Visiting Hohenwerfen Fortress Guide, Expectations, and Tips

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Austria, despite its small size, is home to several castles and fortresses. While these Austrian castles may not be as renowned as Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany, Cité de Carcassonne in southern France, or Alhambra Palace in Spain, they are undoubtedly remarkable, particularly in terms of historical significance and the enchanting fairytale experience.

One of these castles is Hohenwerfen Fortress, situated in the Austrian Alps. It’s an incredible, time-transporting landmark, equally deserving of a visit alongside Kreuzenstein CastleLiechtenstein Castle, and Laxenburg Castle near Vienna, as well as Ambras Castle in Innsbruck and Hohensalzburg Fortress in Salzburg.

However, unlike the other castles I mentioned earlier, Hohenwerfen Fortress is absolutely unique due to its location amidst the mountains. It’s a breathtaking destination! Fun fact: This fortress sits atop a hill and has stood there for nearly 900 years. With its charming appearance and scenic setting, I believe it ranks among Austria’s most beautiful castles.

Situated near Salzburg, Hohenwerfen Fortress makes for an incredible day trip if you’re spending two days in Salzburg or three days exploring the area. And if you’re contemplating a visit, let me provide you with an overview of what awaits you within the fortress, along with helpful tips and essential visitor information.

Summary

Hohenwerfen Fortress is an 11th-century castle perched on a 623-meter-high cliff in Werfen, a town 40 kilometers south of Salzburg. Built by the prince-archbishops, it is also known as the “sister” of Hohensalzburg Fortress. Today, this fortress is considered one of the top tourist destinations in Salzburg outside the city; an eye-catching landmark of the Salzach Valley; and, as a wanderer, it is an enchanting sight that can make fantasies come to life.

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Expectations

Hohenwerfen Fortress is more than a picturesque magical scene in the Alps.

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Different scenes in Hohenwerfen Fortress, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
Different scenes in Hohenwerfen Fortress
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Hohensalzburg Fortress houses plenty of fascinating things from the medieval ages and it has spectacular birds of prey shows you can watch.

From what I’ve discovered, it’s a great place to visit with kids. The exhibits and shows are sure to captivate their imagination. But it doesn’t mean that it’s only for kids! As an adult, visiting Hohenwerfen Fortress is a chance to immerse ourselves in another time and place, just like the movies do, but in real life. No digital creation, no matter how realistic it may be, can compare to that experience!

If you are a photographer, Hohenwerfen Fortress is a must-see during your trip to Salzburg or Austria. The fortress offers a variety of photo opportunities, from its small windows to the wide open garden with the view of the alps. You will not be disappointed with the number of great shots you can take. Sadly, there’s a caveat: drones aren’t allowed to fly from the fortress

After exploring the fortress, I realized that there are five beautiful aspects you can look forward to experiencing during your visit. In my opinion, these are the five reasons why I believe this fortress is worth considering for a multi-day trip to Salzburg.

Rich History: Time Transporting Destination

If you haven’t visited a historical place in the Alps, this 11th-century fortress is a great place to start.

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What to expect in Hohenwerfen Fortress, History of the fortress, and more.

Not only does Hohenwerfen Fortress have a long history, but it also has an intriguing past that allows visitors to imagine scenes from bygone eras as they explore the fortress. Did you know that beyond its fairytale appearance today, Hohenwerfen Fortress is filled with tales of power struggles, rebellion, and imprisonment?

Believe it or not, within the fortress’ walls, even powerful personalities were once held captive. You can almost hear the echoes of their footsteps as they paced to their cells, plotting their next move or lamenting their fate.

In fact, when exploring the Residential Quarters of Hohenwerfen Fortress, you might come across some intriguing inscriptions on the wall. These inscriptions date back to 1611 and were left by a famous prisoner from Salzburg, Dietrich von Raitenau — a prince-archbishop of Salzburg! He was held captive there for three weeks and left his mark on history through these inscriptions.

Aside from Prince Archbishop Dietrich von Raitenau, two notable personalities were also held captive inside Hohenwerfen Fortress: the governor of Styria, and Adalbert III, another prince-archbishop. 

You can read the full history of Hohenwerfen Fortress in the resources section of this post. But, here is a brief overview…

The story of Hohenwerfen Fortress began in the year 1075 when Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg decided to build a strategic bulwark atop a 155-meter high rock. The fortress was meant to secure the route across the Eastern Alps along the Salzach river against the forces of King Henry IV of Germany during the Imperial Investiture Controversy.

Over the centuries, Hohenwerfen Fortress underwent several modifications to adapt to changing times and circumstances. Like in the 16th century, when the fortress faced a challenge raised by the riotous farmers and miners from the south of Salzburg. As they moved towards the city they laid fire and severely damaged the castle. However, the siege failed and the fortress survived.

Matthäus Lang, who was the prince-archbishop of Salzburg at the time, was determined to rebuild Hohenwerfen Fortress. As punishment for supporting a rebellion, he forced the farmers to work on the reconstruction of the fortress.

This event gave Prince Archbishop Johann Kuen-Belasy, the next prince-archbishop, an idea to improve Hohenwerfen Fortress’ defenses. So, he ordered a massive re-modelling of Hohenwerfen Fortress, importing state-of-the-art know-how from Italy in building fortifications and bastions that should stand firearms and cannons.

Years later, there were more adaptations made to Hohenwerfen, especially during the 30-years-war between 1608 and 1638. A gunpowder tower was erected during the reign of Prince Archbishop Paris Lodron in 1623. However, when Bavaria conquered Salzburg with Napoleonic France, all gun powered weapons in the fortress had to be delivered off from the fortress to French troops.

After the war ended, Salzburg became secularized and city officials debated whether to demolish Hohenwerfen Fortress or repurpose it as a prison. Luckily, Emperor Franz I of Austria had a fondness for Hohenwerfen and prevented its destruction. Despite this, the Bavarians neglected the fortress and left it to decay for many years. It was not until Hohenwerfen Fortress came under Austrian rule between 1824 and 1833 that it was finally renovated.

Regrettably, Hohenwerfen Fortress was damaged once again in a fire in 1931. Archduke Eugen, who purchased it in 1896, oversaw its reconstruction. After being rebuilt in 1938, the property was acquired by the province of Salzburg.

During World War II, it was used as a Gauführerschule, a Nazi education camp under the administration of the Gauleiter. And lastly, before it became a tourist attraction that we can explore today, it remained a civil facility — used as a training camp by the Austrian Gendarmerie (rural police) until 1987.

So, with all these in mind, what do you think you will imagine first when you arrive at Hohenwerfen Fortress?

Is it the furious farmer’s revolt, the dramatic event when prince-archbishops were imprisoned, or the Nazi’s harsh reeducation facilities? Either way, Hohenwerfen Fortress is indeed a window into a piece of Austria’s history if you ignite your imagination during your visit!

As I share more about my discoveries at Hohenwerfen Fortress, you’ll learn about the age and history of the various features and parts of the fortress that you can explore when you visit.

Medieval Architecture: Straight Out of a Fantasy Novel

Most of Hohenwerfen Fortress may not date back to the 11th century, but its quaint appearance is still captivating.

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One of the beautiful rustic doors in Hohenwerfen Fortress, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
One of the beautiful rustic doors in Hohenwerfen Fortress
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It’s like a real-life version of Disneyland, with its well-preserved medieval architecture making it truly fantastic! From the fortified gatehouses with portcullises to the thick walls that could withstand cannon fire and the belfry housing ancient bells, it’s a must-see for any fan of fantasy movies like Narnia, Lord of the Rings, King Arthur, Willow, and Warcraft. 

The moment you set foot inside the fortress, the rustic atmosphere will already surround you, even before you see the main parts! Expand the sections below to get a virtual tour of the different parts of the fortress.

1. First and Second Gatehouses

While you can enter the fortress in two ways: by funicular or through the gatehouses, walking through the gatehouses will give you a greater sense of time travel.

First gatehouse of Hohenwerfen Fortress, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
First gatehouse of Hohenwerfen Fortress

The dark wooden chalet, the elevated wooden guard’s path, and the garden between the first and second gatehouses are a great introduction to the medieval experiences that await deeper within the fortress. Before going further into the fortress, take a moment to imagine the gatehouses in their heyday.

The first, secured by three iron-studded gates and a portcullis, dates back to 1641, during the final stages of construction under Prince Archbishop Paris Lodron. With its five ironclad double-wing doors and portcullis, surely, the gate gave intruders an almost-impossible means to enter the fortress. If you’re curious, the drive roller for the portcullis can be found in the attic of the porter house.

The second gatehouse, built in 1535 during the time of Archbishop Mathäus Lang, was an additional fortification after part of the fortress was burned down and destroyed during the Peasants’ War

2. Garden and Salzach Tower

After passing through the gatehouses, you will arrive at the fortress’s courtyard garden.

The Hohenwerfen Fortress courtyard garden where the birds of prey show takes place, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
The Hohenwerfen Fortress courtyard garden where the birds of prey show takes place

Here you’ll see the spectacular view of the mountains, the pointed roof of the tower, and the thick masonry wall enclosing the garden. They will take your breath away.

From the second gatehouse, the fortress’ tower you’ll see below the mountains is called Salzach Tower. Constructed in 1564 under the rule of Archbishop Kuen-Belasy, it served as a powder magazine in anticipation of an attack by the Turks and the looming threat of the Thirty Years’ War. Today, it houses a falcon mews chamber and a horse stable, with a cliff rising 100 meters perpendicular to the Salzach behind it.

Salzach Tower in Hohenwerfen Fortress, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
Salzach Tower in Hohenwerfen Fortress

If there are no events happening in Hohenwerfen’s courtyard garden, you are free to walk on its sloping middle part and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surroundings outside the fortress.

To get the best view, head straight to the highest point of the garden in front of the vine-covered facade near the fortress’ north wall or Straw Tower. With the mountains, meadows, and medieval fortifications in sight, you will undoubtedly be transported back in time to the days of kings and knights! From that vantage point, you can picture the fortress’ defenders repelling the attackers thanks to the advantage of the slope.

The vantage point is in between the big tree and Straw Tower, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
The vantage point is in between the big tree and Straw Tower

Turning around, you’ll realize that it is also a great spot to view the main building of Hohenwerfen Fortress — you will be able to see how large the fortress truly is.

You are now likely eager to enter Hohenwerfen Fortress. To do so, walk along the fortress’ north wall and through the Straw Tower and Marien Gate.

3. Marien Gatehouse

Marien Gate or “Woman’s Gate” is the third level of fortification of Hohenwerfen Fortress; a perfect example of medieval military architecture.

Marien Gate in Hohenwerfen Fortress, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
Marien Gate in Hohenwerfen Fortress

While it has a plain and modest appearance, it was certainly intimidating to would-be invaders of the fortress, especially with its arrow slits atop the gate. Constructed in the 15th century, this formidable structure was designed to protect the living quarters with the addition of barbicans and bastions. One of its most unique features is the rotatable wooden embrasure, a rarity in Europe at the time.

4. Arsenal

After stepping through the Marien Gate, you’ll find yourself face-to-face with one of the gigantic parts of Hohenwerfen Fortress — the Arsenal.

Originally built for food storage, its four floors once held supplies and grains. But as the fortress was reinforced in the 17th century, it transformed into an arsenal, with cannons and weapons distributed throughout. Only the top floor remained for food storage, while the bottom housed a wine cellar with a giant wine barrel. Armor was stored on the ground level, and weapons on the next floor up.

Today, it serves as a venue for special exhibitions, such as a fascinating Leonardo da Vinci exhibit in 2019. Beside the Arsenal is the Wine Gate and the staircase, which leads to the courtyard and main castle. The staircase has many steps, though. 

The staircase and the part of the courtyard you’ll see after the staircase, Hohenwerfen Fortress, Salzburg, Austria
The staircase and the part of the courtyard you’ll see after the staircase

While it may be today’s inconvenience. It’s all part of the medieval experience at Hohenwerfen Fortress.

5. Courtyard

If you make it to the courtyard when it isn’t crowded with tourists, you’ll undoubtedly feel like you’re not in the 21st century.

Hohenwerfen Fortress, lower courtyard, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
Hohenwerfen Fortress, lower courtyard

Note: The fortress’ café, souvenir shop,  and queueing line for the tour of the fortress can be found in the courtyard of Hohenwerfen Castle.

Since the courtyard is where you’ll see the oldest parts of Hohenwerfen Fortress, and the architecture of the surrounding structures is an absolute throwback.

The courtyard of Hohenwerfen Fortress, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
The courtyard of Hohenwerfen Fortress

When I explored the courtyard, I also saw centuries-old toys, full body knight armor, and medieval weapons. I think they are used whenever there are events and shows in the courtyard.

The belfry, clock tower, cannon, and medieval toys in Hohenwerfen Fortress, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
The belfry, clock tower, cannon, and medieval toys in Hohenwerfen Fortress

One of the first things that I’ve noticed in the fortress, however, are the fat clock tower or belfry and the well with elaborate wrought iron railing on top.

But perhaps, the most notable architectural features of Hohenwerfen Fortress’s courtyard are still its defensive features. Small towers with arrow slits and gun windows overlook the courtyard and could provide strong protection against invading enemies who make it past the Marien gatehouse.

Benches and arches in Hohenwerfen Fortress’ courtyard, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
Benches and arches in Hohenwerfen Fortress’ courtyard

As far as I know, you can only explore this part of the fortress on your own. To see the rest, you must join a tour–which is very much recommended!

6. Inside the Castle

Joining a tour of the Hohenwerfen Fortress will give you the opportunity to see both rustic scenes and architectural elegance, such as in the Residential Quarters.

Residential Quarters of HOhenwerfen Fortress, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
Residential Quarters of Hohenwerfen Fortress

Upon entering the quarters, you’ll be surrounded by stunning Swiss pine paneling, with intricate oak and pear wood rosettes adorning the ceiling. These staterooms, built between 1566 and 1568, were designed for prestigious events and are a testament to the craftsmanship of the time.

View from the top of the belfry of Hohenwerfen Fortress, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
View from the top of the belfry of Hohenwerfen Fortress

Another interesting feature is the 16th century belfry, which has three levels to explore: the clock pendulum, the trumpeter balcony, and the clockworks. Each level offers a unique glimpse into the tower’s history and function.

At the top of the tower, in a lantern-shaped structure above the roof dome, hangs a four-ton bell forged in 1568 in Innsbruck. Known as the “Schlossahnl,” this bell served as a storm warning, among other uses. Its deep, resonant sound could be heard for miles around, alerting residents to approaching danger.

The bell and rustic wooden roof truss in Hohenwerfen Fortress, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
The bell and rustic wooden roof truss in Hohenwerfen Fortress

Here are more impressions of Hohenwerfen Fortress castle interiors:

Ancient frescoes along the hallway of Hohenwerfen Fortress, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
Ancient frescoes along the hallway of Hohenwerfen Fortress
Torture equipment and a manikin guard in Hohenwerfen Fortress, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
Torture equipment and a manikin guard in Hohenwerfen Fortress
The dungeon and oubliette in Hohenwerfen Fortress, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
The dungeon and oubliette in Hohenwerfen Fortress
The chapel and more exhibits inside Hohenwerfen Fortress, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
The chapel and more exhibits inside Hohenwerfen Fortress

Intriguing Exhibition: Wizards and Witches in Salzburg

Some of the unique discoveries you can have from Hohenwerfen Fortress is in one of its exhibitions, The Legend of Jackl.

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Summary of the exhibition; what to expect there

For fantasy movie lovers, it’s a must-see, offering an absolutely intriguing experience. Visiting the exhibits, you’ll allow yourself to discover the different side of Salzburg several centuries ago.

In a nutshell, this exhibition shows one of the darkest chapters of Salzburg’s history, shedding light on the practice of witchcraft throughout the ages. During your tour inside the exhibition, you’ll be following the story of Jakob Koller and his followers, who faced prosecution by Salzburg’s royal court between 1675 and 1679. You’ll discover how 198 people were accused of practicing witchcraft, with many tortured for their confessions and 138 ultimately executed.

You will explore four floors of the old armory, where you’ll encounter fairy-tale characters, historical witches and healers, and modern-day cults that celebrate magic. Here’s the summary:

  • First floor — “Imagination”. It displays myths and fairy tales, spells and incantations. The must-see things here are the flying broomsticks and the witches’ bells.
  • Second floor — “Fear and Protection”. Here, you’ll discover that there are good and evil witches. The books, items, and tools that contain black magic and counterspells awaits you here as well. If you’re interested in the herbal medicine and magical remedies they used, you’ll also find them here. It is truly astounding how all of these artifacts have been gathered and preserved even today.
  • Third floor — “Fire”. Exploring this area, you’ll learn how Salzburg conducted their witch trials. From prison to torture, convictions to the different methods of executions.
  • Fourth floor — “Witchcraft Today”. Discover how witchcraft still exists today in different parts of Africa, Thailand, Bali, and more.

At the end of the tour inside the exhibition, you should have gained a deeper understanding of a time when belief in witches and sorcerers was widespread, and magical practices were an integral part of daily life. You’ll realize that some of the stories from the fantasy movies you have seen are actually based on real events!

Definitely, whether you’re a history enthusiast, traveling with children, or simply curious about the world of sorcery, this exhibition in Hohenwerfen Fortress is sure to captivate you. If you are interested in seeing some of the most hideous voodoo dolls and terrifying witchcraft artifacts, the exhibition at Hohenwerfen Fortress will not disappoint.

Children will love the interactive opportunities to fly over the castle walls on a witch’s broom or cast spells with a witch. Adults can witness a 3D holographic re-enactment of an interrogation from the Ramingstein beggar’s wedding, which took place during the last of Salzburg’s major witch trials.

Unique Find: The Historic Regional Falconry Center

Hohenwerfen Fortress offers a variety of discoveries in one location, making it a worthwhile stop while in Salzburg.  Aside from the history of sorcery in Salzburg, you can also learn about Falconry which is a passion of some prince archbishops of Salzburg.

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Discover the Regional Falconry Center

If you choose to walk to Hohenwerfen Fortress, you will be able to tell right away that the fortress is deeply linked to falconry as soon as you step foot on its grounds. Images of prince-archbishops, dukes, and even military commanders with falcons can be found all over the fortress’ courtyard garden and Straw tower.

You can, however, begin to explore it further inside the Waller Tower, just next to the second gatehouse of Hohenwerfen Fortress. Erected in 1535 under the orders of Archbishop Mathäus Lang, this imposing tower was originally intended for defense, but later found use as a storage facility for cannons. Its formidable appearance is characterized by thick walls and a protective shield at the top, which surrounds three quarters of the tower.

Today, the Waller Tower is home to the first Austrian Falconry Museum, where visitors can explore a thousand years of falconry and raptor hunting history. The falconry museum has a variety of exhibits, including photographs and paintings of falconers, different styles of falconry clothing, replicas of various birds, and maps showing where these birds live. I was particularly taken with the falconer’s clothing, which I found to be quite stylish. It reminds me of the Legend of Zelda. 

The Austrian Falconry Museum’s exhibition extends to the Dark Staircase of Hohenwerfen Fortress, though. Constructed after 1535, this hidden stairway served as a weather-protected entry and exit to the second bailey in the courtyard. Its purpose was to prevent the enemy from spotting troop movements within the fortress from the surrounding high mountains. 

Today, visitors can find informative boards about different types of birds and recent photographs of falconry events from around the world in Hohenwerfen Fortress’ Dark Staircase.

Spectacular Fun: Falconry Show

The Austrian Falconry Museum, located in Hohenwerfen Fortress, not only offers knowledge about falconry and its connection to the fortress. But, also it allows visitors to witness the art of falconry through their birds of prey show.

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Learn about the Falconry Show

While the main objective of the falconry show is to promote an understanding of nature, their presentation will help you understand what falconry is really about. You will learn that caring for birds of prey requires not only knowledge of their biology and behavior.  Most importantly, there’s empathy, love, and passion. It’s a job for life they say!

The birds of prey shows are performed by professional falconers who have passed the hunters and falconers’ license exam, so you can be sure that the birds are not being mishandled.

So, what is it like during the show? Imagine standing in the historic Hohenwerfen Castle, surrounded by breathtaking views of the valley below. As you look up, you see birds of prey soaring above your head, showing off their incredible speed and agility. The staff is dressed in medieval clothes, adding to the atmosphere, and there’s even live medieval music from brass instrumentalists that transports you back in time. It’s an experience you won’t forget.

While the commentary is only in German, the birds sort of speak for themselves and put on quite a show.

As you watch the show, you’ll see a good variety of birds on display, including majestic eagles and intimidating vultures. The experience is nothing short of amazing. Depending on the falconer’s skills, the birds can come so close to you that you can feel the rush of air as they fly by. You’ll be in awe as you watch these magnificent creatures soar above your head with grace and power.

If you’re planning to watch the show, here are some tips: arrive early to get a good spot, as it can get crowded; be prepared for some aspects of the show that may not be for everyone (such as the feeding of the vultures). 

In summary, the birds of prey show is a highlight of visiting Hohenwerfen Fortress, particularly for those traveling with children. The birds of prey show is one of the most unique experiences you can have in Salzburg, and it is both spectacular and enjoyable.

How to Get to The Fortress

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Map of Hohenwerfen Fortress, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
Map of Hohenwerfen Fortress
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Getting to Hohenwerfen Fortress is easy. But of course, the easiest way to get to Hohenwerfen Fortress is by car. There’s a large parking lot that’s available for a few Euros. 

Below are the steps if you prefer using the public transportation to Hohenwerfen Fortress.

  1. From Salzburg, you can hop on the OBB railway or the S-Bahn local rail service to Werfen station. The S-Bahn runs every 30 minutes and the journey takes about 45 minutes.
  2. Once you arrive at Werfen station, you have several options for getting to the fortress.
    • You can take a scenic walk along a shady footpath directly from the station to the castle in around half an hour
    • Use the shuttle service provided by Hohenwerfen Fortress. 
    • Tip: If you want to ride the shuttle to Hohenwerfen Fortress, please call the phone number listed on the official website of Hohenwerfen Fortress at least one hour in advance. This is because the shuttle only runs on a limited schedule, and it is important to book your spot in advance to ensure that you get a seat. The shuttle ride takes about 15 minutes, and it is a great way to get to the fortress without having to worry about parking or walking a lot.
  3. After arriving at the parking lot, you will continue your journey to the fortress by either hiking or taking the funicular.
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Hohenwerfen Fortress’ funicular, Werfen, Salzburg, Austria
Hohenwerfen Fortress’ funicular
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If you choose to hike, be sure to wear shoes with a good grip, especially in case of wet weather. The hiking trail is inclined (155 meter elevation gain) and takes around 15 minutes before reaching the first and second gateway arches where you can buy your tickets. The funicular is a faster option, taking only a few minutes to reach the top. However, the tickets to the fortress will be slightly more expensive.

Hohenwerfen Fortress is open to the public from April to November. Castle tours are available continuously throughout the day, and falconry demonstrations are held a few times per day. However, tour and opening hours vary by month so please check Hohenwerfen Fortress’ official website (see link in the resources section) for the most up-to-date information.

Okay! Are you traveling to Salzburg in a group and you want convenience in going to Werfen to see Hohenwerfen Fortress (and Werfen Ice Caves)? Check out this tour: Werfen Ice Caves & Hohenwerfen Castle Private Tour

Tickets

There are four kinds of tickets available to Hohenwerfen Fortress (similar to Hohensalzburg Fortress in Old Town Salzburg). All of them will let you access:

  • Birds of prey show
  • Castle history exhibition
  • Austrian falconry museum
  • New interactive exhibition: The Legend Of Jackl

The only differences between each ticket are the access to the funicular (ascent and descent) and the castle tour of the fortress’ interiors.

  • Ticket Via Footpath — Basic
  • Ticket Via Footpath and Tour — Best for wanderers, physically fit history buffs 
  • Ticket Via Lift — Best value for family travelers and general public
  • Ticket Via Lift and Tour — Full experience and convenience

Here’s where you can check the price of Hohenwerfen Fortress’ Ticket Via Lift and Ticket Via Footpath if you want to book your tickets online. You can buy the tickets to the tour separately in the fortress.

Tips

Here are more tips and reminders before you go to Hohenwerfen Fortress.

  • Scenic Walk from Werfen. If you are in the mood for a scenic experience, take the 30-minute walk from the quaint town of Werfen to the fortress. The route offers stunning views and is well worth the effort. This may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy walking, it can be a pleasant stroll, especially on a sunny day.
  • Footpath Option. If you’re looking for a more adventurous route, you can take the footpath from the parking area to the top of the fortress. It’s scenic, and you get a unique view of the fortress below. However, be aware that it involves climbing steep hills. 
  • Family-Friendly Visit. Hohenwerfen Fortress can be a great outing for families with older kids, like 10 and 14-year-olds, who can appreciate the history and attractions. Consider purchasing the quiz at the entrance for a fun and engaging experience for kids during the guided tour.
  • Plan for Crowds!  If visiting during peak times, be prepared for potential crowds and waiting times. Arriving early can help you avoid long queues.  For a less crowded experience, try visiting the castle during off-peak times or avoiding peak tourist seasons.
  • Guided Tour Audio Guide. If you choose to take the guided tour, which includes the chapel, torture chamber, dungeon, and bell tower, be sure to get the audio guide. It allows you to listen to the tour in multiple languages for easier comprehension.
  • Again, arrive early for the Falconry Show. To secure a good spot at the falconry show, try to arrive early. The show features a fantastic display of trained birds of prey, making it a must-see attraction.

Resources

So, that’s all I can share about Hohenwerfen Fortress and why you should visit it. If you’re eager to learn even more about this fantastic place or if you’re planning your trip, the links below should be super helpful for you. Feel free to explore and get ready for an unforgettable experience at Hohenwerfen Fortress!

If you’re still looking for a place to stay in Salzburg, I’ve got you covered! Check out the best hotel deals in the city here. You can use the map feature on the hotel browser I just linked to quickly find accommodations that are most conveniently located for you. By the way, the link is an affiliate link, which means if you book through it, I may receive a small commission without any extra fee to you. It’s a win-win! By using that link, you’re supporting WanderInEurope, so they can keep writing articles that benefit you in the future. Thanks for being awesome!

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Hohenwerfen Fortress is just one of the amazing day trips you can take from Salzburg. The beautiful village of Saint Gilgen, the breathtaking town of Berchtesgaden, and the incredible Hellbrunn Palace are also fantastic options! But before embarking on a day trip from the city, don’t forget that Old Town Salzburg boasts its own incredible attractions, including Mozart’s Birthplace, Mirabell Palace, Nonnberg Abbey, Salzburg Cathedral, and a dozen other notable historical landmarks where you can discover beautiful sights. Conveniently, they’re all within walking distance of each other. So, if you’d like, you can explore them on a DIY walking tour of the Old Town. Additionally, scenic spots like those on Monchsberg and Kapuzinerberg can easily be included in that walking route. For more ideas on how to enjoy Salzburg, check out my list of free things to do or unique experiences in Salzburg.

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