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History Museums Walking Tour in Salzburg (Self Guided), Salzburg

The city of Salzburg is famous for its cultural and history museums. The collections of preserved documents, paintings, sculptures, and other items are unique. Visitors to Salzburg will find many fascinating interactive exhibits. Take this walking tour and become acquainted with Salzburg's history museums.
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History Museums Walking Tour in Salzburg Map

Guide Name: History Museums Walking Tour in Salzburg
Guide Location: Austria » Salzburg (See other walking tours in Salzburg)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Author: julian
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Nonnberg Convent
  • Fortress Museum
  • Panorama Museum
  • Salzburg Museum
  • DomQuartier (Cathedral Museum)
  • Toy Museum
  • Haus der Natur
Nonnberg Convent

1) Nonnberg Convent (must see)

The Nonnberg Convent is the oldest continuously existing nunnery in the German-speaking world. The monastery complex is today a protected monument and part of the Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. The church of the convent, the Maria Himmelfahrt is the second oldest church dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Salzburg.

The convent was established between 713 and 715 by St. Rupert. He placed it under the control of his sister St. Erentrudis who became the first Abbess. The complex that makes up the Nonnberg Convent includes the Maria Himmelfahrt church, the cloisters, a hall with pillars, the convent, the kitchen court, the dining hall, the St. John’s Chapel, the Pieta Chapel, and other small buildings.

The Maria Himmelfahrt church was built in 1463. It is a simple gothic structure with a baroque principal altar and side altars dating back to 1515. The principal altar depicts the Virgin Mary between St. Rupert and St. Virgil. At the back of the church are Roman frescoes painted around 1140. The Romanesque West Tower was constructed in the 12th century and was remodeled in Baroque style during the 19th century. It contains a crypt containing the tomb of the first abbess St. Erentrudis. The St. John’s Chapel has a magnificent winged gothic altar donated by the Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich. The convent also houses a museum that is open occasionally to scholars and researchers. Maria von Trapp, the author of the book, 'The Story of the Trapp Family Singers' that later became the well known Hollywood movie, 'The Sound of Music' was a novice at the nunnery.

***The Sound of Music Movie***
Nonberg Abbey (Stift Nonnberg) is probably the most famous of all The Sound of Music sites in Salzburg. Founded by Saint Erentrudis, the niece of Saint Rupert (Bishop of Worms) in 712-715, this historic Benedictine Convent is the oldest abbey in the German speaking world. Perched high over the east side of Salzburg, it made an excellent location for many powerful scenes in the movie.

It was also here that the real-life Maria (Maria Augusta Kutschera), aged 19, came to live in 1924, stayed for two years as a nun apprentice, became a tutor for one of the widowed Captain Von Trapp’s sick children, and then married him on November 26th, 1927, 11 years before the Nazis took over the city. At the time of her marriage, Maria was 22 and Georg – 47.

The scene of their wedding was filmed at Collegiate Church in Mondsee Austria. The majority of the indoor scenes were shot in a California studio, as well as that with the nuns singing ‘Maria’ in the convent courtyard. Filming inside the courtyard was not allowed, so they had to do it at a re-created set in Hollywood and a small studio in Salzburg. Still, there were four iconic scenes shot on the actual grounds, near the gate, including those in which Maria leaves the abbey wondering “What will this day be like?”, the nuns talk about Maria, the children come to visit, and the Nazis on the hunt for the Von Trapps after their escape, upon which the nuns disable their car.

At the time of the filming, there were 50 nuns residing in the convent; now there are only 14 left (as at 2017). Each morning at 6:45am the resident nuns gather to sing Gregorian chants in Latin which is a real treat.

Why You Should Visit:
If you want to get off the beaten path and see a church that seems unaffected by the passing of time, this is a great stop!

For some of the finest Romanesque & Gothic artwork in Austria and Europe, go to the Convent's museum ("Stiftsmuseum").
Make sure you also have some 50-cent coins to light up the area at the back of the church and see frescoes or the altar.
Fortress Museum

2) Fortress Museum (must see)

The Fortress Museum forms part of the Hohensalzburg Fortress, the largest preserved medieval castle/fort in Central Europe. The history of the fortress and the lifestyle of those who lived in the castle are portrayed through the exhibits at the museum.

The Fortress Museum was expanded and refurbished in the year 2000 and work was completed in the year 2002. The museum forms part of the castle keep. It has many objects from excavations around Salzburg including Roman coins, ceramics and artifacts and the remains of a Roman wall. There is a medieval heating system and 12th-century Romanesque arcades. Objects include a medieval gold treasure, arms and armory, instruments used for torture, a reproduction of the castle kitchen, reproductions of castle furniture and musical instruments used by military bands. There are sections dedicated to specific events like the siege of the castle in 1526 and the life of Prince Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach who renovated the castle and made it the magnificent structure it is today.

Visitors can explore the museum by themselves or take one of the many guided tours where each exhibit is explained in detail. They can also take in spectacular views of the city from its windows.

Why You Should Visit:
Excellent displays of old weaponry and military history in creatively designed settings!

Opening Hours:
August – September: daily: 9am – 7pm
October – December: daily: 9am – 5pm
24/31 Dec: 9am–2pm / January 1st: 11am–5pm
Thursday evening guided tour at 6pm (only reduced admission price), with changing themes (see events programme)
Panorama Museum

3) Panorama Museum

The Panorama Museum is a unique museum that displays a single work of art. It displays one of the last few 360 degree panorama paintings left in the world.

The Panorama Museum contains a panoramic picture of historic Salzburg painted by artist, Johann Michael Sattler (1786-1847). The painting is 26 meters wide and covers an area of 130 square meters. It was established as a branch of the Salzburg Museum. An underground tunnel connects the two museums. The Museum has a visitor’s platform where telescopes are positioned to give visitors a detailed view of the important buildings and neighborhoods in the city. Computer screens enable visitors to navigate through the city and learn more about many of the buildings and attractions in Salzburg.

The panorama painting depicts Salzburg in the early 1800s in great detail. It not only shows the city but many significant surrounding areas of Salzburg. It has become famous for the realistic depiction of the city as it once was. Today, modern methods like projections and animations have been added to show visitors how different locations in the city have changed since the execution of the painting. Around the panorama are other landscape paintings called Cosmoramas by the son of Johann Michael Sattler, Hubert Sattler who was also an accomplished 19th century landscape artist.

Hours: Mon-Sun 9 am to 5 pm
Salzburg Museum

4) Salzburg Museum (must see)

The New Residence of the Archbishops of Salzburg houses the Salzburg Museum. It is a repository of the history, art and culture of the city from the time when it was the Roman city of Juvavum to the modern day.

The New Residence on Mozart Square in Salzburg is a magnificent building where the Prince-Archbishops lived and entertained guests when they ruled the city. It took over a hundred years to build and four archbishops in succession embellished its appearance. The Salzburg Museum was housed in the New Residence from the year 2007.

The Salzburg Museum has four major sections with an array of exhibits. Its purpose is not only to inform visitors but also to entertain them. One section is devoted to the life and works of well-known men and women of Salzburg who made their contributions in the fields of art, science, architecture, literature, music, and photography. Another section is dedicated to the historical development of the city’s art and culture from the reign of the archbishops to the early 20th century. There are a medieval collection and objects unearthed by archeological excavations like a painted Roman wall and a Celtic jug. Temporary exhibitions are held in the Kunsthalle or the Art Hall. It is located in the inner courtyard of the New Residence and is a multipurpose hall with an illuminated ceiling.

Why You Should Visit:
If you're interested in seeing and hearing the history of Salzburg, then you must spend a few hours inside this museum.
There are several permanent exhibits here that walk you through it, but also some special exhibitions for only 1 or 2 months.

Make sure you are given a combo ticket including the Panorama Museum; otherwise, you won't get through the turnstile in the Panorama Passage.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9am-5pm
Thursday evening guided tour at 6pm (only reduced admission price), with changing themes (see events programme)
DomQuartier (Cathedral Museum)

5) DomQuartier (Cathedral Museum) (must see)

The DomQuartier is located in the galleries of the Salzburg Cathedral. The southern oratories or galleries that house this museum have magnificent baroque décor and command spectacular views of the city and the interiors of the cathedral including the nave and aisles.

The museum was founded in 1974. The purpose was to display exhibits dedicated to the 1300 year history, life and culture of one of the oldest archbishoprics in Europe. The collections are from the cathedral itself as well as other parish churches that came under the Archdiocese. The oratories where the museum is located were once used as chapels.

Exhibits displayed in the DomQuartier include medieval sculptures, textiles, medieval gold artifacts that formed part of the treasure owned by the archbishops, the sacred dove of Limoges, a precious jewel studded monstrance and the 8th century and St. Rupert’s Cross, the oldest exhibit in the collection. There is a cabinet of curiosities that has a collection of objects that are not related to religion like fossils, stuffed animals and scientific instruments. The long gallery built between 1657 and 1661 has many notable religious paintings by well-known artists including the reliefs of Georg Raphael Donner and works by Johann Michael Rottmayer and Paul Troger.

Take the audio-guide (available in multiple languages with a separate guide aimed at children); each room is labeled with a number which you tap into the handset to hear the commentary.
Make sure you allow plenty of time. The audio-guide tour lasts about 1.5 hrs but you can tap in requests for additional commentary.
If you stop for a drink on the panorama terrace and include any special exhibitions, your visit could stretch to 3-4 hours.
You aren’t allowed to take photos, but you can find plenty of seats and toilets along the route.
Staff is on hand to help you stay on track and to reset the audio guide if you mess up!

Opening Hours:
Wed-Mon: 10am–5pm (last entrance: 4pm)
Open 7 days a week in July & August, 10am–6pm
Toy Museum

6) Toy Museum (must see)

The Spielzeugmuseum or Toy Museum displays the largest collection of toys in Austria. It has both conventional and interactive displays.

The Toy Museum is housed in a beautiful old Baroque structure that was once a public hospital. Besides an impressive collection of toys, the museum has workshops where toys are made and the Kasperltheater Puppet show has been hosted on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon for the entertainment of young visitors for the last 25 years. Exhibits are arranged in an area of over 800 square meters.

Toy collections at the museum include antique dolls, wooden and tin dolls from around Austria, toys used by children from the baroque age to the 21st century and a small exhibition of miniature musical instruments. There are exhibits that are over 250 years old. There is a vast collection of paper theater and paper opera characters, a unique collection of model trains, a collection of handmade dolls houses and circus toy displays. One room has a model railroad with two locomotives that carry passengers and goods around the city at the press of a button. There is also a section dedicated to photography equipment. Another attraction for children is a group of gnomes called Fidis that live in the museum depot.

Why You Should Visit:
Versatile – you could try a lot yourself; perfect for children aged 5-11; in a good overall condition despite the many young visitors; housed in a historically interesting building; staff is friendly and helpful; entrance fee is reasonable.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9am-5pm
Haus der Natur

7) Haus der Natur (must see)

The House of Nature in Salzburg is one of the best natural history museums in Europe. It is a modern facility with a design based on the concept of an adventure museum.

The House of Nature was founded in 1927 by professor of zoology, Eduard Paul Tratz. He opened the museum with his personal collection. Professor Tratz continued to function as its curator until 1976. It is housed in a former convent which was abandoned in 1957. The House of Nature has over 80 rooms with animated exhibits and natural habitats. Many study groups with interests in various life science disciplines like entomology, ornithology, botany and astronomy meet and interact at the museum.

Exhibits at the museum include a range of stuffed animals, rocks and stones. There are replicas of giant dinosaurs including a moving simulation of an Allosaurus and a reconstructed dinosaur egg. It has dioramas showing landscape forms from across the world and a 'space hall' where visitors can feel the impact of a meteor falling on earth or experience the landing on the moon. Large models of the human body and an aquarium with forty parts representing different fish from different marine habitats are other attractions at the House of Nature.

Why You Should Visit:
Great museum for all different age groups; also, a big plus because it is inexpensive while offering a lot.
A large portion of the museum has helpful English displays, and there are many interactive exhibits as well.

If you plan on going, make sure to plan enough time...

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-5pm

Walking Tours in Salzburg, Austria

Create Your Own Walk in Salzburg

Create Your Own Walk in Salzburg

Creating your own self-guided walk in Salzburg is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Old Town Nightlife

Old Town Nightlife

Salzburg, known worldwide as the city of Mozart, offers its visitors a large spectrum of nightlife. The city is home to many clubs with a fantastic atmosphere. Get started with this walking tour of the Old Town to become acquainted with the wonderful nightlife available on your visit to Salzburg.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles
Religious Walking Tour

Religious Walking Tour

Salzburg is listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to countless cultural, architectural, and religious landmarks. The city features numerous historic places of worship, from small churches and abbeys to the impressive Salzburg Cathedral. Take the following walking tour to discover Salzburg's holy places and their history.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Salzburg Introduction Walk

Salzburg Introduction Walk

The Austrian city of Salzburg straddles the Salzach River near the German border in the Eastern Alps. It went down in history primarily as the hometown of great composer Mozart, whose birthplace is now a museum and the main local attraction. Other than that, Salzburg is also famous for its medieval and baroque architecture, as well as for the abundance of “platzes” (squares) that make up much...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Old Town Museums & Galleries

Old Town Museums & Galleries

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles
Old Town, Right Bank Walk

Old Town, Right Bank Walk

Salzburg's "Old Town" (Altstadt) is internationally renowned for its baroque architecture and is one of the best-preserved city centers north of the Alps. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. As a tourist of this wonderful city, don't miss the opportunity to visit the streets of Old Town and sites presented on this tour.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Gift Shops, Old Town

Gift Shops, Old Town

Specialty shops make up an integral part of tourist life in Salzburg. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs unique to Salzburg, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit. Located within the Old Town, the shops are all within a pleasant walk.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.7 Km or 0.4 Miles