Next Stop: Salzburg
Salzburg is one of the most popular city destinations in Austria, drawing music lovers from all over the world who want to tour the filming locations associated with The Sound of Music or visit the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. There’s also an endlessly photogenic Old Town, dominated by a huge hilltop castle.
Climate: Average temperatures range from a low of -4℃ in January to a high of 24℃ in July. July is also the rainiest month of the year with an average 14 days of rainfall. For the best chance of snow, travel between November and February.
The imposing Hohensalzburg Fortress dominates the skyline of Salzburg. Not surprising since it’s one of the largest medieval castles in Europe with a wealth of interesting nooks and crannies to explore – along with the views over the rooftops of the city. Since 1892, there’s been a funicular railway to take visitors up to the castle. If you’d prefer to walk, you can reward yourself with some coffee and Sachertorte in one of the cafés along the battlements.
A Sound of Music Tour
This one may not be for everybody, but even if you’re just vaguely curious, you’ll get a wide-ranging tour of Salzburg’s prettiest attractions. And if you’re a big fan, you can see the instantly recognisable Mirabell Gardens (pictured), Schloss Leopoldskrun (where the Von Trapp family lived), the convent where Maria was a novice and the rolling hills of the opening scene which are guaranteed to prompt a hearty rendition of ‘The Hills are Alive….’
This main street runs through the heart of Salzburg’s Old Town area, offering an array of boutiques, bars, cafés and restaurants. There are little passageways and courtyards off the main street to explore and plenty of options for a delicious slice of cake.
The Mozart family lived in this house in the heart of Salzburg from 1747-1773, where W.A. Mozart himself was born on 27 January 1756. The house is now a popular museum devoted to Mozart and his family, with interesting memorabilia and letters.
St Peter’s Abbey
St Peter’s Abbey was founded in the 7th century and is considered among the oldest monasteries in the German speaking world. A highlight is the catacombs, which are hewn out of the Mönchsberg hillside itself and date back to late antiquity. Sound of Music fans will recognise the courtyard too…
A walk to the Eagle’s Nest, Berchtesgarten
Around 22 miles south of Salzburg, over the German border, the Eagle’s Nest was built as a 50th birthday gift for Adolf Hitler. As it was never under fire, the building has remained intact and is now a popular tourist destination, mainly for its commanding views over the surrounding region. You can either take a tour from Salzburg or get a local bus. Why not walk some of the way and reward yourself with some apple strudel at the restaurant once you reach the top?
What to eat: Salzburg Nockerl (see below) – a light, fluffy dessert which is incredibly filling! Also, Mozart Balls (also available throughout Austria) are a firm favourite and make a great gift to bring home.
What to drink: There are a few great local beers around Salzburg. Stiegl is the oldest and probably most widely available. Also worth a try is the Märzen lager from Müllner Bräu. Fun fact: Red Bull was brought to the world by an Austrian business man and has its headquarters here.
Essential phrases: Grüß Gott – Good day