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Hohensalzburg castle towers high above the city of Salzburg. During its centuries-old history it was not captured once. These days, it prefers to let in guests and besiegers voluntarily, albeit, unfortunately, not free of charge. There are many ways up to the castle.
The most traditional one is probably the Festungsbahn railway, which quickly takes you up the steep hill. Tip: The train ride and admission to the castle are included in the Salzburg Card.
Alternatively, if you’re brave enough, you can walk up, starting from the old town. The route doesn’t seem all that steep at first, but it is quite arduous.
I advise you to take a detour via Mönchsberg mountain. Mönchsberg mountain is a beautiful place with a great view of the city. And it’s also a nice hike over to the castle.
The Mönchsberg lift takes you up the mountain in a few seconds. Unfortunately, you can’t look out of the lift, but the observation deck at the top provides great photo opportunities and views of Salzburg.
From here you can see the course of the Salzach river, Mirabell Palace on the left, Kapuzinerberg mountain in front of you, and on the right the cathedral and the charming old town.
Museum of Modern Art
The lift, by the way, takes you to the Museum of Modern Art. (Lift and admission are free with the Salzburg Card, an inexpensive way to see many sights of Salzburg.)
Don’t rush and take a look around the museum. The modern architecture alone offers a nice contrast to the buildings in the city, which you can see from here. The museum’s exhibitions change regularly.
But now we leave the museum and walk along the wide path towards Hohensalzburg castle. The first part of the route takes us through a small wood, and throughout the walk you have a great view of the city some 70 metres below you. Every so often you come to a little vantage point with views of Salzburg.
Photo stop at the inn
After a short while you arrive at a meadow and head towards the Mönchsberg fortress. You pass this former defensive wall through a gateway, and if you now bear left you will get to the Stadtalm inn. This is where you will also find also a small youth hostel. It is run by the Naturfreunde association, and there is also another vantage point outside the inn. It also affords a great view over the city. And it is an excellent photo stop.
We continue. Stay on the left hand side, if possible, because then you continue to have views of the city. But you will notice that you will get further and further away from the edge of the mountain. But only to walk past a Buddhist stupa for a short section of the route; but if I remember right, there are some seats there and it’s a nice place for a break. Now we’re not far away.
A few metres further along you turn left. From this point onwards, the path is called Doktor-Ludwig-Prähauser-Weg, after a teacher and writer from Salzburg. You follow this path until you suddenly walk underneath the tracks of the Festungsbahn railway. You turn right and follow the steep hill up to the entrance of the fortification. This last section is quite tricky, because the path is unpleasantly steep.
Then suddenly you are by the entrance to Hohensalzburg castle. And you will soon realise that you simply have to pay it a visit, whichever route you chose.