We are back from a nearly month-long trip to Europe, and catching up on the OneHundredRoads travel blog. Here today, we’ll begin a series of handy city guides to some of the top cities for sightseeing and adventure in Austria, Switzerland and Italy. Without further ado, here is a short review of a surprising favorite: SALZBURG, AUSTRIA
Salzburg Card – Transportation and Sites:
First, a word on the Salzburg Card. As soon as you arrive, determine the amount of sightseeing you are going to do (castles, museums, etc) and the number of days you’ll be in Salzburg. Since the Salzburg Card includes free transportation on all forms of public transportation along with discounted or included entry to many of the city’s sites, it is usually worth the investment.
Since we were travelling mainly without a plan, we ended up with the 24 hour card. We crammed several sites in within the 24 hours, but I think a longer pass would well worth it. You can purchase the card at the tourist office, or any of the major sites such as Salzburg Castle (a must see). You can purchase the card at the tourist office, or any of the major sites such as Salzburg Castle (a must see). Mozart’s childhood home was great too.
We spent a total of three nights in the city.
1) Salzburg castle is very impressive: a gorgeous 360 panorama from the top of the tower, and the most creative and effective display of metal armor I have ever seen in a castle were two of the highlights.
2) St. Peter’s cathedral and church complex, including graveyard.
3) Museum dei Moderne lift to top of the opposite mountain gave us the view to the castle.
4) Mirabelleplaz and Mirabelle gardens, worth walking around in to see the roses and flower designs in the lawn pattern.
5) Saturday market along the river was really neat. We walked down to the Aldstadt (Old City) and looked at all the trinkets, clothes, jewelry from around the world. A couple of food stands were mixed in and along the path.
6) Saturday food market at the church plaza in Aldstadt was really wonderful, and if you had use of a kitchen, a foodie’s paradise. Everything from abundant fruit and veg, to cheeses, deli and cured meats, bread and pastries, fresh meat and fish too. A side of flower markets to boot. Food options for eating on premises including all forms of pretzels (doughnut pretzel!), sausage stands, sandwiches and one sit down restaurant where refined looking folk were sipping on white wine and aperitifs.
7) Alstadt – the old town itself is worth just walking around.
The best restaurant we ate at in Salzburg was Humbolt Stube near the modern art museum, in the bar and cafe district. So good, we ate there twice. The district was packed with students and tourists alike in the evenings. The food at Humbolt Stube was plentiful, typical large Austrian portions at reasonable prices (around 10 to 12 Euro for mains, 18-20 for whole fish or large mains). We had the salad with fried chicken – probably one of the top 5 salads I have ever ordered in a restaurant – and the Austrian Grotsl, fresh bacon, pork, potatoes with a fried egg on top and cabbage salad on the side. The night before we had the chicken cordon bleu to share, delicious, and the goat cheese with balsamic salad. We ordered everything in single portions, but ended up sharing each dish which was more than enough food to split between two hungry Americans. We are not light eaters, that’s for sure!
Make sure you also try a strudel – or ten – savory and sweet ones are available everywhere. We tried the ones at Kroll.
We booked a great rate via Hotels.com at the Wyndham Grand Conference Center near the main train station which is not the greatest area, but is relatively handy to get Alstadt and extremely handy to the train station for train travelers. The hotel itself is wonderful: spotless, huge common areas, lobby, a pool, nice sauna and American size hotel rooms equipped with tea maker, large flat screen, modern furniture and one of the only large double beds I have seen in Austria (most double rooms are European twin beds put together, which I quite like actually). Attached parking is 16 Euro per night, public covered lot in the mall across the street is only 8 Euro per night and free on Sunday. Free parking in a city! Nearby, the Ramada also looks okay, and on the river approaching Old Town we walked by The Motel which looks new and probably a good deal. It is not a motel as they are known in the USA, rather it is a hotel. The Alstadt hotels seem nice, but no parking so that was out for us.
As you will gather walking around the city and its wonderful old buildings, Salzburg has a fascinating history. It grew in prosperity due to its proximity to the salt mines (Salz = Salt). The sites provide adequate background, but it is worth investing an hour of reading about it on your own.