There is no better advice one could give you when you are planning to pay the beautiful city of Salzburg a visit. With its about 150.000 inhabitants Salzburg is for sure not a metropole but a rather small-scaled gem in the west of Austria. We deliberately chose the title of this article, because of the Mozartstadt (transl. Mozart-Town) being rather small, you cannot avoid walking some off the beaten tracks, with numerous other people. But being a tourist here anyways, why not discover what is beloved by so many.
The city center of Salzburg has been named UNESCO world heritage site in 1996. As soon as you walk the cobblestone streets of this historic city you’ll find yourself immersed in its rich culture and history. Salzburg is obviously well known for being the home of the world-famous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the great composer will accompany you everywhere you go in “his” romantic town, “The Magic Flute” and “A Little Night Music” vibrating in the air every turn you take.
But Salzburg did not only produce the musical mastermind Mozart. The city is also home to many famous people such as physicist Christian Doppler as well as novelists, playwrights and poets such as Thomas Bernhard who famously loved to hate his hometown. There is so much to be enjoyed in this city that in 2016 it was named most inspiring city in Austria.
Cozy but chic
What you will notice while strolling this city’s streets is the moderate pace Salzburg seems to function on, a certain cozy comfort that feels innate to this city. You will find every international brand the heart could desire but for example “hipster” culture has not yet arrived in Salzburg. If you look for the half-bun-wearing-avocado-toast-munching crowd, you will search in vain. Here it is totally fine to enjoy wearing your beloved Dirndl or Lederhosen (probably modernized with state-of-the-art accessories and shoes) whereas this would be more considered a fashion statement in more urban environments. There is a certain sophisticated chic-ness about Salzburg that has much to do with an appreciation of high-quality goods that describes the vibe here.
Traditional, adaptable and truly friendly
If you are into traditional Austrian food, this is the town to visit! We mean traditional only in the most flattering and most mouthwatering way – not excluding international or experimental turns on classic and popular Austrian cuisine. Veganism is only in its baby shoes though. Not that the friendly people here will not go to lengths to serve your coffee with “alternative” milk, check their Brotkörberl (transl. bread basket) for a gluten-free role or create a delicious vegetable version of a classic especially for you. Don’t hesitate to ask – no eye-rolling guaranteed, this city is and has always been a magnet for tourists from all over the world bringing with them a colorful bouquet of taste preferences and culinary curiosity – as well as the odd incompatibility or intolerance.
A day – or we’d ideally recommend spending a weekend in Salzburg – will for sure be an exciting variety of all kinds of different experiences conveniently all within walking distance.
Stroll through the very heart of the city
Why not start at the center of the city by taking a walk through the famous Getreidegasse (transl. grain lain)? Make some time to enjoy and take everything in, and most of all – don’t rush! Mozart’s birthplace should be easy to identify: it’s the building in the middle of the little street with heaps of camera-clad people trying their best shot at the yellow facade. Take your typical touristy picture and don’t forget to look up.
Every shop at the famous shopping and strolling mile boasts its own beautiful custom made wrought-iron ornated sign, no matter if it is the most traditional dress- or umbrella manufacturer, the finest delicatessen shop or the Salzburg city dependence of fast fashion shops or a famous fast food chain, these signs make everything melt together into one very unique experience.
Discover the city mountains and must sees
Defining this town are the little mountains within it: Mönchsberg, Rainberg, Festungsberg and Kapuzinerberg. All of these city mountains in Salzburg are easily accessible as you never actually have to climb. You simply walk up or take a few sets of stairs, or even hop on an elevator– no walking boots required. Having reached one of the summits (expect about 15 – 20 minutes whichever one you might choose) you will be able to enjoy a gorgeous new perspective on this very green city. The beauty also being, you cannot get lost, though the paths are sometimes winding, remember you never really leave the city.
One fixed point for your orientation can always be the Hohensalzburg fortress, the biggest fully preserved castle in central Europe, is located on the cities highest point, therefor visible from (pretty much) everywhere. Two beautiful historic cemeteries can also be found directly in Salzburg’s center. Saint Peter’s cemetery was first mentioned in 1139 and Saint Sebastian’s dates back to 1600 and contains the gravesites of Mozart’s father and widow.
Specially on a sunny day, both are real treats to take a walk around in. Super beautiful and very Instagram-able are the views from the various bridges connecting Salzburg via the river Salzach. Numerous sights such as the Rathaus (transl.: townhall), the famous Universitätskirche (transl.: university church) and market as well as the Residenz, the well-known Dom (the cathedral, where Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s “Jedermann” is being performed each year during the Salzburg Festival).
Salzburg is also the place where you can have a taste of the famous Venus’ nipples. Don’t you worry, it’s a chocolate praline made by Stranz & Scio confectioners based on an old recipe. Get your caffeine fix at Austria’s oldest coffeehouse Cafè Tomaselli or do some shopping in an all-year-Christmas-shop.
If you are looking for a city trip that is a little bit different and maybe more on the traditional side, this is the city to come to. Slow down your step, take a breath of the wonderfully fresh air in this city surrounded by greenery and start humming some Mozart. Final tip to be on the safe side: don’t forget to bring your umbrella. Salzburg is not only famous for its classical tunes, beautiful scenery and friendly people, but also for its sudden rain showers. In that case, do it like the locals, find some shelter and start chatting with the person next to you.
Stay tuned for some tasty recommendations on food and restaurants in Salzburg to come soon.