Famous as the birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg is dominated by the Fortress Hohensalzburg Sitting atop the 250 metre hill it is one of Europe's largest medieval castles, and offers views of the old town. Salzburg retains its medieval streets and narrow alleyways and has now become a Unesco world heritage site. Having arrived relaxed from our time in the mountains it felt it felt like an assault on the senses having to adjust to the business of a major tourist town!
Missing the beautiful alpine scenery of Pertisau, we decided to take the opportunity to escape the crowds and visit the Untersburg mountain. Just a short bus ride from Salzburg, Untersburg is the northern most massif of the Berchtesgaden Alps, marking the border between Austria and Germany. At 1,972 metres, the views were once again spectatular. Small alpine plants cling to cracks and crevices and frame the views of the wider landscapes.
With its unique setting, the cemetery of St Peters is one of the worlds most beautiful and Austrias oldest cemetery. Sheltered by the massive rocks of the Festunsburg, many of the headstones are made from wrought iron rather than stone. The whole area is full of flowers creating an unusually bright and lively atmosphere. A steep climb takes you into the catacombs where you can visit two ancient chapels - Gertrauden Chapel, and the Maximus Chapel. Hewn from the rock the caves have been in use since late antiquity.