Very close to Germany, you have this quaint town called Salzburg – shot to fame in America as the setting of the movie “The Sound of Music” (the movie which some locals haven’t even seen yet) Throughout this city, you will find everything Mozart: from rubber ducks, to chocolates with his face, every souvenir you could think of bears his face or even his name. Mozart was a resident of Salzburg, born and raised, and became such a prodigy. You can tour his birthplace and also where he lived in the latter part of his life in the city (coincidentally, his birthplace is in the old town, while the newer dwellings are in the new town)
Getting In:You can opt to arrive by train from Bavaria (Salzburg is after all, covered with the German Bavarian train pass), and arrive near the town center. There is also an airport a few minutes away from the city (you’ll see signs for it on the Autobahn if you drove from Germany).
Once you get in the city, the center is relatively compact and easy to walk around in. The city is divided in two by the Salzach River, on one side is the Old town, distinguished by the Fortress towering above it, and on the other side is the New Town.
What to See/Do:
1. Salzburg Fortress – you can actually climb up the hill that leads to the big fortress in three ways:
- Take the Monchsberg Elevator – Located inside the Museum of Modern Art, this elevator gets you up the top of Monchsberg (listed as a mountain), and gives you great views of the city. From the top of the elevator, you can hike to get to the Fortress. Expect fees to take the elevator, cheaper to get a one way up then hike your way down.
- Take the Festungsbahn – a funicular that takes you from the bottom to the fortress itself. The ticket to the funicular covers the entrance to the fortress. Cheaper if you opt to do a one-way ride than a round trip.
- Walk – The option my travel buddies & I took (because we are very economical). It is quite a steep 20-30 minute walk but worth the views (and you save a few Euros by choosing to walk up and down)
2. Schloss Mirabell – A palace located in New Town. Would say skip going inside, but go see the gardens – entrance is free and is beautiful. There is also a souvenir kiosk just outside, which has the most competitive rates in town. Drop by if you can.
3. Salzburg Cathedral – Free to enter (but donations are appreciated), this massive cathedral has a great interior and exterior. Check out the crypt, where former archbishops are buried, and also a creepy interactive room which plays with lights & the shadows to make a scary effect.
4. Getreidegrasse– Pedestrian-only shopping street that’s known for it’s old fashioned facade. In the older time periods, the wrought iron signs hanging on top of the store shows the store’s main ware (ie clothes, umbrellas, shoes). And yes, even McDonald’s is required to keep its facade and it has its own wrought iron sign too!