A weekend in Salzburg: Sightseeing, Snow, Schnitzel, Strudel and The Sound of Music.

Salzburg is a city famous for two musical greats: that old guy, Mozart (you may have heard of him?) and that cracking film, The Sound of Music. Now, as four British girls in their early 20s, I probably don’t need to tell you about which we were more excited. (Sorry, Mozy.)

Yup, as well as being the fourth biggest city in Austria and a UNESCO World Heritage site, this beautiful Alpine city was the setting for Maria and the Von Trapp family’s curtain-wearing adventures. (And we were all very excited about it!)

I love that you can always see the Alps around you.

As Salzburg is only just out of Bavaria, it’s included the Deutsche Bahn’s ‘Bayern Ticket’ deal – 22 Euros for one person to travel round Bavaria (and Salzburg) as much and as far as you like in one day, and five Euros more for each extra person. We LOVE the Bayern Tickets, as when you’re travelling in a group and have a long way to go (Bavaria is HUUUUGE!), you get such a cheap deal.

So, last Friday morning, along with my lovely friends Emily, Charlotte and Aimee, I set off for Salzburg. Almost six hours later and we’d arrived in Salt Fortress. (Yeah, sounds better not translated, doesn’t it?)

Unsurprisingly, I had written a document containing all the useful info we might need over the course of the weekend, including directions for the supposedly five minute walk from the station to the hostel.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t as easy as it had seemed online, and about 45 minutes of walking round in the snow later, we still hadn’t found the hostel. It transpired that we’d merely made a teeny error in leaving the station from the wrong exit, but after asking for directions from three different people (and receiving wrong directions twice), we eventually found our base for the weekend: Yoho hostel, which I reviewed here.

After a cup of tea (naturally) and a spot of free wifi-usage, we wrapped up warm, braved the elements and headed off for an evening wander round the city. As day turned to night, it was really all rather pretty.

We unintentionally found both Mozart’s birthplace and his later house, crossed the river into the heart of the old town, and took a stroll down the beautiful main shopping street, Getreidegasse, popping into the odd shop as we went. Seriously, on this street, even Claire’s Accessories and McDonalds looked classy. Amazing.

Mozart’s Birthplace. Above a Spar supermarket. Lolz.  

We couldn’t stay out exploring the city for too long though, heaven forbid we should miss the daily hostel screening of The Sound of Music at 7pm! We picked up a veritable feast from a supermarket en route, and headed back to the hostel for a picnic-fuelled film-viewing.

As we nibbled on paprika Pom Bears (um, AWESOME), sipped Prosecco from teacups (because we’re classy girls) and sang along to the wonderful tunes, we realised there’s a lot more to The Sound of Music than you appreciate as a child. Actually knowing about the history behind the film and understanding what was happening at the time makes it even more interesting.

Feeling sufficiently uplifted and motivated to climb ev’ry mountain thanks to the successful escape of the Von Trapps from the Nazis, we gals headed off to the recommended cocktail bar just a few minutes from the hostel. Supposedly home to Salzburg’s best cocktails, we were excited to visit Havana. Although not cheap, the cocktails most definitely did not disappoint. We decided to go back the next day during Happy Hour. Because we’re poor. And we like cocktails.

The next morning, fuelled up from a huge breakfast, we set off to explore Salzburg properly and pow out as many of the sights as possible. First up, we wandered down the cute street, Linzergasse, full of little shops, enticing-looking eateries and St. Sebastian Church. We then moseyed down an extremely cute tiny cobbled street called Steingasse, which gave us a wonderful view out over the river.

  And over the Salzach river we went into the old town – through the pretty Rathausplatz, the AltermarktResidenzplatz and round to the cathedral, all to the soundtrack of a great street harpist. Salzburg definitely has a different style of buildings to the Bavarian ones we’re used to, despite being so close to the border with Germany. Austrian architecture seems to be so grand and opulent.

Charlotte and I outside the cathedral  

I insisted we pop into the Manner shop (Manner are the most delicious Austrian hazelnut wafers and I LOVE THEM) and was in veritable heaven there. I’m a big fan of the packaging too.

Having resisted filling my bag with Manners we walked past the sweet horse-drawn carriages and couldn’t help being drawn into Salzburg’s oldest bakery by the incredible smell wafting out.

Next up, it was time to climb the mountain (CLIIIIMB EEEEV’RY MOUNTAAAAIIIN!) up to the castle, and at this point, the snow was really coming down thick and fast. As we tried our best to manage the winding cobbled streets in the snow without falling over, we kept having to stop to admire the beautiful views down over the city. (Definitely not because we were out of breath. Ahem.)

Once at the top, we discovered it was 8 Euros to get into the castle. Bums, we thought. Oh, but there’s free wifi, I seeNever mind, we’ll do a Facebook check-in and leave it at that. So, selfie taken, check-in successful, we carried on our snowy walk along the mountain top.

It was like Narnia, and we really were walking in a winter wonderland. Naturally, we stopped to try and catch snowflakes on our tongues, and they really were staying on our noses and eyelashes! I totally get why that was one of Maria’s fave things.

We carried on walking round to Mönchsberg where we stumbled upon the most wonderful view…

Before moseying back down into the city.

After a hot choc and a warm-up, we carried on our exploration, trying all the free tasters at the market and making our way to Mirabell Palace and gardens: where Do-Re-Mi was filmed! *squeal*

Later that afternoon, we decided to treat ourselves to a traditional Austrian meal in a traditional Austrian restaurant: Wilder Mann. Naturally, we went for Schnitzel. And large portions of Schnitzel they were! Girls vs Food. (The girls won.)

Sufficiently full, we went back to the hostel for tea and a little chill pre our impending night out. Yup, it was back to Havana – our new fave haunt – for Happy Hour cocktails!

Oooh, they were yummy! But the night was only going to get better. Why’s that? You ask? Well, thanks to my pre-trip research, we’d found out there was going to be a traditional Tracht (Dirndl and Lederhosen) night at a club just round the corner from the hostel, and we’d all brought our Dirndls especially.

Not having tried mine on since Oktoberfest months ago, I was slightly concerned it would no longer fit, but after managing to squeeze myself back in, I was pretty excited.

So, Saturday night was spent at Die Weisse. And it was hilarious.

EVERYONE there was in Dirndls and Lederhosen, and despite the fact that it was snowing outside, we four were the only ones wearing tights. Those Austrians are hardcore.

Having read that entry was free, I was already keen as I hate extortionate club entry fees. Even better, it turned out that Die Weisse was sort of a restaurant slash pub slash club in one, with different sections for each. And in the club section, for example, you wouldn’t even know there was a restaurant bit just round the corner.

We managed to score ourselves a free pretzel, make friends with the official photographer (resulting in our photos all over facebook), make good friends with an Austrian man on the part of one of us (I shall name no names!), dance, sing and even play the piano. Sure, we spent some time in the club section, but we definitely had more fun in the pub section with the traditional Austrian band.

Showing off my ‘skills’ (I have no skills.)  

We danced between the tables, attempted to understand Austrian German, and Charlotte even had a blow on a man’s trumpet! (Not a euphemism, you smutty minded people.) As far as I’m concerned, Dirndl dancing with your friends in a pub is far preferable to bodily contact with sweaty randomers in a club.

The next morning we indulged in another big ole breakfast and laughed yet more about the antics of the previous night. As Charlotte and Aimee were getting an earlier train home, Emily and I said So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye to them, before heading an off for a final couple of hours exploring Salzburg.

We walked up yet another big snowy hill to find the Kapuziner Monasterywhich also gave us yet another wonderful view over the snowy rooftops of Salzburg.

What’s more, we saw an actual nun and an actual monk, who unintentionally treated Emily and I to something of a private organ concert inside the church. It was lovely.

As we strolled along the river admiring the huge, beautiful houses that line it, Emily and I embraced the clear, fresh mountain air. We explored side streets and peered into shop windows, and the last thing on our Salzburg to-do list? Try some traditional Austrian apple strudel. We weren’t hungry, but simply felt we couldn’t leave the city without having had a little bit.

‘Time for enjoyment.’ I like this.  

We popped into a very cute café called Café Würfel Zucker and promptly ordered a warm Apfelstrudel to share. It perhaps could’ve been a little crisper, but it was full of delicious apple and juicy sultanas and yummy all the same.

And then it was time for a long, sleepy train journey home. Well, four train journeys to be precise, but it was all worth it for a super fun, lovely, interesting and beautiful girly weekend in Salzburg.

Sound of Music checklist:

  • Warm woolen mittens
  • Cream coloured ponies
  • Crisp (ish) apple strudels
  • Schnitzel with noodles (well, with potatoes, but it’d be weird with noodles quite frankly)
  • Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
  • Silver white winters ( soon to melt into springs)

I think we did pretty well!

I loved Salzburg, and would definitely go back – I’d LOVE to see it in summer! Have you ever been?

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