozarteum, the skull came into the possession of the scientists in 1902. The skull, with an absent lower jaw, is said to match historical records. Legend has it that gravedigger Joseph Rothmayer took the skull from the grave Mozart was buried ten years after his death in 1791. Albeit a morbid exhibition, it certainly provides a more unconventional day out than Mozart’s birthplace. Viewings have been closed to the wider public but remain available upon request.
One of the World’s Oldest Restaurants
Inside St. Peter’s Abbey, Stiftskeller opened its doors way back in 803. The building has been renovated many times over, and now boasts impressive Baroque decor with lavish chandeliers, delicate wallpaper, and carvings etched onto the stone walls of the original structure. Every week, the restaurant pays tribute to Salzburg’s-own Mozart with themed dinners complete with musicians dressed up in period costume.
St. Sebastian’s Cemetery
A number of Austria’s notable residents are buried in this historic cemetery, including royals and members of the Mozart family (although not Mozart himself.) The grounds are always peaceful and quiet—perfect for a solitary afternoon ramble.
Salzburg‘s ‘Lake District‘ offers a favourite holiday destination for area locals who like to congregate there during hot, sunny days to water ski, swim, row, and sail. Mondsee’s tranquil, turquoise waters are a breeze to reach—just 20 minutes in the car or 40 by bus. A little further out, Attersee also provides a beautifully quiet destination with some gorgeous mountainous scenery to admire.
Created by Prince Archbishop Franz Anton Harrach in 1715, the Zweglgarten is a large gathering of unsightly dwarves—an unusual tribute to the entertainers who performed for the monarch. The garden, located in the Mirabell Palace, contains a semi-circle of nine statues with a variety of intriguing expressions. Due to feelings that the monuments were too ugly, they were removed with plans to destroy them. Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on the person asked) they were reinstated by the Salzburg Society for the Preservation of Local Amenities in 1921.