Castle Hotels of Salzburg
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The province of Salzburg, sometimes referred to as Salzburger Land tops any list for the most breathtaking scenery of alpine peaks, sparkling lakes, and enchanting valleys all in one place. If your passions tend to summer or winter sports, music, high baroque architecture, or simply wandering through delightful, traditional villages, Salzburg has something to capture your heart.
The adventurous soul can be rewarded by driving on one of Europe’s most scenic mountain roads, the Grossglockner, by hiking to pristine waterfalls, and by exploring the most extensive cave system in the world. Indulge your musical tastes with a highly prized ticket to the world-acclaimed Salzburg Festival, listen to the strains of Mozart floating through the air of Salzburg’s Old Town, or twirl in a mountain meadow while singing “the hills are alive...” on a Sound of Music tour.
Two thousand years ago, settlers came here for one of the world’s most precious commodities—salt, from which the province and city take their names.
The province developed into an independent principality governed by a powerful archbishop, who, depending on the political winds of the moment, allied the province with Rome, the Habsburgs, or the Holy Roman Empire. Salzburg was awarded to Austria following the Congress of Vienna in 1815.
Some great reasons to visit
The city of Salzburg exudes charm in every corner. The Old Town, dominated by the enormous 11th-century Hohensalzburg fortress, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Churches and palaces abound. A worthwhile visit is the 17th-century Residenz, which gives insight into the life style of the powerful Salzburg archbishops. You can’t possibly miss the influence of Mozart at every turn. Visit his birthplace, residence, and music conservatory—the Mozarteum—named after him, and try to attend at least one arts event from a yearlong schedule of festivals and art exhibits. The Salzburg Festival (Salzburger Festspiele) takes place from late July through August and is one of Europe’s major cultural events.
Salzkammergut Famed for its 76 lakes, each with a charming and picturesque village resort on the lakeshore and a panoramic mountain backdrop, the Salzkammergut stretches across three provinces: Salzburg, Upper Austria, and Carinthia. Salt mining brought the area riches, while Habsburg Emperor Franz Josef I established the area’s popularity with Europe’s aristocracy and artists in 1854. Two of the must-see towns are Hallstatt (with a history that spans over 4500 years, Hallstatt is a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and utterly lovely Gmunden, known for its ceramics and lakeside castles.
Hellbrunn Palace was the 17th-century pleasure palace of the Salzburg archbishops. Humorous squirting fountains set in magnificent gardens and fascinating palace rooms make the trip to the south of Salzburg city worthwhile.
Bad Dürrnberg Salt Mines Before the days of refrigerators, salt was used to preserve meat, earning its nickname “white gold.” This is an ancient area, as evidenced from Celtic archaeological sites. The archbishops of Salzburg financed their building spree by extracting salt from these mines. Today, the mines are given over to tourist pursuits, including a toboggan ride down the salt miners’ wooden slide and a boat trip across a salt lake.
Hohe Tauern National Park This spectacular national park—encompassing territory in three of Austria’s provinces: Salzburg, Carinthia, and Tyrol—is one of the largest areas in which to see Europe in the “wild.” The park includes Austria’s highest peak (the Grossglockner), the longest glacier in the eastern Alps (the Pasterze Glacier), and the tallest waterfall (Krimml Falls), as well as more than 300 peaks over 3000 m. (9850 ft.) in height. Don’t miss a drive over the famous Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse (high alpine road), considered one of the most beautiful mountain roads in the world.
Berchtesgaden Actually in Germany but an easy day excursion from the city of Salzburg, Berchtesgaden’s greatest fame is the site of Adolf Hitler’s retreat: “Eagle’s Nest.”
Eisriesenwelt Höhle Ice Caves form one of the largest cave complexes in the world, with some 42 km (26 miles) of subterranean galleries, halls, and labyrinthine pathways. Warm clothes are essential!