The thing that struck me about Salzburg upon arriving in Salzburg, is that it doesn’t revolve around The Sound of Music. No VonTrapp children greeted us with a song, no restaurants were playing the soundtrack for background music, no one offered to show me the way to a grassy green hilltop where I could twirl with arms spread wide while singing to my heart’s content. Our friendly Airbnb hostess gave us a dozen city recommendations, none of which were Sound of Music related. They honestly appeared to be more excited about Mozart. No offense, Mozart, but to me, Salzburg is the Sound of Music.
Despite my utter dismay, Salzburg is a lovely little city. Perfect for a one-day trip if all you have is a day, and easily explored on foot.
Begin your day by spending the morning learning about the history of Salzburg at Fortress Hohensalzburg. The fortress towers over the city. You can take a funicular up from near the cathedral in old town. Or if you’re coming from the opposite direction, there is a nice walking path that will make your legs burn on the climb, but takes you through the old-fortified walls. There is much to offer once you’re inside. Cannons perched in windows where you can play real-life knight in shining armor. Actual knight’s shining armor in the museums. A knight’s restaurant in the castle tavern that comes with a medieval dinner and show. A marionette museum. Plus, a 360 view of the city below, and Alps beyond from the top of one tower. To name a few.
Take the funicular down and spend the early afternoon exploring the alleys and shops in Old Town. Grab lunch there. And then, depending on your travel companions’ preferences, head over to the Toy Museum Salzburg, or Mozart’s Birth House and museum. Both of which come highly recommended. The Toy Museum has hands-on play exhibits. I can’t say the same for Mozart’s.
After this, cross over the Salzach river on the Marko Feingold Steg pedestrian bridge to Mozart’s Residence, also a museum. You must at least stop by. Nearby is Mirabelle Palace. The grounds are lovely, and at one end are the steps on which Maria and the children hopped up and down as real-live music notes singing Do-Re-Me.
It is probably approaching a kid-friendly dinnertime/happy hour by now. Walk back across the river and head up the hill to Augustiner Brau. When you walk in the door, grab a stein in the size of your choosing off the wall, bring it over to one of the fountains for a rinse, and then to the beer line to have it filled. Head in to one of the enormous beer halls and find a place to sit. There are food stalls, set up market style in the hallways. Everyone can find something to their liking to eat. You earned it today!
If you, like me, cannot fathom going to Salzburg and missing out on all things Sound of Music, check out the Sound of Music bicycle tour. I haven’t done it, so you’ll have to let me know what you think! It is high on my to-do list. But we visited on a freezing weekend in February with very small children and a very, very small infant. I shall return.
I hope you’ve enjoyed your walking tour on one day in Salzburg. This is a completely doable day trip. The total distance is approximately 3.4km (that’s 2.1 miles). Plus, any walking you do to-from your accommodations, where you parked, or the train station. With the exception of the walk up to the fortress, it is flat and stroller friendly. You’ll be amazed by how much you will see!
Salzburg is a great launch pad to use to explore more of beautiful Austria, and the Bavarian Alps. Hallstatt and the Salzkammergut region would make an excellent next stop on your adventure.
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See ya out there!