A popular spot for outings from Salzburg, this palace dates from the early 17th century and was built as a hunting lodge and summer residence for Prince-Archbishop Markus Sittikus. The Hellbrunn Zoo, also here, was formerly the palace deer park. It's a 20-minute drive from Salzburg; turn off Alpenstrasse at the Mobil gas station.
The palace gardens, one of the oldest baroque formal gardens in all Europe, are known for their trick fountains. As you walk through, take care -- you might be showered from a surprise source, such as a set of antlers. Set to organ music, some 265 figures in a mechanical theater are set in motion hydraulically.
The rooms of the palace are furnished and decorated in 18th-century style. See, in particular, the banquet hall with its trompe l'oeil painting. There's also a domed octagonal room that was used as a music and reception hall.
On the grounds, a natural gorge forms the Stone Theater, where the first opera in the German-speaking world was presented in 1617. This attraction (signposted) is reached on foot, about a 20-minute walk from the castle. A Hellbrunn Festival is held in the gardens, palace, and theater in August.