The city of Salzburg in Austria was one of those places I had heard of but knew very little about. I didn’t really have much interest in visiting before heading there for work but from the very first first hour of being in the country I knew that Austria would be one of my favourite places. It caught me by surprise which, let’s face it, is always a great position to be in when travelling!
I recently filmed a City Break Series in Austria and though I had always pondered about visiting the stunning scenery of Austria I had never really taken too much time to look into the beauty of the individual cities and towns of the country. The discovery of the pretty pastel town of Salzburg was only of the best travel surprises I’ve had in years, it’s a city that is full of unique history and cultural charm. As the birthplace of Mozart and the backdrop for the ultimate feel good movie The Sound of Music, Salzburg has a lot to offer for wandering tourists. It’s a small city that can discovered almost entirely on foot and situated in a small valley the heights of the hills and the streets of the old town below make what was once a small settlement by the river, a city that attracts thousands of tourists every month.
When filming on location I anchored a show detailing the best things to see and do when in Salzburg for a single day and whilst I can’t wait for you to see it on screens I wanted to take the opportunity to showcase the city’s best bits in case a late summer escape is on the cards 😉
I landed in Salzburg the day before I started filming and I immediately took to the streets in the late afternoon to catch the golden hours of it’s beauty. It took me no time at all to fall in love. With the beautiful backdrop of this rather fabulous European sunshine we’ve all be enjoying lately, the old town and surrounding area was alive with colour and the glow from the sun just added to the whimsical intrigue of the place.
What to see and do
First things first when visiting Salzburg, a simple wander around the old town to catch your bearings and basque in the beauty of the cobbled streets and pretty architecture, grab a gelato and wind your way through the narrow postcard worthy alleys. If, however, you are travelling in the height of summer it’s a great Idea to utilise the morning breeze and light crowds to walk up to Hohensalzburg Fortress, the largest fort in Europe that is not in ruins and the best location for stunning views of the city below. Every single corner of the landmark offers an amazing insight, you can see the entire city and the mountains that stretch for miles surrounding it.
There’s a couple of restaurants up top so it is a beautiful place to watch the sunset and grab a bite to eat in the evening but for your privacy and a breathtaking way to start your day it’s best visited first thing in the morning.
I personally chose to walk up from the old town (it’s really well signposted) but it really is quite the strenuous walk so not for the faint hearted or unfit to tackle, there is the option to ride the funicular if you aren’t wanting to trek up but I’d highly recommend the walk if you have it in you! You’ll get both the gorgeous views and the calorie burn to make up for all the obligatory strudel you’ll be enjoying later on in the day 😉
Still in the old town after visiting the fortress you’ll come across the Birthplace of Mozart and this for me, is a must-see when visiting the city. I learned so much about the composer and his family by visiting his place of birth, the history of his music and his lifetime tale is all displayed and narrated as you walk through the town house’s 5th storey and it’s an amazing way to gain perspective over the old town itself.
It’s then time to cross over the river, passing the famous chain bridge which, like many other significant European cities is flooded with padlocks of love that represent the couples relationships who added them to it. The view of both sides of the city is really pretty from this bridge, especially during the few hours prior to sundown.
Before you watch the glow over the river however, a trip to Salzburg wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Mirabell Palace. The building itself and the gardens are the image that’ll no doubt come up as soon as you google the city, just walking through the charmingly curated landscape and seeing the magnificent architecture of the building is worth the stop by.
After taking in the beauty of the gardens my advice would be to head indoors and take a look in awe at the famous marble hall. The venue which is now used for weddings and concerts is a true wow factor focal point for the building, it’s not only gorgeous but beautifully unique with all materials in the hall being sourced from the country, the marble, the gold even the crystal for the chandeliers.
For fine dining with a view and a cocktail list to drool over then head to the rooftop restaurant and bar at Imlauer Hotel Pitter
After or before your dinner head to the absolute best place in town for watching the sunset, ask your taxi to take you to the Historic Centre of The City of Salzburg. Right in front of the modern building is the most magnificent view for watching the sky fill with colour and it’s so worth the journey up!
For those of you visiting on a Thursday you’ll have the luxury of the being able to visit the farmers market, Salzburg Schranne. Here is not only a place to get the yummiest, freshest food in town it’s also a place full of colour and Austrian life! It’s a real treat if you fancy doing something a bit different and make sure to swing by the cheese stands for an obligatory sample if nothing else! The flower stands are also so remarkable, some of the prettiest arrangements I’ve ever seen!
That’s about all you can cram into 24 hours but for those of you who have a little bit more time in town and a sense of adventure, hire a car and drive around two hours out of the city to Krimml Waterfalls. Whether you hike up to the top, drive up or just appreciate the lower levels of the three stage waterfalls they aren’t to be missed if you love the outdoors.
We drove up and walked down and it was amazing, the weather was crappy during our visit but the views were still stunning and it felt great to be so deep into the Austrian countryside just a few hours outside of the idyllic city of Salzburg.