Photo by Lorraine Seal
Salzburg is a compact city, but with 24 churches in its historic core, scores of fountains and sculptures and a wealth of exquisite Baroque architecture, it rewards a visit of at least a few days. However, if your schedule demands you spend only one day here, here is a tour of some of the highlights to give you a taste of its pleasures.
Begin on the Residenzplatz, by the Residenz Fountain. With its horses rearing from the water, it is the largest Baroque fountain outside of Italy. (Unfortunately, if you visit in winter, it will be protected by a wooden cover, giving you a reason to return in the spring.)
Photo by Lorraine Seal
The Residenzplatz is Salzburg’s largest square, and it is where, except during festivals or markets, the fiakers gather. Looking north from the fountain, you’ll see the tiny pink church of St Michael with the Viennese import, Café Demel, at its end. To the east is the Neue Residenz, built in 1588 to accommodate the overflow of guests from the archbishop’s grand Residenz. It now houses the Salzburg Museum and the Panorama museum. Above it is the 17th century Glockenspiel. The carillon, newly restored, chimes daily at 7 and 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Between Demel’s and the Neue Residenz is the transition to Mozartplatz, with the statue of the master, unveiled in 1842, standing in the centre.
To the west is the façade of the Residenz, the archbishops’ palace, built on the site of an older residence and completed in the 18th century. Take a moment to stroll through its entrance to see the courtyard within, at the far end of which is a monumental statue under the arcade. The State Rooms and Picture Gallery are reached by the staircase to the left.
Leave the courtyard by way of the other entrance midway along the south side of the courtyard. This passage will bring you onto Domplatz, toward the enormous statue of the Virgin Mary. Facing it is the magnificent cathedral, the Dom. Opened in 1628, its façade is splendid. Take a few minutes to tour the interior.
Upon leaving the Dom, turn left and pass under the arcade into another large square, Kapitelplatz. It is dominated by the massive fortress on its hill above. Pass by the oversize chess board on the pavement and the sculpture of the young man atop the large gold sphere by Stephan Balkenhol. (Near the sculpture there is a mounted placard giving some interesting information about the work and its sister work, which is in another part of the Altstadt.) Pass through the platz and enter the lane that opens directly across from the Dom. Along this street, on the right, you’ll find the entrance to the funicular that takes you to the fortress, know as Festung Hohensalzburg, high atop Mönchsberg.
Alighting from the funicular inside the Festung, you’ll have the opportunity to tour its courtyards, St George’s church, its State Rooms and museum. I suggest you limit your visit to an hour in order to see as much as Salzburg in your single day as possible. Do note, however, the splendid views from above.