Read our pocket guide to Salzburg
Salzburg: A pocket guide
With some of Europe’s most breathtaking scenery and immense cultural heritage, Salzburg and the surrounding Austrian lake district, Salzkammergut, make the ideal destination for lovers of nature, music and the finer pleasures of country life. You can enjoy the phenomenal natural setting by hiking through peaceful forests, discover the region’s traditions at its many picturesque villages, exult your ears at splendid classical concerts or spend your time relaxing in the tranquility of your luxury Austrian villa.
The birthplace of Mozart and backdrop of The Sound of Music, the regional capital Salzburg charms visitors with its medieval buildings, baroque churches and luscious landscape. You can spend hours wandering the cobbled streets of the old town before climbing up to imposing Hohensalzburg Fortress, perched atop the Festungsberg hill and offering fabulous views of the the city. Music fans can learn more about Mozart at his family home or the Geburtshaus Museum. Children will be enchanted by the city’s entertaining toy museum or the exotic animals of nearby Hellbrunn Zoo.
Stop in for lunch at Die Geheime Specerey and, if you manage to land a table on the terrace, you might catch famous opera-singers on their way to the nearby Großes Festspielhaus Opera House. In the afternoon you can take a break at Tomaselli’s for a coffee or a refreshing red currant ice cream. Not far from the city is the 17th-century Hellbrunn Palace, built as the summer day residence of the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. A lovely example of early baroque architecture, it features beautiful grounds with wonderful historic jeux d’eau fountains.
A highlight of any visit to the area is spending time in the Salzkammergut with its deep blue lakes, quaint villages and green pre-alpine mountains. In the 19th century its lakesides became the summer playground of la crème de la crème of Austria’s aristocracy, including the Emperor himself. The Attersee was also the retreat for many artists, musicians and intellectuals like Gustav Klimt, Gustav Mahler and Johannes Brahms.
Due to its magnificent nature, there is an abundance of outdoor activities, especially in summer and early fall, such as swimming, sailing, water-skiing, diving, surfing at Attersee or hiking, biking, and golf. The towns and villages provide great shopping opportunities at their small boutiques. You can live your Sound of Music dream by purchasing a dirndl, the traditional Austrian dress; available at shops like Tostmann’s in Seewalchen, where you can also purchase an array of excellent quality children’s clothes. If you’re passing through Bad Ischl, you must stop in for a snack at Zauner’s, a world famous pastry shop.
You can cruise the waters of Lake Traunsee on the Empress Elisabeth steamboat, the perfect way to admire the elegant lakeside villas. Explore the mountains by hopping aboard a train on the steepest cogwheel railway which travels from Sankt Wolfgang to the summit of Schafberg, at 1783-metres it offers jaw-dropping views of the surroundings. Once up at the peak, refuel on a brettljause, a plate of cured and preserved meats and cheese, then the more adventurous can walk back down to the base, advisable for those equipped with good walking shoes and sticks. An evening in the area could involve a chamber concert at Pfarrkirche Sankt Georgen Church or a dinner of some of the region’s best wiener schnitzel at the elegant restaurant Bräugasthof Aichingerin Nussdorf.
Austria is timeless, the locals honor and respect traditions without being old-fashioned and eagerly share these and the beauty of their country with the world through their warm and welcoming hospitality. You will find this and much more staying with our luxury villa experts of the Salzburg area.