Overview & Brief History

Salzburg, a UNESCO World Heritage city, combines rich history, a vibrant culture, and breathtaking scenery. Explore baroque architecture in the old town, relive The Sound of Music, discover the birthplace of the famous composer Mozart, enjoy the beauty of the Alps and the great outdoors.


A Brief History
It was founded as a Celtic settlement around the 5th century BC and later became a part of the Roman Empire in 15 BC. The name “Salzburg” itself means “Salt Castle,” highlighting the city’s historical wealth and importance in the salt trade. The salt mines in the region were a crucial source of wealth for the city.


In the 8th century, the city became an important ecclesiastical center when St. Rupert founded the St. Peter’s Abbey and the Nonnberg Abbey. Salzburg’s archbishops gained significant power and the city flourished during the Middle Ages. The iconic Hohensalzburg Fortress, one of the largest medieval castles in Europe, was constructed during this time.


The city witnessed cultural growth during the late 18th century, especially with the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1756. He grew up in Salzburg and the city celebrates its most famous native with the Mozart Geburtshaus (Mozart’s Birthplace) and other tributes to his life and work.


Throughout history, Salzburg evolved as an important artistic and cultural hub, a reputation that persists to this day. Its baroque architecture, including landmarks like Mirabell Palace and Gardens and the Salzburg Cathedral, attracts visitors from all over the world.


In 1996, the Historic Centre of Salzburg was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, acknowledging its breathtaking architecture, harmonious integration of buildings, and its role as a testament to the influence of the Catholic Church in the region. Today, Salzburg remains a vibrant city, blending its rich history with a thriving contemporary cultural scene.

Things to See & Do

Hellbrunn Palace
This Palace is one of the highlights of any visit to Salzburg. Located on the edge of the city, it has a large landscaped park with natural wildlife habitats. There are also water sports, and fun fountains that will make your visit here a great day out.

Mozart’s Birthplace
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is the city’s famous son. He was born on 27 January in 1756 at number 9 Getreidegasse (also known as “Hagenauer House”). He shared the home with his parents and sister for several years until 1773. It is now home to a museum all about Mozart and his life.

Hohensalzburg Fortress
Perched high up on a rock outcrop overlooking the city and river, the castle has served an important center of life in Salzburg for many centuries and it’s one attraction you should not miss. In fact, Mozart himself played in this very castle and regular evening concerts are performed in the great hall. This is the kind of experience you will likely remember the rest of your life.

The DomQuartier is a unique cultural highlight in the heart of Salzburg which comprises the Cathedral and the Residenz – once the center of the prince-archbishops’ power. In the magnificent state rooms, history comes alive, while a museum tour also allows you to enjoy imposing views of the city itself. With a single entrance ticket, visitors have the opportunity to marvel at five different Salzburg museums.

Local Dining

Make Sure You Check Out…The Bärenwirt, located in the historic district is one of the oldest inns in Salzburg where you can enjoy traditional Austrian specialties.


Enjoy beer from the Augustiner Bräu, the oldest brewery of Salzburg with a historic interior and sunny terrace views.


If you’re into coffee, cakes, strudel, and pastry…Cafe Tomaselli has been around since the 1700’s; Mozart was one of its earliest customers. It’s a great place to people-watch outside the front patio decorated with flowers.

Insider Tips

Hohensalzburg Castle’s summit provides stunning city, river, and mountain views, especially at sunset.


Save time and money with the Salzburg Card, granting free access to attractions, museums, and public transportation. It’s a smart investment for a memorable visit.


For the best Salzburg stay, aim for Residenzplatz square. Budget permitting, consider an B&B overlooking the square or a riverside view for easy city exploration. Overnight stays in old churches and monasteries also offer a unique cultural experience.

Virtual Tours

Salzburg 4K Walking Tour

Tour of Hohensalzburg Fortress​

Mozart Dinner Concert​

Jack’s Favorite Moment

Mozart Live at Salzburg Castle

Salzburg, the city of culture, music, and Mozart boasts dramatic landscapes, a vibrant cultural life, world class music, historic castles, and natural beauty. It’s no wonder why Salzburg was designated on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a city of “outstanding value to humanity”.

The city of Mozart was very much a melting pot for the cultures and arts of Europe to converge. Even in early times, craftsmen and artists were drawn to Salzburg, which isn’t just rich in sightseeing attractions. Salzburg looks back on a long history as a metropolis of the arts and culture boasting a vibrant exchange with its southern neighbors, especially Italy. There is very good reason why Salzburg is also known as the “Rome of the North”.

Keep Reading

My last time here I was amazed by the city and would go back again in a heartbeat. How beautifully the city blended architecture, nature, and culture in such an effortless way struck me immediately. Centuries of cultural exchange have certainly left their mark on the city, and the locals have done an outstanding job preserving and promoting their rich heritage.


One attraction you can’t miss is Hohensalzburg Castle, the main castle keeping watch over Salzburg. Perched high up on a rock outcrop overlooking the city and river, the castle has served an important center of life in Salzburg for centuries. In fact, Mozart himself played in this very castle, and regular evening concerts are performed in the great hall. This was THE experience that really stayed with me.


There I was sitting in an ancient castle in a gorgeous city in Austria listening to Mozart in the same room he had performed so many years ago. Just think about all that the world has seen from then until now. The wars, the technological advancements, the great men and woman that have come and gone, yet the castle and its hall remain. It was both overwhelming and peaceful to sit there and ponder the weight of history while listening to the beautiful sounds of Mozart.


Getting tickets is easy as there are concerts typically every evening at 7pm. There is even a little cable car that is available to take you from the base level to the top of the castle. 


Oh, and one other tip for visiting Austria. Don’t make the mistake of asking about kangaroos. There are no kangaroos in Austria! Locals actually get that question so often, because people confuse Austria with Australia, that they put out funny signs you’ll see around the city letting you know there are no kangaroos here. Austrians have a great sense of humor.


Jack Bauman

Founder of Guidester


Interactive Maps

Explore the Salzburg Cathedral

Wander around St. Peter’s Abbey

Play around Residenzplatz


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