If you follow along with Mad's Muses, you’ve probably seen my post on The Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg, Austria. But what you haven’t read are all of the other awesome things that call Salzburg home. My ultimate favorite place to visit in the city is Festung Hohensalzburg, or the “high Salzburg castle”. The castle sits high on a hill and overlooks the streets, river, & buildings that make up the stunning city of Salzburg.
The castle is actually one of the oldest medieval fortresses of its size in all of Europe, with its establishment beginning in the early second century. Since its beginnings, it has become a popular tourist attraction – its age, size, & history contribute to its popularity.
Hohensalzburg is home to some of the most immaculate & intriguing décor I've seen, and it is even more impressive because it is hundreds of years old. During the castle's first years, it was home to princely archbishops who lived in a high quality of living, especially given the period. The rooms that were occupied by these archbishops have woodworkings that line the walls in gold, along with blue, red & green pieces, that take you back in time to days of the Church's royalty. The detail put into each carving shows just how grand the lifestyle of these people was.
In one series of rooms, there is a history of the structure with pictures, timelines, and drawings. All of these depictions show how drastically the purpose of the castle has changed since its establishment. Wings were added & destroyed, and uses shifted from the home of noble archbishops to a defensive fortress to a prison for Nazi activists in the ‘30s, with so many purposes in between. There is no end to the history you can learn from the castle. Not to mention the views are exquisite.
During my visit for Festung Hohensalzburg, we rode the cable car up the steep hill to enter the castle. Cable cars are my favorite, so this only piqued my interest even more. When we got to the top, we stepped off of the platform and ventured toward the castle. The first thing we saw was the view from the balcony, and I could have stood there for hours. We took photos and enjoyed the view of what would become my favorite European city.
The entrance to the castle itself is located off of the stone balcony, and when we were finished perusing the viewing area we ventured into the castle. There are multiple floors so we took our time, pausing to read plaques about the history of the castle & its many uses. I didn't know much about the history of Salzburg prior to my visit, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the historical, museum-like rooms located in a wing of the castle. I always try to learn while I'm traveling and the fortress was the perfect place for just that. In addition to the museum section, each room had labels telling the use of that particular room during different periods of the castle's existence. Of course, not all of the castle was available for viewing but it gave a good picture of what the castle was & eventually became.
After venturing through the castle, we exited to a second balcony with fewer tourists and got my favorite shots of the day. The panoramic view of the mountains paired with clouds & the square houses below just screams Europe. My favorite memory of Salzburg is standing on that perch with my mom staring out at the most serene landscape of the countryside, the homes, & the mountains past the city.
The location of the fortress is central to the city so it makes for an excellent exploration starting point. When you exit the cable car after your trip back down, you're near a square that splits off into several different directions. This is the perfect place to continue venturing around the city, with quaint restaurants and charming shops speckled throughout the cobblestone streets.
If you would like to learn more about the castle or plan your visit, be sure to check out their website here.
Hi, I'm Madeline
Blogger, teacher, writer, traveler, reader. Welcome to Mad's Muses!
On My Mind