Fortress Hohensalzburg Travel Guide 2024

picture displays an aerial view of the Hohensalzburg Fortress, situated high above the cityscape of Salzburg. The surrounding landscape includes parts of the city and stretches of green fields, with a backdrop of mountains in the distance. The fortress and the city are bathed in bright daylight

The Ultimate Travel Guide Fortress Hohensalzburg 

Welcome to the ultimate travel guide to Fortress Hohensalzburg, a jewel in the crown of Salzburg’s rich historical landscape. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know to make the most of your visit. From the fortress’s captivating history and architectural marvels to the best times to visit and local dining options, we’ve got you covered. We’ll also delve into practical travel tips, including transportation options from Vienna Austria and within Salzburg Austria, safety advice, and budgeting insights. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or someone simply looking to soak in stunning views, this guide is your one-stop resource for an unforgettable experience at Fortress Hohensalzburg.

History of Fortress Hohensalzburg

Built in 1077 by Archbishop Gebhard, Fortress Hohensalzburg has undergone numerous expansions and renovations over the centuries. Initially constructed as a defensive stronghold, it later served as a residence for Salzburg’s archbishops. The fortress played a crucial role during the Investiture Controversy between the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor. It was never captured by foreign troops, a testament to its strategic design and fortification. The castle also served as a prison during various periods, housing political and religious prisoners. Today, it stands as a well-preserved monument that encapsulates over 900 years of history.

The photo showcases the Hohensalzburg Fortress in Salzburg, Austria, during what appears to be dusk. The fortress sits atop a small mountain, overlooking the city with its historical buildings. The sky is painted with hues of pink, orange, and blue, indicative of a sunset. The foreground is filled with the city's architecture, while the background features the silhouette of distant mountains.

Best Times to Visit Fortress Hohensalzburg

The ideal time to visit Fortress Hohensalzburg is from late spring to early autumn, specifically from May to September. During these months, the weather is pleasant, allowing for comfortable exploration of the fortress and its surroundings. The summer months also coincide with Salzburg’s festival season, offering a rich array of cultural events. However, this is also peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons in late April or early October.

Is Fortress Hohensalzburg worth visiting?

Absolutely, Fortress Hohensalzburg is well worth a visit for a variety of reasons, whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture aficionado, or simply someone looking to enjoy breathtaking views.

This interior photo features a room within the Hohensalzburg Fortress. The ornate ceiling is richly decorated with geometric patterns and gilded accents. The walls are adorned with what appear to be wooden panels and metal details. An intricately crafted object, possibly a piece of historic furniture or decorative art, stands to the right, contributing to the room's historic ambiance. Bright sunlight filters through the windows, highlighting the room’s details.

Why is Fortress Hohensalzburg famous?

Fortress Hohensalzburg is famous for being one of Europe’s largest and best-preserved medieval castles. It holds significant historical importance, featuring a blend of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, and offers panoramic views of Salzburg and the surrounding Alps. The fortress has served various roles over its 900-year history, from a military stronghold to a royal residence, making it a key symbol of Salzburg’s rich cultural heritage.

How much does it cost to go to Hohensalzburg Fortress?

The cost to visit Hohensalzburg Fortress can vary depending on the type of ticket and any additional attractions you may want to include. However, a standard adult ticket typically costs €17.40, while a ticket for children costs €6.40. These prices are subject to change, so it’s advisable to check the official website or contact the ticket office for the most current information.

How long do you need at Hohensalzburg Fortress?

A visit to Hohensalzburg Fortress can vary in length depending on your interests, but a good rule of thumb is to allocate at least 2 hours for your visit. This should give you enough time to explore the main attractions, including the Prince’s Chambers, the museums, and the watchtower, as well as to enjoy the panoramic views of Salzburg and the surrounding Alps. If you’re particularly interested in history or architecture, or if you plan to dine at one of the eateries within the fortress, you may want to extend your visit.

The image presents a spacious interior, likely within the Hohensalzburg Fortress, featuring a high ceiling with intricate designs and wooden beams. Several large, twisted columns add a dramatic touch to the room's historic feel. The floor is wooden and expansive, indicating the room's potential for hosting events. Natural light streams through the windows, casting a soft glow across the space. It's a blend of medieval architecture with a touch of modernity.

Top Attractions around Fortress Hohensalzburg

Natural Wonders

While the fortress itself is a man-made marvel, the surrounding landscapes offer breathtaking natural beauty. The Festungsberg hill provides panoramic views of the Salzach River, the Alps, and the city below. The hill is also home to various walking trails, perfect for a nature hike.

Architectural Marvels of Fortress Hohensalzburg

The fortress is an architectural gem, featuring Romanesque and Gothic elements. The Prince’s Chambers, featuring intricate woodwork and frescoes, are a must-see. The watchtower offers an unparalleled view of the city and is a testament to medieval engineering.

Cultural Experiences

Inside the fortress, you’ll find the Fortress Museum, showcasing medieval weapons, and the Marionette Museum, featuring historic puppets. The Rainer Regiment Museum offers insights into military history.

Local Cuisine and Dining

Must-try Dishes

When in Salzburg, try local dishes like Wiener Schnitzel and Salzburger Nockerl. These can be enjoyed at various eateries within and around the fortress.

Dining Recommendations

For fine dining, head to St. Peter Stiftskulinarium. For a casual meal, try Zipfer Bierhaus. Street food options include various sausage stands and pretzel vendors.

Cultural Etiquettes

Be respectful when touring religious or historical sites within the fortress. Photography may be restricted in certain areas. Tipping is generally not expected but appreciated.

Travel Tips for Fortress Hohensalzburg


The Festungsbahn funicular is the quickest way to reach the fortress. Salzburg Cards offer free rides and can be a cost-effective option for travelers.


The fortress is generally safe. However, watch out for uneven surfaces and steep staircases. Emergency number: 112.


Daily expenditure can vary: budget travelers can expect to spend around €50, mid-range around €100, and luxury travelers €200 or more.

Unique Stays

Consider staying in a local guesthouse for an authentic experience.

Opening Time of Fortress Hohensalzburg

The castle is open for visitors everyday between 09.30 and 17.00.

Local Secrets while visiting Fortress Hohensalzburg

Explore the hidden chambers and lesser-known courtyards within the fortress for a unique experience.

My final thoughts 

Fortress Hohensalzburg is not just a destination but an experience that takes you through time, offering a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Don’t miss this iconic landmark when you visit Salzburg.

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How to Get Fortress Hohensalzburg from Vienna Airport?

Getting to Fortress Hohensalzburg from Vienna International Airport is relatively straightforward and offers multiple options to suit various budgets and timelines.


The most convenient way is to take a train from Vienna to Salzburg. The ÖBB Railjet trains are comfortable and efficient, covering the distance in about 2.5 hours. Trains depart from Vienna’s central station, Wien Hauptbahnhof, which is easily accessible from the airport via the S7 S-Bahn train or the City Airport Train (CAT). Once you arrive at Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, you can take a local bus or a taxi to the Old Town, where the fortress is located.


If you prefer driving, rental cars are available at Vienna Airport. The journey to Salzburg takes approximately 3 hours via the A1 motorway. This gives you the flexibility to explore other attractions along the way. However, parking in Salzburg can be expensive and limited. Click here to reach google maps link of the route from Vienna Airport to Fortress Hohensalzburg.

How to Get Fortress Hohensalzburg from Salzburg?

If you’re already in Salzburg, reaching Fortress Hohensalzburg is a breeze.

By Foot

The fortress is located in the heart of Salzburg’s Old Town. If you’re staying nearby, a walk to the base of the Festungsberg hill is quite doable. From there, you can either hike up the hill, which takes about 20-30 minutes, or opt for the funicular. Here is the google maps link.


The Festungsbahn funicular is the quickest and most convenient way to reach the fortress. It departs from the lower terminus near the Old Town and takes you to the fortress in just a few minutes. The Salzburg Card offers free rides on the funicular and is highly recommended for tourists.

By Bus

Local buses also serve the area around the fortress. You can take bus lines 5, 25, or 27 to the Festungsbahn funicular station and then proceed by funicular or foot.

Whether you’re coming from Vienna or already in Salzburg, Fortress Hohensalzburg is an accessible and must-visit destination. Plan your journey well to make the most of your trip.

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