The city known above all else for Mozart and The Sound of Music has so much more going for it. It’s tiny, for starters, which makes it an easy destination to explore with children. Then there’s the architecture, with a staggeringly beautiful old town positively crammed with baroque gems, centered on the fairytale clifftop castle, and all located beside the rushing Salzach River. And the setting is jaw-dropping, the soaring peaks of the Alps providing a suitably cinematic backdrop.
But back to Mozart, who lived here 200 years ago and has imbued the city with his name over the centuries. From the delicious chocolate Mozartkugeln to the world-class annual classical music festival – not to mention the Mozart-themed tours and the many historical sights in town named after him – the musical genius is almost synonymous with Salzburg.
And speaking of musicals, the city was not only home to the real Von Trapp family, but various scenes of The Sound of Music were filmed here, providing an enjoyable range of experiences for those travelling to Salzburg with kids.
Away from the blockbuster sights of the Old Town, there are also smaller, quieter local neighbourhoods, such as the Andräviertel (great little boutiques and hipster cafés) and the Kaiviertel with fabulous interiors shops and restaurants.
Why is Salzburg perfect for families?
Every visit should start with a stroll through the Old Town, taking in the breathtaking baroque buildings and numerous sights, from Mozart’s birthplace to the Town Hall and the impressive Mozartplatz. Then head up to Hohensalzburg Fortress, standing proud on the Festungsberg high above the city’s rooftops. The fortress, reached by a stiff uphill walk or a fun ride in the funicular, has been here for nearly a thousand years, acquiring its current look in around 1500. Families can easily spend half a day here, wandering through its palatial rooms – don’t miss the Golden Hall – and climbing the ramparts for dramatic 360-degree views.
The Haus der Natur offers an impressive tour through natural history, covering everything from the dinosaurs to how the human body works. The Hallein Salt Mine is also well worth a visit, a network of underground caves and tunnels which have been used to excavate salt for 2,500 years – and there’s a long underground slide, too.
Salzburg really comes into its own in summer, with numerous outdoor activities (a Sound of Music-themed boat tour, anyone?) and bikes for hire. A scenic 20-minute bike ride to the south brings you to 17th century Schloss Hellbrunn, most famous for its Wasserspiele, or trick fountains – prepare to get soaked. There’s also a great playground here, and the Zoo is nearby. Summer is also when the city hosts the Festspiele, the globally-celebrated classical music festival, with numerous events and concerts aimed at children.
And you can’t visit Salzburg without spending plenty of time in its famous cafés. Some of our favourites include 220 Grad, serving the best coffee in town, while traditional Café Bazar has a beautiful terrace with views over the Salzach and the fortress.
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