The last years we´ve been driving past Salzburg 4-8 times a year and every time we cross the border to Austria we say:”we could really stop in Salzburg one day again, it´s been ages since we´ve done that!” It´s been 5 years to be exact, Lu was still safely tucked in my belly and we had a nice weekend strolling around Salzburg´s streets before reaching our main goal, my home country Slovenia. This year it was finally time to spend a weekend here again ;). The city gets quite busy with tourists from all over the world in the summer months, who contribute to the lively atmosphere – we were also lucky enough to have nice sunny summer weather, just like 5 years ago ;).
As the last time we were here, we also did not have a concrete plan of what we wanted to see this time. We knew the city a bit anyway as we´ve been here a couple of times before. Salzburg is not too big, JUST BIG ENOUGH TO WALK AROUND ON FOOT in the centre, visiting all the main sights (even if you are travelling with kids, the distances are manageable). If this is your first time, the places worth visiting are: the city caste, main cathedral and a couple of other churches, Mirabell Palace & gardens, city hall, Mozart´s birth house, Petersfriedhof cemetery, Hellbrunn palace and some other.
THE OLD TOWN
The fourth largest Austrian city is famous for its BAROQUE ARCHITECTURE, UNIVERSITIES (it´s a very attractive place to study, for Austrian and international students) and as the birth town of W.A.MOZART. It is on UNESCO ´s World Heritage´s list and despite its many attractions, my favourite places are simply the narrow busy streets full with cafes, restaurants and little shops, lined by nice houses with interesting facades – they even remind me of my home town a little bit ;).
MIRABELL PALACE & GARDENS
The palace which was built in 1606 alongside the SALZACH RIVER has gotten a nice baroque look and lush gardens in the following decades, eventually it landed in the state´s possession and is a favourite tourist spot these days. It´s quite a nice stroll down the blooming gardens in the summer and a good solution to get away from the burning sun for a while. From here there are also magnificent views on the city´s CASTLE.
After walking around the gardens we turned direction towards the old town – passing some more expensive hotels on the way, bumping into interesting SCULPTURES here and there. Don´t forget to look up and observe the beautiful facades!
MOZART´S BIRTH HOUSE
Mozart´s birth place is, believe it or not, one of the most visited museums in the world! We did not manage to go inside this time, but if you have enough time and are interested in visiting it, you can peek into his private life in three floors for 10€. Or just buy the famous “MOZARTKUGEL” chocolate sweets instead! We skipped that one also, as we prefer salty and spicy ;).
A visit to the CITY CASTLE is really a must! Even if you are not interested in going through the chambers, you can still admire it from the outside plus enjoy the great views on the city and the mountainous surroundings. You can reach the top on foot or by a lift, in any case you should wlak the few more stairs to the top of the castle tower to get the best views!
It was built already in the 11th century and was rebuilt and enlarged for the next centuries – still today, this remains one of the most important castles /forts in the whole country. Inside the castle you can walk around the rooms and see the COLLECTIONS of weapons, musical instruments and other historical objects.
We were a bit surprised to see that most of the towns ROOFS WERE COLOURED IN GREY and not in red as expected! In the combination with the green surroundings they make an interesting sight! Hint: come here early in the morning before the crowds get in, you´ll have the view almost to yourselves!
On the MARKET below there are many HORSE CARRIAGES waiting to take the visitors for a ride around the city – we rather did it on foot, but as we say the horse rides are quite a hit!
On the way going up or down the castle you will pass the OLDEST CEMETERY in the town. It is actually one of the biggest attractions in the city, as strange as it may sound. The old stone graves surrounded by rose flowers and other vegetation were obviously old but we found the catacombs on the rocky hill nearby much more interesting ;).
Salzburg´s CATHEDRAL where Mozart himself was baptised has made a good impression on us, even though we usually don´t get impressed by churches. Maybe it had something to do with the nice cool air inside and the fact that we by coincidence stumbled upon a choir rehearsal and the singing filled up the space with positive energy ;).
The advantage of staying a full weekend and not just visiting for a day is to have the chance to walk around the town in the evenings when the city lights make a complete different atmosphere. The summer heat also vanishes for the night and walking along the river is a must! There are nice walking paths on both sides of the river which are also suitable for strollers, in cas eyou are travelling with small kids ;).
You can reach Salzburg in 1hr from Munich and 3 hrs from Vienna or Ljubljana, there are also good train connections in case you don´t have a car. It´s worth a stop even if you are just passing by as the city is not that big and you can see the main attractions and have lunch in just one afternoon lets say. It must be also very nice in the winter time when all the CHRISTMAS STANDS pop up – we might try that out next time!