Salzburg. The Sound of Music and the sound of man-sized pretzels being devoured for breakfast. Salzburg was a city that I was perhaps most familiar with before arriving there; one of the most famous films and one of the most famous Austrian sports teams both residing in this magnificent city founded on salt. However, as we checked in fairly late to Hotel am Mirabellplatz, we would need to wait for the morning to explore this new destination with the Austrian National Tourist Office.
After a more-than-generous breakfast, we headed downstairs to meet our local tour guide for the guided tour of the city. It was scheduled for two hours and, despite the forecast of rain, the skies were abundant with sunshine. Sabine, a resident of Salzburg for a number of years, walked us to our first stop on the tour; the famous steps of the Mirabell Palace and Gardens that were just across the road from the hotel. Dodging tourists and varying renditions of the Sound of Music soundtrack, we got our shots before heading into the beautiful and quaint Aldstadt; a stone’s throw across the River Salzach. Each street was incredibly picturesque, but it was the wrought-iron shop signs that were the standout attraction; never have Zara and McDonalds looked so beautiful from the outside.
After perusing the high street shops, Sabine then led us into the more historic part of the city and through the monastic district and the catacombs that rose high into the surrounding cliffs. An eerie mixture of life and death, all brought to life by Sabine’s charisma and knowledge, it was the perfect end to the tour and completed a quick lap of the city. The two hours had flown by and, after waving bye to Sabine, we headed to Café Tomaselli in the main square for a pick-me-up of tea and Strudel.
The afternoon was spent ascending the various cliffs that surround the city; most notably lunch in the Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA. This comes highly recommended as there is no better place to grab a bite to eat and watch the world go by below you. However, if you want a slightly quieter lookout, the adjacent hotel is the perfect place to stop and well worth a ten-minute walk. After a couple of Hugo cocktails (what else?), we then headed over to the other popular lookout point at Fortress Hohensalzburg to watch the sunset. There is also plenty to do here, but I would suggest taking the funicular to the top and walking back down; just be sure to stop on the way and admire the different views from each level.
Completely exhausted from a very busy day in the city, we finished the evening with a short stroll into the city streets to grab a bite to eat. There was still so much to do and see that a good night’s sleep was in order. The lights were off by 10pm and the alarms set for 6.45am.
The next day, we headed out early for more photo opportunities. Having scouted the city the day before, we knew exactly where to head for those all important shots. While some areas of the Aldstadt were more obvious than others, we found the most idyllic exterior on a university building up above the city; the perfect shade of pink to match my outfit for that day. With the clock nearing our departure time from Salzburg Train Station, we had two more important stops to make: lunch in the Mirabell Palace Gardens and a trip to the nearby farmer’s market or “Schranne”. A quick tip; if you visit the market hungry, then you will want to devour everything in sight.
Before we knew it, our 48 hours in Salzburg were over and, while we uncovered so many incredible parts of the city, it left us with so much more to see. As we boarded the 4.10pm train to Innsbruck, we promised ourselves that a trip back during the Christmas Market season was a necessity. However, for now at least, it was time to say goodbye and once again traverse the Alps with OEBB to get to our final destination: the Olympic city of Innsbruck.