Geography: Scratching the edge of the alps
The City of Salzburg is situated on the northern edge of the Alps, pretty much in the centre of Austria. It is close to the border to Germany and has actually been part of Bavaria for a little while (see "history" for details). The mountains of the Tennengebirge rise about 20 kilometres south of the city limits, which neatly stretch along the so-called "Salzburger Becken", the wide Salzburg valley.
In fact, Salzburg is often described as the most "Italian" city north of the Alps, since its architectural heritage often resembles Italian baroque. In geographical terms, the hills are a bonus for their scenic forests, that provide visitors with stunning views - most prominently the Kapuzinerberg, the Mönchsberg, the Rainberg and of course the Festungsberg with Salzburg′s mighty fortress on the mountain top.
Salzburg is the heart of Austria
Southwest of the city is the 1853 m high Untersberg, which also provides water for Salzburg and some of its surroundings. In the southeast of the city there is the 1288 m high Gaisberg, an easy landmark with a big radio transmitter on the top.
Towards the north the Salzburg valley widens and transforms into a gentle landscape with rolling hills shaped by the last ice-age. However, you might be able to spot the Plainberg mountain with the basilica Maria Plain on top, for centuries an attraction for pilgrims and worshippers.
Wikipedia on the geography of Austria - opens in new window