Austria is home to so many beautiful places you need to take your time and really savour them. Salzburg is one of those – a small, historic city packed with beautiful architecture, wondrous gardens and just a little touch of music!
The Austrians do coffee and cake better than anyone and what better way to start the day than with a lie-in (you’re on holiday, I said not to rush) with a late breakfast/early elevenses to give you that spark.
Head to Mirabell Palace. Originally built as a separate household for a naughty Archbishop and his lover, it was rebuilt in the Jacobean Baroque style in the 1700s. Its gardens are small but perfectly formed and no doubt recognisable by any fan of The Sound of Music film. Don’t forget to head for the dwarf garden. A collection of overgrown gnomes, they are rather fascinating.
Mozart’s House at no. 9 Getreidegasse is where Mozart was born. Tour the museum through original rooms and see original certificates, letters and memorabilia that document Mozart’s life in Salzburg. A collection of historical instruments includes Mozart’s own violin and clavichord.
Now you’re on Getreidegasse you really should amble the length of the street, admiring the iron signage donating the wares the shops sell. At the far end, towards Mozartplatz, where Getreidegasse meets Judengasse you’ll find the Christmas Store, which celebrates the festive season every day of the year.
Now’s the time to refuel. Traditional Austrian food is hearty but with the embracing of the Slow Food movement, you’ll also find artistic, seasonal dishes full of flavour. There are plenty of restaurants in the Aldstadt (Old Town) to suit all tastes.
Suitably energised, you can choose whether to ride the funicular up to Hohensalzburg Fortress or walk the hill (takes about 30 minutes). It is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Europe, with foundations dating back to the 11th century. The views are wonderful of the city rooftops and a great Instagram moment. Tour the museum within the castle, including the Golden Hall, the Royal Apartments and the Golden Chamber.
With a number of Salzburg’s sites under your belt, it’s time to relax with a happy hour or sunset drink on the rooftop bar at the stylish Hotel Stein. It has wonderful views over the Salzach River. You can linger longer and enjoy their evening menu if you wish. Alternatively, head to Meet2eat Salzburg for some fantastic meat dishes (there are vegetarian options available).
If you still have room, enjoy some late night beers in one of the city’s hip and stylish beer rooms, such as Alchemiste Belge and Bricks Music Bar.
No lie-in today, rise and breakfast early so you can enjoy the Aldstadt before the day trippers descend. The Old Town is rather quaint and named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the late 1990s. The pastel-painted baroque architecture is particularly charming.
The majority of the historical and cultural attractions in the Aldstadt centre themselves around plazas south of Getreidegasse. All of the plazas have public art and central fountains which are worth a closer look.
You deserve another taste of Austria’s coffee culture with a cup or three accompanied by delicious cake or the local sweet Mozartkugel. Made with chocolate, nut and marzipan it’s a festive treat throughout Germany and Austria but in Salzburg you can enjoy it all year round. For a traditional highbrow experience, head to Cafe Tomaselli. For a hipster experience, head to 220 Grad its in-house roastery and expert baristas.
It’s churches and cemeteries this afternoon, not only religious experiences but great social records and fantastic architecture.
Admire Salzburg Cathedral’s beautiful painted dome and the intricate details of St. Peter’s Abbey (another The Sound of Music famous location). One of Salzburg’s oldest churches is the Franciscan Church whose interior is gorgeous with a Gothic choir vault and dramatic high altar.
On the other side of the river is Saint Sebastian Church and Cemetery, and it is the latter which holds the ‘treasures’. Designed in the style of an Italian campo santo between 1595 and 1600, it is the resting place of Salzburg’s most prominent families as well as famous personalities. These include Mozart’s father, Leopold, and wife Constanze. As you enter the cemetery, to the right is the tomb of the famous physician Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, better known as “Paracelsus”.
Stroll along the river before ascending the Mönchsberg mountain to the Museum der Moderne. Salzburg’s modern art museum is built into a 19th century water tower and offers an extensive collection of modern art from regional and global artists.
Watch the sunset from the rooftop before heading down to M32 for Mediterranean Austrian fusion cuisine, a stylish way to end your 48 hours in Salzburg.