Salzburg was easily my favourite city in Austria, and from the moment we arrived I fell madly, deeply in love with it. Filled with effortless old world charm and subtle classical qualities, this city is also home to one of the world’s most beloved movies, “The Sound of Music.”
The first night was such a memorable moment for our family, getting cosy in our hotel room after a delicious dish of schnitzel and strudel watching The Sound of Music. It was the very first time my kids watched the movie, and happened to be in the very city the movie was filmed and set. Being right there made the story come alive with so much more dimension. I will never forget that night.
We left the undeniably divine Davos, Switzerland to travel to Salzburg via train. The entire journey was just over 6 hours and the scenery was beautiful beyond imagination. It was my favourite leg from our 50-day Eurail journey.
Of course there are many other ways to get into Salzburg such as flights or even a short drive from Munich. Whatever you choose, it’s relatively straightforward.
Getting Around (And How To Save Money)
Having relished the convenience of city-centric tourism cards previously in Europe, the Salzburg Card proved no exception. Not only does it provide free public transport, but also free admission to Salzburg's museums, free use of the Fortress funicular, the Untersberg cableway, Salzach ship service (tour 1) and discounts on concerts, and theatre performances.
We reached the majority of attractions via foot in Salzburg, but also used the public bus system on a day trip to Untersberg, which was quick and easy.
Where To Stay
We had the pleasure of staying at Hotel & Villa Auersperg. This small, yet charming hotel is located very centrally within Salzburg, practically walking distance to most desired destinations.
Our welcome reception was rather abrupt with surprisingly little information about the workings of the hotel being provided (breakfast, Wi-Fi, etc). We were also informed under no certain terms were we to touch the air-conditioner controller in our room and that it was part of an overall system for every room.
We were blessed with relatively toasty temperatures and fine weather while in Salzburg, and our room quickly became hot. Reluctantly, I attempted to turn on the air-conditioner and it worked perfectly fine without catastrophe nor harming any of the other rooms as expected.
I later complained about the service we received and was promptly given a sincere apology, apparently this level of service was out of character. The rest of our stay at Auersperg was indeed much more enjoyable, in line with the glowing reviews we’d read in advance. I also feel compelled to warn you about the particularly friendly gentleman at reception who kept slipping my sneaky kids lollies at every opportunity.
The room was a comfortable-sized suite with a sofa bed for the kids and a comfy king bed for us. It was tastefully decorated and included several conveniences to make it feel more like a home away from home.
We walked to several nearby restaurants for dinner, but couldn’t resist the delicious yet health-conscious breakfasts served at the hotel restaurant. Yum!
What To Do
The historic city centre is filled with countless beautiful things to wander by or visit. There are loads of museums and monuments, churches and parks, historical buildings and sculptures.
A guided walking tour through Salzburg was also a great addition to our visit and we highly recommend Martina Gyuroka, who was extremely knowledgeable and able to customise the tour to suit our kids. We saw the birthplace of Mozart, meandered through narrow back-streets, sampled produce at markets, checked out churches and got a well-rounded feel for the history behind this fascinating city.
What To Eat
Short answer. Everything!
There is no shortage of pubs and restaurants selling delicious schnitzel and hot goulash. Of course you must try an apple strudel and the famous round chocolates named after Mozart. You can find out more about our favourite Austrian foods here.
But one restaurant that really stood out was the Stiftskeller St. Peter. Regarded as Europe’s oldest restaurant, this building etched into the side of a hill boasts of a documented history dating back to 803 AD. The restaurant sits within the hallowed monastery walls of St. Peter’s Abbey, and now features a number of exquisitely sumptuous function rooms. The chant from the abbey and ringing of the bells filled my ears and provided a wonderful accompaniment to the delicious meal.
The restaurant claims to have been serving meals for over 1200 years and is one of the finest restaurants in Salzburg with elegant ambiance, inspiring food and friendly service. A truly unique and delicious dining experience that we absolutely loved.
What Language Do They Speak?
The official language is German, however we did not have any problems speaking in English to shop keepers, hotels, or bus drivers. Most tour guides and tourism operators speak several additional European languages such as French, Italian and Spanish.
Why Is It Family Friendly?
If you’re travelling with young kids, you’ll find Salzburg to be very family friendly. Pushing strollers around is a breeze with super smooth wide footpaths, flat terrain, and sensible signage. And although there’s a distinct buzz it doesn’t feel overcrowded. Add to this plenty of activities to amuse and educate children, plus the culture and history that parents love, and you’ve found the perfect combination to keep all ages happy.
Oh, and there’s schnitzel. Lots of it. Enough said.