There are two things associated with Salzburg: the all-time classic movie “The Sound of Music”, and the legendary composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – and while “The Sound of Music” has some epic scenes shot in Salzburg, and Mozart really fits into the spirit of Salzburg, there is more to this city than just that.
Nevertheless, Mozart is a big part of the city, so let’s start with the influences he had on the streets and history …
The Mozart Obsession
Salzburg is known as the city where Mozart was born and raised, something which they’re eager to point out: with streets named after him and statues built of him, the whole city breathes Mozart.
His childhood home and the house where he lived later on in life are both attractions to visit (Mozarts Gebursthaus and Mozart Wohnhaus), as well as streets, bridges (Mozartsteg), squares (Mozartplatz), buildings and statues (Mozart Monument).
These however, aren’t the only things named after Mozart – there is even a special sweet dedicated to the composer: Mozartkugeln.
Literally translated to “Mozart balls” (not even kidding!), this tasty treat is a specialty of Salzburg and a must when visiting the city.
With a ball of pistachio in the middle covered in nougat and a chocolate coating on top, this chocolate candy melts in your mouth.
The Mozartkugeln can be bought everywhere, and you usually won’t have to walk more than a few meters down the road until you see a shop filled with Mozartkugeln in different packagings.
But while the shops with the brightest windows might look the most inviting, they usually sell them much more expensively, so if you want ‘more balls for you buck’ just get them at the supermarket instead.
The Old Town
Salzburg’s old town is small, charming and quite confusing. The narrow, winding streets are like a maze, but part of the fun is to get lost in them and just explore the little alleys, many squares and cafes dotted along the way.
The beautiful world famous baroque architecture of the Old Town really adds to the atmosphere and is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Two streets not to miss are Goldgasse and the Getreidegasse – Gold Gasse is a small, narrow lane well-known for its antique shops, galleries and book shops. With medieval and baroque buildings lined along the curving street, it looks very picturesque.
Getreidegasse, also known as Grain Lane, is another beautiful street in Salzburg, and dating back to Roman times it’s one of the oldest in Salzburg.
What makes this street so pretty and unique are the many creative wrought iron signs that hang above each shop. Each sign illustrates the profession or business of the shop, an old tradition that was used in the days when most people were illiterate.
These signs can be seen all over the Old Town, but no street has as many and as beautiful signs as Getreidegasse – this is also the street where you will find Mozarts Gebursthaus, the house where Mozart was born. Today it’s a popular museum devoted to Mozart and his family.
Some other great places to visit are Mirabell Gardens (with the quirky dwarf gardens) and Salzburg Castle which provides amazing views over the city and surrounding valleys.
Eating and Drinking
Mozart balls aren’t the only sweets Salzburg has to offer – in fact, for the sweet toothed there is something much bigger – and crazier – on the menu.
Salzburg’s signature dish is a dessert called Salzburger Nockerln. It’s one of the strangest desserts I’ve had, and I can’t quite describe what it tastes like – only that it kind of disappears in your mouth.
Always made in a portion large enough for two, the Nockerln is a sweet puffy soufflé made of egg yolk, flour, sugar and vanilla, mixed into a big dough with stiff egg whites that is then baked under low heat in the oven. Often it’s served with raspberry sauce in the bottom of the plate.
Some places that serve Salzburger Nockerln are Zum Mohren (used to have guests such as Mozart and Franz Schubert), S’Nockerl (a new modern restaurant) and St. Peter Stiftkeller (who claim to be the oldest restaurant in Europe, dating back to year 803!).
For drinks, Salzburg has some excellent beer, with many cute little bars and breweries around town.
The oldest brewery in Salzburg is the Stiegl’s Brauwelt, the largest privately owned brewery in Austria which also houses a beer museum.
Dating back to 1492, the brewery has seen many people pass through its doors to enjoy a pint of beer. According to Mozart’s sister Nannerl, even the composer drank at the Stiegl’s brewery.
In August 1780, Nannerl wrote: ‘… at 3 o’clock the three of us went to the Stiegl brewery to watch a game of skittles…’ – still to this day they deliver their beer barrels with horse drawn carriages to the local pubs in Salzburg.
These are the things we enjoyed most about Salzburg on our visit – have you visited?