Our Mom, travel-lover mama Maria, welcomes you to one of her trips by motorhome! This time she is taking us on a trip to Salzburg, Austria, which, according to her, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe!
Kathy & Callie
The story behind this blog post
It was Sunday afternoon and I was cocooning with my daughter, Kathy, in front of the fireplace, drinking coffee and chatting. It was very cold outside and the sky was dull. The first snow of the year was propably ahead. Suddenly, Kathy asked me: “Mum, which do you believe is the most beautiful city of Europe, especially in winter?” And without even thinking of it twice, I answered: “Salzuburg, of course!” . “Even though we had travelled to Salzuburg when me and Callie were little, I don’t remember many things. Do you want to show me your photos and chat a little bit more about it as we drink our coffee?” she said.
We saw a lot photos and we talked about my memories indeed but at the same time the fire had already been triggered. I desperately wanted to share this travel experience with you. The same night I chose the photos and started to make the plan of this post so as to share with you all I had seen and done during this trip.
As every time we visit Salzburg is summer, I realised that all our photos and memories are summery. But don’t worry, you just have to wrap the city with a white veil of snow and it will immediately become a winter fairytale.
Salzuburg is one of those cities which stuck into your mind and heart for ever. Since then, we have visited this beautiful city many times as every time we travel to Europe by motorhome, we choose to stay overnight on the second day of our trip.
This information is for the travellers who tour by caravan or motorvehicle:
There is a free public parking lot in the german city Freilassing, close to the Austrian-German borders. But because now there are no actual borders betweeen these two countries, you can commute from one country to the other just by taking the public means of transport. So even if you stay in Germany, you can reach Austria within 10 minutes and vice versa. From the parking lot of Freilassing take the public bus till the borders and then change line and take the public austrian bus to the center of Salzburg. In the same place there is also a campsite for those who need a place to stay at night.
A trip to Salzburg
So, every time we visit Salzburg, we enjoy our stay by relaxing and having fun. It is one of the most beautiful cities of Austria and it attracts a lot of visitors not only because of its beauties and picturesque landscape but also because it is connected to Mozart.
300 years ago, Salzburg was nothing but a small village. However, the birth of Mozart, the deposits of copper, the existence of salt (Salz in German means salt – the city was named after it) but also the movie “Sound of Music” gave prominence to the city. Its houses look like they came out of a fairytale, the domes emerge behind the baroque buildings and the music of this great composer flows among the city’s magical alleys.
In order to help you have to a more precise image of the city tour, I separeated the city in two halves, the right side and the left side of the river Salzach.
The right side of the river Salzach
Let’s start our tour from the right side of the river. Our first visit is the great Mirabell Palace and Gardens. After that you can see Mozart’s house, the beautiful Makart Square (Markatplatze) and the new city.
Satzburg city tour
We started our tour armed with our cameras and with a mood for walking. The city is quite small and ideal for walking but you can also choose a traditional carriage, a bike, Hop on Hop off buses, segways and the boats for a river cruise.
However, the most convenient and enjoyable city tour for all ages is on a Hop on Hop off bus in order to be able to see all the sights. The tour consists of 12 bus-stops and you can even choose to listen some of the most famous songs of the “Sound of Music”. What sights you are going to see depends on you. You can hop off any time you like!
Tickets for Hop on Hop off bus can be provided from here.
Our starting point was Makart Square, a beautiful square which was named after the famous painter. Makart influenced the architecture and the interior design of the 19th century. After that my travel book guided us to the house of Wolfang Amadeus Mozart, where he stayed from 1773 to 1787 – today it is a museum.
Mirabell Palace and Gardens
In the same area, as I told you before, you can find the Mirabell Palace and Gardens. This sight is a place where you can’t miss as the crowd will lead you there! Especially in spring and summer, the flowers are so bloom that you can’t stop admiring them. Stroll around and mingle with the other tourists listening the sound of music which is played by musicians in every corner of the gardens.
The impressive stone statues around the fountain are inspired by mythology and the dwarfs are just like they come out of Snowhite. It is a beautiful and picturesque place to see.
Some historical facts:
In 1606 at exactly the same place where Mirabell is today, archbishop Diedrich built a Palace for his beloved one, Salome, who had given birth to his 15 children. In 1727 a new baroque palace was built for another archbishop. In 1818 a fire ruined a part of the palace but fortunately the biggest part was saved. So today we have the opportunity to admire the impressive angel staircase, the marble hall with the gilded work of arts but also the numerous sculptures. The surrounding garden is really impressive. It was formed in 1690 and opened for the public in 1854. Today, Mirabell Palace also houses some administrative offices.
City river, Salzac
We left Mirabell full of beautiful images and reached the city river Salzach. It is a nice and tranquil river with three bridges, which connect the two parts of the town.
The railings are full of colourful lockers which are locked there by the couples who visit the town. This is a universal way to show their love. They write the date of the visit on the locker and they lock it on the bridge. They take the key with them wishing to come again to this place together, to find it and unlock it.
Left side bank of the river
The bridge led us to the left side bank of the river, where you can find the old town, Mozart’s Birthouse, the cathedral and the fountains. This side of Salzburg has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is almost totally build in a baroque style.
Old Town of Salzburg
We started our tour from the beautiful old town and its most scenic and crowded street, Getreintegasse, whose iron signs of the shops demonstrate all kinds of wordwide brands. It is a narrow road with shops placed one after the other and sell from jewellery, antiques, leather and clothes to sweets and coffee. Of course all of them are competing for the best looking and finest sign!
The whole market is full of souvenirs depicting Mozart – china dishes, small bells. Of course, even us couldn’t resist and we bought a Mozart souvenir for our daughter, who is a music teacher. The road was crowded. Some were just windshopping, others were shopping while others were just drinking coffee or eating their sweet pastry at one of the countless hot spots of the town.
As we were walking enthusiastically along the street, we reached No. 9.
We visited it as the house is currently a museum where you can see the various family portraits and his first musical instruments (don’t forget he was a prodigy!). To honour him, they named the square Mozartplatz and of course you can also see his statue.
- 1.5-hour bus tour of Salzburg city center
- Entrance to Mozart’s Birthplace and its museum
Ticket features: Instant ticket delivery/Smartphone tickets accepted
Mozart is not only famous for his music but for… his chocolates, which are called “Mozartkugeln”! Of course we couldn’t resist and we tried them as you can find them everywhere. In 1890, chef Furst created a recipe by wrapping marzipan with chocolate. These sweets won the gold medal in the Paris Fair of 1905. Today, his grandson continues to produce chocolates keeping the recipe as a guarded secret.
We were wandering in the streets and squares of the old city of Salzburg trying to memorize everyhting. Of course this was not possible so we tried to capture the images with our camera!
Our next stop was the Cathedral, the churce of St. Rupert and Virgil. It is located in Square Kapitel (Kapitelplatz), the beautiful market square where you can see and admire some of the most famous fountains in Salzburg.
The church is so big and dominant that it can host more that 10,000 people. Mozart himself played the organ in this church. The first church was built in 774 and after its numerous reconstructions, they decided to built a new baroque church which openedin 1628. Except for his facade, which is decoreated with four scultures, Rupert’s, Virgil’s, Peter’s and Paul’s, we were impressed by its interion and especially by its size!
Every year in Jyly the Salzburg Festival takes place in front of the Cathedral in order to honour Mozart and his work It includes a lot of plays and concerts which take place in various spots around the city. How wonderful it would be to have been there at the time where Herbert vor Karajan was the conductor of the orchestra!!!
Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989) was born in Salzburg but he had greek origins. He was one of the most important conductors of the 20th cent. and had been the music manager of the Salzburg Festival for 30 years.
The day was almost over and we are so tired that it was impossible to reach Hohensalzburg Fortress even in the cablecar. So we decided it would be our first sight to visit next time. We just enjoyed taking some pictures from far away and we left.
Info: The Fortress Card may seem really useful to you. It is a card which includes the visit to the castle and its museum, the gardens and the Recktrum Watchtower. All in one!
We stayed in Salzuburg till night strolling around the small alleys, the bridges and the area around the river and we finally left having the most amazing taste. The beauty of Salzburg affected us so much that it wasn’t necessary to see anything else to adore its charm and magic. I am sure that you are going to love the city whether you visit it winter or summer. In winter the scenery is magical, fairytale, and snowy and in summer it is bright, tranquil, peaceful and enjoyable.
Excursions from Salzburg
If you can stay in the broader area of Salzburg for some more days, I suggest that you go on a trip to Salzkammergut, 16km east of the town. This area of Austria is more than beautiful not only in summer but also during winter and thoughout all year. There are 70 lakes among the mountains. The scenery is just magnificent! Your visit to Wolfang Lake and to the picturesque villages, St. Gilgen, St. Wolfang and Strobl will be unforgettable.
We visited St. Gilgen with its artistic and full of flowers houses. The wonderful images of the villages will stay in my mind forever! In the Salzkammergut you will be amazed by the fairytale Hallstatt, as well as the imperial city of Bad Ischle.
You can visit the online platform of Greektravelfamily in cooperation with Ticketbar and book your trip to the lake and its beautiful small villages. Click here.
If you don’t have your own vehicle, you can always book the touristic bus Sound of music to visit the countryside sights and the Lake St. Wolfang
In the saltmines there are underground walkways and in order to visit them you need to wear a white uniform, get on an electric train and descend the levels of the mine throught some wooden slides. Some parts of the mines are only accessible by boat as there is also an underwater lake. The whole tour lasts about one and a half hour.
The Hellbrunn Palace is located in a green idyllic location. It was built in 1612 and the special about it is the fountains. Why? The archbishop who lived there thought it was very amusing to use the water of the fountains to “shower” his unsuspected guests. So next time you go there, you better take a raincoat with you!
And last but not least, you can also buy the “Salzuburg Card” so as to have free access to most of the museums and sights of the city, free use of the Fortress Funicular (railway) and the Untersberb cableway (the cablecar for the Untersberg mountain, 1300 m. high), free cruise in the Salzach River and counteless use of the local means of transports. With this card you can also take advantage of the discounts it offers- for theatres, plays and various cultural events. Buy it in advance and start your trip now.
For accomodation look here:
For one more time, I would like to thank you for reading my post. Your visits to my posts on Anthomeli, your comments and your e-mails (when you ask for my help to organize your trip) give me strength to continue writing my experiences.