I had just licked my plate clean of my first wiener schnitzel. Thinly pounded veal, lightly fried, topped with fresh squeezed lemon and dipped in a bright red, slightly sweet, cranberry sauce. I took a swig of my beer, sat back, and seriously thought about unbuttoning my pants. I thought to myself how did I get so lucky to be here? Followed by, “Why did I avoid schnitzel for so long?”
Upon Arrival – 24 Hours in Salzburg
As the train screeched to a halt at Salzburg Hbf, I had butterflies in my stomach. I had just come from Venice and spent six hours winding through the Alps up north to the town where Sound of Music was filmed. I had moved from the land of water canals to the snowy mountain town in Western Austria. Every time I glanced out the window I was in awe of what I saw. I felt like a child, giggling and smiling, at nothing in particular! It was just one of those moments when you’re sitting there and realize “Wow. I am doing it.” Traveling through Europe and visiting small towns aside from capitals and main tourist attractions has always been a bucket list dream of mine. And here I was on a train, riding through the Alps on my way to Salzburg. At that point… could life have gotten any more perfect?
As I arrived to Salzburg, I stepped off the train and into the below freezing weather, a light snow blanketing the earth. I was in a town that I had seen in the movies when I was growing up, (Salzburg is where the Sound of Music was filmed), and here it was laid out right before my very eyes. I dropped off my luggage and set off to explore.
Whilst Salzburg is a charming little mountain town, you truly don’t need much time to see it all. One to two days will suffice, and in this case I’ll be highlighting the very best that Salzburg has to offer in a 24-hour period. Thus… 24 Hours in Salzburg.
Begin your day in Salzburg by starting outside of the city centre at Coffee Press. Grab a coffee to go and head outside to St. Sebastian’s Cemetery. A cemetery, which came to fruition in the 16th-century, where royals and members of the Mozart family are buried. Truly not all that impressive, but entrance is free and close by to Coffee Press so its worth a stop.
Coffee Press Hours: Monday-Friday 0800-1900; Saturday 0900-1900; Closed Sundays
Not only is Salzburg famous for being the place in which Sound of Music was filmed, but is also famous for being the birthplace of Mozart. Whether or not classical music is your thing, Mozart and his family are of great significance in Salzburg. Upon leaving the cemetery head to Mozarts-Wohnhaus, to see where Mozart grew up. Truthfully, I am not big on classical music and felt as though this was a waste of time. However, it is historically significant and if you have the time you may think it worth the stop.
Hours: Sunday-Saturday 0900-1730
Cost of admission: 11 Euros
Next, stroll down Linzergasse towards Kapuzinerberg. Kapuzinerberg is a hill situated on the east side of the Salzach River; climb up before sun reaches its peak to see the entirety of Salzburg stretched out below. Mountains in front of you, town below you. A breathtaking site no matter what time of the year you visit.
Once the sun reaches its peak, cross over Mozartsteg, a bridge that leads in and out of city centre. Head in the direction of Residenzplatz where you’ll find many lunch options. Dine at the oldest coffee house in Austria – Café Tomaselli. Grab a relatively quick bite to eat at the laid back UNCLE VAN, which serves Vietnamese food. Or sit back with a glass of wine and plate of charcuterie at Paninoteca.
Café Tomaselli Hours: Monday-Saturday 0700-1900; Sunday 0800-1900
UNCLE VAN Hours: Sunday-Saturday 1130-2000
Paninoteca Hours: Sunday-Saturday 0900-1800
Next, had to Getreidegasse to walk off a bit of your lunch. Here’s where you’ll find the most picturesque street in Salzburg and also the best for shopping.
Before the sunsets buy a ticket to take the funicular up to Hohensalzburg Fortress. This castle sits on a hill opposite of Kapuzinerberg and much higher. You can take your time and explore the old fortress, and even paying to view parts of the castle that are otherwise off limits. Personally, I feel as though you get the full effect of the castle by walking around, no need to pay extra.
Note: Hours of operation vary between seasons. Check here for times.
After viewing the sunset over the city, take the funicular back down to town. Head for a beer at one of the two beer gardens in the city – Augustiner bräu or Stiegl-Brauwelt. Both popular spots serving Austrian beer.
Augustiner bräu Hours: Monday-Friday 1500-2300; Saturday-Sunday 1430-2300
Stiegl-Brauwelt Hours: Sunday-Saturday 1000-0000
For dinner cross over another more famous bridge, Markartsteg, which is more commonly referred to as the “Love Lock Bridge”. You’ll end up back to where you started your day near Linzergasse. Head straight to Zum fidelen Affen – a traditional Austrian restaurant, that tends to be busy – opt for a reservation ahead of time.
Hours: Monday-Friday 1200-1430, 1700-0000; Saturday 1700-0000; Closed Sundays
And if you’re like me and chose to go for the schnitzel, then you very well may be thinking about unbuttoning your pants at this moment as well. And if that’s the case, go for it friend.
I read blog after blog on how the Mirabell Palace and Gardens was beautiful and a must not miss while in Salzburg. I was not at all impressed and quite frankly felt as though this part of Salzburg was a waste of time. Maybe if you have more than a day, head to explore. Otherwise… skip it.
Thank you for the time, Salzburg. A town much smaller than its capital city of Vienna. But packed with just as much beauty and personality. A place that certainly did not let me down. And a place that I hope to be back to in the future. While I can say with certainty that Salzburg isn’t my all time favorite mountain town, its still a place that I’m glad I didn’t pass over on the way to a bigger and more common destination.
For more on my time in Salzburg, make sure to check out my Instagram story highlights