How to Spend Two Days in Salzburg – Day One in the Old Town
I've been looking forward to this trip for months. Both my mother and I are big fans of The Sound of Music and we wanted to do a mother-daughter trip within Europe before attending my cousin's wedding in London. Salzburg, therefore, seemed like a good idea. While we spent a total of six days in Austria, we decided to allocate the first third of our trip to this beautiful stage of the world.
The night before our morning flight, we stayed at BLOC hotel in Gatwick, to avoid having to wake up too early, or not get any sleep at all before our flight. We flew with British Airways at around 7:30 am but many budget airlines, such as Ryanair and EasyJet also had flights going to Salzburg from the same airport. The flight itself only took two hours and we couldn't be more excited to arrive in the sunny Salzburg just before 10:30 am (GMT +1). Yes, the clock is an hour ahead in Europe. We got on the O-bus outside the airport, which took us directly to the city centre and we got off at the central station Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, a convenient minute walk from our hotel Austria Trend Hotel Europa Salzburg. Without checking in, we left our bags at the hotel and headed out to grab an early lunch/ brunch at the city centre. But before that, we quickly purchased our 48-hours Salzburg cards online and picked it up from the tourist information centre in the central train station.
I'd highly recommend getting the Salzburg card as it gives you access to all public transports within Salzburg and free entrance to most of the main tourists' attractions and museums.
We got off at the Salzburg Rathaus station and walked into the beautiful Old Town, arriving at Alter Markt, the name of the street but also an ancient market place in the historical city centre. While there are still several stalls set up in the middle of the road, I imagined many of them have turned into the buzzing boutiques along both sides of the streets. Right on the corner of the street is Café Tomaselli, a traditional looking, cash-only café with the most perfect view of the old quarter from its outdoor seating. The food was normal but the location was spectacular.
After a filling breakfast, we visited the Birthplace of Mozart, the ticket price of which was included in the Salzburg card, which also allowed us to skip the never-ending queue of people waiting to purchase their tickets onsite. As expected, the house museum is filled with tourists but since photography and video recordings are prohibited, the traffic was not as bad as it would have been otherwise. After that, we wandered into the DomQuartier, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that connects all three of the art museum, the Salzburg Residenz (a palace turned museum) and the Cathedral together. Your ticket entitles you to an audio guide that will explain every bit of the tour to you in detail. Also, halfway through the tour, you're required to go through an outdoor terrace before continuing. Make sure you have your camera ready, for it is an excellent spot for photos.
An hour or two later, we finally emerged out of the long tour of DomQuartier and landed outside the Kapitelplatz, facing the Südliche Dombögen, a giant gold ball will a person standing on top of it. Just underneath this statue is a lifesize game of chess. I spent a calm five minutes watching the intense game that was going on before heading to the FestungsBahn Cable Railway to ride the funicolare all the way up to the Fortress, which takes less than a minute I would say. Again, included in the Salzburg card and manage to skip the long queue.
The view from the top of the Fortress Hohensalzburg was breathtaking. The fortress itself has not got too much to see but there is a puppet museum that is free to get in. On top of the hill, you'll get a perfect view over the city of Salzburg, the Alps and the Salzach river that runs through it. The cafes on top of the hill were surprisingly not too overpriced so if you have the time to, sit down and enjoy the view with a drink or a hot meal (we had a veggie strudel and some sausages).
Realising we were too early for the sunset, we left and got the cable car down, before taking a 6-minute walk to the monastery featured in The Sound of Music movie, Stift Nonnberg. We saw a nun walking out then back into the monastery, evidencing the place is still very much up and running.
Wanting to catch the sunset before we retire for the night, we walked along the river, to the Museum der Moderne Monchsburg, the Salzburg modern art museum. While we didn't manage to see the art collection itself, we did get an amazing view of the city from the clifftop to which we gained access from the top floor of the museum.
As the sun sets, the temperature drops. We slowly made our way down to the riverside again, crossed one of the many bridges in Salzburg and along the river, the Markartsteg bridge, which is covered with lovelocks on both sides, before catching Bus 6 back to our hotel.
Day One in Salzburg done, and I'm already in love.