A couple of months ago my housemate and I decided to go away for her birthday. We headed onto SkyScanner to search for cheap flights from the UK and the place within our budget that interested us the most was Salzburg, Austria. We were looking for a relaxing break, away from the crowds, with pretty scenery. We definitely found it in Salzburg!!
Now, going in October meant that it wasn’t the warmest place we could have picked but we were lucky to experience zero rain when we were there. We even had some sun, very different from the UK.
Nestled in the foothills of the Alps, Salzburg is probably most famous for the connection to The Sound Of Music, and this is evident everywhere. Unfortunately neither Eleanor or I have ever watched the film, however if you are a fan there are multiple tours you can do to feel like a Von Trapp.
This blog post will instead focus on all the other lovely things to do in Salzburg…
Where to Stay
We arrived from London Luton on a 7.25am flight, arriving in Salzburg at 10.20am. After a short bus ride from the airport to YoHo Hostel in the city centre (about 20 minutes on the number 2 bus) we checked in, dumped our bags and heading out for a walk.
YoHo Hostel was really conveniently located, a 5 minute walk to Mirabell Palace and 15 minutes to Mozart’s Birthplace. The hostel has a mix of private rooms and 4,6 & 8 bed dorms. You can book an all female room too. We stayed in a 6 bed, all female room for the duration of our trip and for £15 per person per night, it was exactly what we needed. Unfortunately the thing with dorms is that you can’t choose your roommates! 2 of the ladies we shared with were lovely, however we also encountered two women that were SO INCREDIBLY NOISY! The first night, they arrived at 9.30pm (which is fine) but then left the room for around 2 hours, returning to then have to make their beds (you are given fresh sheets etc) unpack their cases and generally settle down. They had little regard for the other people in the dorm room and must have spent over an hour putting their cases into and out of their lockers with a loud bang maybe 15-20 times. They turned all the lights on even though everyone else had settled down to sleep (there is a light by each bed so that you don’t disturb other travellers) and were generally rude and loud. Anyway… they allow luggage storage before check in and after check out, they have bike hire, and they also have a bar!
Top 10 things to do in Salzburg:
If The Sound of Music is your bag, you can join one of the many tours of the city to specifically see all the sites relating to the movie. However, as I said earlier, Eleanor and I have no understanding of the film locations as we hadn’t seen the film and so chose to explore on foot instead.
1) Take a walk along the Salzach. Cross the Makartsteg bridge and take a glance at the love locks. I love a love lock bridge. I know it isn’t ideal with the extra weight of the padlocks but I love seeing couples in love attaching one to the railings. I do wonder how many of the couples are still together though!
Along the river there is a little cafe called Cafe am Kai. We stopped here for a breakfast of hot dog and bread roll and a tea. It is a really pretty cafe with outside seating to enjoy the sunshine and enjoy the view of Salzburg old town. They also sell alcohol and I am sure a beer here would go down very well! 4 min walk from Mozarts Birthplace…
2) Visit Mozart’s Birthplace. You can tour through the house on the 1hr tour, covering three storeys, and learn more about Mozart’s life. Warning, it may be hard to get a photo of the outside of the building, it was constantly crowded when we were in Salzburg. 4 min from the lock bridge & 10 min walk from Mirabellplatz
3) Visit the churches! There are so many places of worship in Salzburg. We loved St Peters Abbey, Cemetery & catacombs. The church is stunning but what interested me more were the amazing gravestones. 6 min walk from Mozart’s birthplace.
We also loved Salzburg Cathedral. The interior is stunning and it is incredibly distinctive! It has an incredible dome and two towers and is the cities most sacred building. Each day we walked past there was a group of singers singing popular songs and raising money. Definitely stand for a few moments and listen.
4) Stroll up and down the tiny side streets off the main streets in the centre. You never know what delights you may find. We stumbled upon a lovely little cafe (I forgot to take photos like an idiot). The main shopping street is Getreidegasse and you can buy souvenirs. Same street at Mozart’s birthplace
5) Buy some Austrian salt from one of the salt shops. We visited Salzburg Salz on Wiener Philharmonikergasse 3 to purchase some. A 3 minute walk from Getreidegasse
6) Visit the market and buy a picnic! The amazing Grünmarkt in University Square had lots of yummy treats for a picnic. We purchased gingerbread, strudel, pretzel’s, deliciously juicy tomatoes, olive bread and sandwiches to enjoy.
We then took this on a stroll to Hohensalzburg Fortress. The market is 100m from Philharmonikergasse
7) Visit Hohensalzburg Fortress. You can access the Fortress via a funicular and was about €7 one way. We only used it on the way up. The Fortress is understandably huge and it is incredibly well preserved. The rooms are very ostentatious and I can’t believe how pristine they have been kept. There is a puppet museum within the grounds too. It is amazing to see how puppets changed with the times and some of them are quite creepy! There are some incredible views over Salzburg from the Fortress, although it was very misty when we were up there! The Fortress is a 10 minute walk from the market
8) Visit the Christmas & Easter store on Judengasse 10. This shop does exactly what it says on the tin. It sells decorations purely for these two holidays. Thousands of egg shells have been decorated with Easter scenes and snow. You should definitely buy one, but be careful taking them back home! This is a 3 minute walk from the market
9) Hike up Kapuzinerberg hill. This 25 minute walk up a steep hill in Salzburg is well worth it. The Bust of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is lovely to look at, created by the Austrian sculptor Edmund von Hellmer. The lush green parkland combined with the autumnal leaves on the ground made for a relaxing, if a little breathless, walk. The fact you get a lovely view of Hohensalzburg Fortress just before the top makes for a worthy climb. You also get lovely views across the whole of Salzburg and the Alps from the top. Then hike down the other way for stunning views across the city.
10) Wander around Mirabell Palace and Gardens. I have no doubt this will be a lot prettier in the height of summer but it is still a nice walk.
The Pegasus Fountain is really beautiful.
Stick your head in the The Marble Hall if you can, it is the venue for the SchlossKonzerteMirabell concerts and the staircase leading up to it is decorated with numerous cherubs.
Also the Dwarf Garden contains 17 marble statues of… you guessed it… Dwarfs. They are incredibly cute.
One last thing:
11) Visit the Haus Der Natur if you have time. It has an Aquarium and reptile zoo, a science centre, a journey into the human body and SO much more. For €8.50 you can have hours of fun here. There are interactive areas and the sheer amount of beautiful fish is well worth the entrance fee. It is located on Museumspl, a 4 minute walk from the love lock bridge and 10 minutes from Mirabellplatz.
I absolutely loved Salzurg for a weekend break. There is so much more to do than just these 11 things, including a visit to the salt mines but they were too far away for us to be able to do them on this short trip. Everything is pretty centrally located too which makes it super easy to get around on foot. Very little need for public transport.
Have you been to Salzburg? Let me know what you thought of it.