Hohensalzburg Fortress in Salzburg, Austria

The snow-white Hohensalzburg Fortress high above the city of Mozart looks back on 900 years of architectural history. It offers its guests a breathtaking view over the roofs and peaks of Salzburg.

The medieval fortress of Hohensalzburg towers majestically above the baroque towers of Mozart's city, visible from afar. During its almost thousand-year existence, the fortress has never been taken and is therefore the largest completely preserved medieval castle in Europe today.


Next to the Getreidegasse and Salzburg Cathedral, the snow-white castle is the best-known sight in Salzburg. It is visited by around 900,000 people every year and has a permanent place on our list of the top 10 sights in Salzburg.

In addition to day tourists, cultural events such as concerts in the Golden Hall, the Summer Painting Academy, the Medieval Festival, the Advent Market or the performance of the play "Jedermann" attract additional visitors to the time-honoured fortress hill.

PICTURES: Hohensalzburg Fortress

Photo gallery: Hohensalzburg Fortress in Salzburg

How do you get to Hohensalzburg Fortress?

The Hohensalzburg invites visitors all year round to experience interesting history behind thick walls and the best view over Salzburg's old town. The fortress hill can be climbed with the fortress railway from Kapitelplatz (subject to a charge), or via an approximately 800m long footpath. This leads directly to the so-called Keutschach Arch, through which the inner courtyard of the fortress is entered.

Tip: The admission price of the FestungsCard also includes a guided tour of around one hour with the audio guide, which is not to be missed!

Tour of Hohensalzburg Fortress

View of the High Floor of Hohensalzburg Fortress, which houses the Golden Hall and Golden Room and the Prince's Rooms, Austria - © James Camel / franks-travelbox.c
© James Camel / franks-travelbox.c

The spacious inner courtyard of Hohensalzburg Castle is dominated by a gnarled tree that stretches its branches into the sky between the snow-white walls of the large castle courtyard. The large courtyard is lined by the armoury and the Schüttkasten from the late 13th century, the Hohen Stock with the Golden Hall and the Golden Stube and the Georgskapelle.

The audio guide also takes visitors to the Krautturm, where the Salzburg Bull is hidden. This organ-like musical instrument is still in working order, making it the oldest operating horn mechanism in the world.

Grandiose view over Salzburg

Behind the Hohe Stock of the Hohensalzburg follows another courtyard, behind the parapet of which opens a magnificent view over the old town of Salzburg, Austria - © James Camel / franks-travelbox.c
© James Camel / franks-travelbox.c

Behind the Hoher Stock follows another courtyard, behind whose parapet a magnificent view of Salzburg's old town opens up. If you haven't had enough of the fabulous view, you can enjoy the view to the west and east from the observation tower during the tour of the fortress.


Museums of the Hohensalzburg

The Hohensalzburg Marionette Museum depicts the fortress's history and Salzburg's famous personalities from Mozart to Sissi, Austria - © James Camel / franks-travelbox.c
© James Camel / franks-travelbox.com

The admission ticket to Hohensalzburg also entitles you to visit the castle museums:

  • The origins of the fortress and life in its rooms at that time can be traced in the fortress museum.
  • The Rainer Regiment Museum tells of the achievements and successes of one of Austria's most loyal regiments, which was in action from the Turkish Wars of 1682 to the First World War.
  • In the puppet museum in the former princely cellars, scenes from the history of the fortress and Salzburg's famous personalities from Mozart to Sissi are portrayed by hand puppets.

Origin of Hohensalzburg Fortress

The mighty walls of Hohensalzburg Castle served as a safe haven for the archbishops of the surrounding area during several peasant uprisings, Austria - © James Camel / franks-travelbox.c
© James Camel / franks-travelbox.c

The first buildings of Hohensalzburg Castle were erected in 1077 under Archbishop Gebhard. He had his sphere of influence fortified together with the castles of Hohenwerfen and Friesach due to the disputes between the Pope and the German king at the time. In the following centuries, Hohensalzburg served as a safe haven for the archbishops of the surrounding area during several peasant uprisings.

Around 500 years later, from 1461 to 1466, its characteristic four round towers were built under Prince Archbishop Burkhard II of Weißpriach.

From 1495 to 1519, Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach made the largest extension to the castle complex we know today. He also had the Tear Train built, still the oldest known funicular railway in the world, and donated the Salzburg Bull in the Kraut Tower to the fortress.

Such prominent guests as the archbishops naturally needed appropriate chambers and so the interior of the Hohensalzburg was also magnificently designed. The Gothic carvings and paintings can still be seen today in the magnificent princely rooms.

The individual stages of the fortress's development under the respective archbishops can be traced over the centuries in the Fortress Museum with the help of models.

Related links:

Official website of the Hohensalzburg Fortress
Info about the Salzburg Card