The name Salzburg translates to “mountain of salt.”
It was this very resource—known colloquially as “white gold”—that made this city great (and the archbishops that reigned here incredibly rich). With the spoils from mining, the members of the ruling class built opulent state rooms and concert halls. The city took shape within just a few decades, and is now considered one of the most exemplary showcases of Baroque architecture in the world. Salzburg’s city center is arguably the best preserved in Central Europe with tall domes peeking over the rooftops of Old Town and hillside fortresses looming overhead. Additionally, Salzburg is notable for its exquisite cultural composition. Once the social and governmental seat of its region, Salzburg was an independent state for nearly 300 years, after breaking from Bavaria and before becoming part of Austria in the early 1800s. It is also the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (and the von Trapp family—can’t forget about them), whose work is emblematic of the region’s musical legacy.
Salzburg is a relatively small city built up on either side of the Salzach River, a right tributary of the Inn River and your number-one tool for orienting yourself. The city center spans both sides of the river. To the east you will find the Mirabell palace and gardens, the main train station, and Mozart’s residence. Areas to note include Linzer Gasse, a major pedestrian street, and Mirabellplatz, a major square just in front of Mirabell palace and a frequent rendezvous site for tour groups and open-air markets. To the west lies Salzburg’s Old Town. Here, pedestrian streets bustle with people from all walks of life, and most of the city sights, including Mozart’s birthplace and the Salzburg Cathedral in the DomQuartier, stand in all of their former glory. Areas to note on this side of the river include Judengasse, Linzer Gasse’s western counterpart, Residenzplatz, a main square in the middle of the Residenz Palace, the Salzburg Cathedral and the Salzburg Museum.
The Salzburg airport, named for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, can be reached on flights from most major cities in Europe and many major cities around the world, though the latter requires a connecting flight. If you are coming from elsewhere in Europe, travel via train is often the most convenient, as the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof train station is situated just on the northeast corner of the city center, easily within a bus ride or walking distance of many sights and accommodations.
Salzburg does not have an underground metro, but buses run just about anywhere you may wish to go, and 1hr. tickets cost just over €2. Once in the city center, Salzburg is very walkable, and, in fact, you will often be forced to walk, as much of Old Town consists of pedestrian streets. Bikes are also a popular method of transportation. Rental stores can be found throughout the city.
Tourist Offices: Located in Old Town in Mozartplatz, a smaller square right off of Residenzplatz (Mozartplatz 5; 66288 98 70; www.salzburg.info/en; open daily 9am-6pm).
Banks/ATMs/Currency Exchange: Most establishments in Salzburg only accept cash, but banks and ATMs are widely available to withdraw money.
Post Offices: There are many post offices throughout the city, one central location is listed (Residenzplatz 9; 0800 010 100; open M-F 8am-6pm).
Internet: Internet access is fairly standard at most accommodations in Salzburg, but worth checking ahead on.
BGLTQ+ Resources: The brochure “Austria Gay Guide” includes information about gay resources and establishments in cities including Salzburg. Find more information online at www.gayguide.me.
Emergency Number: 112
Police: Police stations are located throughout the city. Listed below is the information for the station located in Salzburg’s town hall (Rudolfskai 2; 059 133 55 88100).
US Embassy: Austria’s US Embassy is located in Vienna (Boltzmanngasse 16; (+43-1) 31339-0; open M-F 8am-4:30pm). In case of emergencies, the US consulate in Munich, Germany may be easier to access (Königinstraße 5; 8928880).
Hospitals: Unfallkrankenhaus (Doktor-Franz-Rehrl-Platz 5; 059 3934 4000; open daily 24hr).
Pharmacies: Pharmacies in Salzburg are widespread and easy to find. Pharmacies are called “apotheke,” and are marked with a red symbol that looks like a cursive “L” or the number four. Engel-Apotheke (0662 87 32 21) is the most central pharmacy.