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