Once Chris and I decided to visit Austria, there was no question that we would stop for a stay in Salzburg. I had heard such great things about the Austrian city and all of its charms, and of course I wanted to see some of the spots and landmarks from The Sound of Music. Salzburg is a small city, but there is a lot to see and do.
In my travel planning, I read differing opinions about how much time to spend in Salzburg. A lot of people said you can cover the city in one day, and others recommended spending as much time there as possible. We decided on three nights with two whole days, and that turned out to be the perfect length for us to see the major sites at a leisurely pace, to spend ample time sitting at outdoor cafes, and to squeeze in one viewing of The Sound of Music in our hotel room. If I had a do-over I might add one additional day to see the surrounding areas of Salzburg, but we covered Old Town well in two days.
I wish I had taken more photos of our hotel, Hotel Goldgasse, but we arrived after sunset and our stuff was all over the place before I had a chance to photograph everything. The room was one of the cutest and comfiest I’ve ever stayed in thanks to some thoughtful amenities and fun artwork. In addition to fluffy robes, artisan teas, a full-size umbrella, and a Nespresso machine, you can watch The Sound of Music any time and as many times as you want! They have an on-demand channel dedicated to it in both English and German languages.
The much-warmer-than-usual weather pattern continued (an alternate title for this post might have been “Sweaty in Salzburg”) so the only downside to our hotel, common to many European hotels, was the lack of air-conditioning. We slept with all of the windows open every night, but unfortunately that meant we had to deal with quite a few gnats in the room. Other than that minor inconvenience, I would highly recommend Hotel Goldgasse especially for the fantastic location, right in the heart of the city.
On Day One, we strolled around Old Town and its various streets including the famous Getreidegasse, enjoying the shops and people-watching. Always ones to be interested in the local spirits, we popped into the Sporer Likör- & Punschmanufaktur for a fun schnapps tasting – we really liked the pear and the apricot.
And of course we poked around Residenzplatz and Mozartplatz. We listened to the chimes of the glockenspiel, and we found Mozart’s birthplace. We listened to a couple of outdoor music performances during our visit and I have to tell you, being serenaded by violin while strolling through Salzburg felt pretty magical.
We dedicated the afternoon to one of the city’s must-dos that I, too, recommend: taking the funicular up to Hohensalzburg fortress. It’s one of the largest castles in Europe, so plan to spend a good portion of the day there if you want to explore all of the nooks, crannies, and exhibits. The fortress provides a beautiful view of the city and river below, and as a bonus there is a little marionette museum tucked in one of the passageways. Don’t miss it! I found it delightfully creepy.
Compared to so many others who visit Salzburg, I probably fall into the “casual fan” category when it comes to The Sound of Music. I do really like the movie, but before this trip I think I had only seen it maybe twice (only once all the way through). Thanks to our amazing hotel with an on-demand channel dedicated to the film, we watched it on our second night in Salzburg for inspiration. I had already planned on visiting some of the major filming locations, but it was fun to see some of the other parts of town in which we had explored that day.
After spending one day in Altstadt, or Old Town, we spent the next day crossing over the Salzach river to explore that side of the city including spending time in the famous Mirabell Gardens. And by “spending time in the gardens” I mean I sang all the songs in every section of the park while Chris patiently waited for me to get it out of my system.
With all of the history, culture, and art that Salzburg has to offer, I have to confess that our favorite part was actually the cafe life which, if you think about it, is history, culture, and an art form combined, so maybe I don’t have to feel guilty after all! We loved sitting in the outdoor cafes with drinks and decadent sweets, and simply enjoying the weather and the people-watching. The cake shown below is a Mozartkugel cake, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. I have dreamy little heart-eyes just thinking about it.
And just like that, the sun set on our time in Salzburg and in Austria. The next day we picked up a rental car and hit the road for Germany – those posts are up next!