Mirabell Gardens and Schloss Mirabell, Salzburg, Austria, Europe

Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery

Schloss Mirabell


Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich built this splendid palace in 1606 to impress his beloved mistress, Salome Alt. It must have done the trick because she went on to bear the archbishop some 15 children (sources disagree on the exact number – poor Wolf was presumably too distracted by spiritual matters to keep count). Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, of Schloss Belvedere fame, remodelled the palace in baroque style in 1721. The lavish interior, replete with stucco, marble and frescos, is free to visit.

The Marmorsaal (Marble Hall) provides a sublime backdrop for evening chamber concerts.

The flowery parterres, rose gardens and leafy arbours are less crowded first thing in the morning and early evening. The lithe Tänzerin (dancer) sculpture is a great spot to photograph the gardens with the fortress as a backdrop. The Sound of Music fans will of course recognise the Pegasus statue, the steps and the gnomes of the Zwerglgarten (Dwarf Garden), where the mini von Trapps practised their ‘Do-Re-Mi’.