Towering over the city atop the Festunberg is Salzburg’s Hohensalzburg Fortress, Central Europe’s largest fully preserved castle. The Hohensalzburg Fortress is nearly a century old, and over the years it has become an icon of Salzburg. Originally constructed by the Archbishop Gebhart and gradually enlarged by the following Archbishops of Salzburg, the castle has never been captured by foreign troops. It is popular with tourists for the stunning views it offers of the city of Salzburg, as well as for its incredibly long history. This post is all about Salzburg’s famous castle; including info on basically everything you need to know about Hohensalzburg fortress before visiting.
Hohensalzburg Fortress is open everyday of the year to visitors; from 9:30AM to 5PM from October to April, from 9AM to 7PM from May to September, and from 9:30AM to 6PM on holidays. There are two ticket options to available to visitors. These include the basic ticket, which includes funicular access, the audioguide tour, all three museums, and Alm Passage Exhibit for €12,20; and the all-inclusive ticket, which includes the same as the basic ticket plus the Prince’s Chambers and Magic Theatre for €15,50 (€11,90 online!). Visiting the castle ground is free if you walk up the trail (more info on that later) to it, though you won’t be able to visit any of the museums or other exhibits within the castle.
Most visitors to Hohensalzburg take the Fetungsbahn to get up to the castle, or the main funicular that brings tourists to the castle. This funicular brings passengers up to the castle while offering great views of the city on the way up (a one minute ride). The other option of getting up to the castle is going by foot, which is about a 30 minute hike. When I went to Hohensalzburg, I went on the Fentungsbahn. Riding the funicular up to the castle was the best choice considering the weather the day I visited (cold!), though I’m sure hiking up to the castle would also be very fun.
Views from the Castle
Once you’ve got up to the castle, you’ll find yourself at the its lower terrace, which pretty much gives you 360 views of the castle’s surroundings. To the north you’ll see the city of Salzburg, divided by the Salzach river; to the west you’ll see the Salzburg Airport as well as the foothills of the Austrian Alps; and to the south and the east you’ll see more of the alps.
Head up a couple flights of stairs to get to the main viewing platform at the castle, which looks out to northern Salzburg as well as to the eastern side of the city.
In my opinion, the best views I found at Hohensalzburg Fortress were from one of castle’s towers, specifically the Rektrum, which I got to through the castle’s organized audio guide tour (more on that later!). It is probably the highest point in the castle, so obviously the views from it were the best. From the Rekturm you can see the encompassing castle, and pretty much the same views as seen from the lower balconies but from a much higher vantage point. As I mentioned earlier, the day I visited it was pretty cold and windy, so it was pretty chilly being at the top of the tower. It was definitely worth being cold for a couple minutes for the photos I got there, though!
Hohensalzburg’s courtyard, or the area enclosed by the castle’s walls, is pretty much like a mini town in itself. When the castle was home to residents, the courtyard was surrounded by restaurants, shops, and apartments; it is now home to the castle museums, and a few shops and exhibits. As you can see from the photos above, this castle’s courtyard is very charming and picturesque!
Much of the castle’s interior can be explored on one’s own. To visit some of the more well known and notable parts of the castle’s insides however, you must go on the castle’s arranged tour. This tour, which includes an audio guide, takes you to an exhibit on the castle’s history, the castle’s former torture room, the Rekturm (lookout tower), and to the Kratturm (powder tower).
Other remarkable spots in the castle’s interior include the Golden Hall, where you’ll find the grand apartments of the royalty that once lived there; and the Chapel of Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach, a stunning church/chapel. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see any of the royal rooms when I visited the castle, so the photo above shows Hohensalzburg’s St. George’s Church.
Hohensalzburg Castle is home to three museums: the Castle Museum, the Rainer Regiment Museum, and the Puppet Museum. The Castle Museum focuses on the history and building of Hohensalzburg and is located in the high rooms of the castle; the Rainer Regiment Museum is about the former Salzburg house military regiment; and the Puppet Museum is, of course, full of puppets from Salzburg’s famous puppet theatre!
That’s it for my post about Hohensalzburg Fortress, I hope you enjoyed! Have you ever visited Salzburg? If so, did you visit Hohensalzburg Fortress?
Thanks for reading.