I must have been one of the few people to visit Salzburg who had never watched the Sound of Music. What makes it even weirder is that I studied music at university, but the movie is lost on me. I was more excited about seeing the birthplace of Mozart (obviously I was not theater but a classical musician haha). What surprised me the most was a palace outside of the center of Salzburg about a 15-minute drive. Schloss Hellbrunn or Hellbrunn Palace and Trick Fountains. I had the misfortune of a snowstorm striking during my visit in May but I still enjoyed the tour and recommend it to every single person who passes through Salzburg. I do apologize for these photos, they were taken a few years ago, it was freezing cold, and I think I lost a few, including one of the actual palace so the best I can offer is Wikipedia’s image for now.
How to get to Hellbrunn Palace
An easy day trip from Salzburg, if you can call it that as it is within the city limits, you can start at Marienplatz and take Bus 25 to stop Fürstenweg.
Drive or take a taxi it is about 7 – 8 km from the center (approximately a 15-minute drive) with ample parking.
You can also ride a bike from the center which takes about 25 minutes.
About the Hellbrunn Palace and Trick Fountains
An early Baroque villa built between 1612 and 1615. It was meant only to be a day residence, or some refer to as a pleasure palace, in the summer for the Archbishop. Because of this, there is actually no bedroom in Hellbrunn. While the interior is obviously impressive this attraction shines when you go outside to the trick fountains.
Inside you can do an audio tour and wander around rooms of the palace. this was one of my favorite rooms full of random works of art. The archbishop clearly had a very amusing sense of humor from his collection and it was a breath of fresh air compared to the usual stuffy repetitive art you can see in palace after palace.
Aside from this very amusing unicorn, my other favorite room is pictured below. You walk in and you can sit on a round couch in the middle and the couch rotates so you can get a view of the whole room and ceiling.
Designed by Markus Slittikus, the prince-archbishop at that time, the fountains were designed with a very unique sense of humor. There is a famous spot on the tour where the guide shows a table and seats, which are outside. They then tell a story about the Archbishop who would be entertaining guests and without their knowledge activate the fountains which would spring up from their seats and soak everyone but him.
There were a lot of these random places throughout the gardens with hidden fountains and small little mechanical water theater sets depicting different stories, mythology, and are just so impressive and unique to anything I’ve ever seen before. There was so much attention to detail and creative placements of hidden fountains and statues. I love visiting palaces that are quirky in their design. Actually, Neuschwanstein Castle is very similar in spite of how majestic the outside appears, the inside is incredibly creative and artistic. It is just a joy to experience these types of places that aren’t repeats of every other palace and castle.
Do I have to do a tour and other practical bits…
There is an audioguide tour through the palace, and yes you do need a guided tour through the trick fountains. Adult tickets are €12.50. The duration of the palace audioguide is approximately 40 minutes and same for the trick fountains guided tour.
Please note that the Hellbrunn Palace and Trick Gardens are open from March 30th until November 3rd (2019). I do suggest that you try to visit on a nice day, of course, we can’t control the weather but visiting during the rain will definitely lessen the impact.
For more info on ticket prices and opening times check out their website.