Long weekend in Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg, Austria

Last Updated on 8th January 2019 by Sarah and Justin

We had been riding on a train from Ljubljana for a couple of hours when we went into a tunnel and everything went dark. When we emerged we were blinded by white. We were in the middle of the mountains and everything was covered in snow. It was the end of April and we’d had some lovely spring weather in Slovenia, so we were surprised by (but happy about) the sudden change in scenery. As we made our way further up and through the beautiful snowy mountains, we became more and more excited to arrive at our destination and spend a long weekend in Salzburg, Austria.

Whiteout on train from Ljubljana, Slovenia to Salzburg, Austria
Whiteout on the train from Ljubljana to Salzburg.

Getting situated in Salzburg

We arrived into Salzburg Hauptbanhof (the main strain station). It offers some of the most picturesque views we’ve been treated to at a train station.

Train station, Salzburg, Austria
Just FYI, this was the day after we arrived. The day we arrived it was snowing quite heavily!

Salzburg Hbf is located a little far away from the Altstadt (the Old City, which is the most popular part of the city) but we weren’t staying there. To be kinder to our budget, we stayed on the other side of the river in the Neustadt (New City). Our hotel was only about a 15 minute walk from the train station, although honestly, it felt a little longer given the colder temperatures and falling snow! After getting to know the city a little better, we were happy to be staying in Neustadt. The neighborhood felt less touristy, more residential, and had some great restaurant options. Plus, down one street, we could see the alps peeking through.

Salzburg, Austria
We walked down this street quite often to see the view.

The Sound of Music and Mozart

So many tourists flock to Salzburg for two reasons: the Sound of Music and Mozart. While we have seen the movie and can appreciate good classical music, we did pretty much nothing related to either of those cultural phenomena. But we found it is still a really lovely city to visit and there was quite a bit to see and do to fill a long weekend in Salzburg.

Mozart statue, Salzburg, Austria
Visiting this statue in the aptly named Mozartplatz is one of two Mozart-related things we did. The other involved chocolate (see below).

Mirabell Palace and Garden

One of the loveliest places to visit in Salzburg is in the Neustadt:  Mirabell Palace and Garden. The garden is free. We spent a delightful morning strolling through the grounds (disclaimer… with quite a few other tourists). The the garden is beautifully manicured with flowers and trees and sculptures and there is a super view of the castle as well.

Mirabell Palace, Salzburg, Austria

Mirabell Palace, Salzburg, Austria

Mirabell Palace, Salzburg, Austria

The Salzach River

If you walk down the main street in the Neustadt you’ll be greeted with a fabulous view of the Altstadt and Hohensalzburg Castle and mountains, and then you’ll hit the Salzach River. When we got there we understood the other reason Salzburg is so popular with tourists – it’s really, really pretty.

Salzach River, Salzburg, Austria

Salzach River, Salzburg, Austria

Salzach River, Salzburg, Austria
Happy to be tourists there ourselves, we smiled and did what tourists do…

Salzburg Altstadt

As far as European Old Cities or Towns go, Salzburg’s Altstadt is up there in terms of loveliness. It is extremely well-maintained and pretty big. It’s a great combination of smaller, winding streets and bigger, stately squares (or Platzes as they’re called in German).

Residenzplatz, Salzburg, Austria
This view of the Altstadt from the castle shows off the city’s stately architecture.

The Residenzplatz is one such square – where an ornate fountain stands in the center, surrounded by big buildings.

Residenzplatz, Salzburg, Austria

Residenzbrunnen (fountain), Residenzplatz, Salzburg, Austria

Nearby, Hohensalzburg Castle towers over Kapitelplatz.

Hohensalzburg Castle, Salzburg, Austria

Sphaera sculpture, Kapitelplatz, Salzburg, Austria
The sculpture of a man standing on a big gold sphere in Kapitelplatz is ridiculously popular with tourists/Instagrammers.

Through a small street on the side of Kapitelplatz is St. Peter’s Church. The cemetery has hundreds of ornately decorated graves.

Petersfriedhof cemetery, Salzburg, Austria

Hohensalzburg Castle

The highlight of our time in Salzburg was visiting Hohensalzburg Castle. It’s a massively steep climb to get to the top, but luckily there’s our favorite form of transportation – the funicular! The funicular costs less if you take it after the castle is closed, and since we really just wanted to go up there for the views, we took advantage of that deal. You can take the funicular both ways, but as per usual, we opted to walk down.

The views from the top were truly breathtaking. On one side we saw the greener part of the city surrounded by the snow-capped mountains.

View from Hohensalzburg Castle, Salzburg, Austria

View from Hohensalzburg Castle, Salzburg, Austria

View from Hohensalzburg Castle, Salzburg, Austria

And on the other side are views of the main part of the city, especially lovely at the late hour in the afternoon that we visited.

View from Hohensalzburg Castle, Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg FC

To add to our list of Red Bull teams we’ve seen, we went to see Salzburg FC one night. It’s a pretty easy venue to get to (by train or bus) and the views of the mountains surrounding the city along the way make the trip worth it. One tip – get there a little early. We got there a little late and our seats had been taken and the crowd was already so into the match, it was useless trying to get to them. Although, we actually ended up getting slightly better seats in the end, so on second thought, maybe get there whenever you want.

Red Bull Salzburg
You can just see the snow-capped mountains peeking through the arena.

Red Bull Salzburg

Eats and drinks in Salzburg

Austrian food is pretty similar to German food, but their schnitzel is better. We ate and drank quite well during our long weekend in Salzburg.

  • As we’ve mentioned just a few times, the day we arrived in Salzburg it was snowing and pretty cold (especially compared to what we had gotten accustomed to). So we stuck close to home and dined at Fuxn, a newer brewery near our hotel. But we’re really happy it worked out that way. The food was very tasty and their house-brewed beer was quite good as well.

Dinner, Fuxn, Salzburg, Austria

Dinner, Fuxn, Salzburg, Austria

Black Forest Cake, Fuxn, Salzburg, Austria

  • If you search for “best schnitzel in Salzburg” (which, shocker, we did), one of the places you’ll find is Bärenwirt. We went there late-ish after the Salzburg FC match and were treated to enormous plates of food and refreshing pints of beer (German beer, but whatever). It’s on the outskirts of the Altstadt, but definitely walkable.

Wiener Schnitzel, Bärenwirt, Salzburg, Austria

Augustiner beer, Bärenwirt, Salzburg, Austria

  • We wanted to eat at another popular brewery in our neighborhood called Die Weisse, but it was all booked up and/or closed the nights we were there. It gets great reviews and looked like a really cool place with lots of little rooms, so if you want to eat there we’d recommend making a reservation in advance (a few days before if on a weekend).
  • We splurged on Sunday brunch at Cafe Wernbacher. It was pricey, but a nicely sized feast of breads and eggs and meats and cheeses and sweets. We stayed for a couple relaxing, delicious hours.
  • The cheapest place to buy the city’s ubiquitous chocolate/marzipan treat – Mozartkugeln (Mozartballs) – is the supermarket.

Saying Auf Wiedersehen

Saying goodbye to the beauty of Salzburg was rough. But we enjoyed another picturesque train ride on the way out to another one of our favorite cities… Munich!

View from train from Salzburg, Austria to Munich, Germany

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Long weekend in Salzburg, Austria


29 thoughts on “Long weekend in Salzburg, Austria

  1. thelifeofasolivagant says:

    Wow I really am jealous. I cut Austria out of my summer travels cause I wanted to limit the amount of places I was going so that I could truly see each country. Now I need to definitely get back that way to go here. SO beautiful.

  2. Kasey at babieswithbackpacks.com says:

    I love this post! Salzberg is one of my favorite cities but I haven’t been there since I was 18. I was already hoping to go back soon with my kids but this made me want to move up that timeline!! LOL

  3. Kasey at babieswithbackpacks.com says:

    And now I need to go back through and read other posts because we are planning to be in Slovenia next June =-D

  4. Melissa Douglas says:

    Your photos are stunning!
    I was actually travelling through Europe this Spring and I was debating whether or not to visit Austria (I was considering Vienna and Salzburg) but then I winded up changing route. This definitely assures me that I need to travel there at some point!

    • Sarah and Justin says:

      Thank you! And yes, I would agree if you can find your way back, then it’s definitely worth a visit. We’ve only been to Salzburg and Vienna, and know there’s so much more to check out in the beautiful country.

  5. Serena says:

    Salzburg sounds absolutely idyllic! And it’s great to hear the town is maintaining its gorgeous history well. You’ve made me want to visit… I was in Austria a few weeks ago but only had time for Vienna.

  6. Rianne says:

    I love Salzburg! I’ve visited this summer and also took the train from Slovenia. It’s such a scenic train ride, I loved coming out of the tunnel straight into the alps. Was on my camera all the time!

    Your pictures of the snow capped mountains look lovely, I bet that gives it a whole different dimension. Unfortunately I haven’t seen any snow in summer, in fact, it was super hot!

  7. Sasha says:

    I literally just left Salzburg three days ago and I agree, it’s so beautiful there. Though after seeing your photos of the snow capped mountains I think I need to return in the winter. I was so happy to find the mirabell gardens were free, such a pleasant surprise. To be fair you most likely saw most of the sound of music sights without even trying/knowing about it. I’ll definiteky be back to try all your restaurant recommendations too!

  8. xyuandbeyond says:

    I have always wanted to visit Austria I recall how my mother said it was her favourite place in all of Europe. My parents made a European tour over 40 years ago and she has never forgotten Austria and it was her fondest dream to return and explore the country further. I hope one day to do this for her since she never made it back there again.

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