Built in the early 17th century, Hellbrunn Castle served as a summer retreat for the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. Its baroque exterior conceals an exuberant interior made for entertaining, though the real draws are the whimsical trick fountains (Wasserspiele) in the gardens, which spew water from unexpected places.
Admission to Hellbrunn Castle includes a 40-minute guided tour of the gardens, a 40-minute audio tour of the palace itself, and access to the Folklore Museum, which houses a collection of objects and costumes associated with Austria’s Salzburg valley region.
Because of its location just a short hop south of Salzburg, Hellbrunn is often included on hop-on hop-off city tours. Some sightseeing passes include free admission to the castle as well as other top attractions such as Salzburg Zoo. The castle can also be visited as part of organized tours, which may combine a trip to the palace with a boat cruise along the Salzach River. The gazebo at Hellbrunn Castle served as the filming location for the “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” scene in The Sound of Music, so the castle is commonly included on Sound of Music tours.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Hellbrunn Castle is a must for families; kids love the trick fountains.
- You will get wet, so be sure your smartphone and any other gear is protected.
- The park and trick fountains are wheelchair accessible, though the castle is not.
How to Get There
Hellbrunn Castle is 3 miles (4.5 kilometers) south of central Salzburg. To get here, ride the 25 bus from Salzburg’s main train station to Hellbrunn. Cycling from central Salzburg will take 25 minutes.
When to Get There
The castle and trick fountains are open from late March to early November. The best time to explore is in summer, as it’s easier to dry off under the warm sun. Summer is also, however, the busiest time. Try arriving first thing to get in ahead of the crowds.
The Trick Fountains
Designed to amuse and surprise, the trick fountains at Hellbrunn Castle are a lot of fun. In addition to a series of grottoes and water-driven figures, the palace grounds also feature some hidden fountains that spout when guests least expect it. Another highlight is the mechanical theater, where you can see 200 water-powered figures going about life in a typical Austrian city.