Postcard from Austria: Hohensalzburg Fortress

Hohensalzburg Fortress

It’s such a joy to scroll through old travel photos and relive a fabulous moment or two that had slipped from memory — like this one. During a stay in Bavaria several summers ago, my family took an impromptu side trip to Salzburg, Austria, which is both postcard-pretty and compact enough to explore in a day. The highlight for all of us was the 900-year-old Hohensalzburg Fortress, an austere castle that perches high on a cliff above the city. Its stern facade makes an arresting contrast with the flamboyant architecture of the Old Town below, and its thick walls still radiate an air of power and might that intrigues kids. My then-6-year-old son, as is evident, was rapt.

Reaching Hohensalzburg on foot is quite a climb; with small children, it’s best to take the funicular that runs up the hillside. Although the castle’s interior is largely bare, vestiges of its former glory shine through in the lavish Regency Chambers, a visual feast of bright colors and gilt trim. Kids will love the watchtower, which offers 360-degree views of the countryside, and the military artifacts as well as the marionettes on display in the museums. There are also two restaurants onsite, including a lovely terrace cafe where families can relax over Austrian specialties and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. And musical performances and festivals take place frequently, so check in advance to see what’s on.

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Relevant Links:

Browse all family-friendly accommodations and activities in Austria with kids

All-family wellness in the Austrian Alps at Gruner Baum 

Best itineraries for a week in Europe with kids: Part 1

Best itineraries for a week in Europe with kids: Part 2

Editor’s Note: Photo by Lisa Frederick.

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