24 Apr 9245km // SALZBURG // AUSTRIA
We recently had the pleasure of playing host in a foreign land. ‘Foreign’ because we technically have only been in Salzburg for several weeks, (even though we’re already familiar with some of the top local spots and secret alleyway gems), and ‘playing host’ because our friend Ant hopped on a flight from London, and joined us for a week to see what all our fuss has been about. Hope you had fun Ant!
Salzburg can (arguably) be called Austria’s prettiest city. To our surprise, the old-fashioned architecture, and baroque cobbled streets haven’t been hummed out with the modern bustle of tourists, as opposed to our impression of Vienna. Sure, there’s tons of tour guides roaming the Hohensalzburg Fortress with crowds in tow, and the grand interiors of Salzburg Cathedral (affectionately known to locals as the ‘Dom‘) are blessed with the instinctual flashes of hundreds of cameras, but somehow, when strolling along the Salzach river or through the town square, you feel like you’ve been taken back in time. 2015 has simply been a number on our iPhone calendars, (and perhaps the number of Mozartkugels sold here per day).
Having spent several days in the city, and a couple days just outside, we’ve managed to condense a Salzburg trip into 24-hour, 48-hour and 72-hour highlight packages.
So, if you only have 24-hours in Salzburg…
…and you arrive at the central Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, make sure to walk (or catch a bus) to the city centre, stopping at the Mirabell Palace and Gardens for a quick whiff and snap (we found going at the end of Winter didn’t do the gardens justice, so make sure to visit when it’s warming up – Spring and Summer are best). Then as you head towards the fairytale-like castle in the distance, crossing one of the many bridges running over the Salzach, pop into the grand Cathedral to sponge and appreciate the artistic craft of hundreds of preserved masterpieces pressed into the walls and ceilings. Take a quick shot in front of the golden ball at the Kapitelplatz, then make your way to the top of the Hohensalzburg to enjoy a full view of the city (best on a sunny day). Once you’ve had enough of the beauty (as if, right?) head back down by strolling along the top of the mountain towards Mönchsberg, then take one of the many staircases leading down to the Altstadt. When in the old town, you’ll need to find the Augistiner Bräu (practically a gem hidden from the foreign eye) to enjoy some of the most delicious beer and an array of local delicacies (the Leberkäse and Bretzels are best).
If you have 48-hours in Salzburg…
…then start day two by heading back into the city centre, this time to shop (or window-shop if you’re on a budget) along the Goldgasse, also visiting Mozart’s birthplace, which is disguised between the shops. For breakfast, we recommend a pastry from the Viennese bakery, Anker, followed by a purely culture-rich day, visiting one or more of the many museums (we found behaving like children in the Toy Museum was an event in itself). If traditional museums are not your thing, catch a bus to the Stiegl Brauwelt, where you’ll enjoy a 270 degree cinema experience, and tour of the infamous Salzburg brewery. End your day with sun-downers on a cruise along the Salzach (only open in the Summer), or pick up a sorbet (or two) from one of the eiscafes along the river, and have a seat on the river bank with the locals to enjoy the sunset, and some of Mozart’s melodies, strumming in an alleyway nearby.
If you have 72-hours in Salzburg…
…you’re one lucky bug! We recommend venturing out the city, approximately 15 minutes by bus, to go visit the Salzburg zoo – a gorgeous and wild spectacle, featuring enclosures moulded to the side of a mountain. You’ll have an opportunity to ‘play’ with the Alpacas (this alone should make you want to pack the old suitcase), as well as spot some of the world’s rarest, including the Snow Leopard, Mandwolf and Rhino. A quick 10 minute bus ride further, you’ll arrive at the base of the Untersberg, Salzburg’s number one view point if you want to capture the whole city in one blink. Nine minutes in the cable car and you’re atop this Austrian paragon. Surreal.