Austria // Central Austria //

Schloss Hellbrunn and the Untersberg

The Italianate palace Schloss Hellbrunn  on Salzburg’s southern fringe – 5km from the city centre – was built in the early seventeenth century by Salzburg’s decadent archbishop Marus Sitticus as a place for entertaining. The main attraction is the gardens’ impressive array of fountains and watery gimmicks, or Wasserspiele; guided tours of them depart every 15min, with the tour guide showing off all the tricks and hidden fountains, including an elaborate, water-powered mechanical theatre, with great aplomb (prepare to be splashed). The palace itself features paintings of Sitticus’s unusual animal collection, and a lavishly frescoed festival hall and music room.

To get to Schloss Hellbrunn take bus #25 from the train station or Mirabellplatz. This bus continues to the village of St Leonhard, 7km further south, where the 1853-metre Untersberg is climbed by a cable car, for impressive views of Salzburg to the north and the Alps to the south, making it a hit with summer hikers and skiers in winter.