The stronghold of the ruling prince-archbishops before they moved "downtown" to the Residenz, this fortress towers 122m (400 ft.) above the Salzach River on a rocky dolomite ledge. The massive fortress crowns the Festungsberg and literally dominates Salzburg. To get here, you can hike up one of the paths or lanes leading to the fortress, or you can walk from Kapitelplatz by way of Festungsgasse or from the Mönchsberg via the Schartentor. You can also take the funicular from Festungsgasse (tel. 0662/842682) at the station behind the cathedral. You can purchase an advance ticket to the museum, which includes admission and the funicular ride. Call the museum or the Festungsgasse telephone number in advance for ticket availability.
Work on Hohensalzburg began in 1077 and was not finished until 1681, during which time many builders of widely different tastes and purposes had a hand in the construction. This is the largest completely preserved castle left in central Europe. Functions of defense and state were combined in this fortress for 6 centuries.
The elegant state apartments, once the dwellings of the prince-archbishops and their courts, are on display. Note the coffered ceilings and intricate ironwork, and check out the early-16th-century porcelain stove in the Golden Room.
The Burgmuseum is distinguished mainly by its collection of medieval art. Plans and prints tracing the growth of Salzburg are on display, as are instruments of torture and many Gothic artifacts. The Salzburger Stier (Salzburg Bull), an open-air barrel organ built in 1502, plays melodies by Mozart and his friend Haydn in daily concerts following the glockenspiel chimes. The Rainermuseum has arms and armor exhibits. The beautiful late-Gothic St. George's Chapel, dating from 1501, has marble reliefs of the Apostles.
Visit Hohensalzburg, even if you're not interested in the fortress, for the view from the terrace. From the Reck watchtower, you get a panoramic sweep of the Alps. The Kuenberg bastion has a fine view of Salzburg's domes and towers.