Salzburg Travel Guide
Salzburg is the locale of The Sound of Music, the Broadway hit and 1965 film musical starring Julie Andrews as Maria von Trapp. It's a fabulous city in a stunning alpine setting, overlooked by a glorious hilltop fortress and filled with what can only be described as one of the most impressive collections of High Baroque architecture north of the Alps. Just as significantly, the city is also the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the world's most beloved composer, whose Gerburtzhaus draws crowds for the asking and whose work is celebrated amid fanfare and applause at the century-old annual Salzburger Festspiele, performed by internationally-renowned musicians. The city itself sits on the banks of the Salzach River and has a lovely Old Town and a well-regarded, 17th-century university that gives the city a youthful verve, together with a music and drama school, Universität Mozarteum Salzburg, which adds to its cultural aspirations. Restaurants, cafés, pubs and inns abound, as do recreational venues. And it really should come as no surprise that Salzburg is one of the most-visited cities in Austria, with a peak-season residents-to-visitors ratio of 1 to 47 and with more than a quarter of its GDP attributable to tourism.
Salzburg is situated on the Salzach River in the northern part of Salzburgerland, along the northern periphery of the Alps, only a few kilometers from the German border. To its north are rolling hills, to its south the Alps, and to its east the lake region known as the Salzkammergut. The city is roughly 94 miles (150 km) east of Munich, or 190 miles (300 km) west of the Austrian capital, Vienna.
Salzburg's main attraction is its Altstadt, or old town, which has in it all the fabulous Baroque buildings, lined along its medieval squares and narrow, winding lanes, particularly Residenzplatz. Within the old town are Getreidegasse, the city's principal shopping strip, and Mozarts Geburtshaus, the birthplace of Mozart which is now a museum; while above the town on Mönchsberg stands the Hohensalzburg Fortress, one of the largest medieval castles in Europe, 820 feet (250 m) long and 490 feet (150 m) wide, and a highlight of any tour of the city. Other priorities include the lovely Baroque Salzburg Cathedral and the early-17th-century Schloss Mirabell and Renaissance-style Schloss Hellbrun, the latter famous for its aquatic gardens. Also, in late July and August every year, the city hosts the Salzburg Festival, a century-old festival of music and drama that also celebrates the works of native son and beloved composer Mozart.
Salzburg's principal selection of bars is along the right bank of the Salzach, in Kapuzinerberg; while noisier, mainstream bars can be found in the Rudolfskai and Giselakai areas as well as in Gstättengasse. Among the most popular establishments are Chez Roland and the Stiegkeller, and the Irish pubs O'Malley's and Shamrock, the latter three on the periphery of town.
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