There’s something rather strange in the air when you first get to Salzburg.
The peaceful, glowing Austrian City heftily endowed with old-world charm that we all found so charming in The Sound of Music – Salzburg is literally swarming with tourists – sadly you weren’t the first one to think that coming here would be so amazing. Oh well, if you can’t beat them, join them! There are so many charming things to see here that you’ll see why it’s so packed – not just because of the almost religiously adored movie.
1. Enjoy a Kaffee und Kuchen in a nice café
First, you’ll probably want to just sit down and take in your surroundings for a few minutes- there’s a delightful indoor and outdoor café in the Residence Square near the fountain and Cathedral where you can pause and enjoy a Kaffee und Kuchen – this is what Europe’s all about!
2. Stroll along the Mirabellgarten
Next, stroll along to the Mirabellgarten, the beautiful gardens where the children learn to sing in The Sound of Music – sadly also swarming with tourists, this time many of them singing! Still, there are many exquisite patterns of flowers on show, and the whole place feels completely untouched since the mov… day it was constructed.
3. Take a trip down Getreidegasse and see Mozart’s birthplace
After that, take a trip down Getreidegasse, a traditional shopping street in the Old Town. Mozart’s birthplace apartment can be seen from here, as well as little shops with several western brands, as well as tourist shops. Most charming is the tiny McDonalds, which in order to keep in context, has a famous little brass overhanging sign. Upon seeing it you’ll wonder whether to laugh or cry, it’s so ironic. Globalisation… However, the presence of this chain does make eating cheaper for tourists on a budget, that is, if you’re too unadventurous to try some of the Wurst (sausage) meal deals.
Other dining options for those with more cash include the excellent Restaurant Goldener Hirsch, in the Hotel Goldener Hirsch.
4.Visit Festung Hohensalzburg
After lunch, head out up the sandy path up the fairly steep hill (or, if you’re disabled or elderly, take the funicular railway which runs from the downtown every 10 minutes) past the Nonnberg Nunnery (yes, where Maria from The Sound of Music lived) to the Festung Hohensalzburg, a spectacular Medieval Fortress and one of the largest in Europe. It overlooks the whole city and the views are fantastic – well worth the arduous walk… if you made it! Inside the fortress is a mildly interesting museum with several exhibits such as weaponry that both children and adults may find interesting and panels on the fortress’s history, which is both long and engaging.
When you’ve finished, take the funicular railway on the way down as walking down can be worse than walking up.
5. Listen to classical music at the Salzburg Festival House
Because of Mozart, Salzburg has become a sort of world capital for musical events, with all sorts of orchestras and classical bands playing here. If you’re interested (and even if you’re not) head to the Salzburg Festival House adjacent to the Festival Square where musical events are often held for free – well worth viewing.
After all this you’ll probably be utterly exhausted and willing to return to the hotel – end your day in style with Kaffee und Strudel.
Top 5 Hotels in Salzburg city center:
- Hotel Mozart – 4-star hotel – double from €76
- Altstadthotel Wolf-Dietrich – 4-star hotel – double from €100
- Hotel NH Salzburg – 4-star hotel – double from €79
- Hotel The Pitter – 5-star hotel – double from €100
- Altstadthotel Weisse Taube – 4-star hotel – double from €98
Photo of Salzburg, Austria, by Lichtmaler.au