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’.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Salzburg attractions

1. Dreifältigkeitskirche

0.21 MILES

Baroque master Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach designed this graceful church on the city's right bank. It's famous for Johann Michael Rottmayr’s dome…

2. Mozart Ton-und Filmsammlung

0.22 MILES

Under the same roof as the Mozart-Wohnhaus, but accessed separately, is this film and music archive of interest to the ultra-enthusiast, with some 25,000…

3. Mozart-Wohnhaus

0.22 MILES

Tired of the cramped living conditions on Getreidegasse, the Mozart family moved in 1773 to this roomier abode, where the prolific Wolfgang composed works…

4. Friedhof St Sebastian

0.24 MILES

Tucked behind the baroque Sebastianskirche (St Sebastian’s Church), this peaceful cemetery and its cloisters were designed by Andrea Berteleto in…

5. Mozart – Eine Hommage

0.25 MILES

Tucked away on Ursulinenplatz is Markus Lüpertz’ Mozart – Eine Hommage. This abstract sculpture shows the composer with one arm and a pigtail. What…

6. Haus der Natur

0.29 MILES

Kids can bone up on dinosaurs and alpine crystals in Haus der Natur's natural history rooms, gawp at snakes and crocs in the reptile enclosure, and spot…

7. Spirit of Mozart

0.31 MILES

An ode to Salzburg's most famous son, this public artwork puts Mozart on a pedestal – well, metaphorically speaking anyway. The work of Serbian…

8. Steingasse

0.32 MILES

On the right bank of the Salzach River, this narrow, cobbled lane was, incredibly, the main trade route to Italy in medieval times. Look out for the 13th…