Visiting Hohensalzburg Fortress — All You Need to Know

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Of all the landmarks and fascinating historical sites I’ve come across in Salzburg, the Hohensalzburg Fortress stands out as one of the most beautiful places in city to explore. And as a wanderer, I find that it has everything I’m looking for in a destination.

This 11th-century fortress boasts marvelous architecture, breathtaking views of the mountains, and unique discoveries, all while whispering tales of intriguing past events. Breathtaking views? Absolutely, this fortress offers plenty, given its location atop a mountain. In fact, if you’re planning a walking tour of Old Town Salzburg, you’ll find that the Hohensalzburg Fortress is the landmark that most often graces the view when you look up from the streets.

If your passion aligns with mine, I can’t emphasize enough how unmissable the Hohensalzburg Fortress is. Consider including it in your itinerary, whether you’re planning a one-day trip to Salzburg, a two-day stay in the city, or a relaxing three-day Salzburg getaway. Remarkably, you can also find a musical experience at the Hohensalzburg Fortress, similar to other attractions in the city like the Mirabell Palace and Salzburg Cathedral.

While the Hohensalzburg Fortress may not be one of the filming locations for the Sound of Music movie, it’s just a short walk away from Nonnberg Abbey, which is. By the way, the Sound of Music is a film based on the story of a family who lived in Salzburg.

As you can see, there are lots of good reasons to visit the Hohensalzburg Fortress. However, If you want to get the most out of your visit, there are some important things you should know. I’ll share them with you. Our focus? The must-see and must-do inside Hohensalzburg Fortress.

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Iconic shots of Hohensalzburg Fortress

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My overall impression of Hohensalzburg Fortress

Visiting Hohensalzburg Fortress, this is what you may also feel: to be transported back in time. But I gotta say, when I was exploring the fortress, it didn’t completely feel as authentic as I thought it would. Some of the rooms have been turned into museums with a modern design, so it’s not exactly what I was expecting.

However, even though the fortress isn’t used for its original purpose anymore and doesn’t look totally medieval, you can still totally feel like you’ve gone back in time when you’re there! The most beautiful parts of the fortress are preserved, and there’s a ton of stuff that’s super old and gives you a peek into the past.

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History of Hohensalzburg Fortress (Summary)

While the Hohensalzburg Fortress has been a key attraction in Salzburg since the late 19th century, its roots trace back to the early Middle Ages.

The tale of Hohensalzburg begins in 1077, when Archbishop Gebhard von Helfenstein constructed a simple fortress with a wooden wall. Over the centuries, the fortress underwent numerous modifications and enhancements. In 1462, Prince-Archbishop Burkhard II von Weißpriach added ring walls and towers. Later, in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, Prince-Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach further expanded the fortress. He established the St. George’s Chapel and the Royal Apartments, which include the Golden Hall, the Golden Chamber, and the Sleeping Chamber.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, external bastions were added for protection against Turkish invasions. During the Thirty Years’ War, Archbishop Count Paris of Lodron fortified the fortress by adding gunpowder stores and extra gatehouses. However, in 1800, during the Napoleonic War of the Second Coalition, the fortress was handed over to French troops without resistance. It was then used as a barracks, storage depot, and dungeon before being deserted as a military outpost in 1861.

With the inauguration of the Festungsbahn funicular railway in 1892, it found its new purpose: a tourist hotspot.

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Facts about Hohensalzburg Fortress

Today, Hohensalzburg Fortress is one of the best-preserved and largest medieval castles in Europe, making it a notable place for people to visit.  Based on what I have discovered about Hohensalzburg Fortress, I find it to be a truly impressive medieval structure. Hohensalzburg Fortress possesses advanced features for its time of construction, contains fascinating stories within its parts, and boasts areas that are absolutely a must-see.

Below is the list of facts about Hohensalzburg Fortress that makes it more interesting to visit.

  • Fact no. 1: Its Function — Did you know that the Prince-Archbishops, who ruled over Salzburg for a very long time, used to live in their residence in the city? However, the residence of the Prince-Archbishops was not sufficiently fortified to provide protection during turbulent times. In such situations, they would move to Hohensalzburg Fortress for refuge. As the safe haven of the Prince-Archbishops, Hohensalzburg was constantly updated with the most recent developments in assault weapons and fortifications to ensure their safety.
  • Fact no. 2: Hohensalzburg From Salt — Did you know that the salt trade was a key source of income for Salzburg and the Prince Archbishops? The Archbishops of Salzburg amassed great wealth and power through the production and export of salt from Duerrenberg. It was a lucrative trade that enabled them to undertake grand projects such as the construction and expansion of the Hohensalzburg Fortress. You can learn more about it during the first portion of the Panoramatour of Hohensalzburg Fortress.
  • Fact no. 3: The Granary of the Fortress — Did you know that one of the oldest preserved buildings in the Hohensalzburg Fortress is the granary, built in 1484? It is also called “Schüttkasten” in German (meaning, “pour warehouse”) for the unique method of storing the grains: not in sacks, but poured directly onto the wooden floors. Impressively, this structure was capable of storing enough grain to feed up to 300 people for an entire year. Yes, that’s 365 days!
  • Fact no. 4: Gigantic Cistern of the Fortress — Did you know that Hohensalzburg Castle boasts a gigantic underground cistern, built in 1525? The archbishop even had architects brought from Veneto to construct this enormous cistern which measures 17 x 17 x 7.2 meters and could hold up to 340,000 liters of water. Gutter pipes collected the water from the surrounding roof area, while underground wooden pipes transported it to a stone basin filled with clean gravel. This ingenious construction allowed rainwater to be collected and filtered, making it usable for both humans and animals for centuries.
  • Fact no. 5: Hohensalzburg’s Goods Lift — Did you know that Hohensalzburg Fortress has a goods lift, and it is likely the oldest of its kind in the world? This 180-meter-long cable railway on the eastern side of the mountain on which the fortress stands is believed to be the oldest operating funicular railway in Europe. Its origins date back to before the reign of Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach (1495-1519). Fascinatingly, prisoners operated Hohensalzburg Fortress’ goods lift with horses during its early days
  • Fact no. 6: The Bull of Salzburg — Did you know that the Kuenburg bastion of Hohensalzburg Fortress, originally built to make room for large guns and cannons, houses the “Bull of Salzburg?” “The Bull of Salzburg” (German: “Salzburger Stier”) is located on the dovecote of the bastion and has been there since 1640. But is it an animal? Of course not! Rather, it’s a mechanical organ with 138 metal pipes, windchest, and bellows. This impressive instrument sends an F major triad twice daily over the city of Salzburg, awakening the people in the morning and announcing the end of the workday. Even today, the “Salzburger Stier” still “roars” daily at 7:05 am, 12:05 pm, and 6:05 pm.”
  • Fact no. 7: Archbishop Keutshach and the Royal Apartments — Did you know that Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach was responsible for creating the richly furnished rooms of Hohensalzburg Fortress? These rooms, known as the “royal apartments,” include three representational rooms: the Golden Hall, the Golden Chamber, and the Bedroom Chamber. Today, these rooms are the architectural highlight of any visit to Hohensalzburg Fortress and are not to be missed. While Hohensalzburg was mainly used as a refuge, the fortress also served as a place to impress other rulers visiting the city back in the day When visiting the fortress, make sure to check out these luxurious rooms and imagine what it would have been like to live like royalty in medieval times.
  • Fact no. 8: Golden Hall Concerts — Did you know that the Golden Hall in Hohensalzburg Fortress was the place where Prince Archbishops held different events? Even today, events are still held in this magnificent hall, such as Mozart concerts. You can check the official website of Hohensalzburg Fortress (linked at the resources section) for the schedule of these events and experience the grandeur of this historic hall for yourself. Attending concerts in this awe-inspiring room with its Gothic portals, columns, and azure coffered ceiling is indeed an opportunity for a memorable moment in Salzburg.
  • Fact no. 9: Details of the Golden Hall — Did you know that the 17-meter-long beam in the Golden Hall of Hohensalzburg Fortress tells a story about the history of Salzburg? The beam is painted with the coat of arms of both Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach and the empire, as well as those from the most powerful German cities and dioceses allied with Salzburg. The Golden Hall itself is one of the most spectacular rooms in the fortress.  I marvel at its blue wooden ceiling adorned with golden joists and buttons that resemble a star-filled night sky.
  • Fact no. 10: Hohensalzburg Funicular — Did you know that the Salzburg funicular railway to Hohensalzburg is the oldest of its kind in Europe? In 1892, Salzburg Rail & Tramway Inc. opened the Salzburg funicular railway in response to the growing tourism industry. Originally known as the Tröpferlbahn, the railway was powered by water. Since its opening, the fortress railway has transported approximately 77 million passengers.
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Features & Attractions

If you’ve read about the history and facts of Hohensalzburg Fortress, you might already have an idea of the fascinating discoveries and breathtaking experiences that await you. However, these are just the tip of the iceberg.

In summary, Hohensalzburg Fortress has many points of interest, such as the Princely Chambers, dungeon, the Bull of Salzburg, the funicular railway, and more. As I’ve hinted earlier, it also offers breathtaking views of the city and the Alps. There are viewpoints, including bastions, courtyards, and restaurants, where you can take a break and relax. Inside the fortress, you can find museums and several exhibitions to explore. If you’re interested in learning something new, there’s plenty to discover. If you time your visit to Hohensalzburg Fortress just right, you might even be able to attend a concert in the fortress’s most beautiful room.

Following this list of activities at Hohensalzburg Fortress, you’ll come across more photos that are sure to fuel your desire to visit Hohensalzburg Fortress!

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Different things to see and discover in Hohensalzburg Fortress in Salzburg, Austria
Different things to see and discover in Hohensalzburg Fortress
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1. Princely Chambers & Magic Theater

If you’re like me and enjoy marveling at old-world architecture, the Princely Chambers should be at the top of your list when visiting Hohensalzburg Fortress. The Princely Chambers are an architectural highlight of the fortress, boasting a unique secular Gothic-style that is among the best-preserved in Europe.

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More about Princely Chambers & Magic Theater of Hohensalzburg Fortress

Did you know that you can see more than 3 parts of Hohensalzburg Fortress in Princely Chambers? In addition to the Golden Hall, Golden Chamber, and Bedchamber, there’s also a toilet (or “garderobe” as they call it) that’s surprisingly simple for a prince archbishop. And there’s a library too, connected to the Golden Chamber by a narrow wooden doorway. Sadly, we can’t know what books, maps, and letters Archbishop Keutschach may have studied there since the library inventory has been lost over time. It’s in the Princely Chambers that we can find the cute Magic Theater. This lovely presentation is a lovely bonus, bringing the fortress’ history to life with film and animated props. And don’t worry, there’s an English translation for the audio, so you won’t miss a thing!

Read More Info: Golden Hall, Golden Chamber, and Bed Chamber

The first stop on our tour of the Princely Chambers is the magnificent Golden Hall. This grand space was once the site of many a festive gathering and social event, hosted by the Prince Archbishop himself. And with its size and splendor, it’s easy to imagine elegant balls taking place here. Fascinatingly, even today, the Golden Hall continues to serve as an event space, hosting musical performances such as Mozart Concerts in the evenings. But what really caught my eye as I explored the hall was the stunning ceiling, supported by four mighty twisted marble columns. Its starry-sky-like appearance is truly unique among medieval ceilings! Looking for a historical discovery? Don’t forget to check out the coats of arms adorning the beam and walls, representing the kingdom, powerful German cities, and bishoprics affiliated with Salzburg. Be sure to take a peek at the coat of arms above the marble portals too!

The Golden Chamber is the most decorated of all the Princely Chambers. It’s filled with beautiful details, like the golden vines above the doorways, the library door that looks like it’s straight out of Narnia, and the coats of arms above the windows. Indeed, the Golden Chamber is a stunning room, and it would have been even more amazing if the cloth and leather on the walls had survived over time. As you explore, you’ll see just how much influence Prince-Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach had as both a ruler and a religious leader. One of the things that makes the Golden Chamber extra special is the big, colorful stove by the door. You’ll notice it right away when you walk in. It’s a rare and valuable example of Late Gothic ceramic art, with a mix of Gothic and Renaissance styles. The top of the stove looks like a colorful cathedral, but it’s the bottom part that really stands out. It has four rows of tiles decorated with flowers and fruits from the new world, discovered by European explorers in the 15th century. It’s definitely something unique to see.

Like the Golden Hall, the Bedchamber is another room in Hohensalzburg Fortress with beautiful decorations. The top part of the walls has gold buttons and rosettes, while the bottom part, which isn’t decorated much now, was probably once covered in leather or velvet. There isn’t any furniture left in the room, but you can still see the fancy woodwork on the walls that shows how grand the room used to be.

2. The Armory

As a tourist attraction from the medieval ages, Hohensalzburg Fortress offers a variety of discoveries, giving insights into what life was like back then. It includes the different armors, guns, canons, weapons, and accessories that were used to defend the fortress from any enemies. You can find them in the armor exhibition which was opened to the public in 2019.

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Inside the Armory of Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg, Austria
Inside the Armory of Hohensalzburg Fortress
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More about Hohensalzburg Fortress’ Armory

While the place of exhibition has a modern design, the armors aren’t new to this spot in the castle. The exhibition is located in the armory of Hohensalzburg Fortress which was originally the storage facility of the fortress. Some of the items you’ll discover are platemails, full body armor, swords from 1350 onwards, and so on. You can see projections behind the armors and weapons, letting you know how old they are and how they were used before. There are also drawings depicting how the armors were used, stored, prepared, and cleaned. 

3. The Panorama Tour

Much like the Princely Chambers, the Panorama Tour is a highlight of a visit to Hohensalzburg Fortress. If you join the tour, you’ll gain access to five distinct areas within the fortress. The Panorama Tour starts at the Salt Depot, takes you up to the Dungeon and Viewing Platform, and then leads you down to the Salzburg Bull via the Battlement Walkway.

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More about the Panorama Tour of Hohensalzburg Fortress

One of the best parts of this tour is getting to walk where the castle guards used to walk. You can see lots of interesting things from there. If you use your imagination, you might feel like you’re a guard from old times, looking out for danger. There’s a lot of walking and steps, especially from the dungeons to the viewpoint, so make sure to wear comfy shoes. Besides the great views, there are also cool bits of history to find along the way, which makes the walk even more fun.

Read More Info: Salt Depot, Dungeon, Viewing Platform, Battlement Walkway, and Salzburg Bull

The first stop on the Panorama Tour of Hohensalzburg Fortress is the Salt Depot. As you might have guessed from its name, this is where the prince-archbishops of Salzburg used to store their precious ‘white gold’. Interestingly, the Salt Depot still contains salt today. It now features a detailed 3D model of the town made entirely of rock salt. This model provides a preview of the stunning views that await you from the fortress’s panoramic viewpoints. Just by looking at the model, you’ll discover how Salzburg’s location helped it grow into a bustling cultural hub: Surrounded by mountains and built along a river at the crossroads of three major trade routes. These routes connected Salzburg to Italy, Augsburg, and Linz, making it a thriving center of commerce and culture. Aside from the geography of Salzburg from the Salt Depot, the room also gives insights about the city’s salt industry.

After exiting the Salt Depot, you’ll be led to the Hohensalzburg’s Dungeon. It’s a simple prison that if you’ve been to other fortresses in Europe, you’ll find the dungeon of Hohensalzburg Fortress a little less cruel.  It’s because, based on the information board, Hohensalzburg Fortress was not the seat of the court. Thus, there were no judges to conduct ‘painful questioning’ in a torture chamber and, indeed, Hohensalzburg Fortress did not become a the site of gruesome torture. However, the fortress did have a dark dungeon in the Reckturm tower and prison cells, built around 1640. While it later served as a prison for common criminals, in the 16th and 17th centuries, Hohensalzburg was mostly used for political purposes and to maintain state authority. Those imprisoned within its walls included individuals with unwanted religious beliefs in predominantly Catholic Salzburg, leaders of riots, and those accused of treason. Fascinatingly, an archbishop spent his final years as a prisoner of the fortress.

The dungeon features spiral stairs that lead to the viewing platform, which is the highlight of the Panorama Tour at Hohensalzburg Fortress. After leaving the dungeon, you’re immediately greeted with a stunning 360-degree panorama of Salzburg, including the city, Salzach River, and the Alps. It’s a breathtaking view; spectacular when it’s sunny. The viewing platform has two levels, so don’t forget to climb a few steps to the upper level for an even better view. After taking in the panoramic views, it’s time to head down to the Battlement Walkway. The entrance is located on the opposite side of the viewing platform where you entered. As you make your way down the stairs, you’ll come across interesting stories about the fortress, written on pedestals that resemble small theaters. Amazingly, these displays include visuals, some with mechanical controls, to help bring the stories to life. The first small theater I saw tells about “The White Lady” of Hohensalzburg Fortress. It says:

The guards at Hohensalzburg were known for their bravery. However, on certain moonlit nights, they were overcome with fear. They reported seeing a figure dressed in white robes, floating above the castle walls. Whenever they tried to approach her, she vanished into thin air. The appearance of the “White Lady” was considered an ominous sign, as misfortune often followed her sightings. But there’s no need to worry if you see her today – it’s just a spooky tale from long ago.

The Battlement Walkway, built way back in the latter half of the 16th century, is the 4th part of the Panorama Tour at Hohensalzburg Fortress. This 400-meters-long walkway runs along the outer wall and encircles the entire fortress complex. On the tour, you’ll be walking the section that connects the viewing platform to the Kuenburg Bastion, where you’ll find the Salzburg Bull. During your visit to the walkway, there’s a few things to keep an out for. Some of them are the small windows along the way — they were used by medieval guards to keep watch over the city and its surroundings. Take a peek for some cool views of Salzburg and its outskirts! There are information boxes and small theaters in front of some windows to keep you entertained as you stroll towards Kuenburg Bastion. One of them is entitled, “The Fortress Fire Station.” And it tells:

Hohensalzburg Castle, with its overlooking view of Salzburg, played a vital role in the city’s firefighting efforts. In the late 18th century, engineer Ludwig Grenier implemented an innovative system to improve fire detection and response. He installed stone slabs in front of many windows along the castle’s walkway, each featuring key points of orientation such as city gates Swiveling telescopes were also added, enabling fire guards to accurately determine the location of a fire, even during the night. To communicate the location of the fire to city firefighters, each district had a unique signal that was transmitted using flags during daylight hours and lanterns at night. This system proved to be highly effective and remained in use until 1925, long after the invention of the telephone.

The Kuenburg Bastion is one of the most fascinating parts of Hohensalzburg Fortress because it houses the “Salzburg Bull,” which is a simple type of organ with over 100 pipes. It has been used as an alarm clock for the city since the early 16th century, playing a sharp triad in F major over the city to wake people up at 4 am and signal that it’s bedtime at 7 pm.  The sound it makes is like that of a bull’s roar, which is how it got its name. The Salzburg Bull has been improved over time and can now play classical music composed by court musicians Leopold Mozart and Johann Ernst Eberlin. You can still hear the Salzburg Bull three times a day today, with classical music always accompanied by its characteristic bull-like roar Upon arriving at the Kuenburg Bastion, you can enter the room where the Salzburg Bull is located.  Come inside, so you can see its different parts, including pipes, wheels, and music sheet protruding pins that pluck the individual prongs to sound the pipes. And that concludes the Panorama Tour of Hohensalzburg Fortress!

4. The Fortress Museum

Ready for a blast from the past? Head on over to the Fortress Museum, located in the “Hoher Stock” wing of the Hohensalzburg Fortress, and explore the history of Salzburg and the function of the fortress. With twelve rooms, each dedicated to a different topic, you’ll have plenty to discover.

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Things you can expect to find inside the Fortress Museum in Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg, Austria
Things you can expect to find inside the Fortress Museum
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More about Hohensalzburg Fortress Museum

From the building history of the fortress to the Archbishops of Salzburg, from Salzburg in the Middle Ages to nutrition and cooking in the Middle Ages, there’s something for everyone. Check out archaeological excavation discoveries from the site of Hohensalzburg Fortress, weapons and armor, instruments of torture (eek!), a complete castle kitchen, Gothic furniture, sixteenth and seventeenth-century handicrafts, and historical military musical instruments. Indeed, if you’re interested in history, art, and culture, a visit to the Fortress Museum is just a must.

5. Rainer Regiment Museum

Hohensalzburg Fortress is mostly about the Prince Archbishops. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t discover something from recent history during your visit. Did you know that this place has housed the Rainer Regiment Museum since 1924? (to honor the memory of the former Salzburg house regiment, the Imperial and Royal Infantry Regiment ‘Archduke Rainer’ No. 59.)

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Different exhibits inside the Rainer Regiment Museum in Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg, Austria
Different exhibits inside the Rainer Regiment Museum in Hohensalzburg Fortress
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More about Rainer Regiment Museum in Hohensalzburg Fortress

The Rainer Regiment was a military unit of the Austro-Hungarian Army, known for their bravery and valor on the battlefields of Europe. It was established in 1682 by Kaiser Leopold I to defend Austria against the Ottoman Empire. And after the Battle of Solferino, Emperor Franz Joseph I bestowed the following unforgettable words on the regiment: “This regiment is among the bravest of the brave.” The regiment also served with distinction on the Russian and Italian fronts during World War I, demonstrating its commitment to serving and protecting Austria and its people.

The Rainer Regiment Museum consists of eight rooms that give a chronological account of the regiment’s history from its foundation in 1682 until the end of the First World War in 1918. As a visitor to the Rainer Regimental Museum, you can expect to discover and see a wide range of exhibits that chronicle the history of Salzburg’s former home regiment, the Imperial Austro-Hungarian Infantry Regiment “Archduke Rainer” No. 59.

There are historical weaponry, traditional uniforms, pictures, and more. You will discover the heritage preservation from the areas of military engagement such as the Napoleonic Wars and the bourgeois revolution of 1848.  There’s just a lot to learn about the Restoration era and late 19th century, World War One and the regimental march “Rainermarsch”, war and the arts, and more.

In addition to these permanent exhibits, Rainer Regimental Museum houses special exhibitions, too. That included one that focuses on the time after 1918 as it relates to the Rainer regiment. If you are interested to visit the Rainer Regimental Museum, you must see the three life-size dioramas depicting World War I combat positions on Austria-Hungary’s southwestern front and in Galicia (present-day Ukraine).  I think they’re the most important exhibits in the Rainer Regimental Museum. 

You can check the official website of the Rainer Regimental Museum at the resources section of this post if you want to learn more. 

6. Marionette Museum

One of the fun and surprising offerings of the Hohensalzburg Fortress is the Marionette Museum in the Prince’s Cellars of the fortress. The museum displays many historical marionettes from the world-famous Salzburg Marionette Theater and offers many highlights for you to enjoy. 

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One of the exhibits inside the Marionette Museum in Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg, Austria
One of the exhibits inside the Marionette Museum in Hohensalzburg Fortress
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More about the Marionette Museum in Hohensalzburg Fortress

When you visit, you will be greeted by a 3-D animation of Archbishop Wolf Dietrich immediately at the entrance, and inside, you can see Papageno and Papagena from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.” There’s even a stage dedicated to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart that gives a glimpse into his travels! Another special attraction is the stage that shows the fortress and farmers during the Peasants’ Revolt of 1525. I find it a fascinating way to uncover a piece of  history in the region. Overall, the Marionette Museum in the Hohensalzburg Fortress can be a fabulous journey through time in a medieval atmosphere for both young and old.

7. Join the Different Castle Events

As you may have discovered a while ago, you can experience classical music in a unique and historic setting by attending a Salzburg Fortress Concert. Held in the magnificent chambers of Fortress Hohensalzburg, these concerts have been delighting audiences for over 40 years.

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Mozart Concert set-up inside the Golden Hall of Hohensalzburg Fortress in Salzburg, Austria
Mozart Concert set-up inside the Golden Hall of Hohensalzburg Fortress
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More about Hohensalzburg Fortress’ Concerts

With 300 performances featuring the works of well-known Austrian composers such as Mozart, Strauss, Schubert, and Joseph Haydn, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the music. The Salzburg Mozart Ensemble and the Mozart Chamber Orchestra Salzburg are among the performers. Concerts are held almost every day throughout the year in the Prince’s Chambers and last approximately 90 minutes. Starting times vary depending on the month (8:00 pm or 8:30 pm), with a special Christmas Concert on December 24th at 3:00 pm. If you’re a fan of classical music or simply looking for a memorable cultural experience, attending a Salzburg Fortress Concert is definitely worth considering.

Pictures Inside & Outside the Fortress

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Visiting Information

You’re visiting Hohensalzburg Fortress?! Well, I’m excited for you!

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Scenes on the way to Hohensalzburg Fortress its view atop of the hill, Salzburg, Austria
Scenes on the way to Hohensalzburg Fortress its view atop of the hill
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How long to spend in Hohensalzburg Fortress?

If you’re still figuring out your Salzburg itinerary and wondering how much time to spend at the Hohensalzburg Fortress, I recommend setting aside 3-4 hours (half-day) with the all-inclusive ticket. This is enough to fully explore the fortress, including the castle area, museums, and princely chambers at a relaxed pace. But if you’re short on time, don’t worry! With the basic ticket, you can still see the castle area, take the panorama tour, and visit the museums in just 1-2 hours. 

Hohensalzburg Fortress Opening Hours

You can visit the fortress from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from January to April and October to December.

In May to September, it opens from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., while the museums, princes’ chambers, and magic theater are open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

On Advent weekends and Easter, the fortress opens from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. On December 24th, it closes early at 2:00 p.m.

Important: Please check the official website of Hohensalzburg Fortress linked at the resources section for news and updates.

How to get to Hohensalzburg Fortress

Where is Hohensalzburg Fortress?

Among the landmarks and tourist attractions in Salzburg, there is none easier to find than Hohensalzburg Fortress. This huge medieval fortress sits atop Festungsberg, a hill in the heart of the city. Perched 506 meters high, Hohensalzburg Fortress dominates the skyline of Salzburg. You should be able to spot Hohensalzburg Fortress right away from nearly every part of the city with wide open spaces, especially from parks, bridges, and walkways along the Salzach River.

From anywhere in Old Town Salzburg, it would take less than a 20-minute walk to reach Festungsbahn, the funicular station that conveniently brings tourists to Hohensalzburg Fortress.

When you finally reach Festungsgasse, you are very close to Hohensalzburg Fortress. It’s along this street that the last part of your journey to the fortress begins. You can choose to reach Hohensalzburg Fortress by funicular or on foot, depending on the tickets you purchase. The entrance to Festungsbahn funicular — the more convenient way to reach Hohensalzburg Fortress — is found here in Festungsgasse.

Arrival by Car

Since Salzburg’s old town is a pedestrian zone and not accessible by car, it’s time to stretch your legs and continue on foot from these parking options to Hohensalzburg Fortress.

If you’re driving, park your car at one of the public car parks in Mönchsberg or Nonntal, or other car parks such as Mirabellgarage, Rotkreuz-Parkplatz near the Salzach, or at the end of Linzergasse. Alternatively, you can park at the ‘Park & Ride’ parking spaces at the exhibition center or on Alpenstraße and hop on public transport to reach the old town.

Arrival by Train

If you’re arriving by train:

  1. Take trolleybus (O-Bus) lines 1, 25, 3, 5 or 6 from Salzburg’s main railway station to the city center;
  2. Get off at Rathaus (Town Hall) or Ferdinand-Hanusch-Platz (Ferdinand-Hanusch Square); and
  3. Take a leisurely stroll along Getreidegasse and across Alter Markt Square, Residenzplatz, Domplatz and Kapitelplatz to reach Festungsgasse (Castle Street) in about five minutes. 
Hohensalzburg Fortress Map

Fortress Map

Map of Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg, Austria
Map of Hohensalzburg Fortress

Legend:

Tourist Areas:

  • A — Panorama Tour
  • B — Museums
  • C — Princely Chambers & Magical Theater
  • D — Armory

Castle Parts:

  • 1 — Hohensalzburg Fortress
  • 2 — Hasengraben Bastion
  • 3 — Stables and Salt Depot
  • 4 — Granary
  • 5 — Cistern
  • 6 — Armory
  • 7 — Cable Hoist
  • 8 — Kuenburg Bastion
  • 9 — Keutschach Monument
  • 10 — Hoher Stock
  • 11 to 13 — Princely Chambers
  • 14 — Old Fortress Funicular

Tickets

There are four types of tickets available for Hohensalzburg Fortress. Your overall experience at the fortress will depend on the type of ticket you choose. Let me guide you on what to choose.

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Festungsbahn Funicular of Hohensalzburg Fortress in Salzburg, Austria
Festungsbahn Funicular of Hohensalzburg
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Basically:

  • If you have the Basic Ticket with Fortress Railway or the All-Inclusive Ticket with Fortress Railway, you can take advantage of the roundtrip funicular ride included in the ticket package to reach Hohensalzburg Fortress quickly. The funicular runs every 10 minutes and takes about a minute to reach the top.
  • The Basic Pathway Ticket and the All-Inclusive Pathway Ticket do not include the funicular ride up the hill to the Fortress.  If you purchase either of these tickets, you need to hike up the hill to reach Hohensalzburg Fortress. Depending on how fast you walk, hiking can take 15 to 20 minutes. 

While the path to Hohensalzburg Fortress is scenic, I still suggest buying tickets that include a roundtrip funicular ride. The 4-dollar upgrade is worth the convenience and time saved from hiking uphill. You can check the current price of Hohensalzburg Fortress Tickets (with funicular roundtrip ride) here.

If you’re wondering what’s the difference between basic and all-inclusive tickets: basic tickets cover access to the Fortress Museum, Rainer Regiment Museum, Marionette Museum, Armoury, Panorama Tour, and courtyards, bastions, and chapel. Princely Chambers and Magic Theater are excluded. On the other hand, you are allowed to explore all parts of the fortress if you have the all-inclusive tickets.  Get your Hohensalzburg Fortress Tickets here.

While you can enter Hohensalzburg Fortress with regular tickets, there are more ways you can spend time in the fortress and have a memorable experience. Below, I’ll let you know about more options. 

Option 1 — Best of Mozart Fortress Concert and Dinner 

Do you want to experience the best of Salzburg with a night of music, food, and fun at the Hohensalzburg Fortress? Consider this option. It takes place in the evening, starting with a ride on the funicular railway. Then you’ll settle in for a concert of Mozart’s most famous works and hidden treasures, performed by world-class soloists. After the concert, enjoy a romantic 3-course meal in the historic atmosphere of the fortress.

Learn more about the Best of Mozart Fortress Concert and Dinner here. Alternatively, if you prefer to have dinner somewhere else, here’s what to check: Best of Mozart Fortress Concert (only).

Option 2 — Skip-the-line Hohensalzburg Fortress Tour

In this option, you will visit Hohensalzburg Fortress with an all-inclusive skip-the-line ticket. You will be joined by a 5-star private guide for a tour of the castle and its rich history, architecture, and views. There’s a 2-hour or 4-hour option, allowing you to explore the fortress and other Salzburg attractions. 

Learn more about Skip-the-line Hohensalzburg Fortress Tour here.

Option 3 — Salzburg Cruise, Dinner & Fortress Concert

Imagine cruising along the River Salzach, taking in the stunning city skyline of Salzburg and the majestic Tennen and Hagen Mountains. Then, treating yourself to a delicious dinner at the panorama restaurant of Hohensalzburg Fortress while enjoying breathtaking views. And to top it all off, listening to the “Best of Mozart” concert within the splendid halls of the fortress, surrounded by its dreamlike flair.

This another way of experiencing Hohensalzburg Fortress is a fantastic option, right?  Learn more: Cruise, Dinner & Fortress Concert in Salzburg.

Sources

If you’re interested in learning more about the fortress, its history, and visiting information, please refer to the resources listed below. These resources offer a wealth of information that will help you make the most of your visit to Hohensalzburg Fortress.

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What else is there to visit in Salzburg after the Hohensalzburg Fortress? You have plenty of options to choose from. For more scenic views, try visiting the viewpoints in Mönchsberg and Kapuzinerberg. These two are among the places you’d love to go to watch the sunrise and sunset in Salzburg. Don’t forget Mozart’s Birthplace, which lets you discover the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the great musician who makes Salzburg a special place to visit. Check out my list of unique things to do in Salzburg for more special experiences in the city. Once you’re done in the city, consider one of the beautiful day trips from Salzburg. My top four choices (nearest) are Hellbrunn Palace, Saint Gilgen, Hohenwerfen Castle, and Berchtesgaden in Germany. Check them out!

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