The 4 ways to reach the Festungsberg

There are various options to choose from when ascending the Festungsberg.

Festungsbahn – CC0 Hans / Pixabay

How do I get to the Hohensalzburg Castle from the city centre?

The following is just a short overview of the most important routes:

Take the funicular railway up the hill from the heart of the city

The easiest way to the Festungsberg is to take the Festungsbahn (a funicular railway) from Kapitelplatz. This service transports visitors to a height of almost 100 metres in less than one minute, meaning that up to 1,850 people can be quickly and safely taken to the Hohensalzburg Castle every hour. The funicular was first launched as a water ballast track in 1892. In order to pull the wagon up going forwards, water from the Alm canal was loaded into the opposite wagon as a counterweight. What is today the oldest maintained (public) funicular railway in Austria was switched to electric operation in 1959. The private Reißzug from Nonnberg up the hill is even older. This is the oldest preserved funicular railway in the world and dates back to around 1460. Today, it is used for goods transport.

Starting from the valley station

Another special feature is the Festungsbahn’s valley station. This is located in the converted residence of Joseph Haydn’s brother, Johann Michael Haydn. Today, you can visit an exhibition on the history of the Alm canal in the valley station. This is the oldest maintained drainage tunnel in Europe.
Anyone who wants to climb the hill on foot can do so via the Festungsgasse and Hohen Weg paths. Also in the vicinity of the valley station is the Michael-Haydn-Stiege way, which also leads up the hill.

From Nonnberg to the Castle

Another way of reaching the Festungsberg is by taking Nonnberggasse or Erhardgässchen, whose structures date back to the Middle Ages. This takes you to the exterior gate of the Nonnberg and with it, to the fortified part of the city. From the gate, a path runs past Nonnberg Abbey via the Hohen Weg path and to the castle.

From Schartentor up the hill

The Hans Sedlmayr way starts at Brunnhausgasse in the south of the  “Lodronsch” city wall. Afterwards, the Oskar Kokoschka way leads past the Schartentor and to the castle. An alternative here is the Clemens-Holzmeister-Stiege and the Dr. Herbert Klein-Weg from the Festival district. These also lead to the same gate and to the castle.