Visiting Fortress Hohensalzburg

Impossible to miss, Fortress Hohensalzburg dominates the skyline view in Salzburg, Austria.

While we originally did not intend to enter the Fortress, I do love a good viewpoint. Plus, the museum was a good way to try to dodge some of the rain we encountered in the city.

Although there is a funicular that can transport visitors both to and from the Fortress, we were getting our steps in that day and decided to walk up instead.

Just past the main square, we found steps to a steep path up the mountain. The path seemed to be a narrow driving road, so this may not have been the best walking trail for us, but there was a handrail along the side of the street that we could use to support our steep climb, and we figured we were headed in the right direction.

Luckily, we were rewarded fairly early on with an amazing view of the city. We took a break here at noon to listen to all of the church bells go off in a cacophony of noise. It went on for so long I couldn’t help but wonder if the churches competed to have the last bell ringing. This particular viewpoint may also be familiar to fans of The Sound of Music! This is where Julie Andrew stands when she’s leaving the Convent. Of course, the Convent isn’t on the other side of this frame, but that’s movie magic for ya!

As we made our way closer to the Fortress entrance, we were faced with a fork in the road- one onwards and upwards, and the other down the back of the hill to a green field. We decided to check out the field first.

There wasn’t all too much to see, but I imagine that the park is popular on warm and sunny days. As it was, we couldn’t even see the huge mountains in the background, hidden as they were by the clouds.

Back up we go!

I’m not sure that I can fully express how steep the final stretch of road up to the Fortress is. If we were out of breath before, now we were in full goblin-mode; hunched over and wobbling with the steepness, giggling uncontrollably with the ridiculousness of our posture. By the time we made it up to the ticket booth, we had to go in just to make it worth it!

For the record, there are no views once you start up the path- don’t bother making your way up there if you’re not going inside the Fortress!

Luckily, tickets were fairly inexpensive- we bought basic tickets for €10.30, and it included everything except entrance to the Princely Chambers and the Magic Theatre. Most importantly, it also included an option to take the Fortress funicular down to town (thank god).

Unfortunately, after paying for entrance, the steep slope continues for a few more lengths before we hit some stairs and only then did things start to level out.

Since we were visiting at the very start of the holiday season, the main courtyard of the Fortress was preparing for their yearly Christmas Market. We were just a little too early to experience it ourselves, but I did make a quick note of it in my Salzburg Christmas Market write up.

Hohensalzburg itself is a little basic. It’s been around in one form or another since 1077, though it has been expanded and strengthened throughout the years, ultimately becoming one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. Unlike some other castles we visited, it seems more functional than performative, with thick castle walls and not much in the way of decoration. The fortress has never successfully been invaded, so it’s incredibly well preserved for its age.

We headed directly to the Fortress viewpoint- the clouds had broken and we wanted to admire the view before we got rained out! While the view isn’t significantly different from the one that we and Julie Andrews stopped at, the extra height did make a difference and it was nice to see the view on the other side of the Fortress as well.

With the viewpoint checked off the list, we headed back inside the fortress to explore its museums. Each room houses historical artifacts with informative notes about the castle and the medieval ages. Every room also had a loud video playing interesting details about the rooms. While the videos themselves were interesting and informative, I quickly found myself getting overstimulated by the overlapping noise.

Longtime followers know that I’m a big fan of armories, so of course we had to visit before we left! There isn’t too much in the way of actual armor in the room, but there are a few games and interactive quizzes that we enjoyed. If we got a little too competitive on the timed Labyrinth, no one has to know.

There are some food options within the Fortress that come with an incredible view- and don’t worry, there are free public toilets available!

The funicular back to the city was a little slow and they really packed visitors into the cars, but we don’t have a ton of funiculars where I’m from so I always find them fun. Plus, I didn’t want to hike back down to street level!

Overall, I enjoyed our visit to Hohensalzburg Fortress, but I’m unlikely to return in the future. The views were great and they had some interesting items for history nerds such as myself, but I did feel like there wasn’t all too much to actually see within the Fortress- for all its size, it’s pretty sparsely filled. I’ll definitely make some exceptions for their special events- like that Christmas Market I mentioned earlier- but otherwise, I think was able to get my fill of the landmark during my visit.

Useful Information

Opening Hours

January-April: 9:30 am-5 pm May-September: 8:30 am-8 pm (Museums, princes’ chambers, magic theater 9 am- 7 pm) October-December: 9:30 am-5 pm
*Easter and Advent weekends: 9:30 am-6 pm
Dec. 24: 9:30 am-2 pm
(last admission 30 minutes before closing)

Basic Ticket Pricing From Town – (you can save about €3 if you walk up)

Incl. ascent and descent by Fortress funicular
Fortress area: courtyards, bastions, chapel, Panorama tour, Fortress museum, Rainer Regimental Museum, Marionette Museum, armoury house
Adults € 14.00
Children (6-14 years) € 5.70
People with disabilities greater than 50% € 12.80
Groups of 10 adults or more, per person € 12.80
Dogs free
SalzburgCard: one-time free admission, quick access and entrance before 11 am includes access to state rooms free of charge

Check the most up to date details on the Hohensalzburg Fortress official website here

6 thoughts on “Visiting Fortress Hohensalzburg

  1. Those views! You must have gotten a work out, but the views make it seem worthwhile. Even if you never go back, at least you’ve done it and can look at the fortress from afar. Great post!

  2. I am forever cursing clifftop fortresses for their never ending steps or slopes up – but they’re always worth it in the end 🙂 I love Salzburg and enjoyed revisiting via your post.

Leave a Reply