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The hills are definitely alive with the sound of music around the Austrian city of Salzburg, and a good many other things too. Mozart’s home city and the setting for that wartime musical staring Julie Andrews is a tourist’s paradise with one of the most beautifully preserved old towns in Central Europe. This is as picture postcard-perfect a city as you’ll find, where domes and spires crowd the skyline and cafes are packed with throngs of people enjoying the mountain air.
Named the ‘Rome of the North’, Salzburg is the world capital of Baroque and is as famous for its stunning setting and jaw-dropping architecture as for anything else. Fairytale fortresses, cobblestone lanes, courtyards, fountains and exquisite palaces sit proudly amongst a backdrop of snowcapped Alpine mountains. Walking around this city it’s not hard to see where Mozart got his inspiration. And what’s more, the old town is pedestrianised with most of the main sights within easy reach of one another. Sights that, of course, include plenty of Mozart magic. There is the Mozart Museum and Mozart House if you are interested in the history of Salzburg’s most famous son. But if your musical tastes are a little more on the modern side then you can always hop on one of the many ‘Sound of Music Tours’, which will take you around the main locations of the 1960’s movie.
If you're looking for a unique and affordable piece of jewellery, check out the earrings, necklaces and bracelets by Maschalina at Valenta. The collections are a mix of semi-precious stones, glass and silver and reflect true craftsmanship (4 Makartplatz, juweliervalenta.com).
For anyone interested in portraits, be it photography or painting, the exhibition of August Sander's and Wilhelm Leibl's work is a must. Sander is a renowned portrait and documentary photographer while Leibl is a famous realist painter, and the comparison of the same genre from different artistic perspectives makes for an interesting show. Until 5 January (Salzburg Museum, 1 Mozartplatz, salzburgmuseum.at).
Cross the River Salzach and head to the Andräviertel, the beautiful quarter that starts right behind the Mirabell Gardens. With its lovely facades, restaurants and bars, it is ideal for an afternoon walk if you want to escape the tourist masses in the Old Town.
The idyllic landscape surrounding the village of St Jakob am Thurn is the ideal starting point for a hiking tour. For a solid, 90-minute walk, follow the trail to Erentrudisalm and don't miss the lovely 13th-century village church on the way back. Reachable in 20 minutes by bus No.160 from Salzburg Central Station.