Salzburg Top 5

Salzburg has many “must-see” sights, and most tourists will not spend enough time to see all of them!  As such, here are my “must see” sites in Salzburg!

1.  The Festung Hohensalzburg (Fortress).  The Fortress is number one on my Salzburg list.  The Fortress is really old (dating back to 1077 A.D.), full of history, and it completely takes over the town.  We went to the Fortress in the early afternoon by taking the finicular to the top.  The top has gorgeous views of the town and surrounding mountains.  After taking many, many pictures, we walked through the Fortress, which includes the actual Fortress and a few museums.  At the end of our tour, we sat down on the edge of the Fortress at one of the restaurants (food was surprisingly good) for a beer and a snack.  Perfect views!

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2.  Sitting At A Cafe And Eating Something Decadent.  Salzburg is a decadent city.  Mozart, history, swanky shops, beautiful scenery.  That’s Salzburg.  Thus, when in Salzburg, even if you are on a tight budget, you must go into one of the many cafes, sit outside and have a decadent treat while watching the city go by.  We went to two: Cafe Sacher and Café Tomaselli.  Café Tomaselli edges out Cafe Sacher because it is a bit more central and has outdoor seating.  We stopped in on a Sunday morning and quickly grabbed a seat outside at its “annex” location – basically more outdoor seating directly across from the original.  We ordered coffees loaded with chocolate and whipped cream and sides of local liqueur.  We also ordered large, beautiful, fancy ice creams!  YUM!  This is a great way to pass time.  Plus, Café Tomaselli is one of the main squares, which makes for great people watching!

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3.  Something Mozarty.  Mozart was born in Salzburg.  Mozart was baptized in Salzburg.  Mozart lived in Salzburg and played in Salzburg.  Mozart is Salzburg’s most famous citizen, if you don’t count the Sound of Music characters (who are equally important in many minds).  If you come to Salzburg, you cannot escape its Mozartness, and I recommend embracing it and doing something, anything, Mozart related.  You can visit his birthplace, where he lived, places he played, see a concert, take a tour, see people dressed as Mozart – the possibilities are endless!  While I generally steer clear of touristy shows and the like, I decided that we should see a Mozart concert while in Salzburg.  Upon researching such concerts, there are several options.  We opted for the Mozart dinner and concert at St. Peter’s Stiftskeller, aka the supposed oldest restaurant in the world.  The restaurant itself was very beautiful.  We were quickly seated and ordered drinks.  Then the performance started, which consisted of about 7 people playing instruments and signing.  The performers were good – much better than expected.  The meal was served in between sets and consisted of a soup (really good), chicken (good but pretty basic) and a fun dessert complete with Mozart’s silouette in cinnamon.  Yes, a shioulette in cinnamon.  Brilliant.

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4.  Salzburg Dom (the Cathedral).  I have been to a lot of European cathedrals, and I loved this one.  It was beautiful and had a lot of history.  Plus, it is still used regularly by regular people.  You can walk right into the cathedral if a service is not taking place.  Entrance is free, but the cathedral suggests a donation of €1, which you can (and should) leave in the box upon exiting.  The interior of the cathedral is beautiful and well worth a stop.  You are free to take pictures without a flash…and here are mine, including a selfie with Craig!

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5.  Strolling Getreidegasse.  Getreidegasse is a pedestrian-only shopping street abounding with international chain stores, restaurants and tourist shops selling Mozart balls and countless other Mozart paraphernalia.  In addition, to shopping, Getreidegasse is quite picturesque, as all of the stores, including the McDonalds, have metal signs displaying a picture of their wares, harking back to the time when commoners were illerate.  I picked up a few Salzburg tourist goods and hit a few of my favorite international chains (Mango and Zara, always better in Europe!).  In addition to being picturesque, Getreidegasse goes right through the Aldstat.  Strolling the street allows you to walk through town, people watch, shop, grab a snack, etc.  My favorite stops, aside from shopping, were Sporer and Nutella ice cream!

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While this is  top five list, I feel obligated to include the Mirabell Gardens since they are very much associated with Salzburg.

6.  The Mirabell Palace Gardens.  The Gardens are are last on my list, and frankly were underwhelming.  I include these on my list, as they are what initially comes to mind when I think of Salzburg, and they satisfy the Sound of Music box.  We visited these around 11:00 a.m. on our first day, which was also a Saturday.  The Gardens are just over the bridge from the Aldstat and were very easy to reach by walking.  At 11:00 a.m., the gardens were very crowded and it was difficult to get a good picture of the gardens.  There were many tour groups and a fair amount of people taking professional wedding pictures.  Despite the crowd, we made our way through the gardens, saw the Pegasus fountain, the vine tunnel and the gnome park.  We only spent about 30 minutes here due to the crowds.  If I were going back, I would try to get to the Gardens earlier – I think they open to the public pretty early.  The Gardens were totally free.

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There you are – my top five in Salzburg.  Enjoy!

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Cafe Sacher

We stopped for coffee, breakfast and dessert at the famous Cafe Sacher after visiting the Mirabell Palace Gardens. The cafe is very close to the Gardens and Mozart’s birthplace and makes for a great break before or after.

We walked right in and took a seat. Despite its fancy exterior, you can wear whatever you want to the cafe. Plenty of tourists stroll in wearing something terrible. To my surprise, Cafe Sacher has a full menu (breakfast, lunch, dinner, cocktails).

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We opted for breakfast, coffee and dessert!  Dan definitely ordered best!  He choose eggs with truffled ham.  SO DELICIOUS!!!!  I opted for the vegetarian baguette, which was just mediocre.  I guess that is what I get for ordering vegetarian.  The coffee was great – I had the cappuccino with a side of their liqueur.  After, we all had the famous Sacher Torte!  The cake was so decadent, rich chocolate with an apricot jam in the middle, topped with whipped cream and a Sacher chocolate!

The cake was quite big for the price and was easily split between two people.

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Cafe Sacher

Hotel Sacher Salzburg

Schwarzstraße 5-7

A-5020 Salzburg

Tel.: +43 (0) 662 889 770

The First Stop On EuroTrip2014 – A Weekend In Heidelberg, Germany

In September, Dan and I embarked on Eurotrip2014 – an eleven day trip to Hiedelberg, Germany, Munich, Germany (our biennial Oktoberfest trip!), Hallstatt, Austria and Salzburg, Austria with his brother, Craig, and our friend, Pryor.  We hosteled it up and traveled by train – just like college…kind of.  So much fun!!

Our first stop was Heidelberg, Germany for two days and two nights.  Heidelberg is a town on the River Neckar in South-West Germany, about an hour from Frankfurt and three hours from Munch.  It is in the Baden-Wurttemberg state, has a large university and is right in German wine country!  Because so many people have asked, I will go ahead and tell you that I choose to weekend in Heidelberg first due to its proximity to the Frankfurt airport and Munich, and then due to the castle and generally hearing that the town made for a nice stop.  The main focus of Eurotrip2014 was obviously Oktoberfest, but I wanted to see another town in Germany, as well, and Heidelberg fit the bill!  Mark Twain’s review didn’t hurt either!

After settling in and checking into our sweet hostel, Lotte – The Backpackers (it was seriously an awesome place to stay and so inexpensive), we went straight to Heidelberg Castle – the one must-see attraction in Heidelberg.  The Castle has gorgeous views of the city.  We took the guided English tour, which allowed us to see the Castle’s interior and gave us the history of the castle.

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After touring the interior and the outdoor grounds, we stopped for a wine tasting at the Great Tun, aka the largest wine vat in the world, which just happens to be in Heidelberg Castle.  Viewing the Great Tun is included with your castle ticket and a wine bar has been set up next to the Great Tun offering wine flights at a great price.  Three heavy pours of local wine for €7!

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After our wine, we made our way down from the Castle and walked across the Alt Brücke to the Philosopher’s Walk to try to catch the Castle at sunset.  As promised, the Philosopher’s Walk had some great views, although I am not sure the views are any better at sunset.

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For dinner on our first night, we dined at Dorfschänke, which was very close to the end of the Philosopher’s Walk (or beginning) in the New Town.  This was our first real meal of the trip, and it was so delicious!!  Their speciality is Flamkuchen, a local pizza-type dish in sweet and savory.  We tried both!  YUM!

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We got really lucky the next day – it was scheduled to rain, but it turned out to be a perfect day – sunny and in the seventies!  Heidelberg is such a gorgeous town.  Beautiful sceneray, beautiful flowers everywhere.  We took some great pictures while strolling through the town!

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We started the day at Cafe Gundel for coffee and breakfast (well, cake).

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After breakfast, we toured the the Church of the Holy Spirit, which, aside from the Castle is the centerpiece of the town.  There is a little market near the church on saturdays, but we slept through it… We went stright up the Church’s bell tower to take in the town views from the top.  The walk to the bell tower was steep and very narrow, but the views were lovely.  Totally worth the €3!  We also checked out the inside of the Church, which dates to the 1400s and is loaded with history and rotating art displays.

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After touring the Church of the Holy Spirit, we spent the rest of the day shopping in the Altstadt.  Some of our favorite finds were: Schneeballin (a round dessert from a few towns over), local beers at Brauhaus Vetter and Kulturbrauerei and the gummy bear stores!

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German Beers!

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Schneeballen!  I had the champagne one!

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Gummy window displays!  A cake, soccer  game and Oktoberfest-themed gummies!

We also visited the Heidelberg Monkey near the Alte Brücke.  Touching it is supposed to bring good luck or something like that…It just seemed like a dirty monkey to me.  We all took pictures, but its really just a tourist trap.

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We ended the day by making a withdrawal from the Schnitzelbank!  Haha- I had to say it!  The Schnitzelbank is not a bank at all, but a small restaurant/wine bar in old town.  It was delicious!

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And, finally, one last picture of the castle at night!  Until next time, Heidelberg!!  We had such a great time!

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Cafe Gundel

Cafe Gundel is a lovely little bakery in Heidelberg, very close to the stairs/funicular to the castle.  The first thing you will notice its its dreamy window display!  So pretty!  I had to stop in!742 To order at Cafe Gundel, you simply walk in and order from the small bakery counter.  Everyone spoke perfect English.  Cafe Gundel serves breads, sandwiches, quiche, and all sorts of desserty goodness.  You can pay at the counter and take it to go, or you can sit in the adjoining, table-service dining room (inside only, outside is a different restaurant…don’t make that mistake).  If you decide to eat-in, the bakery counter will give you a small ticket that you take to a table of your choice.  A waitress will be around shortly to take your drink order, and she will bring your bakery goods with your drink. 735 733 For my visit, I ordered a cappuccino and a fabulous blueberry cake – for breakfast!  Oh, vacation!  Dan ordered the quiche, and I had to try a bite.  It was also very good (although much less exciting).

Craig ordered an interesting sweet for breakfast. He ordered a Heidelberg speciality – a chocolate square with layers of chocolate on the inside and an edible stencil of the castle on the top.  YUM! 734 736 What a great spot for a quick, inexpensive meal!

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Cafe Gundel

Augustiner Bräu – Salzburg, Austria

We went to Augustiner Bräu on our first night in Sazlburg upon the recommendation of our cab driver.  Augustiner is a large brewery just up from the Altstadt.  The route is very easily walkable and took about 15 minutes from the Altstadt.

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Augustiner serves half or full liter steins of their own brew.  To get a beer, you purchase a token from the cashier at the front, grab a stein, rinse it in the water and hand your token and stein to the man pouring the beer.  After collecting your beer, the brewery opens up into a beer hall with numerous stalls selling various types of food.  As with most beer halls, you take a seat wherever you please.  There were a lot of university students there.  Very Hogwartsesque.

We tried food from a few of the stands, but nothing really blew me away.  The stalls served inexpensive local fare, including schnitzel, fish, and pork.  However, you can also bring in our own food!  I wish I had known this, as we passed a pizza place on the way that smelled amazing…

In addition to the indoor beer hall, there is an outdoor beer garden.

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Augustiner Bräu

A-5020 Salzburg Lindhofstr. 7

T: +43-662-431246