I am not only passionate about meeting people and introducing them to my city but also about landscape photography in Salzburg. In this article I will tell you about the best viewpoints in Salzburg and give you tips on how to get the best out of your landscape photography in Salzburg.
#5 Müllner Steg Bridge – City Lights on the Salzach River
Müllner Steg, in the north of the old town, gives you the characteristic view of the old town with the fortress. It highlights how many churches and towers there are. Especially in winter or at night you can capture dreamy, fairytale-like pictures of Salzburg from this bridge.
Müllner Steg would also be an ideal starting point for a photo hike along Mönchsberg mountain and all the way over to the fortress. After closing time the fortress is free, if you walk up. You could time your hike to arrive at the fortress after it closes and just before sunset. That will not give you the ideal light at Müllner Steg but you can’t be everywhere at the same time.
#4 The Fortress – The view to the Alps
The Fortress of Salzburg is reached by funicular. If you want to get in for free, however, you could walk up after closing time. Especially in summer that’s recommended because closing time is the right time for beautiful sunsets. The main gate will remain open for an hour or two longer and there is a small door that only opens from the inside. Meaning once you are inside you can stay as long as you want.
It’s basically three platforms inside the fortress. Two of them will give you a view of the old town. Another one will give you the view of the Alps. The view of the Alps is especially valuable because from the city center it’s masked by Mönchsberg mountain.
Another great view, a unique one, can only be experienced before closing time, when you still need to pay to get in. There is an audio guided tour to one of the towers of the fortress. That tour is the only way to get to the very top of the building.
Kapuzinerberg mountain is the cities recreational area. A lot of people walk up the stairs in Steingasse to reach the capuchin monastery where you get two great views. One over the left side of the river and another one over the right side, the more modern part of town.
Not too many people keep walking after the monastery. That’s what I would recommend. Up there on the mountain it’s just forest. It’s easy hiking but it feels more like a real mountain than Mönchsberg, on the other side of the river does.
What’s most fascinating to me is that after all these years and hundreds of hikes i took on Kapuzinerberg I still discover places I have never seen before. Last year for example I got obsessed with the scenery below after seeing it on another Instagrammers profile.
#2 Maria Plain
A secret gem in the outskirts of Salzburg, not many visitors of the city know about it, Maria Plain is the most peaceful place around Salzburg and one of the most beautiful ones. It would be best reached by bike or car.
Walking there takes about an hour but it’s worth it. After all Maria Plain was a place for pilgrimage in the past so walking there would be appropriate. Alternatively you could take bus number 6 and get off at “Plainbrücke” from where you would have to walk for only 20 minutes.
What makes Maria Plain special in terms of the view is that you see and capture not only the city from far and above but also the impressive mountains behind. If you own a telephoto lens you can get those mountains really close to the city by compressing the scene.
Maria plain is not only for taking pictures. As I mentioned before it’s one of the most peaceful places around Salzburg. There is a linden tree surrounded by benches. I encourage you to sit down and be still for a moment.
#1 Mönchsberg in the Early Morning
This one will not only get you great pictures but a great experience as well. If you happen to be in Salzburg in summer I would highly recommend to get up early. Take a short hike up to Mönchsberg at 5am and shoot pictures facing the rising sun. I know. Sounds awful but I can promise you the experience will be epic.
For me it was a revelation when I first realized why getting up early made my pictures so much better. Every place has been captured already. So how do you make a difference? Do something that others are not willing to do. Photography is about the light and if you are willing to get up at 4am or 5am to climb a small mountain you get a picture thats 180 degrees different from 99.9% of the rest.
Everyone can capture the sunset but not everyone can capture the rising sun at 5am in June.
On Mönchsberg it’s worth to mention three places. Each of them gives you a slightly different angle. Each of them is best in the morning and facing the sun in my opinion. It’s also great in the evening with the light in the back of course.
Humboldt Terrasse is slightly hidden. It’s just above the Saint Marcus church almost at the beginning of the Mountain when coming from the north. To reach it you have to walk down a small path just after Hotel Mönchstein one of the most fancy hotels in Salzburg. You will reach a small platform.
Museum of Modern Art
That’s actually the easiest way to get one of the best views during the day or in the evening because there is an elevator inside the mountain which takes you up in 30 seconds. In the morning you would still have to hike. Because of the elevator this is one of the most popular spots for landscape photography in Salzburg. It gives you a view right into Getreidegasse and to the Concert Hall, overlooking all of the left side of the river.
Just next to the Museum of Modern art there is a part of a wall, visible from all over the city. Bürgerwehr nowadays houses a small youth hostel and the only restaurant on Mönchsberg mountain. I would recommend the restaurant for lunch and in summer even for dinner.
When you get there to take pictures you should go through the small entrance in the wall next to the restaurant and then turn right. Walk to the end and you will find a board that highlights the roman city that was in the area of today’s old town long time ago. That’s the platform I like the most when shooting from the Bürgerwehr location.
Richterhöhe is the highest point on Mönchsberg. From there you have a spectacular and unique view to the Festungsberg mountain and the fortress and Gaisberg behind. Besides the view from the fortress Richterhöhe offers the best view to the south were the alps are, to the outskirts of Salzburg and to Leopoldskron where parts of the sound of music were filmed.
Richterhöhe, same as Humboldterasse, is hidden along the way on the mountain. I actually only discovered it two years back after already guiding and living in Salzburg for many years.
My recommendation for landscape photography in Salzburg is to take a planned photo walk in the evening. Start at Müllnersteg and walk up to Mönchsberg from there where Müllnerkirche church is located. Walk the mountain and visit the four aforementioned viewpoints before getting to the fortress. Time it so you get to the fortress just after closing time and you don’t have to pay. Most of the year closing time will be perfect for sunset.