The beauty of radstadt

culture & history

This is a small town with a colourful history in the Austrian Alps – and with lots of fascinating stories to tell. One famous and immensely talented citizen was Paul Hofhaimer. Considered the greatest composer and organist of his time, he was employed as the court organist for Emperor Maximilian in Innsbruck.

Architecturally, the town’s historical treasures include the mighty defensive walls with their round towers, the late Romanesque parish church and the gothic light column – all hinting at Radstadt’s eventful history. Today, this town in the Pongau region of Salzburg Province offers an excellent blend of history, culture & nature and is a great holiday destination for summer and winter vacations. The numerous well-preserved traditions and cultural events are veritable crowd-pullers.

Stadtplan Radstadt Stadtgemeinde Radstadt Gerald Kronsteiner 3
Stadtgemeinde Radstadt/Gerald Kronsteiner
Radstadt Frueher Archiv Tourismusverband Radstadt Stadtgemeinde Radstadt 1
Archiv Tourismusverband Radstadt & Stadtgemeinde Radstadt
Urlaub Stadt Radstadt Tourismusverband Radstadt Lorenz Masser 1
Tourismusverband Radstadt/Lorenz Masser
Radstadt Frueher Archiv Tourismusverband Radstadt Stadtgemeinde Radstadt 2
Archiv Tourismusverband Radstadt & Stadtgemeinde Radstadt

A quick overview

Facts & figures

  • Historical town with 5000 residents
  • Central location: Main town in the Ennspongau part of the Province of Salzburg
  • 70 km south of the festival city of Salzburg
  • Old town protected by conservation orders
  • 856 m above sea level
  • Town status awarded in 1289 
  • 190 comfortable accommodations for a great holiday in Radstadt
  • Guest card with multiple discounts: Salzburger Sportwelt Card


4th century BC


The most important Roman road went from Aquileia, over the Radstadt Tauern range, and on to Juvavum (city of Salzburg).


The main history of the 'Old Town in the Mountains' begins in the 7th century AD 


The origins of the name are unclear. The name probably stems from Slavic or Germanic roots: RASTAT (1074), RADESTAT (1092), RASTAT (1139).


The entire terrasse was bolstered in the 13th century.


On the 27th July 1289, Archbishop von Hohenegg presented the town with a deed which conferred upon the citizens of Radstadt ("Cives in Rastatt")  all the administrative rights, privileges and freedoms of a town, such as the city of Salzburg and the other towns of the archdiocese. In is the only town in the mountains belonging to the archbishopric of Salzburg to be awarded this status. The archbishop exempted citizens from all taxes and duties for the following ten years, except for the expenses required to protect and guard the town.


The town was subjected to its first test of resolve in 1306 in a conflict with Duke Albrecht of Austria. The town's coat of arms originates from this time. Gradually the legal power over the courts, markets and travelling tradesmen was transferred from its original seat - in Altenmarkt - to Radstadt.


The many major fires (1365, 1417, 1616, 1781, 1855 & 1865) robbed the town of a number of its key buildings. Today, only the  Capuchin tower, the Capuchin monastery, the Capuchin church and the Schusterturm tower in the graveyard (a late gothic light column from 1513) bear witness to the past.


The most significant era in the history of Radstadt was that of the peasant revolts of 1525/1526. 5000 farmers joined together under the leadership of Michl Gaismair. However, the town survived the seige and in 1527 Archbishop Matthäus Lang awarded the town the major charter of freedom for its loyalty, along with the motto "always loyal". To this day, the Charter of Freedom entitles the town to keep its own civil militia with the privileges accorded to those in uniform.


In 1621 a Benedictine school was established within the walls of the old Pflegburg castle. In 1628 the Capuchin order took over the castle and used it as a monastery until its ultimate dissolution in 1978.


In 1731/32 Archbishop Firmian's Emigration Edict forced over 3000 people to leave the Radstadt area. Many found a new home in Eastern Prussia.


In the first half of the 19th century, ownership of Salzburg changed hands a number of times, being taken by the occupying forces of Austria, Bavaria and France. Salzburg only became Austrian crown territory in 1816.


In 1875 the establishment of a railway line between Bischofshofen and Selzthal generated economic growth in the region.


In 1938 the towns and outlying areas were finally united under the Radstdt banner. To ensure the town's heritage was preserved, Radstadt was the first town in the province to be protected by a preservation order.

Radstaedter Nachtwaechter Tourismusverband Radstadt Lorenz Masser 1
Tourismusverband Radstadt/Lorenz Masser

Due to its favourable strategic location in the Salzburg Enns valley region, on the pass road over the Radstadt Tauern mountains, deep in the Middle Ages Radstadt was able to develop into a burgeoning trading town. Even today, there’s still plenty to explore in this small and venerable village, between the old walls of the town, the church and the monastery. The past comes to life here when the Radstadt night-watchman sings the famous night-watchman’s song, armed with a halberd, dressed in the costume of yore – and recounting all kinds of stories and legends to engrossed audiences.

An artist, like Hofhaimer on the organ or Dürer of Nuremburg and his paintings." Teophrastus Paracelsus To be mentioned in the same breath as Albrecht Dürer, and that by  the world-famous physician Paracelsus, show’s how highly acclaimed Hofhaimer was at the time. Paul Hofhaimer was born on 25th January 1459. He became famous as an organist and lute player, composer and conductor, the creator of the regal and as the courtsman of Emperor Maximilian. The son of the iron trader in the village of Radstadt went to the local school for singers and organists. He continued his training in Innsbruck at the court of the ‘wasteful Sigismund’, and from there to Emperor Maximilian, with whom he was forced to travel around for thirty years “like a gypsy” as he commented. His fame grew and grew. In 1515 he was knighted in Saint Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna for a magnificent performance of his work ‘Tedeum’.

Paul Hofhaimer Archiv Tourismusverband Radstadt Stadtgemeinde Radstadt 3
Archiv Tourismusverband Radstadt & Stadtgemeinde Radstadt
Paul Hofhaimer Archiv Tourismusverband Radstadt Stadtgemeinde Radstadt 1
Archiv Tourismusverband Radstadt & Stadtgemeinde Radstadt
Immortalised by Dürer

Dürer sketched Hofhaimer’s portrait in honour of the triumph of Emperor Maximilian, and ultimately etched his image in copper. His organ playing was known for its immense power and harmony, but he was also known for his simple yet consummately musical folk songs too.

Paul Hofhaimer died in 1537.

The quaint buildings in the centre of the old town are subject to preservation orders, there are lots of cultural events, the tourist infrastructure is well developed, and there’s excellent hospitality in the town. This all helps to make Austria’s ‘small historical towns’ veritable gems – and to boost their popularity with the guests. In 1993, 13 small towns between Lake Neusiedl and Lake Constance joined forces to ensure their marketing and advertising activities were better-focused and more effective. In small towns, and Radstadt is such a place, the charming atmosphere and personal hospitality are a winning factor – far from the hustle and bustle of the city.


Our tip: Get to know Radstadt even better on the small historical towns treasure hunt and win one week's stay!

More details:

Small historical towns

Stadtplatz 27

4400 Steyr


Tel. +43 7252 52290

Fax +43 7252 5322915


Tradition & customs have always played a big role in Radstadt. At the beginning of the 16th century Paul Hofhaimer, Emperor Maximilian’s court organist, was famous for his concerts. Now, in Radstadt culture and traditions are preserved and upheld by a number of associations:


  • The uniformed privileged civil militia was established to defend the town almost 700 years ago. Now the decorative uniforms are real eye-catchers at all kinds of secular and ecclesiastical events. On the first weekend in August the militia celebrates its popular militia day, one of the year’s highlights in the region.
  • The town’s marching band Stadtkapelle Radstadt also accompanies lots of events and celebrations – like militia day – with an ensemble of over 70 musicians.
  • The D'Goasstoana heimat association and Ennspongau Landjugend youth group are devoted to the preservation and cultivation of particular customs traditional clothing. These customs come to life at events like the raising of the maypole on the 1st May and the harvest festival in October. After the church service, the harvest festival crown is carried on a procession around the town.
  • Every two years, the Almabtrieb (when the cows are brought down from their mountain pastures for the winter) in the first half of September marks the end of the Radstadt Bauernherbst festival.
  • During the winter months there are also plenty of traditional events: The pagan Krampus runs at the end of November and the beginning of December are organised by the local ‘passes’; groups of men dressed in ghoulish costumes and masks.
Buergergarde Radstadt Tourismusverband Radstadt Lorenz Masser 1
Tourismusverband Radstadt/Lorenz Masser
Stadtkapelle Radstadt
Almabtrieb Tourismusverband Radstadt Lorenz Masser 1
Tourismusverband Radstadt/Lorenz Masser

The local organisation ‘Das Zentrum’ hosts several sophisticated cultural events that underline Radstadt’s reputation as a centre of culture in the Salzburg region – from readings to cabaret, from music to films. The historic atmosphere in the tower armoury by the old moat is the perfect venue. The organisation also stages the Radstadt film festival, and the annual Paul Hofhaimer Days, an event known well beyond the borders of Salzburg.

  • Spruce forests benefit from the altitude, ground conditions & climate
  • Healthy stocks of beech, pine, larch & alpine sycamore
  • Arolla pine scattered around the town; more found up on the Labeneck
  • Oak trees only found below Schladming
  • Lack of water, river engineering & tree feeling have led to a lack of the once common occurrence of moors & alder thickets
  • Larger moor at Mandling where peat is still dug out
  • Today there is little crop farming. Only two names of fields point to the previous cultivation of barley and flax
  • Previously: Various migratory birds in the large area of swampland, such as cranes, storks and purple heron – before the redirection of the River Enns (heron in a fountain by the Heimat Museum serves as a reminder)
  • Buzzards, rooks & Eurasian magpies: Increased populations due to the pushing back of the old marsh forests & expansion of cultivated land
  • Muskrats first arrive in Salzburg in 1925 via the Oichtental valley
  • Deer & roe deer in the forests, chamois at higher altitudes
  • Wood grouse & black grouse on the edges of the forests
  • House names indicate the previous presence of bears & wolves in the region

tour the town with an audio guide

Audio Guide App Tourismusverband Radstadt Hearonymus 1
Tourismusverband Radstadt/Hearonymus

Let your smartphone be your guide and accompany you on a tour of our historical town. All you need is the free "Hearonymus" app. You’ll hear fascinating facts about the town’s history, listed buildings and lots of amusing anecdotes at around 20 tour stops. The tour begins in the town square and is available in German and English.

It's easy
  • Download the free "Hearonymus" app onto your smartphone – straight from App Store or Google Play Store
  • After installation, enter "Radstadt" in the app’s search-word space
  • And the tour can begin…

Radstadt's creatives on show

Local talent tour

There are plenty of people in Radstadt that go their own way, preserve local customs and craft skills, and use their talents to create some wonderful items. This tour puts the local people who love to live and work here in the spotlight. Radstadt’s talented citizens and the goods and works of art they produce are exhibited around the ancient walls of the town, within and without, nearly the whole year round. The display begins at the playground outside the old walls, and finishes up at the town square. The tour flyer can be picked up in the tourist office.

Mi Gibts A Rundweg Tourismusverband Radstadt Christian Hochwimmer Photography 3
Tourismusverband Radstadt/Christian Hochwimmer Photography
Mi Gibts A Rundweg Tourismusverband Radstadt Christian Hochwimmer Photography 1
Tourismusverband Radstadt/Christian Hochwimmer Photography
Mi Gibts A Rundweg Tourismusverband Radstadt Christian Hochwimmer Photography 2
Tourismusverband Radstadt/Christian Hochwimmer Photography