The quintessential Austrian city, Salzburg is a place of parks, palaces and half-timbered houses encircled by glorious green mountains. From lingering in coffee shops and picnicking in landscaped parks to skiing and hiking in the Alps, few European destinations present such a smorgasbord of opportunity.
The Sound of Music
Home of the real-life Family von Trapp, Salzburg has a venerable musical heritage. Mozart was born here, and today the bright-yellow Mozarts Geburtshaus (Getreidegasse 9) has been transformed into a fascinating museum. If you can secure a coveted ticket, the Salzburg Festival (July-August) offers the opportunity to hear some of the world’s best orchestras perform pieces by the great composer, as well as a selection of more contemporary works. Otherwise, concerts take place regularly at the Festival Halls (Hofstallgasse 1), while lesser-known but equally charming music festivals include Mozartwoche (January), the Osterfestspiele (Easter) and the traditional Salzburger Adventsingen (December).
Castles and cathedrals
Salzburg is crowned by the Festung Hohensalzburg, a 900-year-old clifftop fortress with panoramic views over the surrounding mountains. While away a morning exploring its lofty ramparts before heading back down into the city and visiting three more palatial highlights of the Salzburg skyline: Residenz Castle (Residenzplatz 1), Mirabell Palace (Mirabellplatz 4) and Schloss Hellbrunn (Fürstenweg 37). Salzburg’s churches also count among its architectural treasures. Don’t miss the chance to see inside the baroque Salzburger Dom (Domplatz 1) and the Benedictine monastery of St Peter’s (St Peter Bezirk 1).
A breath of fresh air
Looking for an active break? A holiday to Salzburg from Glasgow Airport opens up a raft of adventurous opportunities, from skiing at nearby resorts such as Ski Amadé and Alpendorf to mountain biking around the Untersberg. Fans of The Sound of Music should hop on bus 840 and make the 17km journey to Marktschellenberg meadow, where the famous opening scenes of the film were shot. If you’re keen to get off the tourist trail, though, lace up your hiking boots and discover the network of airy walking trails around the National Park Hohe Tauern.