Salzburgerland: History & Tradition Meets Breathtaking Countryside


Salzburgerland isn’t a made-up name from some childhood fairy tale, but the region that includes Salzburg in Austria, which not only includes this historical urban center, but also cultural delights and natural beauty that will take your breathe away. From countryside drives where mist and cloud overtake you, particularly prevalent in the late fall and winter, to mountainous peaks, there’s plenty to keep your schedule packed.

The below shot was taken in October of this year, after we stopped for at a view point while heading easterly out of Salzburg’s city center. We drove through various parts of Salzburgerland, mostly East as we were taking in the original sites from The Sound of Music — this included Werfen, Mondsee, where Maria and the Captain got married in the movie, Fausteau and views of the region from the Gschwandtanger Ridge (be sure to read my write-up on The Sound of Music 50th Anniversary as well as my piece on Sound of Music Tour locations, which include the newly open Sound of Music Hiking Trail, which has stunning alpine views over Salzurgerland and its mountain ranges — the very same spot where the Hills are Alive was shot.

Faistenau & the Austrian Countryside

The energy changes rapidly as do the colors, but the mist remains….it’s lovely to see a lake’s reflection despite the lack of sun. Below, my perspective of the two photos only changes slightly, perhaps six inches or so between the first and second shot.

The colors are vibrant throughout however – this hazy unforgiving shot was taken through the car’s window as we were driving, so not the best quality, but if you were to give it a quick glance, you could easily be in New England at the start of Fall – the difference is that I was in Austria in the middle of October, prime leaf peeping season and despite the cool temperatures, there was still plenty of green on the trees.

Color and wet leaves everywhere…..

Breadmaking at Faistenau’s Oberhinteregg Farm

Not far from the city is the picturesque village of Faistenau, where you can visit the family-oriented Oberhinteregg Farm. We loved our experience here, where you can see (and experience) bread-making, cheese-making, beekeeping and more. A highlight on the farm is bread-making with the farmer´s wife Brigitta. where you can participate in the making of traditional farmhouse bread in the bake house with the farm´s own recipe. See my separate write-up on the farm.

In the smoke house, Frau Kalushofer bakes her delicious farmhouse bread and cures bacon, sausage and fish. Not only are there many sorts of bread made from local corns, but also different spreads and cheeses, all homemade.  They also have an herb garden and a farmer’s shop.  Traditional crafts on-site….

Homemade oils, and herbal remedies on-site at the farm, available for purchase (and tasting).

Outside, authentic Austrian farmhouse culture and countryside prevail…..join me on a visual journey in October. Man, I so love the fall.

Also in SalzburgerLand is the history of SALT of course, derived from the name. Salt was and still is one of the most important raw materials in Austria. This oft-cited “white gold” has not only prompted the names of the city of Salzburg and region of Salzkammergut. The Austrian salt company “Salinen Austria” has one of the longest and nearly uninterrupted commercial histories in Europe.

Hellein Salt Mine

We went to the SALT MINE closest to Salzburg of course — Hallein near Salzburg, to relive history. There are also salt mines in Hallstatt in Upper Austria and in Altaussee in Ausseerland/Styria. At Hallein, we were able to cross the underground salt lake on a raft and zip through the mines on the slides. The necropolis of Hallstatt and Duerrnberg are real Hot-Spots of Austrian and European archaeology and history.

At the mine, they provide coveralls before you embark on your journey, to protect you from the dirt and salt from the mines.

Below is a mystical shot through the window inside, before you’re about to jump on a horizontal train that takes you deep into the mine…

Deep in the mine, we sat on wooden boards that cradled the top of the open aired train that ran along the tracks. There were areas in the mine where we walked as well, hence the reason to wear the coverall uniforms they provided.

Below is a non-working slide, one which was originally used when the mine was a working one so many years ago.

They have working slides today which we tried on a couple of occasions as we made our way through the tour, which takes an hour and a half or so. What’s great are the surprises you see on the walls as you make your way through the mine — there’s even a point where you cross over into Germany while underground before you circle back again. You’ll be surprised by objects they set up to depict history in a museum-like way to skeletons on the walls.

The Hellbrunn Palace and Trick Fountains

Hellbrunn is a veritable jewel with not just decadent fountains, but a spacious park that combines artificially landscaped park land and natural biotopes. The water games and trick fountains are a truly unique experience where you will constantly expect the unexpected as you go on a tour of the grounds, which we did by night, which adds mystery to the experience. Below, are a few shots by day of the fountains themselves.

Originally, the ‘Lustschloss was a pleasure palace built for staging festivities, for enjoyment and relaxation. Originally, this was a privilege reserved for the archbishops, although today it’s open to anyone who wishes to stroll around the park, enjoy the fountains and hidden water jets, or celebrate in the magnificent halls of the palace.

The Salzburg Prince-Bishop Markus Sittikus ordered the building of a summer residence at the foot of the naturally irrigated hill in Hellbrunn between 1612 and 1615. During this relatively short period, an architectural jewel was erected in the popular Italian style of the age. It is still considered one of the most splendid Renaissance buildings on the northern side of the Alps. Its purpose was to foster the enjoyment of life, to provide pleasurable distractions and entertainment.

Since March 2015, three rearranged rooms have been on show: the music chamber, the ‘Fasnacht’ room and the ‘Festival Hall’. They are first of a total of ten rooms that are to house the ‘Markus Sittikus – My view of the World exhibition over the next few years.  In addition to the tricks you’ll be surprised by from the fountains, the real magic for me came from spending time inside the rooms, which bring you back to another place and time — the ornamental artwork and attention to detail will wow you over.

Be sure to read my separate write-up on Hellbrunn Palace and Fountains, which provides more details and history about the experience and tour, including additional photos to enlighten you about the experience.

 For Foodies

Salzburg and towns and villages nearby, have a wide array of restaurants to choose from, ranging from old world traditional and classic style to modern cuisine. Be sure to read my Salzburg Restaurant and Food Guide for more details and delicious and enticing photos.

The Sound of Music

For music and nature lovers as well as the romantics among you, you can’t go to Salzburg and Salzburgerland and not take in the original sites and history behind the Sound of Music, which was filmed there 50 years ago this year. Recognize these horse statues and the lake from the movie? The press conference for the 50 year celebration was held here in October.

The original gazebo where the song You Are Sixteen was sung.

Meeting the original actor Nicholas Hammond who played the Von Trapp oldest son Friedrich.

The church where Maria and the Captain got  married, in a little town called Mondsee, which is outside Salzburg (roughly a 30 or so minute drive). See my write-up on Mondsee.

A production that was put on in mid-October at the Kulisse Salzburg (Festival Halls). Artistic director Carl Philipp von Maldeghem introduced Georg Steinitz, former assistant to director Robert Wise and the Sound of Music kids, who had a conversation about memories of the Hollywood movie shooting. Various Sound of Music songs were sung by a new cast, however four original actors from the movie showed up on stage to bring us back in time and honor the 50 year anniversary as well as Johannes Von Trappe, Maria and the Captain’s youngest son in real life, who now resides in Vermont.

The Sound of Music 50th Anniversary was the primary reason I went to Salzburg this fall, so be sure to read my extensive write-ups that relate to The Sound of Music Sites for Romantics & Nature Lovers and Salzburg Celebrates The Sound of Music 50 Years Later. Also refer to the post on Mondsee located just outside Salzburg.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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