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View to the Old Town of Salzburg | © Tourismus Salzburg GmbH
48 hours in Salzburg
Whether alone, with friends or a partner, at some point in their lives, everybody has had the urge to escape for a couple of days to a city they love, or one where they have never ever been before. And it’s as if Salzburg was created just for those types of weekend expeditions.
Crisscrossing Salzburg in two days
The fortress, Mirabell Gardens, plus a whole entourage of other sights practically around every corner, are magnets for visitors to Salzburg. And because everything in the city is so compact, a two-hour stroll through Salzburg’s streets will fly by in no time. It’ll seem like you are chalking off yet another attraction from your must-see list every five minutes or so.
The heart of the Salzburg historic district
After checking in at one of the downtown hotels, Hohensalzburg Fortress – the emblem of this ancient city – simply has to be at the top of that list. Whether you prefer to make the climb up there on foot or simply hop aboard the funicular, when you reach the top you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking 360-degree views of the Old City along with the surrounding mountains. Inside the fortress, culture lovers set out on a journey into the past. Guided tours of the museum and the opulent chambers once frequented by the wealthy prince-archbishops give everyone, big and small, a real sense of what everyday life was like at the Salzburg court.
Back in the historic district, your next stop might well be the St. Peter’s District. Especially on warm summer days, the shade afforded by St. Peter’s Cemetery promises a refreshing change of pace. There, you will also discover catacombs, unique ancient burial sites that were chiseled into the rock face of the Mönchsberg itself. For fans of the world-famous Hollywood movie “The Sound of Music”, they are a highlight for a very different reason: It was here that the Trapp family were shown hiding from the Nazis just before they successfully fled to Switzerland. Exiting the cemetery, you are now one step closer to the actual abbey of St. Peter’s, the spiritual heart of Salzburg City. Established all the way back in the year 696, today it is the oldest abbey in the German-speaking world, with architecture that is absolutely beyond compare.
If you would like to wind up the first day of your visit to Salzburg on a cultural and musical note, where better than Mozart’s Birthplace on Getreidegasse, where you will learn more about Salzburg’s most famous son. The Salzburg Museum, which you’ll find in the Neue Residenz, intrigues visitors with its permanent displays documenting the history of the city, as it does with special exhibitions that rotate on a regular basis.
Romantic grounds and a pleasure-palace with an added “splash” of excitement
After a power breakfast, it will be time to begin your next twelve hours of pure, unadulterated Salzburg, perhaps with a stroll through the beautiful grounds of Mirabell Palace. The story of why it was built couldn’t possibly be any more romantic: commissioned by then Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Reitenau so he could be as close as possible to his beloved Salome Alt and their children. Aside from the palace itself, the grounds of Mirabell are also home to the famous Dwarf Garden, the Pegasus Fountain and the so-called Hedge Theatre. Before hopping on the No. 25 bus to yet another palace, you will have time for a detour to the Mozart Residence on Makartplatz. There, an original fortepiano, documents and portraits treat you to fascinating glimpses into the life and times of the young musical genius.
Stepping back out into the daylight, in just a few minutes you’ll find yourself surrounded by beautiful green countryside. Amid the magical grounds of Hellbrunn pleasure-palace, to be precise. This jewel on the outskirts of the city was built by Prince-Archbishop Markus Sittikus in 1613. A tour of the palace museum gives you intriguing insights into the days when he ruled over this region, including a number of interactive elements that truly do bring history to life. The Trick Fountains, for their part, promise a fun and refreshing change of pace to your Hellbrunn visit. Created as a pleasant diversion for the prince-archbishop and his guests, your walk will also take you past a mechanical theatre and hidden grottos. And be forewarned: The water jets are slyly concealed, guaranteed to spray visitors when they least expect it.
Salzburg Card – your personal key to the city
Does free admission to all of Salzburg’s attractions appeal to you? For 48 hours? If so, the Salzburg Card will be just what you are looking for. In addition to countless sightseeing highlights, you even get to ride Salzburg public transportation for free as well. The Card also entitles you to discounts on concert and theatre tickets, as well as on entrance to various other excursion destinations located close to the city. This ideal companion for your visit to Salzburg can be purchased at all hotels, tourist information offices as well as ticket agencies. And before you know it, your flying visit to Salzburg will be filled with memories to last a lifetime.