It was only in 1994 that I had seen the legendary Rodgers and Hammerstein movie ‘The Sound of Music’. Apart from the music and the beautiful story, what was attractive about the movie was the stunning locations. Years later I again watched the movie, this time with my kid, and that is when I read about the filming locations which were in Salzburg.
Salzburg is a charming city close to the Bavarian border of Germany and is known majorly for being the filming location for ‘The Sound of Music’. And incidentally also the birthplace of the legendary Mozart. However, this beautiful place is this and much much more.
So obviously, Salzburg was on my list of places to experience in my Austria trip.
Unfortunately, I just had two days in Salzburg out of which a day was for a trip to the fairytale town of Hallstatt. Fortunately, I was able to make the most out of this one day since Salzburg is a city easily explored on foot.
Read my post on Hallstatt – A day in the fairy tale village and my post on Vienna – 3 days in Vienna -The Ultimate First Timer’s Guide
Here is my list of the best things to do in Salzburg, if you are there just for a day.
This is obviously a no brainer. And has to be the first stop if you just have a day. Known for being one of the settings of ‘The Sound of Music’, the Mirabell Palace and gardens is located strategically between the old town and the new town, very near to the Salzach river. The Palace was built by Prince Arbishop Wold Deitrich in the year 1606 for his mistress, Salome Alt.
The Palace is beautiful, built in the Baroque Style and has the stunning and expansive Mirabell Gardens. The Gardens are a delight with beautifully cut grass and a display of stunning colourful flowers. The Pegasus Fountain occupies the central place and if you want to look beyond the gardens, there is an amazing collection of sculptures. Explore the Castle Mirabell and the Engels Staircase.
|Opening hours: Castle Mirabell and Baroque Staircase-Engels Staircase: daily approx. 8-18 o’clock. |
Marble hall: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: approx. 8-16 o’clock, Tuesday, Friday: 13-16 o’clock – no visiting possibility with special events. Free admission
[Currently, because of the Covid situation, the Palace is not open. You may check before visiting.]
Cross over the Makartsteg Bridge (Love lock bridge)
We took the Makartsteg Bridge, one of the many pedestrian bridges which connect the southern old town to the northern new town. This is a very interesting bridge, also known as the ‘Lovelock’ bridge and is one of the many impressive pedestrian bridges that cross the Salzach River.
Thousands of colourful love padlocks inscribed with their initials have been attached to it by lovers. Once the locks are attached, the key is thrown by the lovers into the Salzach river to symbolise their immortal love. We spent some time on the bridge.
The views all around are gorgeous, especially those of the old city and Hohensalzburg Castle, the mountains surrounding Salzburg and the river Salzach are amazing.
Head to the old town
Head to this beautiful part of the town listed as a UNESCO World Heritage area. The streets are charming and you will see a lot of musical street performances, in a way bearing testimony to the fact that this is the birthplace of the legendary musician Mozart, speaking of which, a must visit is Mozart’s birthplace on No. 9, Getreidegasse.
Getreidegasse is home to Through-houses , named so because the front and back of the buildings let directly out onto different streets, with an arcaded passageway connecting the two, also featuring art galleries and traditional shops.
Visit the Toy Museum (and no, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a kid, you can also have fun!). It is a fun place focussing on three central themes: “Games”, “Experiences” and “Fascination” and has a unique collection of antique toys. The best part is that the different kinds of toys can be tried out and thus it is fun to spend some time here.
For history and art buffs, Museum of Natural History and Museum of Modern Art are fascinating places to spend some time in.
Take a walk till the Hohensalzburg Fortress on the Festungsberg, overlooking this beautiful Baroque town and be greeted with this view.
You can also take the Fortress Funicular, which is located in the historic district of Festungsgasse. It runs every 10 minutes and the ride lasts for just about a minute. The views of course are fabulous.
It is also worth mentioning here that every year, the city hosts around 4,000 cultural events. The Salzburg Festival is the most famous of them and is internationally renowned.
The Sound of Music tour
If you are in a walking mood, and want to follow the footsteps of the Trapp family through Salzburg, simply walk to the different film locations as they are relatively close to each other. This is your one chance to be in the shoes of the legendary Julie Andrews, the lead actress who played the character of Maria von Trapp. This way, you get to the learn more about the different landmarks and also enjoy the beautiful sights.
Else, you can take the Sound of Music Tour (4 hours) and take in the sights of Salzburg as well as the Lake District while enjoying the highlights of the movie. You can compare the various tours available here and book one which suits you.
We stayed at the Hotel IMLAUER & Bräu , Rainerstrasse 12, located right in the heart of Salzburg. The hotel is nice and cozy and near to the main sightseeing spots of Salzburg. Mirabell Palace is just a five minute walk from the hotel. We had a comfortable stay at the hotel.
There are many good hotels and B&Bs in Salzburg and you can choose one as per your preference here.
We had an amazing Chinese dinner at the Asia Kitchen located right across the road to where we stayed at Imlauer & Brau. The buffet had a great spread, the quality of food was awesome and it was just around 16 Euros. The service was friendly and efficient.
I loved the Heart of Joy Cafe , located close to the Mirabell Gardens. This is a vegetarian and vegan restaurant and inspired by Sri Chinmoy, the master of meditation. The place has very calming vibes. The service is very warm and friendly and the food is served fresh and hot. I loved the Gourmet breakfast which was outstanding. The coffee was great too.
If you want a traditional Austrian meal experience, try one of the food markets.
A must try is the creamy and heavenly sheep milk ice cream at Eisl Eis. We loved the raspberry with yoghurt flavour.
Salzburg is well connected to Vienna by rail and road. It is also easily accessible from the German city of Munich and the Swiss city of Zurich by rail.
Good to know
|Currency||Euros and carry enough for taxis. Credit cards are accepted at most of the places.|
|Language||Most of the people do converse in English though the most spoken is German.|
|Getting around||Best way to get around is on foot. There is an efficient bus service though and taxis are easily available.|
It does make sense to invest in a SALZBURG CARD which is available for 24, 48 or 72 hours and provides free admission to around 30 attractions and museums in the ‘City of Mozart’, free use of the public transport network and discounts at numerous other sights. However, do remember that the Sound of Music tour is not included in the Salzburg Card.
I would have liked to spend at least a day more in Salzburg. It didn’t take me anytime to just dive headlong into this beautiful place and fall in love with it. I am happy though that I was able to experience this beautiful place and hope to be back sometime soon.
Have you visited Salzburg? What are your experiences or thoughts on this beautiful place.