If you read Fi’s Friday Favourites post or if you’ve been anywhere near my Instagram feed then you’ll already know how much I adored my trip to Salzburg. It was everything I wanted out of a city break. It literally ticked all the boxes with its colourful and historic buildings, the gorgeous riverside location below the mountains, and of course delicious food. I mean if you were making a must-have list for a weekend getaway, would your list not include all of these?
I would absolutely love to right a super long post with a play by play account of every little thing that we did, but you’d probably get bored quite quickly. Instead I’m going to pick out my favourite bits of Salzburg. If you do want a play by play then I’ve added an itinerary for each day at the bottom of the page.
The Salzach River
We stayed a little out of the centre of Salzburg and therefore walked along the river into the town each day. There are cycle-ways and footpaths along the flat route and the views towards the town with the mountains behind are glorious. The water is so clear – which I guess is because the water has melted right of the mountains. As we walked the route we saw so many people enjoying the river banks. There were dogs frolicking along the water’s edge, families picnicking and runners and cyclists whizzing by. I wish we’d have had the time to sit and enjoy the view more, I think on my next visit I’ll be stopping for a picnic and taking in the view.
Trick Fountains at Schloss Helbrun
Without giving too much away the trick fountains at Schloss Helbrun are brilliant and well worth a visit when you’re in Salzburg. The fountains are over 400 years old. They were built by Markus Sittikus prince-archbishop of Salzburg to entertain friends and are still used in the same way today. Schloss Helbrun is a little way out of the city, but easy to get to via bus. Helbrun is also home to the summer house from The Sound of Music which can be found in the gardens.
Hozensalzburg Castle sits right above Salzburg, so you can see it from all over the city. It’s the biggest fully preserved castle in Central Europe and is well worth a visit. There’s a funicular railway up to the castle, which is always fun! Plus all the glass allows you to see the full city spread before you. Once at the top you’re free to wander around the castle, look out at the viewing points and visit the museum. You can also walk up to the fortress, and we saw people doing it, but we decided that we had walked enough and took the funicular instead.
The Mirabell gardens are absolutely stunning. There are so many sections of the gardens to discover. From the fountains and formal flowerbeds through to the the orangery, the dwarf gardens and the rose garden. Plus there’s the Sound of Music steps and stunning views past the palace up to Hozensalzburg castle.
One of my favourite things about this long weekend was just wandering around the town. There are so many little alleyways, colourful buildings and views to discover and the best way to do this is to just walk around and see where you end up.
I’m not even going to apologise for the fact that I’ve included a whole section on the food. In my mind eating locally and discovering what a new city has to offer, in terms of culinary delights, is key. And I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t include that in this case. The one place I wanted to visit before this trip was Cafe Bazar. We didn’t plan a trip, instead we stumbled upon it on Sunday morning, and stopped for an early lunch. The coffee here was divine, and the atmosphere was very chilled out. Plus there was a dog in the corner – living the dream!
We also stopped for cake at Cafe Tomaselli. Here a lady walks around with a silver tray laden with slices of cake, you choose your slice and pay her straight away with cash. The Sachertorte from Cafe Tomaselli was divine. Finally I’d highly recommend a visit to a local beer hall. We were staying near this place, so wandered there on our last night. Apart from actually liking the beer, which is brand new for me, the food was traditional Austrian fare. We opted for sharing everything so that we could try it all, so we went with schnitzel, ribs, wedges, chicken and these spiral potato things that were out of this world.
Untersberg is a mountain that straddles both Austria and Germany. It’s a little out of the city, but only 30 minutes away by bus, so definitely worth a visit. To get up the mountain you take a cable car with 40 other people, which takes just 10 minutes. It’s hideous and I was not a fan, nor was anyone else. Luckily the views are stunning and will help distract from the journey. In all honesty it’s the two times you go over the pylons that are the worst, the rest is manageable. But the pylons make the car rock which is not fun at all.
It’s worth mentioning that the journey down is a lot better. Probably because you know what to expect, or because it will all be over so soon. Either way it’s 100 percent worth the terror. The views from the mountain at the top are simply stunning. You can see so far. One thing to note is that there will be snow, so make sure you are dressed appropriately. I just had trainers and a jumper and was warm enough for a May trip. However we didn’t do the walk to the higher up point because the pathways were so snowy. If you do want to do this, make sure you are prepared.
Writing this up is making me want to book another visit as soon as possible! Who is with me? Have you ever been to Salzburg, and if so what were the highlights of your visit?
Day 1 in Salzburg: flight from Gatwick – check in to our apartment – explore the old part of the city – lunch at Cafe Mozart – Salzburg Cathedral – Mirabell Palace and Gardens – afternoon nap – dinner at Gösser Stub’n in the old town.
Day 2 in Salzburg: Headed South of the city to Grodig – Cable car up to Untersberg mountain – Schloss Hellbrun – Hohensalzburg Fortress – Cafe Tomaselli for Sachertorte – river wandering – dinner from the local markets.
Day 3 in Salzburg: lazy start (hooray) – watching the Salzburg marathon – Mirabell Gardens – Cafe Bazar – Panorama Museum – Salzburg Museum – Beer Hall for drinks & dinner.