The 7 Best City Parks in Salzburg
Famous for Mozart, the The sound of musicc and a majestic cavalcade of churches and palaces, Salzburg is sometimes overlooked as a city of green spaces. From the ornate parks established by pleasure-loving archbishops to the densely forested hills that rise above the city, Salzburg is a city that rejoices in the outdoors.
Whether you want to marvel at the exquisite horticulture, play games, settle in with a picnic, or simply lose yourself in the woods, Salzburg has a park for you. They also offer a window into local life, an opportunity to commune with the locals of Salzburg while jogging, cycling or simply getting away from the city’s summer bustle.
It should not be forgotten that the greatest external asset of the city is the Salzach river, which flows in the center of the city and with shaded paths on both banks. Perfect for walking and cycling, they are a great way to get around the city from one area to another.
Les Jardins Mirabell: the best park for roses and romance
There’s something delightfully naughty about a park built by an archbishop for his mistress, but that’s exactly how Salzburg’s Mirabell Gardens began. Established by Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich as a gift to the mother of his 15 children, Salomé Alt, and remodeled by his princely successors, the Mirabell’s perennial flowerbeds and rose gardens have an undeniable romantic appeal. Unsurprisingly, it’s a popular spot for wedding photos. With statues of Greco-Roman gods, fountains and a circle of stone dwarfs in the so-called Zwerglgarten or Dwarf Garden, it’s the perfect introduction to Salzburg’s Baroque-era devotion to the art of Hobbies. And don’t be surprised if the gardens look familiar: they served as the main outdoor venue for the Do Re Mi sequence in the music sound.
The Mönchsberg: best park for forest walks
It’s not often you find yourself ascending the green spaces of a city by elevator. It is, however, the quickest route to Mönchsberg, the green hill whose steep south face rises directly above Salzburg’s Old Town. The forest-covered summit has an inviting network of forest trails, many of which lead to lookout points offering panoramic views of the city. It’s also home to one of the city’s coolest cultural sites, the Museum der Moderne, a concrete slab of a museum showcasing cutting-edge contemporary and period art. Head to the museum bistro for refreshments or treat yourself to a feast of haute cuisine at the Michelin-rated Glass Garden restaurant at Schloss Mönchstein. Finish by descending north into historic Mülln for a refreshing beer in the Augustinerbräu garden.
Hellbrunn Palace Park: The Best Park for a Long Day
Of all the parks in Salzburg, Hellbrunn is the one that is worth most of your vacation. Located 6 km (3.7 miles) south of the center, the park was laid out by the 17th-century Prince-Archbishop Markus Sittikus to serve as his out-of-town retreat. The Archbishop’s lavish Hellbrunn Palace is a no-holds-barred introduction to the opulent lifestyles of 17th-century rulers, its halls filled with frescoes and fine furnishings.
Sittikus’ taste for slapstick humor is revealed by the Wasserspiele, a set of clever fountains designed to drench its guests when they least expect it. Open to all free of charge, Palace Park is a great place for a long blissful stroll, with ornamental flowerbeds and fish ponds giving way to rolling meadows, trees and one of the best children’s play parks around. from Salzburg. Climb to the top of the park’s wooded hill for breathtaking views of the city and its suburbs.
Hans-Donnenberg Park: the best park to get away from it all
Hidden behind the Hohensalzburg hill, Hans-Donnenberg Park is one of Salzburg’s best-kept secrets, a patchwork of rolling meadows and woodland that has a deliberately unkept feel, as if nature has had its free rein. Well away from the tourist trails, it is the ideal place for a moment of calm and contemplation; indeed, humans here may well outnumber the frogs and ducks that congregate around a central reed pond. The park’s walking and cycling paths join the road along the Almakanal, an age-old canal used to power the city’s mills. A lovely walk along the water’s edge, it seems a world away from the city.
Volksgarten: the best park to have fun and play
Stretching along the banks of the Salzach River, Salzburg’s Volksgarten may be low on flowerbeds, but it’s big enough on everything you’d expect from a park, with a winding lake splashed by a spray fountain, verdant lawns and tree-lined avenues filled with cyclists and strollers. There’s also a range of facilities, from beach volleyball courts to a climbing wall, table tennis tables and an impressively equipped children’s play area.
Queue at the artfully minimalist gray gazebo for refreshments before parking on sandy ground near the lake and imagining yourself by the sea. And if you fancy a swim, head to the Volksgarten Bad just behind the park: with open-air swimming pools bordered by manicured lawns and a cocktail bar, it’s the closest to the Mediterranean without jumping on a train.
Schloss Arenberg Sculpture Park: the best hidden gem
Hidden behind Schloss Arenberg (now home to a medical research institute), this inviting expanse of woods and meadow is home to a startling group of modern, mostly abstract sculptures. It’s a fascinating window into contemporary German and Austrian art, with highlights like Bernhard Heiliger’s rugged Great Phoenix IIIand the enigmatic of Tobias Ballaty do not forgetwhich looks like a huge golden bean hanging from a tree.
San Sebastian Cemetery: Best Park for Meditation
Although not exactly a park or a garden, San Sebastián Cemetery is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating green spaces in the city. Hidden behind an archway just off bustling Linzergasse, this intimate, cloistered space contains a slew of funerary monuments, many of which use gruesome skulls and bones to draw attention to the transience of earthly life. Meditative rather than melancholy, it’s a magical place to reflect on Salzburg’s rich history. Coffee House in the adjacent courtyard is a suitably sweet place to collect one’s thoughts.