Okay, so my trip to Salzburg was way back in May of 2017, so 9 months ago, but I noticed this post half written in my drafts the other day and decided that I wanted to finish it and share it with the world. Right now I’m planning a trip to Budapest and it has reminded me just how useful these sort of posts are for travel planning. So I figure if I can share my top tips for visiting Salzburg today, then someone else might benefit from reading it tomorrow.
In case you missed it last year, I fell hopelessly and utterly in love with Salzburg. So I highly recommend you book at trip there as soon as you possibly can. If you want to know what awaits you then hop on over to this ginormously long post detailing what I got up to on the trip.
Right then, let’s get down to business, here are my top tips for visiting Salzburg:
If you’re planning on seeing the sites of Salzburg then a Salzburg Card is a must. Hence why it sits at number one in my top tips list. The card gives you free entry to a number of different attractions in Salzburg. These include Mozart’s Birthplace, Hellbrunn Palace & Trick Fountains, Salzburg Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. You also get free travel on buses, the funicular to the fortress and the cable car up to Untersberg, plus there’s plenty of discounts of other attractions too. At just over $30 for a 48 hour pass it’s a cost effective way of seeing Salzburg.
The Sound of Music
If you are a Sound of Music fan and you are visiting Salzburg to see the sights from the film then I would recommend doing your own tour. Yes, you can pay to do a bus tour with a group of randomers where you watch the film as you drive to each location. But you can also see most of the sights yourself, quite easily. Hellbrun Palace houses the Von Trapp summer house, Mirabell Gardens has the fountains, and the trolls and the arches and the steps from Do, Re, Mi. So with a little bit of research you can easily organise your own tour. That’s what we did and it was perfect.
Supermarket opening hours
So it turns out that Salzburg shops don’t keep to the same opening hours as London shops. Which is actually quite obvious when you think about it. But we didn’t think about it. All the local shops around our apartment closed by 6pm on a Saturday. Which is a nightmare if you’re planning a night in, have your food, but still need to do a drinks run. We luckily found a tiny Mexican fast food shop to pick up beer and soft drinks, but it wasn’t quite what we had planned. Also the local shops were all shut on Sunday. Which was fine, as we realised this on Saturday night and were able to find a bigger supermarket that wasn’t too far away. The shops in the centre of Salzburg, had better opening hours but it’s still something to bear in mind. And I know this is pretty obvious, but my family don’t think of these things, until it’s too late, so I thought it was worth mentioning here!
Lunch from the market
Obviously the city is full of restaurants, and of course you’ll want to visit some of these for traditional Austrian fare. From schnitzel to goulash and strudel, there are so many tempting treats. But eating at restaurants doesn’t always lead to authentic food, nor does it help when travelling on a budget. Which is where shopping locally comes in. Salzburg’s daily Grünmarkt in University Square is food heaven, which means it’s the perfect spot to pick up all of the food snacks. From fruit and vegetables to freshly baked bread, Austrian cheeses, meats and pretzels you are definitely spoilt for choice. Alongside treats for a picnic lunch we also shopped at the market for a weekend dinner, cooking a delicious meal of pasta with a huge side salad all from ingredients at the market.
Walk, walk, walk
Again this is a top tip for the majority of European cities. Not only is walking around a city totally free it also gives you a unique view of the area. I always find it easier to get my bearings if I walk around a city. It’s much easier to make sense of a place when you walk the streets, instead of sticking your head into a bus or metro map. In Salzburg we stayed a little out of the city, so each day we walked along the river into the main area. It was a stunning way to start and end the day, surrounded by joggers and cyclists and commuters. Salzburg itself feels like a warren of streets, with gorgeous buildings and hidden hideaways around every corner. The other thing to remember when walking is to keep looking up. There’s always something new to see from stunning vistas, like the one above, to intricate building details and colourful shutters high above the cobbled streets.
One final top tip before I go, and it’s about the airport. So it turns out Salzburg airport is tiny, and there is nothing there! Once you are through security it’s just a long collection of departure gates. So with that in mind don’t do what we did, and get there early, planning to waste an hour in departures. If you do you’ll end up in a long queue at the coffee shop or searching for seats along with 150 other people.
So there you have them, my top tips for visiting Salzburg. Have you been to Salzburg, would you add anything else? Are you going to Salzburg soon? And if so do you need a tour guide??!