Never have I fallen in love with a city faster than I did with Salzburg. Even though it rained, even though we were only there for 36-hours, my love for this city grew exponentially with each corner turned. I already loved Salzburg through the scenes of the Sound of Music, which I’ve seen 18-million times, but the people, the food, the streets: just lovely.
Here’s how to spend 36 hours in Salzburg, even if you don’t like Sound of Music.
Have hot chocolate at Mozart’s local watering hole
Café Tomaselli has been around since 1700, serving coffee and pastries. Mozart frequented this spot and his favourite libation? Hot chocolate! This drink is basically melted Austrian chocolate and the best I’ve ever had. Don’t even get me started on the lady with the dessert tray just flouncing around — want a tart? Just wave!
Take a Sound of Music Tour
I’m serious. Even if you aren’t a die-hard fan, there’s a tour for you. We went with Salzburg Sightseeing Tours, who offered a hop-on-hop-off option with different audio guides: one channel for Sound of Music aficionados, the other for Salzburg’s history (€18 a person for the day). The tour was so good, we did it twice, a nice perk of the hop-on-hop-off option — we used it all day long as transport to the outlying areas. No apologies for the look of delirium on my face in the following photos.
Stand in awe of the Salzburg Cathedral
Of all the churches I’ve visited in Europe, this was one of the most striking because of the absence of colour. The white carvings of the 17th century Baroque church looked almost fluffy. There’s also an ever-changing art collection adorning the stark walls.
You can walk everywhere in this small city. There are windy cobblestone pathways and side streets to explore, along with the gorgeous Residenzplatz where there is bound to be live music playing. While we were there, Mozart rubber duckies were all the rage, and you’re bound to come upon a shop selling Mozartkugel, little chocolate balls filled with marzipan. And seriously, how cute is the signage? Nicest McDonald’s sign in the world.
Visit Hohensalzburg Castle
This 11th-century castle looks out over Salzburg in the most majestic way, and there’s so much to see inside its museum. The views from the top are just stunning. Make sure you take the funicular at least one way up or down — it’s terrifyingly fun!
See Mozart’s birthplace
Mozart’s family home and birthplace are now a museum in the centre of the old city. If you want to wait in the lineup, admission to the museum is €10 for adults. We opted to ogle from outside, which satisfied the musician on the trip.
Eat pancake soup
For the one dinner we had, we stumbled upon a place call Johanneskeller, located in the neighbourhood near the Mirabell gardens, a great area with many nice restaurants. Located in the keller (cellar) of an old building, we drank lots of local beer, and I dined on a classic Austrian dish called frittatensuppe, which translates to pancake soup and consists of beef broth with slices of thin pancake in it; it was freaking delicious.
Run through the gardens of Mirabell Palace
Built in the early 1600s, this gorgeous palace is now owned by the city of Salzburg and exploring its gardens is a must. There’s also a famous scene from you-know-what where they run down this covered archway during Do-Re-Mi, so obviously I had to do that.
Where we stayed
We spent our one night at Hotel Jedermann, a simple, clean hotel located partways between the train station and Residenzplatz. The price of hotels were $30-$100 cheaper in this area than those in the old city, but still convenient.
Average rate for a room is around €80 a night, but breakfast is included. Plus, it’s served in a beautiful sunlit room overlooking the garden, plus there’s all-you-can-drink mimosas, and a glorious selection of breakfast delights!