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  • Theresa B

What to do in Salzburg

Updated: Mar 20, 2023


The Salzburg Cathedral is magnificent and located in Old Town

So your Danube river cruise takes you to Salzburg? Lucky you! Storybook Salzburg is a pure delight. While it’s surely worth more than a day of your vacation, if that’s the time provided as part of your Europe river cruise, there are plenty of options for enjoying the city’s myriad attractions. Your excursion choices may differ depending on which cruise line you sail, but here are some of the most popular.


The Sound of Music Tour

Certainly, one of Salzburg’s most recognizable claims to fame, the classic film The Sound of Music was filmed in various spots around town. The hills will indeed come alive as you tour the Salzburg countryside to visit various locations used in the making of the movie. Stops typically include Leopoldskron Palace, the front of which was used as the Trapp family home; the Gazebo at Hellbrunn Palace, where Leiszl experienced her first kiss; Mirabell Garden, where Maria and the children danced and sang “Do-Re-Mi”; Nonnberg Abbey, where Maria was tardy to Mass; St. Gilgen and Lake Wolfgang; and the wedding church, Mondsee, a 12th-century former Benedictine abbey.

I was fortunate to have a few moments alone in St. Michael's in Mondsee where the

the wedding scene from The Sound of Music was filmed.


Classic Salzburg Sights

To get the most out of your day in this picturesque alpine city, take a guided walking tour. Explore the Italianate Old Town, enjoying the Baroque architecture. Take in the view from the medieval Hohensalzburg Fortress, presiding over town from a rocky cliff. Continue to the Domplatz, where you’ll find the 249-foot, 17th-century Dom and St. Peter’s Abbey, site of Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor premiere in 1783. Music aficionados will also want to visit Mozart’s birthplace in the Altstadt. There’s also a museum nearby, Wohnhaus in Makartplatz, that was once his adult home and today unveils everything you’ve always wanted to know about this famous composer. Later, stop by the Salzburg Cathedral, also in the Old Town - it was founded on Roman ruins in 744, rebuilt in the 12th century, then rebuilt again in its current Baroque style in the 17th century.


Hagenauer Haus, Mozart’s birthplace, is one of the most frequented museums in the world

Outside Salzburg

Before or after venturing to Salzburg from your river-cruise ship, explore the old city center of Linz and the Mozart House, or take a bike ride along the city’s famed Cultural Mile and the Danube. Also closeby: the charming Czech mountain town of Český Krumlov, definitely worth a visit if time allows. Consider a bike ride along the Salzach River to the Hellbrunn palace or a bus tour into the surrounding lake district or Bavarian mountains. Finally, ask about a Salzburg salt mines tour, where you can visit the mines and take a boat ride on a subterranean lake.


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