Salzburg is the underrated and often overlooked jewel of Europe. Rarely does one hear about Salzburg when their buddies come back from Europe after a backpacking trip. They'll talk about London, Paris, Amsterdam perhaps, Milan, Rome, Barcelona... but there's also Salzburg.
The small city of around 150,000 inhabitants boasts quite a history. It is the home of Wolfgang Amaedeus Mozart and has a long and proud heritage as a musical city. The Salzburg Castle overlooks the city, maintaining a long history in which it was never successfully seiged. It is also the setting of the Sound of Music. Here the famous Austrian Alps from the musical can be seen in its original splendor.
Mozart is not German!
Mozart is from Salzburg and Salzburg will never let anyone forget it. His name and portrait adorn just about anything from coffee mugs, T-shirts to chocolates. In fact, the Mozartkugel is a famous chocolate and is perhaps the area's most prized product, second only to Mozart himself. The Mozartkugeln must not be missed and any traveler can either pick one up at any souvenir store or at one of Salzburg’s numerous chocolate shops.
A trip to Salzburg without entering the Salzburg castle is like having a hamburger without the burger, lettuce, onions, cucumber, tomato sauce… basically just half a bun.
The trip into the castle consists of a Alpen tram ride - fun for those who have never experienced it before.
Inside the castle there's almost a little of something for everyone. There is a nice restaurant with a great view of the city where local beer or – for those who don’t drink – a fine local drink called Almdudler are served and enjoy the view. The service at this restaurant is a little sub-par but the rest of the castle more than makes up for it.
What does the castle offer?
Military history - for those who can't get enough of destruction and mayhem, the castle protects hundreds of years of military history in relevance to Salzburg. The castle was defended by those who wore Medieval armor to those who wore the Swastika of Nazi Germany and the castle pays tribute to all those who served within its walls.
Religion - Religion was perhaps the single most important societal factor in Europe until the modern age and the castle's exhibits do not ignore this. In fact, there is a dig inside the castle that reveals an excavation of one of the oldest churches in German speaking Europe.
Every day life - The castle also has exhibits on every day life. Curious things like Medieval toilets and a complete reconstruction of a Medieval kitchen are just some examples.
If you can, try to rent a car and visit just outside Salzburg and enjoy the view. Hitler picked Salzburg to be his vacation point of choice and if a man who ruled all of Europe picked this one spot, then it’s a safe bet that this place has one heck of a view. So for anyone going to Europe, plan a visit to Austria, and on any trip to Austria, go visit Salzburg. For music fans, especially classical music fans, Salzburg is an absolute must.