General information about Salzburg
Already hundreds of years ago, some world travelers named Salzburg one of the most beautiful spots in the world; And still today, Salzburg is one of the most beautiful and idyllic towns in the world. What makes Salzburg so special? Why do millions of tourists around the world come to the little town at the Austrian border to Germany?
What are the reasons that Salzburg is allowed to name itself one of the most beautiful cities in the world? First of all, its geographical location gives Salzburg an exceptional position that can hardly be found anywhere else: Salzburg is situated in a little vale between two densely wooded mountains. From these two landmark mountains, the Kapuzinerberg and the Mönchsberg one can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view over the whole town.
The town itself is divided by a little river called Salzach; When there is clear view, the magnificent peaks of the Alps can be seen in the background. In springtime, when the sun is already gleaming and strong, the snow-coloured peaks of the Alps radiate and nearly glare from the background. Therefore, Salzburg is a paradise for unlimited hiking tours in the summer-time and during the winter months, there is a vast choice of famous ski resorts with slopes offering different levels of difficulty for any skier. But Salzburg is also a bathing area. One can hardly count the numerous swimming lakes in its vicinity, both on the Austrian and the German side.
But the picturesque Alps, idyllically located lakes and magnificent mountain peaks are not yet enough in order to attract tourist from all over the world. There is a lot more to it: Salzburg has an old history and flair and offers a cultural heritage. There is much to see: numerous churges, museums, castles and monateries.
About the history of Salzburg
Where exactly is Salzburg? For a Munich resident, this seems so clear as a person from Hamburg knows where the sea is. Salzburg is located on the most south-eastern corner of Germany. Of course, Salzburg is not situated in Germany, but in Austria. Yet, this was not always so. For a long time, Salzburg belonged to Bavaria; The Bavarian counts even used Salzburg as their main stronghold in the 8th century. Salzburg became a Bavarian diocese in the year 739. Archbishop Gebhard founded the fortress Hohensalzburg in 1077.
One of the most important dates of Salzburgīs history is January 27th, 1756. On this day, the most famous son of this town, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was born in the Getreidegasse.
Salzburg remained under the rule of the church until Napoleonīs troops marched in at the end of the 18th century. In the year 1806, Salzburg became an Austrian town for the first time, but shortly afterwards it was taken over by the Bavarians again. Not until 1816, Salzburg came under Austrian rule for good. In 1938, Salzburg was occupied by german troops for the last time, but after the second World War, it was freed by American troops.
But the history of Salzburg goes back much longer than described here. The vicinity around Salzburg, especially all the areas in the east are called the Salzkammergut (salt chamber region). Due to this precious commodity, this area has already been populated very early. The salt that was mined there was transported downstream on the river Salzach. The heyday of salt mining in the Salzkammergut was around 500 B.C. under the Celts. But archeologists found out that the Salzburg area has already been populated in stone age.
How to get to and where to sleep in Salzburg
What is the best way to get to Salzburg? Naturally by car, one might say. I think the following traffic report does not only sound familiar for people living in Munich: "Auf der A8 München-Salzburg zwischen Kreuz Brunnthal und Holzkirchen 15 km Stau, im weitern Verlauf am Irschenberg sowie am Kreuz Inntal..." No matter if it is in the summer holiday season or during the skiing season in winter, this announcement can be always heard in the radio after the news...
Even when you can comfortably travel to Salzburg by car, the journey may turn into hell when you end up in one of the traffic jams. Once you reached Salzburg, you will have difficulties finding a parking space. So if you realy need to go to Salzburg by car, it is advisable to park it outside the urban area and use public transport instead.
It is much easier to reach Salzburg by train; Nearly every hour there is a train from Munich to Salzburg. But especially in the weekends the trains are packed, too. Travelling by train has the advantage that you end up in the city centre directly. You can already see the castle before you reach the main station. The old town centre can be reached within 10-15 walking minutes from the main station.
When I went to Salzburg by train for the first time, I neither had a map nor did I know any travel tips; but even without those things, it was no problem to reach the old town centre straight away. There are signposts leading from the main station to the old town, simply pass the Mirabellgarten and cross the Staatsbrücke (state bridge); most of all, you are not the only person going this way...
When you head to the old town, it is advisable to go straight through the Mirabellgarten. There, you already come across one of the highlights, the Schloss Mirabell. The Mirabellgarten also offers a wonderful view at the castle Hohensalzburg.
If you want to stay overnight, there is plenty of hotels in all different categories. But it might be hard to find a hotel in August which is not only the peak season, but also the festival season of the Salzburger Festspiele. The same applies for the pre-Christmas period, as many visitors of the famous Christmas market stream into Salzburg.
Salzburg city tours
Salzburg is a town that can easily be explored by foot. Nearly all sights are within a stoneīs throw of each other. But there is also a choice of organised city tours which can be booked at the Mirabellplatz.
When you wish to explore Salzburg in a more sophisticated and nostalgic way, you can take a horse-drawn cab (Fiaker) which brings you from sight to sight. The coachman will explain each popular spot and give you the historical background.
But the best way to get around is by foot; Even when you hike to the viewpoints on the two mountains Mönchsberg and Kapuzinerberg, you are still able to see all sights within one day.
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Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz