Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The beauty of Salzburg: between music and gardens

" You know what?" my Austrian friend Kat confessed, "Most Austrians don't know what The Sound of Music even is".

I was relieved to know this: that film is not nearly as famous in Italy as it is in English-speaking countries. As a matter of fact, I've watched it last year for  the first time, while I was staying at a friend's place in Paris. Salzburg - where the film is set - is also the birthplace of Mozart, and of Mozartkugel, a curious rounded chocolate whose name translates as "Mozart's Ball".

Postcard stand in Salzburg
I arrived in town in the middle of the morning, after a comfortable two-hour journey on the train from Innsbruck. Perhaps it wasn't a great idea to see Salzburg the day before Easter: it was really crowded, especially in the main shopping streets.

Don't worry, though, because I managed to enjoy the town anyway. I just loved the wrought-iron signs that indicate shops and restaurants. Before visiting this part of Austria, I thought that they were only used for traditional pubs and restaurants, but I saw that - especially in Salzburg - they use them for international brands too! 

Shop signs in Salzburg 

During my first stroll in Salsburg, I passed in front of Mozart's birthplace, a yellow house situated in the busiest of the streets. After seeing that the entrance fee for this house-museum is 10€ I decided to skip it. Usually I don't mind paying to see a castle or a museum, but birth houses are only worth it if you really are a fan of the person who lived there, so that you can be excited about the desk where he used to write or the bed where he used to sleep.

Mozart's birth house, now a museum

Salzburg really acquires in beauty when you see it from the other side of the river, or from atop the Hohensalzburg, the fortress that overlooks the city. This is because the blue domes and roofs of baroque churches and buildings dominate the landscape.

Roofs in Salzburg
Roofs and clock towers in Salzburg

The thing I loved the most about visiting Hohensalzburg is the view. Not that the fortress isn't interesting in itself. You access it through a cable car, and then you have several areas to explore, like the viewing terraces or the torture chamber. The price is not exactly budget-friendly, at €11,30, but you can avoid a few euros if you don't take the funicular and walk to the fortress.

View of the city from the Hohensalzburg

Don't leave the town without paying a visit to the Mirabell Gardens: they are free to visit, beautifully tended, and relaxing, not to mention colourful. I loved exploring these gardens!They were first built in the 17th century for the mistress of a bishop, and then used by royalty. If you are wondering where the DO-RE-MI steps are, they are right here.
Mirabell Gardens
Mirabell Gardens

A statue at the Mirabell Gardens

Salzburg is small enough for tourists to walk everywhere. It's really tourist-friendly, with museums if you feel inclined to a bit of culture, cute corners, and nice restaurants to try.

Horse carriage in Salzburg
Horse and carriage in Salzburg
As a bonus, there were beautiful Easter decorations for sale in the open markets around town. I would say that Salzburg is the kind of town that is definitely worth a detour, but I'm glad I only spent a day here, as there are only a certain number of blue domes that you can take at one time. Oh, and don't forget to check Knoedlerei for lunch!

Have you been to Salzburg? What did you enjoy the most?


  1. Lovely!!
    I like the wrought-iron signs for the international shops brands :D
    They even make them look... more charachteristic and less globalized!

  2. So pretty! I've never *actually* been to Salzburg (just the train station twice haha) but I really want to at some point! Whenever I pass it, there's always those impressive views of the alps. 10 euros is quite a bit to visit a birth house! I remember going to Beethoven's in Bonn and it wasn't too interesting haha

    1. I really enjoyed Keat's house in London, but then I am a big fan of his poetry, and the entrance fee is not 10€ for sure!

  3. Your photos are absolutely lovely! I loved reading this and am really hoping to visit my friend in Austria soon! Thanks for sharing.

    Happy travels :)

    1. Thank you, Lauren. You'll love Austria, and Salzburg in particular!


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