We Were Absolutely Charmed
Day 3… In less than two hours we arrived in the endearing city that is Salzburg. From Munich, we took Railjet, the high-speed rail system that connects Austria domestically and to major cities in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Slovakia, among others.
I first heard about Salzburg in the songs of Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. That was probably when I started dreaming about the city. But there was no prancing on the hills during our visit, the hills were sleeping in the midst of winter. But hey the family was still beyond excited, it was nearing Christmas after all and there would be fresh Christmas trees, old Christmas markets and all those Bavarian Advent traditions, and if we’re lucky, perhaps some snow too.
We arrived at the main train station around mid-morning and from there walked to our hotel which was just around Mirabellplatz. From the hotel, we strolled the streets of the New Town (Neustadt), stopped by a small roadside Christmas market and had a peek of Mirabell Garden. That day the sky was overcast but the traces of snow on the ground and the image of Hohensalzburg that we could see from the distance filled us with much anticipation.
Soon after we found ourselves crossing the Staatsbrücke (bridge) over the Salzach River and onto our main destination for the day – the historic centre of Salzburg, the Old Town (Altstadt). It was there that we that visited the Hohensalzburg Fortress and joined in the festivities at Residenzplatz where the town’s main Christmas market was located (separate blogs on these on the way).
Towards the evening, we wandered through the narrow streets of the Old Town and stopped many times to admire the Advent decorations. They were simple and humbling. The town looked enchanting. We were absolutely charmed…
Some trivia we learned during our visit plus tips from our family:
- Salzburg is divided by the River Salzach. To its right is the New City (or Neustadt) whose buildings were mostly built after the mid 19th century and to its left is the Old City (or Altstadt) which held that charming side of Salzburg. The Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Mozart was born here in 1756.
- There were several shops selling various brands of Mozart Balls. We bought a few types to know if there was a difference. Yes there was, so buy a few! If you miss them in Salzburg, you may get them in other parts of Austria and even in Munich.
- Silent Night was composed in Salzburg exactly 200 years and so there was a big celebration during our visit. Blog on this coming soon!
- We didn’t buy the Salzburg Card (available in 24, 48, 72 hours etc) since we only wanted to go around the Old Town and visit a few of the attractions. The card gives access to several attractions and even public transportation. Here is the website: ttps://www.salzburg.info/en/hotels-offers/salzburg-card
- This was my favourite website during our itinerary planning: https://www.salzburg.info/en
- We bought our Railjet ticket online from the DB Bahn website (German rail service) and not from OBB (operator of Austria’s national rail service) because it’s much cheaper and there were discounts on DB Bahn.
Here are the other posts on our Bavarian and Austrian holiday:
- Munich: Start of our family’s tales from last winter
- Munich: Viktualienmarkt Biergarten
- Munich: BMW Museum and BMW Welt
- Munich: Theatine Church and Odeonplatz
- Munich: Christmas Markets
- Munich: Hofbrauhaus Beer Hall
- Munich: City Aparthotel München