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Uncovering the best family holidays

Austria

Visiting Salzburg, Austria: Accommodation, Transport, Food & Attractions

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.

Mirabell Garden in the centre of Salzburg where Maria and the children sang the ‘Do-Re-Mi’ song in The Sound of Music

 

Getting There

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.

Our favourite attractions were The Sound Of Music tour, a show at the Salzburg Marionette Theatre and a visit to Untersberg mountain via cable car. 

The stunning view from the top of Untersberg
A rather friendly bird more interested in a snack than the incredible panorama

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.

Mirabell Garden

 

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

Hot beef goulash with dumpling

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. 

Inspired by the mountains surrounding Salzburg, this is the Nockerl. Cloud-like puffy marriage between soufflé and meringue with raspberry sauce

 

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.

Walking through the many narrow pedestrian malls

 

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.

Here's what you have to say...

"I respond to every comment by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you" -
Posted by Jo (The Blonde) on
You have a thing for the Sound of the Music, don't you? :)
Posted by sunny morris on
Sounds like a magical day. My family of four are about to spend three weeks in Germany and are trying to decide if we want to take the time to head down to Salzburg. Your post has really tempted me but as I add up all the costs associated with all the activities you did, it looks like a 800 Euro day. Can you expect a family of four on long term travel to spend that kind of money daily? Are these perks you get to write about them and therefore don't have to pay? If so, please tell us so we can know it isn't very practical. Or, if my figures are off please tell me that too so we can reconsider going. I think it is so important to include cost break downs when you are giving advice, especially on family travel which is often so much more costly. Thank you.
Posted by admin on
Thanks for your comment.
We don’t focus on long term travel, we try to focus on taking kids on holiday, so for a family vacationing in Salzburg this is what they can expect to do. Sometimes we include costs, but with changing prices it is very hard to stay current, which is why we include links so you can research the prices yourself.
However I am concerned that your figures are unrealistically high. For instance once you have the Salzburg card, public transport and the cable car are free. Sound of Music tour is 35 euros each, kids are 18 euros. Marionette theatre is only 25 euros each, kids are 15 euros.
Families are free to choose accommodation based on their budget and if you follow the link to the reviews of the hotel we stayed in, you will find plenty of others to choose from.
We do work with tourism boards from time to time to showcase the best a city/country has to offer, but still provide a very transparent and honest opinion. For instance we visited Vienna and had an unpleasant experience. Salzburg stole our heart.
If you are in Germany, I would definitely add a trip to Salzburg- even if you do it on a budget and do a FREE walk through Mirabell Gardens or around the city and stay in a hostel - you will find something to do on your budget.
Posted by Best Travel Discovery on
Thanks for your information
I will bookmark your site !
Posted by Ticking the Bucketlsit on
My favourite part in Salzburg was visiting the castle and the story around it. Did you go there?
Posted by reginajocky on
Always withdraw money; never exchange. “Your bank card will carry the best currency exchange rates, so forgo bringing wads of cash and instead withdraw local currency from the ATM as needed. And be sure to travel with a bank card that reimburses all ATM fees. fleet management
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