The 11 greatest museums in Salzburg: from historic palaces to music heritage

Salzburg has an virtually obscene quantity of tradition for a metropolis of such petite proportions. For hundreds of years, the ruling prince-archbishops frenziedly constructed castles, palaces and abbeys right here to cover away treasures from prying eyes. And relating to music, you understand the rating: that is the place Mozart was born and Maria taught the world to sing.

Whether or not you’re into modern artwork, royal bling, Christmas sparkle or bewigged composers, the town’s extraordinary stash of museums can simply preserve you absorbed for hours on days when the rain sweeps over the Alps. Learn on for our choose of Salzburg’s greatest museums.

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Festung Hohensalzburg has museums of riches, puppetry and torture

Salzburg’s cake-topper of a fortress lifts the gaze from the second you arrive. This 900-year-old citadel suits the knights-in-shining-armor fantasy invoice looks-wise. However its historical past is much more compelling: it began life as a humble bailey, in-built 1077 by Gebhard von Helffenstein at a time when the Holy Roman Empire was at loggerheads with the papacy, and owes its present grandeur to Leonard von Keutschach, prince-archbishop of Salzburg from 1495 to 1519 and the town’s final feudal ruler.

Whereas it’s tempting to easily roam the ramparts and swoon over the views of the Salzach River and Alps, consider time to see the citadel’s clutch of museums. These embody the dazzling Golden Corridor, the place the prince-archbishops as soon as threw lavish banquets, the Marionette Museum, with its operatic assortment of puppets from the Salzburg Marionette Theatre, and the Fortress Museum, which showcases a 1612 mannequin of Salzburg, in addition to medieval devices, armor and a few fairly grizzly torture units.

There are museums at Mozart’s birthplace and the Salzburg house that his household moved to in 1773 © todamo / Getty Pictures

Get your fill of classical music at Mozart’s Birthplace and Residence

Mozart assumes many kinds in Salzburg as of late – chocolate balls, tub geese, aftershave, you title it – however to essentially get a deal with on Austria’s A-list baroque composer, you’ll wish to go to two museums dedicated to the person and his music.

Start at Mozart’s Birthplace, the bright-yellow townhouse on Getreidegasse the place Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756 and spent the primary 17 years of his life. Among the many portraits, letters, devices and household heirlooms, highlights embody the mini-violin Mozart wowed royalty with as a toddler, plus a lock of his hair and buttons from his jacket.

Craving extra space to entertain as Mozart shot to fame, the household moved to a extra spacious, eight-room abode on the opposite aspect of the river in 1773, now Mozart’s Residence. That is the place the more and more prolific and revered Wolfgang composed works just like the Shepherd King (K208) and Idomeneo (K366). Emanuel Schikaneder, Mozart’s shut good friend and the librettist of The Magic Flute, was a daily visitor. Mozart’s unique fortepiano is the star exhibit. As you discover, an audio information serenades you with opera excerpts. 

Salzburg Museum is the perfect for native historical past in a nutshell

Every little thing and something you ever wished to find out about Salzburg is explored in fascinating element on the metropolis’s flagship museum within the baroque Neue Residenz palace on Mozartplatz. This romp via the town’s previous and current wings you from Roman excavations to riveting tales about prince-archbishops and Salzburg’s illustrious musical heritage.

The crux of the everlasting exhibition is Salzburg Fable on the second flooring, an all-out celebration of the town as a supply of creative, poetic and scientific inspiration. The exhibition spells out the previous in artifacts: from glowering portraits of prince-archbishops to Flemish tapestries and extra questionable treasures like Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich’s gold-embroidered pontifical shoe. The town’s love of music is within the highlight too, elevating the tempo with legends from Mozart to The Sound of Music and Silent Evening.

Downstairs, you’ll discover rotating artwork exhibitions (all with Salzburg as their leitmotif) within the Kunsthalle, in addition to the subterranean Panorama Passage, the place Roman stays, together with frescoes and a pottery kiln, give a really feel for the way the town would have seemed 2000 years in the past. Salzburg’s 35-bell carillon, which chimes every day at 7am, 11am and 6pm, is on the western flank of the Neue Residenz.

A museum building on a cliff, which is a combination of an old tower and a modern building
Museum der Moderne has assorted artwork reveals and nice metropolis views © 4kclips / Shutterstock

See unbelievable modern artwork at Museum der Moderne

Salzburg typically strikes to a conventional beat, however the Museum der Moderne swerves away from the historic with its excellent exhibitions of Twentieth- and Twenty first-century artwork. Perched excessive on Mönchsberg’s cliffs and reached by a raise, the glass-and-white-marble, oblong-shaped gallery is the architectural antithesis to the whopping Hohensalzburg fortress on the opposite aspect of the hill.

The rotating exhibitions are extremely assorted, swinging just lately from the emotionally charged work of Cameroonian–Nigerian photographer Samuel Fosso to the worldwide media artwork of Austrian-born Richard Kriesche. When you’re up right here, pop into m32 for espresso with a far-reaching view over Salzburg.

Rupertinum is the perfect museum for cutting-edge pictures

Gathered round a good looking baroque arcade within the Altstadt, the Rupertinum is the Museum der Moderne’s sister gallery. Right here, the main target is on rotating exhibitions of contemporary artwork, particularly graphic works and pictures, that are at instances fairly edgy and boundary-pushing.

Get behind-the-scenes insights into the von Trapps at Sound of Music World 

Do you know that there have been ten, not seven, von Trapp kids? Or that as a substitute of climbing each mountain to Switzerland to flee the Nazis, the von Trapps left for the US, the place their concert events have been a hit effectively into the Fifties? On Getreidegasse, within the beating coronary heart of the Altstadt, Sound of Music World shines a light-weight on the reality behind the Hollywood legend. 

The main target right here is much less on warbling nuns and issues like Maria than the lives of the actual von Trapp Household Singers and the way the film differs from actuality. That mentioned, true followers may effectively wish to burst into tune exploring the memorabilia, photographs, costumes and furnishings that deliver the story vividly to life.

Haus der Natur is Salzburg’s greatest museum for youths

This hands-on museum takes a deep dive into nature (and human nature) in all its bizarre and most wondrous kinds. Children can brush up on their data of dinosaurs and alpine crystals within the pure historical past rooms, and gawp at bearded dragons and inexperienced mambas within the reptile enclosure. Budding scientists have a blast with hands-on experiments within the science museum, launching rockets, damming water, taking a organic tour of the human physique and – actually – feeling Mozart’s music by moving into an enormous violin case.

Catch 10:30am breakfast time on the aquarium: you possibly can see sharks on Mondays, octopus and moray eels on Tuesdays, archerfish on Wednesdays and piranhas on Thursdays.

A line of young children waiting with adults to go on a small steam train
Study custom on the open-air Freilichtmuseum © Yuri Turkov / Shutterstock

Freilichtmuseum is house to conventional Austrian crafts and trades

Providing you with a style of rural Austrian life over the previous six centuries, the open-air Freilichtmuseum sits within the foothills of the 1973m (6473ft) peak of Untersberg on the town’s fringes. Enable time as there may be tons to see on the 7km (4 mile) path that takes you on an interesting spin of 100 conventional dwellings, showcasing the crafts and trades of yore in every thing from timber-built farmhouses to watermills, stables, threshing barns, chapels, breweries, laundries and grocery shops. 

There’s lots to amuse the youngsters, with an old school practice to journey, goats to feed, butterflies to watch and an enormous journey playground to let off steam in. Bus 180 runs hourly from Salzburg’s Hauptbahnhof; the journey takes round half an hour.

See works by Previous Masters within the gallery on the opulent Residenz royal palace

The icing on Salzburg’s Unesco World Heritage cake is the lavish Residenz, the baroque palace the place the prince-archbishops held court docket till the Hapsburgs rocked up within the Nineteenth century. It’s nonetheless a grand affair right this moment, with horse-drawn carriages pulling up out entrance, and state rooms which are a swirl of lace-fine stucco, tapestries and frescoes by much-lauded Austrian painter Johann Michael Rottmayr.

Head as much as the third flooring Residenzgalerie for a feast of Sixteenth- to Nineteenth-century artwork. The gallery is especially robust on Flemish and Dutch masters, with standouts like Rubens’ Allegory on Emperor Charles V and Rembrandt’s chiaroscuro Previous Lady Praying.

Dommuseum homes the perfect sacred artwork

Sacred artwork lifts spirits to the heavens on the cathedral museum, the place vaulted, stuccoed rooms hovering above the south side-aisle chapels show an astounding array of ecclesiastical treasures from the eighth to the 18th century.

Put together to be dazzled by gem-encrusted monstrances, stained glass, altarpieces, and one-off wonders just like the Cross of St Rupert (750 CE), believed to be the most important surviving early medieval steel cross, which bears the hallmarks of each Anglo-Saxon and Mediterranean decoration.

One of the vital beautiful rooms is given over to a cupboard of curiosities, showcasing marvels and oddities from globes to uncommon crystals and corals, armadillos to puffer fish, which might have baffled and beguiled baroque aristocrats with money and time to burn.

Get within the festive spirit all 12 months on the Christmas Museum

In case you are head-over-heels in love with Christmas, you gained’t wish to skip this museum above Café Glockenspiel on Mozartplatz. Right here you may get a year-round taste of the festive season, with a snoop via the non-public assortment of yuletide treasures, from elaborately adorned introduction calendars to hand-carved cribs, sparkly baubles, nutcrackers and incense people who smoke.