Salzburg Beyond “The Sound of Music”

How to Explore a Charming City Without Following the Stereotype

By Melanie Prescott

Though the hills and mountaintops of Salzburg, Austria, captivate the hearts of its people and the millions of tourists who visit them, those hills are not alive with the sound of music with which most Americans are familiar. Yes, some external scenes of “The Sound of Music” were shot on location in Salzburg. No, the townspeople do no recreate the movie’s infamous songs while biking around the city doing day-to-day activities. The charming city of Salzburg offers way more than a location for filming. The four attractions below are sure to reveal the historical charm Salzburg has to offer visitors without uttering a single tune of “The Sound of Music” soundtrack.


Eisriesenwelt Werfen

The largest ice cave in the world rests in a market town fewer than 30 miles outside of Salzburg in Werfen, Austria. The journey to the entrance of the ice cave 600 meters up the side of the mountain takes form by bus or car, then by foot, by cable care and, again, by foot. The cave extends 40 meters inside, and the tour guides provide visitors with the history and science behind the formation of the ice cave. Although the cave is slightly outside the city of Salzburg, the drive or train ride is well worth the sight and experience of exploring the wonder of the ice cave.

(Photo by Melanie Prescott)

Hohensalzburg Fortress

Visitors and locals alike have a clear view of the Hohensalzburg Fortress in most areas of the city. The fortress sits atop the Festungsberg mountain, which was a strategic build to prevent hostile attacks against the archbishops in residence some centuries ago. Apart from the history and artifacts of the more than 900-year-old fortress, the whole city of Salzburg can be seen from the fortress rooftop.

(Photo by Melanie Prescott)

Hellbrunn Palace

The Hellbrunn Palace was built more than 400 centuries ago by Archbishop Markus Sittikus as a pleasure palace. The palace extends to more than 140 acres. One of the main attractions of the Hellbrunn Palace are the trick fountains. The trick fountains include automats, grottos and fountains, which are all used to surprise visitors with squirts of water. The largest trick fountain is in the back of the palace, which is supplied by a natural spring.


Salzburger Freilichmuseum

The rural history of Salzburg over the span of six centuries is replicated at the Salzburg Freilichtmusem, an open-air museum. About 100 authentic, historical farmhouses and buildings rest on the museum grounds, which covers more than 100 acres. Also, the museum train runs throughout the entire grounds, which takes about 30 minutes from start to finish, and provides a mid-station that arrives at the Salettl restaurant.

(Photo by Melanie Prescott)

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