Salzburg is one of our favorite cities in Austria. It is a small city with lots to see and do. Great food, impeccable lodging and easy to use transportation. Here is our list of the eight best sightseeing excursions.
With its beautiful gardens, magical Trick Fountains and beautiful art, the Hellbrunn Palace is a short bus ride from the city center. Visit when the weather is nice because the gardens are what makes the Hellbrunn special.
Take the Gerlos Alpine road connecting Salzburg and Tyrol to the Krimml Waterfall. Along this winding road, you will experience marvelous views and the high moors (nature-conservation area) on the top of the pass. The Krimml Waterfalls are the highest waterfalls in Europe and the fifth highest in the world. At the falls, you can also visit The Wonder World of Water with its “Phenomenon Water” exhibition, in which visitors can look into all aspects of water. The “Krimml Cataracta” show on the upper floor provides all of the information and details about the Krimml Waterfalls.
Approximately 250 million years ago, the salt deposits in the Dürrnberg Salt Mountain were formed by the sea, and through millions of years the formation of the Alps enclosed them in solid rock and moved them to their current position. As early as 2500 years ago, the Celts started mining the salt and the Dürrnberg is among the oldest mines in Central Europe. The wealth of Salzburg’s Prince Archbishops was based mostly on the transformation of salt into ready money. The salt trade brought enormous profits but also included great risks to the point that wars were waged for the salt.
Now visitors can tour the mines, learn the history from a whimsical guide and even take a slide down further into the mine ( those who prefer can take the stairs.)
Located just above the city, Hohensalzburg Fortress offers visitors a stunning view of the city of Salzburg and its environs. The Fortress is accessed from Kapitelplatz through the Festungsgasse; visitors can choose between the funicular, departing every 10 minutes, or taking a 30-minute walk to the top. The 900-year-old Hohensalzburg Fortress, the city’s chief landmark, is the biggest and most fully-preserved fortification in Europe. The chambers and vaults of the Fortress Museum present relics from the fortress history, offering insight into fortress life and customs. Also on site, The Rainer Regiment Museum, which offers an impressive multimedia show and a charming Marionette Museum.
A short drive from Salzburg is the largest system of ice caves on the planet. The Eisriesenwelt is a labyrinth of caves with a total length of over 40 km. As is the case with all caves, their formation spans a long period of time. The first cracks and crevices in the limestone appeared during the elevation of the mountains approx. 100 million years ago and over the course of thousands of years became more developed and extended as a result of chemical reactions and water erosion.
Caves and cable-car service are open daily from May 1 to October 26. Opening times 9.00 – 15.30 (last guided tour) or 16.30 (last guided tour in July and August). Tours last 75 minutes. Visitors should allow 3-4 hours for the whole visit.
Salzberger Freilicht Museum
Located just a few miles from Salzburg, the Freilicht open-air museum is a collection of more than 60 old farm buildings where you will discover how people lived in rural Austria from the 16th to the 20th century. You can visit farmhouses, a brewery, the village school, a blacksmith, and mills. Demonstrations of handicrafts and farm chores are offered each weekend. There is also a great adventure playground for children.
Driving the Grossglockner High Alpine Road has been an incomparable experience for about fifty million visitors since 1935. This most famous of all alpine roads ends at the Hohe Tauern National Park, with the highest mountain and the largest glacier in Austria, the Grossglockner (3,798m.) A drive over the Grossglockner High Alpine Road leads one to an altitude difference of over 1,500 metres and almost all non-tropical climatic- and vegetation zones. The “Alpine Nature Show” is a great museum that shows what one should look for along the way to acquire an understanding of the wonders of nature.
Take the mountain road up to the alpine reservoirs and the dam wall. The high alpine region offers spectacular views and exciting cable car rides to panoramic vistas. Open June through October.
There is a lot to see in and around Salzburg and these excursions will make your trip to Salzburg even more exciting.