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City feeling

SALZBURG IN 48 HOURS: During Festival Summer

Magnificent gowns and jaunty dirndl dresses. Laid-back summer days and exhilarating festival nights. Grand operas and modern stage productions. Romance and adventure. This is what festive summers in Salzburg are all about – a veritable festival of contrasts. Join us now on a short expedition through this festive festival city!

Festival feeling in the Old Town of Salzburg

We have already parked our trusty two-wheel steeds close to the Residenzplatz. Now we stand right in front of the beautiful 17th-century fountain, watching as glistening cascades of water pour into the pool below. A bustling throng surrounds us – it is festival season after all. A fact that is quite apparent in practically every nook and cranny of the city. A young couple strides past us – he is sporting a pair of snazzy lederhosen along with a stylish shirt and a vest that skillfully straddles festive and folksy, while she is decked out in a brilliantly blue traditional dirndl along with a modern silk apron. They leave little doubt that they are heading straight for the Jedermann performance on Cathedral Square. This play by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, which recounts the death of the rich man, will be performed beneath the open sky on this balmy summer evening. And when, just a few moments from now, the world-famous call for “Jedermann!” is shouted out from high above the square, even locals are certain to get a severe case of the goosebumps.

In the midst of it all: those open-air Festival Nights on Kapitelplatz

In the meantime, we have made ourselves comfortable on Kapitelplatz – basically just a few steps away from Cathedral Square. Guests of all ages have “set up shop” in front of the giant LED wall. On festival evenings since 2002, festival performances and audio feeds of concerts have been broadcast here to outdoor audiences. Admission to this event – known as Siemens Fest>Spiel>Nächte – is free. We fetch ourselves a glass of wine along with a few local delicacies whose allure proved quite impossible to resist. Suddenly, the high-spirited conversations around us drop to a gentle murmur: It’s about to start. Captivated by the colorful images and monumental music, we lean back, relax and allow the extraordinary atmosphere to work its wonders on us.

A pair of blonde beauties chauffeur us through the city

Dawn has broken on our second day in this festival city and the sun once again shines down on us from a cloudless sky. We have come up with something truly special for today’s program: We managed to get hold of tickets for a festival concert at the Felsenreitschule. In honor of the occasion, we decide to treat ourselves to stylish outfits. We stroll through the streets of the historic district and quickly find what we’ve been looking for in an idiosyncratic boutique. Astonishingly, we still even have time for a Fiaker ride! The two Haflinger horses snort and shake their blonde manes, as we clamber up into the back of the carriage. Trundling across Staatsbrücke bridge, we catch sight of the first festival guests heading in the direction of the festival halls. The beautiful gowns of the ladies billow slightly in the gentle summer breeze that wafts over from the River Salzach. In the background, Hohensalzburg Fortress stands out majestically against the blue summer sky – a glorious sight indeed.

The summer festival – a celebration of contrasts

Now the time has come for our personal “festival moment”. The bow tie is positioned perfectly, the dress fits to a T. The famous Hofstallgasse quivers with collective excitement. We inhale the atmosphere, admire the ladies’ evening gowns and their jewelry, glimmering as it does in the sunshine. The performance itself is magical. Immediately afterwards, we toast this unforgettable occasion with a glass of sparkling wine. In the meantime, the moon has risen, now bathing the historic district in its gentle light. Enthroned regally above this scene and the Baroque towers of the city is Hohensalzburg Fortress, seemingly unimpressed by the spectacle unfolding right at its feet. This is perhaps one of the most beautiful aspects of summertime during Salzburg Festival: the contrasts. Unquestionably, you can participate in the world-famous events, watch iconic international stars on stage and mingle with the audiences. But you can also keep more to yourself, perhaps take a stroll on one of the two city mountains, or discover a secluded café down one of the quieter back streets. Salzburg’s summer festival season is a celebration of contrasts with countless facets – each one more beautiful than the last.