Mozart’s birthplace

Mozart’s birthplace

Mozart’s Birthplace in Salzburg

Salzburg is all about Mozart, the most famous son of this town. You will find Mozart almost everywhere in the old town of Salzburg: From a giant mozart ball, to the mozart’s square, the mozart’s bridge, the Mozart’s balls and the mozart ducks. But there are also two very important buildings: The Mozart’s living house where the family of Mozart lived before moving to Vienna and the even more famous Mozart’s birthplace. Nowadays a museum to show the life of Mozart, his work and the life of Mozart in Salzburg.

The museum is on 3 floors in the building in which Mozart was born: On the first floor you will learn about the travels of the family Mozart and the lifestyle. In the 18th century it was something very unusual where traveling was very difficult and very long. The studies proofed that Mozart was traveling for about 11 years of his life and had definitely a traveling bug. But these travels also influenced his life, his creativity and also his operas. The life in the 18th century was not easy but Mozart made this life easier and took it with more humor.

The birthplace of Mozart also demonstrates that the family of Mozart was a very good middle class family and had a clean and nice apartment and lived quite well for that time. The ceiling was not very high but since it had in each room an oven the rooms were very warm and comfortable. The family is also a typically family at that time when families had lots of children but unfortunately the child’s death rate was extremely high. Mozart’s mother Anna Maria gave birth to 7 children and only 2 out of them became older than 2 years. It was nothing unusual at that time due to the fact that many children died very early.

Mozart's birthplace Salzburg

The Mozart’s birthplace shows very nice and in a good way some original arts of the Mozart family, see the violin which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was supposed to play because before he was able to play the piano he learned the violin. It shows also the life in Vienna in which Mozart lived his creativity and enjoyed his life more. On the second floor on which also a souvenir shop has been installed the operas and theaters of Mozart and how he imagined that his operas should be performed. Each room and exhibition item has an explanation in german and english besides. In addition it is possible to download an app for free and having all the explanations in other languages and to repeat then at home any time you want. So enjoy the Mozart’s birthplace and enjoy to get more into the life of the 18th century, the circumstances and the mastermind of Mozart!

The tickets and dates you get directly at Bespecialtours. Have fun in Salzburg with Be Special Tours!

salt mines Bad Dürrnberg

salt mines Bad Dürrnberg

The Saltmines near Salzburg – Hallein

About 20 minutes away from the city of Salzburg you’ll find something very special in this area. Near Hallein, an old celtic city, you can visit the saltmine of Bad Dürrnberg. Right beside a small old celtic village (no we are not with asterix and obelix – that was in another part of Europe). Here on the mountain besides a sleepy church you can change your feeling and go back in time. Down under in the land of the minerals.

Salzwelten – salt mine Bad Duerrnberg

The Salinen Austria AG may be the oldest company in the world. Already 7000 years before the saltmines in Hallstatt were in use. As the Salinen Austria AG are still the only one allowed to take the salt out of the mountains, you can call them the oldest company.

Here on the Dürrnberg the actual entry ‘Obersteinbergstollen’ was opened in 1543. At the beginning you drive in with a train and the first meeting point with the prince archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau is 600 meters (ca. 1.800 ft.) in the mountain and 120m (360 ft.) under the earth. The mine has become Austria’s largest and the world’s oldest exhibition mine. Already in the 17th century visitors were authorized to see the salt mines.

a guided tour through the saltmines

The funniest thing for the kids will be the slide. Here you have the opportunity to use the same ways as the old miners centuries ago and have fun where they in former times had to do hard work.

saltmines with slide

The most impressive station will be for sure the salt lake which you’ll cross within the mine on a boat. Enjoy the feeling to ride a boat on 27% salt brine – more than the death sea – and enjoy the experience to be under day light. Go away from rain or fog outside and relax in a very well (natural) air conditioned area.

salt lake Salzburg

Of course, they have some surprises for you, which I will not mention here. Be sure, the guides are personal and individual and in english language you can enjoy the tour with funny correspondence without an audio guide. Best regards and a nice trip with Bespecialtours! See you in the mine!


100 years of the Salzburg music festival

100 years of the Salzburg music festival

The Salzburg music festival – a success story already for more than 100 years

Each year he Salzburg music festival brings many exquisit and high class musicians to the town of Salzburg. Many famous singers from Pavarotti, over Carreras, to Domingo sang already in Salzburg. Orchestras like the Vienna philharmonic, the Berlin and Dresden philharmonics and many more come each year to Salzburg to perform and to bring some of the highest class classical music into the town.  It is also a very important economical factor for the city and the surroundings for tourism, as well as for all the shops, restaurants, hotels. It is estimated that this could have a value of several hundred millions of euros.

Already in the time of the baroque music played an important role in Salzburg. From the time as the Salzburg’s prince archbishops invited many musicians from all over Europe to entertain them and their guests. Mozart, who was born in Salzburg helped for sure to establish Salzburg as a center for music and as a place for a musician to become famos.

In the year 1920, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Max Reinhardt and Richard Strauss decided to create a short music festival in the summer in Salzburg, as most of the bog opera houses are closed to hold some outside performances in Salzburg, the former music town. Without the intervention of the former major and patron of the state of Salzburg Rehrl and the archbishop of Salzburg it would not have been possible to get the locations to perform. It all started with the theater production of Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Jedermann, a theatre that talks about the dying of rich man that still evades the death. The piece has been firstly performed in 1911 in Berlin and is a fix performance each year in the Salzburg festival on the Dom square. At the beginning there were just 5 performance in the middle of August with 2 extra performances for locals outside of the festival week. Already one year later chamber and orchestra music performances were added. In the year 1922 also operas and other music performances were added and the Salzburg music festival became famos also outside the Austrian boarders. The festival took then the whole month of August.

Unfortunately during the years from 1938 until 1944 meant dramatical changes for the festival of Salzburg, as many actors and also performances had the be change or adjust according to the regime of that time and in the year 1944 no performance took place.

Already in the year 1945 in a ver small version the Salzburg Music festival took place. The rock riding school and the small festival house were reconstructed and adapted for high quality performances and more people to attend without lost of quality. In these years there were 3 people that changed the direction of the Salzburg music festival and opened it up for international performances and stars. Karl Böhm (until 1980), Herbert vonKarajan (until 1989) and Gerard Mortier (until 2001). These three people made Salzburg internationally a hotspot for VIPs, international classical music stars and new interpretations that would have never been performed in a classical and non-open Salzburg of that time. One of the most successful festival was in 2006 when all of the Mozart operas and many other music pieces of Mozart have been performed as a contribution to Mozart’s 250th birthday.

opening of festival

the opening ceremony on the residence square of Salzburg.

Since the year 1992 the Salzburg music festival opened up for your talents, new performances and side plays, such as the Szene, young performance artists, the play of the Moz-Art, the modern theatre interpretations and the Brockhouse for pop and rock music. This is not directly supported by the festival but in a n indirect way. Since 1994 the festival dialog has opened up the new way of performance in Salzburg. 1998 the new fix point of poets as guests has been established. The 2002 young directors project should give young international artists to get their first director’s experience and to show it to a big audience. Since 2007 we have the Youth! Arts! Science! movement so that students from different facilities can work together for new performances and interpretations. One of the most important projects is the 2008 established young singer’s project that supports international young singers to make it to the big performance halls in the world and in the same year the Festival’s children’s choir has been established. The Salzburg festival therefore shows that it is ready for the new generations and for a perfect mix of classical elements with more modern elements.

the rock riding school

Salzburger Festspiele, Salzburg festival performance in the rock riding school

For the centennial production a big program with many performances and new interpretations has been developed and was supposed to take place from the 21st of July until the end of August. It would have been one of the most spectacular and intense program Salzburg has ever seen but unfortunately then the circumstance of this pandemic changed everything and caused many performances to be postponed to 2021.

Jedermann performance

Jedermann at the Dom square in Salzburg.


The festival time in Salzburg is always a special time. This year, with the problematic year of COVID-19 pandemic the Salzburgmusic festival takes place, with limitations to make sure to keep social distancing, with different performances and some changes in the last second but it seems that this festival has to take place not only for the economy of Salzburg but also as a sign of strength and support of artists and music. The Salzburg festival starts on the first of August and will last until the end of August.

The Salzburg music festival brings not only friends of classical music together but also people that invite their business partners and their clients to have a relaxing and great time in Salzburg. The Salzburg music festival is sponsored already for many years by Audi, Nestlé, Siemens and others as some of the main sponsors. Therefore the state of Salzburg and the city does not has to give any financial support.

The opening of the Salzburg music festival is traditionally done by the president of the Austrian state. Tickets are many times sold out already months in advance, especially for important opera performances with big classical music stars. The program of the Salzburg music festival is normally published already 6-10months in advance and the ticket sales starts then some days later. The tickets are given out first to sponsors and supporters of the music festival and then to the public. This guarantees each year waugh tickets for everyone to have the chance to get some tickets. The ticket prices range from 25€ – 400€ and are said that on the black market go up to even 1.000€ and more for the most wanted performances.

The closure of the festival of Salzburg is traditionally done by a ball: A dinner in the residence with following dancing ball at the rock riding school of Salzburg. There is a limit of maximum 1.000 guests per year and many times give people the chance the also talk to many of the actors and singers of the Salzburg music festival with their fans and guests.

We hope you take the opportunity on your visit in Salzburg to hear one of the concerts or opera! We wish you a nice and pleasant stay in our wonderful city and hope you enjoyed the trip into the world of music. Best regards Be Special Tours!

The fortress of Salzburg

The fortress of Salzburg

The Festung Hohensalzburg / Fortress of Salzburg

At the center of this wonderful city Salzburg is the Fortress of Hohensalzburg. The fortress makes the skyline of this city unique in the world and is shown on nearly every picture of Salzburg.

But was it really built for fighting activities? What really happened up there and how many towers do they have? Answers to these questions you will find in our following blog.

fortress of Salzburg

The fortress of Hohensalzburg is over 900 years old and one of the best preserved castles from the 11th century in Europe. It is a place full of legends and stories and of course documented historical areas within the city history of Salzburg. Let’s make a view back to the times of the prince archbishops when Salzburg was the center of power north of the alps – it was also called the rome of the alps.

The impressive building is a remarkable sign of its’ former representation, aspiration and authorical political show of force from the prince archbishops. The aim of this system was to protect the principality and the archbishops from attacks. In fact, the fortress had never put their defense function to test. Most of the time lived the prince archbishops in the residence of Salzburg, the city palace in the heart of the old town.

The steep rock cone has been estimated over the centuries as a strategic location at the northern edge of the Alps. In 1077 for the first time a fortification of the residential town was built under the Archbishop Gebhard Ist of Helffenstein. The reason for this first construction was the investiture controversy (a contorversy about who is able to rule the land – the church or the king – in Europe during 1076-1122)  between the german emperor Henry IV. and Pope Gregory VII. Since this threat the Archbishop as a person responsible to the pope and the german emperor.

After Archbishop Gebhard was forced into exile in 1085, his successors have completed the construction projects. The Fortress of Hohensalzburg was built in three phases, which always opposed the development of far-reaching offensive weapons stronger fortifications. In the course of an intensive construction under Archbishop Leonard von Keutschach the fortress became in 1500 their current appearance. Under his ruling time the “High floor” was expanded in 1501 as Pallas, cisterns were created, increasing existing towers.

Today the Fortress Hohensalzburg is a popular destination and a central point for Salzburg visitors. Highlights include the magnificent state rooms, which are among the most beautiful Gothic profane rooms of Europe, the promising Reckturm with its 360-degree panorama and the Fortress Concerts in stylish surroundings. But also the actual tower blowers on Sundays over the roofs of Salzburg are a great attraction.

Moreover, it is important to discover the torture chamber, the illuminated lower chapel and the Fortress Museum. Or just stay for a few moments under the ancient lime tree in the idyllic courtyard. Definitely there are some story to tell. Ask the lime tree about the “Stierwascher”/”bull washer”.

inside of the fortress of Salzburg

But how many towers does the fortress Hohensalzburg have? What do you guess? If you know the skyline please go back to your own picture memories and try to count them.

Already under archbishop “Burkhard II. von Weißpriach” (1461 – 1466) they had 4 towers around the fortress. Glockenturm (bells tower), Trompeterturm (trumpet tower), Krautturm (cabbage tower) and Schmiedturm (forger tower).

Leonhard von Keutschach (1495 – 1519) made further building progress at the fortress as a place of power in Salzburg. He also gave the people of Salzburg the present of the “Salzburger Stier” (a big pipe organ within the cabbage tower – but not the story of the ‘bull wascher’) and built the Kuchlturm (kitchen tower and a bakery). So we count now five towers during Leonhard’s time.

the prince archbishop's rooms

Actual you get now the following overview over the fortress towers:

fortress of Salzburg from above

Seen from the city of Salzburg

  1. Reckturm: stretch tower
  2. Lead turret: a tiny turrets between stretching and belfry tower
  3. Belfry bell tower: every Friday at 11 am they ring the bell nowadays, earlier the bell warned residents of the city of fires
  4. Trumpet tower: here was a guard who watched the city and gave alarm in case of emergency; later the bugle was replaced by the discharging of a shot from a cannon;
  5. Mayor tower: which joins onto the snake passage that after artillery guns, named the culverins (smaller “agile” guns)

Inside of the castle

6.  Kuchl tower moat: built by Leonhard von Keutschach; there were a lot of cannons located

In high stick

Two (7+8) fire towers on the south and the east side of the inner castle

Seen from Neonatal
9. Sulfur tower: in a part of it the fortress restaurant is located today
10. Hasenturm (rabbit tower) (built by Prince Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach)
11.  powder tower (built by Prince Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach)
12. Geyer tower (built by Prince Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach)
13. Schmiedturm: Smith’s Tower

About the fighting activities of this impressive fortress and the legend of the bull washer we come back in the next blog. Have fun and enjoy the city of Salzburg with Be Special Tours!

view from the fortress of Salzburg

ten things to see in Salzburg

ten things to see in Salzburg

10things to see in Salzburg

If you are for the first time in Salzburg there are so many things to see, so that we will give you some suggestions of must see things in Salzburg

Discover the old town

No matter what time of the year you find yourself in Salzburg,  go and discover the old city and its squares. Forget Google Maps and have the courage to take the not so well known streets, and just let yourself immersed in the unknown – will give you amazing insights into the local way of life. Enjoy the bridges, the squares, and the old buildings that seem to be there for an eternity (some of them were constructed during the Middle Ages).

Take a pause and listen to the Glockenspiel in Rezidenzplatz – there are 35 bells playing daily between 11 am and 6 pm.

After all, there’s no point rushing from site to site trying to see it all, you can travel slowly and enjoy the experience. Just let yourself be wondered by the unknown!

old town Salzburg

Discover the old cafe’s in Salzburg

Every time travelling, we love to discover also the “cafe culture” of the place we’re in. It’s not just about resting and enjoy coffee, but more about looking at the people passing by, discovering the movement of the city and be part of its life. The old cafés in Salzburg have a long tradition. You will meet people there and do the best things to do in Salzburg: Watching people. There are three iconic traditional coffee places: The Tomaselli, the oldest coffee house in Salzburg (already since 1703, where Mozart even enjoyed coffee), the Café Fürst (where the Mozart Balls chocolate has been invented) and the café Bazar (on the other side of the river).

It is said that Cafe Tomaselli is the oldest coffee house in Austria, its origins can be traced back to 1700. Here, the coffee is served in an old fashion way: on a small silver tray, and with a glass of water. They also have a large hand-crafted cake selection: strudels, Linzer Torte, Esterhazy Torte, Black Forest, Kardinalschnitte. Stop here after a full day and a strong coffee with a delicious cake was everything we needed. As they didn’t have Maria Theresia Cafe, my favorite, I took a Mozart Caffe (which is served with a little glass of Mozart liqueur) and a chocolate cake. At Cafe Tomaselli you don’t just order your dessert, you are waiting for a lady with a tray full of cakes to come and you pick yourself your favorite!

If I’m to be completely honest, this is not a place with fantastic coffee or sweets (don’t get me wrong, they are good enough, but not as I expected), it’s more of a place you can visit for the atmosphere. The interior is cozy and you can read the local newspaper (they have an old-school newspaper stand), watching the people going by. It can be very crowded sometimes, especially in high season, but if you have the time to go there in the morning when the hoards of tourist are still sleeping, you can enjoy a much more pleasant experience.
There are also many other coffee houses in Salzburg where you can enjoy your coffee and meet locals, such as the Würfel Zucker, the River Café, the Wallinger, the café Fingerlos, to just name some. Most of them make their own pastries and if you want to really meet locals go there.
Café Tomaselli

Fortress of Salzburg

The most iconic image for Salzburg is Festung Hohensalzburg, the 900-year-old fortress watching over the whole city. It can be reached by foot (a 15 minutes walk) or by the funicular. Also, the fortress is the largest intact fully-preserved fortress in Central Europe and have never been conquered.

Once on top, you can enjoy amazing views over the city and the surrounding area (for photography lovers, it’s a feast) and also the museums inside the fortress (access is included in the Salzburg Card, which I strongly recommend buying if you want to see more than one museum, you will save a lot of money).

Kapitel square with fortress

Mozart’s Geburtshaus 

You are int he city of Mozart. This great composer was born and raised here. He lived in two houses and both of them can be visited. The place were Mozart was born – the birthplace in the Getreidegasse, the most traditionally and where you will learn quite a lot about this musical genius. He also made his first compositions there already at 5years-old and you will see some objects that he used and belonged to his family. Later he moved to the Living house on the other side. Even if you would not be a fan of his music it is a must to see to learn also many other things of this person.

Again, the access is free with the Salzburg Card.

Mozart Wohnhaus it’s overwhelming with information and, unlike the house where Mozart was born, here you can have also a free audio guide. But again, don’t expect to find a house, but more a museum / a collection of objects with a lot of interesting stuff to find out about the composer and his family (here I discovered how Constanze, his wife, was involved after the Mozart’s death in promoting and advertising his work).

Don’t miss, in one of the rooms, the original Mozart’s fortepiano!

Mozart Birthplace

Palace of Mirabell

A great time to visit the Mirabell Palace is, obviously, during the warmer months, when you can deeply enjoy the marvelous blooming gardens. You can find here the Pegasus statue, the Dwarf Garden and also the stairs where Julie Andrews sang in the famous movie “the Sound of Music”.

The palace hosts the city hall nowadays and has one of the most beautiful room inside (free to visit if there is no concert or wedding going on).

In the garden you will see the flowers blooming during the summer time.

garden of Mirabell with view to old town

Hellbrunn Palace 

for sure one of the most interesting palace and one of the most fun place to visit in the town of Salzburg. You can get there by car, bike (about 20minutes ride), boat, or public transportation (bus nr. 25 takes you there).

The palace was made by one of the prince archbishops to entertain himself and his guests and to also play some tricks on them. 🙂

The park around the castle is huge (about 60 ha) and it’s full of gardens, statues, lakes and alleys. I can imagine how this place looks in the spring. And, for good reason, the name “Hellbrunn” means “healing spring”.

Inside the park there is a theatre, a zoo, before christmas time one of the nicest christmas markets and the most important thing: The water spring fountains! A great fun place to be and to also get some water on you. A perfect refresh on hot summer days. The archbishop created this fun place and the water trick fountains still operate today!

Hellbrunn palace

St. Peter’s cemetery and the St. Peter’s abbey 

It might sound strange, but I always like having a stroll along the narrow alleys of a cemetery. I think it’s a place where you can discover a lot about the people who used to live in the area, you get a new perspective on that place, and, besides that, it always has a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. So, on our first day in Salzburg, before climbing to the Festung Hochensalzburg fortress, we stopped for a moment in the St. Peter Cemetery.

That place is all about history and serenity, with well-kept graves, crypts, statues and marks, each of them telling a short story about the people laying there.

st. Peter

Salzbuger Dom

Salzburger Dom is a masterpiece of baroque art, whose origins are dating to 767!   That is the place where Mozart was baptized and where, later on, he worked as an organist and composed some of his works.

Take your time to admire the beautiful details inside and let your mind have a couple of moments of serenity. The entrance is free, and in the summer are also free guided tours.

Dom square

The Kapuziner Berg

This mountain is definitely the more quiet one, as it is not overcrowded and you can enjoy nature and great views.

If you are lucky you can even see some of the mountain goats within the city of Salzburg.

The reason for going up there is not the abbey but the great views. The hike to it is either from the Linzergasse up (steep street), or the steps from the Steingasse (about 200 steep steps). The hole up will take you about 10-15mnutes but it is definitely worth it as you have the best views over the old town of Salzburg.

from the Kapuziner Berg

A walk through the Steingasse

The Steingasse, on the opposite site of the old town of Salzburg is for sure one of the most interesting street. It is away from the big crowds and reveals all of its secrets during the evening when bars night clubs, etc open up.

Used as one of the former main traffic road it turned into one of the most quiet street that has many things to discover, great views and shows how Salzburg must have looked alike during the middle ages and walk back over the Mozart’s bridge (a construction from 1903) back to the old town.

Salzburg Steingasse

We hope that the information is useful to you and are looking forward welcoming you at Salzburg. Be Special Tours Salzburg

First Time Visit to Salzburg

First Time Visit to Salzburg

Salzburg has a perfect combination of history, baroque styled buildings, outstanding nature and music

Salzburg, for long time an independent area ruled by archbishops that were church and government in one. They left they signs and styles all here. Salzburg has it all: baroque and elegant style, beautiful location – bedded between two hills and along a river, surrounded with steep mountains to the south and smooth hills to the north. The city goes back to the roman time, with many churches, small streets and music everywhere. Salzburg has been since a bit over 200years part of Austria and has been the location for more than 100 years of its classical music festival.
This said you can realize that the city has much more to offer than one expects when coming for the first time to Salzburg. Most probably arriving in the more modern section of the tow, it looks like many other towns but soon will show it real beauty and its heart and jewels.
The city was birthplace of poets and composers (W.A. Mozart, Mohr, etc.) and it still inspires many artists once they come to this town.
The location is just the ideal to feel like in a movie set and therefore was used for many movies, such as the Sound of Music, or Knight&Day, or where eagle’s dare and many other movies, to just name some few.
The acoustics are great and therefore many musicians come every year to perform in this elegant city. During the summer time the city just transforms into a stage.
During the christmas time it turns into a perfect setting of winter wonderland, beautiful lights, ginger bread and hot moulded wine to feel and turn into the perfect atmosphere. From this region also christmas carols, such as silent night were created and exported all over the world.

So if you come for the first time be prepared to see the city from all different angles, of local products and foods that the city offers to some great views and lots of history.

palace of Mirabell and garden

a walk through town

Start off with a local guide, or explore the city by yourself at the Mirabell palace, the city hall of Salzburg, a beautiful palace and do not miss out the marble room (some people say one of the nicest rooms in Austria) and explore the park where you can see yourself in the location of the Do-Re-Mi song and sing and replay some pieces.
After getting out toward the city on the Markart square where you can find the birth place of Christian Doppler and the Mozart’s living house (a nice museum) turn to the right towards the river and cross it over the “Love-lock” bridge and enter the old town.
You will realize small streets with many nice shops and also many hidden gems and do not forget to look also up to see the beautiful signs and buildings. The most crowded place is in from of the Mozart’s birthplace in the Getreidegasse and once passed that you will be able to get away from the crowds. DO not miss out to see the St. Peter’s cemetery and the St. Peter’s restaurant (europe’s oldest restaurant where already Charlemain ate) and make your way up to the hill passed the Stiegl’s Keller to the Nonnberg abbey. You will have great views over the city and following the road you can even see the south part of the city, without having to go into the fortress.
If you want to have the best view of Salzburg you need to climb another hill, called Kapuziner Berg and just below the abbey you have the best view of Salzburg (be aware that there are some steps to climb up there).

If you want to have most of the inside, please take a walking tour with a local guide that will show you the best this city has to offer.

Some of the highlight to see please also visit 10things to do in Salzburg.

Enjoy Salzburg and the surrounding with Be Special Tours Salzburg.


Salzburg view from above