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It's a city that was to bore musical genius Mozart and played host to The Sound Of Music but it won't bore you.
OutUK's Adrian Gillan explores Austria's spectacular wintry World Heritage gem, Salzburg.

Touch down and before you can say "So Long, Farewell" you're hooked. This city effortlessly enters anyone's Top Ten European destinations.

Nourished by the tiny Salzach River; dominated by the old Castle; and surrounded by now-disused, wealth-giving salt mines in hills still alive that gave the city its very name: small wonder Salzburg inspired Mozart (250th Birth Anniversary, 2006) to his snow-peaked heights and formed an epic backdrop to The Sound Of Music (50th anniversary, 2015), one of the most successful films of all time.

Wander through the World Heritage status Old Town: see where Mozart was born on shop-filled Getreidegasse and where he was baptised in the massive Cathedral or gawp at the tiny violin he dazzled with when scarce three! For a few of your favourite things, browse the market that has crowded Domplatz since 1679; or climb every mountain on an inner city Sound Of Music Tour, whistling whilst you go.

For something good, check out a highbrow concert at one of the many top music venues like the Festival Halls, Mozarteum or Mirabell Palace - not least during the world-famous Salzburg Festival every July - August.

Or get up to speed at the newly-opened Museum of Modern Art perched up on Mönchsberg hill and served by its very own lift from the city centre below.

The Pegasus statue in the Mirabell Gardens.

GOING ON SEVENTEEN

Since 2002 the age of consent in Austria has been 14 for all persuasions so you'll soon be humming "Sixteen Going On Seventeen" as you saunter the small yet perfectly formed gay scene, most of which is just over on the East bank; but start off at HOSI on Müllner Hauptstrasse on the West bank to build up queer spirit at this cosy and welcoming café-bar cum LGB community hub, mainly open evenings at weekends.

Remember though that the country has historically not had the greatest queer rights record, being one of the last in Europe to repeal a total ban on homosexuality in 1971. The legal recognition of same-sex partnerships only became law from 1st January 2010.

NIGHTLIFE

A good place to start is Daimlers on Giselakai, overlooking the river, with it's cosy bar-bistro below and trendy sofa lounge upper - albeit it slightly pricy, not to say gay-straight mixed. Those keen to gig might head onto straight but gay-friendly Republic at the foot of the Mönchsberg hill back on the West bank.

Apart from the shops along Getreidegasse and the town markets, check out two cruisy lairs near the main station: SEZ on Elisabethstraße, Salzburg's largest erotic shop, with a whopping gay section of toys, mags and vids; and Cruisingline, the video booth complex on nearby Mertensstraße.

BED & BOARD

One of the best eateries in town is undoubtedly Auerhahn on Bahnhofstrasse, a five minute walk north of the main station. Owned and staffed by three generations of the hospitable Pongratz family, it has the ambience of a traditional Austrian country house, complete with roaring fire and garden views.

 
Inside The Café Bazar on Salzach River.
Or for something unusual, further out of town, try Ikarus - an amazing restaurant in one of Europe's great modern buildings, overlooking the Red Bull drink chief's private collection of fighter jet s, and - beyond - out onto Salzburg Airport's runway. Roaring!

The Blaue Gans (Blue Goose) Hotel on Getreidegasse is only a few yards from the Festival Theatres and mere doors down from Mozart's Birthplace. Built in the 14th century, it was recently converted - splendidly blending the old and the new - into an "art hotel" bulging with modern sculptures and paintings, all for sale. Ella Fitzgerald has sung in the hotel's ancient basement bar. Fab restaurant too! Our hotel partners Bookings also offer a wide choice of gay-friendly hotels at special rates.

For more general information on Salzburg go to www.salzburg.info.

THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Auerhahn (Bahnhofstrasse 15; T: 0043 (0) 662 451052)
Blaue Gans Hotel (Getreidegasse 41-43; T: 0043 (0) 662 842491; Website)
Cruisingline (Mertensstraße 13; no phone; Website)
Daimlers (Giselakai 17; T: 0043 (0) 662 873967)
HOSI (Müllner Hauptstrasse 11; T: 0043 (0) 662 435927; Website)
Ikarus (Hangar7, Wilhelm-Spazier Strasse 7a; T: 0043 (0) 662 219777; Website)
SEZ Erotic Shop (Elisabethstraße 8a; T: 0043 (0) 662 881169)

Photography courtesy Tourismus Salzburg GmbH

Revised January 2016

 

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