Salzburg is one of my absolute favorite cities in Austria. I made a few visits while living in Germany and it was where I loved to take anyone coming to visit me. Salzburg is a quick train ride south east of Germany just across the Austrian border. My favorite part of this city is the massive 900 year old fortress set high above the city. Salzburg is a huge cultural and arts hub (it is the birthplace of Mozart, after all). It's famous for its beautiful baroque architecture that includes massive cathedrals and concert halls. Perfect for a day trip or to stay overnight in one of its many quaint b&b's. For my trips we opted for a quick day trip from our home base in Munich. Since I have been to this city twice you'll see photos from the summer & winter.
There is a direct train from Munich Hauptbahnhoff via the Deutsche Bahn.
Hohensalzsburg Fortress was my favorite site to see. It's gigantic and dominates the Salzburg skyline; you can see it form anywhere in the city. This was the first time that I realized how much free range tourist sites in Europe can give you in comparison to visiting somewhere in the United States. We were able to explore the entire grounds and go through corridors, doors, narrow stairwells. It felt so amazing to literally walk through unchanged history. You can get to the fortress by taking a funicular up, or by climbing on foot up the huge hill as we did. It was harder than anticipated but the views were worth it in the end. The fortress was mean't to hold around 1,000 people, so it was literally a small town within the walls. It was such a large fortress that nobody dared to attack Salzburg for over 1,000 years. Inside we had a beer and some lunch in the beirgarten, and when I returned again in the winter with my mother we ate in the kitchens that had been operating within the walls since its construction.
Salzburg Cathedral constructed in the early 1600's was one of the very first Baroque buildings in the Alpine area. The architecture is grand baroque fashion and still holds regular mass. When we went and explored the inside there was a choir performing and the sound was so beautifully haunting that my mother started to cry. It was a very moving experience.
Inside of Salzburg are beautiful gardens that serve the purpose of being a beautiful & relaxing place for a stroll. Bright colored flowers and many benches make a perfect afternoon walk with a coffee. Speaking of, cafe's are around every single corner.
There is also large section of the old town that has survived, although mostly a tourist trap now (including the birthplace of Mozart) the old cobblestone streets are enjoyable to stroll and a perfect place to pick up souvenirs. A really cool aspect about this street is that all of the signs for the stores are iron to keep in line with the design. There are no neon signs allowed which makes sure that even through all the shops and tourism the street is elegant and respective of history. Make sure to pick up some schnapps! It's so popular in Austria and this street has a great bar to get one. Perfect for an after dinner treat.
There is a busy open air produce market right in the old square surrounded by cathedrals and concert halls. You can pick up fresh produce, lunch, or unique hand crafted finds. Yet another great place for people watching and a casual stroll.
One of the coolest experience in Salzburg was visiting an old cemetery within the old town. Graves here were dug several layers (and people) deep to save money and space. A family would rent a plot and all be buried on top of each other as their time came. Every few years rent is sent out and someone has to pay it or family members will be removed from the cemetery (morbid, I know). In my vlog you can see how the cemetery is against the rock fortress and you can see cave like windows looking down upon it. It was beautiful. Strange but I love old cemeteries, just another way to connect to history.
This breath taking view is one of the many reasons why Germany/Austria/Switzerland is one of my favorite places to go. So dang beautiful.
What to do
- Visit the Alter Market (open air market)
- Peruse Getreidegasse in the old town for window shopping & people watching
- Visit the Toy museum, Salzburg Zoo (much different than American zoos) & the Museum of Modern Art
- Checkout Mozart's birthplace - You don't have to go inside, you can take photos from outside
- Visit the Stiegl-Brauwelt brewery and collect some tasty samples & "to go" drinks ;)
- Stoll the Mirabell Palace and Gardens - the perfect backdrop for stunning photos of the fortress
Sites to See:
- Hohensalzburg Fortress - castle exploration level expert
- Salzburg Residence - See the magnificent Baroque state rooms
- Klessheim Palace - It is also a casino, wahoo!
- Salzburg Cathedral - if you're lucky like me there might be a performance, or sit in for mass.
- St. Sebastian Church & Cemetary - incredibly old and very beautiful. A somber experience.
- St. Peter's Cemetary - tucked inside the old town against the cliffs this beautiful cemetary is one of the coolest I have ever seen. This is the one I was talking about with the rented grave sites.
Eat - Drink
- Beer! All the beer. Seriously, Austrians & German's do it best. There are many biergartens in Salzburg with an open air family feel. So much fun!
- After dinner Schnapps! Another Salzburg/Austrian favorite
- Organically grown fruits & veggies form the marketplace. We got a giant bin of berries and walked around town eating them.
- Anywhere you can get traditional german food; kraut (its sweet, not sour) dumplings, schnitzels, sausage.
Some great resources:
- The official tourism website of Salzburg HERE
- DB website where you can pre-book your train tickets HERE
- AirBnB - The best way to find a place to stay if you have the funds HERE
- Hostelworld - the site I trust when I am staying/booking a hostel HERE
Check out my vlog where we went to Salzburg with my mom. You can really see the marketplace, cathedral and bits of the town. One of my favorite vlogs. Subscribe to my youtube channel for more travel videos as I am on the move.
I am thinking of a Eurotrip in the next few months during non peak tourism season. I foresee more gloomy Alps adventures in my near future ;) Where to next?
Leave your comments & questions below. I love to interact!
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