Our Viking Romantic Danube River Cruise we took three years ago provided us a chance to discover what’s in Salzburg, Austria.
As fans of the movie The Sound of Music, we did not miss the opportunity to head out to nearby Salzburg when our cruise stopped by Passau. If you love nature and classical music, the picturesque alpine cities and seeing Mozart’s birthplace would be something you would also appreciate. And these are just for starters…there’s more in our story below.
Our Salzburg discovery and experience
The coach ride to Salzburg was almost 2 hours, with a short rest stop mid-way. The ride was easy and comfortable, passing through charming mountain villages, rolling hills, and pristine lakes. Let’s take you on a short trip to Salzburg as we experienced it.
The Old Town (Altstadt)
We focused on exploring The Old Town, a pedestrian area, and one of the city’s most walkable sections, with our limited time. You will be able to go to and see most of the major attractions without needing any transport.
We headed out from the coach terminal to town, crossing the lock bridge backdropped by the medieval Hohensalzburg Fortress perched on top of a rocky cliff.
The first attraction we hit was a building located along Getreidegasse in the Old Town. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on the third floor of this building and lived there with his family until 1773. The building now houses a museum that chronicles Mozart’s early years.
We continued our stroll and walked past the Mirabell Gardens, where the song “Do-Re-Mi” was filmed. There was a bit of a drizzle when we got there, but it didn’t stop us from exploring the beautiful garden, the Pegasus Fountain, as well as the Do-Re-Mi steps. We can imagine it must be an even more captivating sight during summer.
Dom Zu Salzburg
Continuing our stroll, we reached the Cathedral Square (Domplatz), flanked by the 249-foot 17th-century Dom and St. Peter’s Abbey, where Mozart premiered the Great Mass in C Minor in 1783. Music-lovers out there will appreciate this.
Salzburg Cathedral is the seventeenth-century Baroque cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Salzburg.
The turquoise domes and towering facade of this imposing Baroque architecture are impressive. The cathedral has been rebuilt after being burned and damaged several times.
When you visit, pay particular attention to the structure’s more refined details — such as the statues of apostles Peter and Paul at the front of the individual murals on the copulas.
The cathedral also plays a crucial role in Mozart’s life, serving as his baptism location and composed several musical pieces.
St. Peter’s Monastery, Cemetery & Catacombs
Before heading out for lunch, we went to St. Peter’s Monastery and explored its cemetery and catacombs – other must-sees for “The Sound of Music” fans.
We relived the scene when the Von Trapp family fled through St. Peter’s Cemetery and found a hiding place in the dark rocky recesses of St. Peter’s Cemetery as they ran away from the Nazis and before escaping to Switzerland.
Lunch at St. Peter Stiftskulinarium
The tour included a lunch at St. Peter Stiftskulinarium, a few steps away from St. Peter’s Monastery. With eleven historic dining rooms and an inner courtyard, the restaurant prides itself as the oldest restaurant in Central Europe.
Our visit to St. Peter Stiftskulinarium gave us an unforgettable experience of years of tradition, culinary excellence, and passion for hospitality in perfect contemporary harmony.
A performance from classically trained singers (dressed in Austrian attire of dirndl for the ladies and lederhosen for the gentlemen) rendering favorites from “The Sound of Music” capped our lunch.
On our way back to the coach terminal, we had some free time. We took the opportunity to drop by a couple of shops, in particular:
This is a pastry shop that was opened by Paul Fürst in Salzburg in 1884. Fürst created a praline called “Mozartkugel” in 1890. Marzipan with pistachios, nougat, and dark chocolate form this delicacy named after who else? The quality and refined taste made the Mozartkugel a great success.
A small, fine shop in Salzburg’s heart offers a large selection of handcrafted gift products, figurines, and collectibles. We got a few pieces of handpainted glass ball ornaments and a miniature cuckoo-clock that have adorned our Christmas tree every year since then.
Some Facts About Salzburg
Salzburg means “Salt Fortress.” The name derives from the barges carrying salt on the River Salzach, as salt extraction and trade are the primary sources of income for the city, aside from gold mining. The river divides the city, with the Altstadt (Old City) and its medieval and baroque buildings lining up the left bank, and the 19th-century Neustadt (New City) on its right.
This fourth-largest city of Austria, located very close to Germany’s border, offers stunning Eastern Alps views. It enjoys particular fame in the music world as Mozart’s birthplace, The Sound of Music’s location, and the internationally renowned annual Salzburg Festival. Because of its history, culture, and attractions, Salzburg has been labeled Austria’s “most inspiring city.”
When best to visit Salzburg
The best time to visit Salzburg is from September to October when summer crowds have tapered off, and you can enjoy the beautifully pruned gardens in comfortable temperatures. As we have previously shared, we always time our European vacations during shoulder season.
You will also like visiting in winter if you love skiing. Meanwhile, spring is still a bit chilly, and summer comes with increased traffic, temperatures, and higher prices of everything.
How to get to Salzburg
We got Salzburg from the Passau stop of our Danube Cruise.
You can fly to Salzburg (SZG). Several airlines offer direct flights to Salzburg.
Salzburg is accessible by road to cities in neighboring countries like the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Germany. There is a bus/shuttle service. However, most people opt to avail themselves of the comfort of trains.
If you like to drive and enjoy the scenic countryside, you can rent a car for the trip. If you opt for the latter, check these useful resources to plan your road trip.
Where to stay in Salzburg
We did not have to book separate accommodation during our visit to Salzburg as we were on a river cruise – one of the benefits of such a vacation. If you visit Salzburg on its own, there’s no shortage of options. They would include hotels, apartments, bed & breakfast, hostels, or other budget accommodation facilities.
Booking your accommodation can be quickly done online with several online booking platforms available. You need to check out the best hotel booking site to search for your accommodation of choice.
Salzburg has a lot to offer!
There’s plenty to explore in Salzburg, Austria, for history, nature, art, and music lovers. And if you want to relive the era of The Sound of Music, this place is something you shouldn’t miss.
Whether it is part of a river cruise, a road trip, or a getaway vacation to this part of Europe, your options on how best to discover what’s in Salzburg, Austria, and optimize your stay are unlimited.
How did you like our trip? We hope it provided you an enticing sneak peek and makes you plan your next trip to Salzburg and other parts of Austria. Check out available resources through the search facility below.
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