In the Footsteps of Mozart in Salzburg

Salzburg is no place for my talents. In the first place, professional musicians there are not held in much consideration; and secondly, one hears nothing, there is no theatre, no opera; and even if they wanted one, who is there to sing?

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Although Mozart had, at best, an ambivalent relationship with his native city, echoes of his life and musical genius resound in Salzburg’s streets. And you can’t walk 100 metres before stumbling upon Mozart chocolates, Mozart rubber ducks or Mozart fridge magnets.

Whether you are a Mozart fangirl or fanboy or simply curious to learn more about this legendary composer, retrace the footsteps of Mozart in Salzburg. From his childhood residence to the grand concert halls where his works continue to be performed, each location offers a glimpse into Mozart’s extraordinary life and enduring legacy.

portrait of mozart in profile

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The birthplace of a genius: Mozart’s childhood home (Mozart’s Geburtshaus)

interior of birthplace of mozart in salzburg with period furniture

Our tour of Mozart’s Salzburg starts where his story begins. The composer was born in this yellow townhouse at No. 9 Gertreidegasse in 1756 and spent his first 17 years there.

Mozart’s birthplace is home to family portraits and personal mementoes, including the viola he played as a toddler, a silk wallet and pearl buttons from a jacket. I loved the lock of his hair.

lock of mozart's hair in a display case

Mozart is baptised in Salzburg Cathedral

baroque interior of salzburg cathedral with painted ceiling

A short meander through Salzburg’s medieval streets lands you at the doorstep of the 17th-century Salzburg Cathedral (Salzburger Dom).

Little Wolfgang was baptized inside this immense masterpiece of baroque art in 1756. The baptismal font is just to the left upon entering the church.

This was Mozart’s parish church and he served as an organist for two years. It is thought that he performed the Coronation Mass for the first time at Salzburg Dom.

Moving on: Mozart Residence (Mozart-Wohnhaus)

By 1773, living conditions for the Mozart family on Gertreidegasse had become too cramped and they sought roomier lodgings on Makartplatz. Mozart composed some of his operas and many of his violin concertos here.

sheet of music by mozart

As a building, Mozart’s Residence is uninspiring. It is a reconstruction of the composer’s second home after WWII bombs put paid to the original building.

However, it is home to his pianoforte, a violin (the star exhibit for me) and the earliest printed edition of a Mozart violin concerto. The included audioguide provides an immersive experience with lengthy snippets of music.

viola in a case that was owned by mozart

St. Peter’s Abbey: Echoes of Mozart’s sacred music

baroque interior of st peters church salzburg with painted ceiling

Mozart’s Mass in C Minor was first performed in this beautiful baroque church on October 26, 1783. But Mozart’s association with this Benedictine monastery predates this performance.

The 13-year-old Mozart composed his Dominicus Mass to mark the ordination of his family’s landlord as the abbot of St. Peter’s Church.

Mozart’s sister Maria Anna, known as Nannerl, is buried in the church’s graveyard. His father Leopold and his wife Constanze are buried in St. Sebastian Cemetery.

In common with the other ticketed Mozart attractions in this article, St. Peter’s Abbey is included in the city pass. Discover if the Salzburg Card is worth it for you in my review.

Performing for royalty at the Mirabell Palace

marble sculpture of cherub on staircase at mirabell palace

The Mirabell Palace in Salzburg was the summer home of the Archbishops and is deeply rooted in Mozart’s musical legacy.

At the tender age of six, he performed for the Archbishop of Salzburg in its lavish Marble Hall, showcasing his remarkable talent. Later, as the court composer, he entertained royalty within its opulent confines.

If possible, try to attend a concert in the Marble Hall. I attended an extraordinary performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, played on period instruments. You can check available concerts here.

orante gilded interior of mirabell palace in salzburg with chandelier

Mozart feverishly works to complete The Magic Flute

It is believed that Mozart finished his opera in the so-called Little Magic Flute House in 1791, urged on by his librettist Emanuel Schikaneder who plied him with oysters and wine.

However, it wasn’t always located in the garden of the International Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg. In 1873, the structure was bequeathed to the Mozarteum Foundation and moved from its original location near Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna.

You can only visit it during the summer events at the Foundation.

Enjoy exploring the life of Mozart in Salzburg

Exploring Salzburg through the lens of Mozart’s life tells the story of the city and the composer’s enduring influence. But the best way to appreciate his legacy is to hear his music played by live performers.

Year-round, there are enjoyable (if touristy) concerts in historic venues around town.

For a pleasantly kitsch time-warp experience, you can do worse than the nightly Mozart Dinner Concert. Feast on Mozart-era recipes by candlelight in an elegant Baroque setting whilst listening to a string quartet.

Alternatively, buy a ticket for a performance at the Marionette Theatre, opposite the Mozart Residence. Here, a troupe of puppeteers bring his operas to life, most frequently The Magic Flute.

Finally, true fans should make a beeline for Salzburg in late January for Mozart Week where you can expect up to three relatively affordable performances each day.

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About Bridget

Bridget Coleman has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.

Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.

To get in touch, email her at or follow her on social media.

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