The first time I fell in love with Salzburg, I was 5 years old. I’ll never forget how a city could feel so majestic and intimate at the same time, nestled among the mountain peaks and presiding over the river Saltz. Perhaps it helped that my great grandparents heralded from the municipality or that I fond memories of the sound of music. When I was five, it was all about their hot chocolate and pastries. Nowadays, it’s their cheese stuffed pickled sweet peppers and pretzels. However you slice it, Salzburg will enchant you.
Airport: Munich Airport
Yes, we actually flew in to Munich (which is the best, most charming small and efficient airports in the universe).
From there you catch the S-Bahn into the city to the Hauptbahnof – which takes roughly 30-40 minutes). Trains run hourly from Munich to Salzburg and tickets are about $20.00 one way. You can pick your lunch from one the kiosks in the station, hop on the train and you’re in Salzburg in roughly an hour.
Where we stayed: Hotel & Villa Auersperg
Auerspergstraße 61, Schallmoos, 5020 Salzburg
Family-run for three generations, this was one of my favorite boutique hotels in Europe, and easily within the top three. Please don’t make me choose the top three though – we’ve had so many wonderful stays.
I digress. Tip of the cap to booking.com for this inspired choice.The hotel is about a 15 minute walk from the train station, in a quiet residential area. Don’t be fooled on that location description. The Mirabell gardens are a short walk and a ten minute stroll down the Linzergasse will lead you straight into the Old City.
- The room was well situated, small and chic in the villa portion of the hotel, complete with a balcony looking out on the street. Small as in cozy, not cramped – I should add.This may sound odd, but Steve loved the radio ipod dock they provided and listening to German radio every morning.
- The staff were incredible- onhand with maps, restaurant suggestions and any possible assistance we could’ve needed and or wanted.
- The hotel is well known for using local products and specializing in organic selections in the breakfast selection as well as bar menu. They also are known for their gluten free options at breakfast. Have I mentioned their breakfast? They also offered a hotel “newspaper” at every breakfast table giving you the weather forecast as well as local events scheduled that day (farmers markets and concerts – things that the locals know about and that tourists often miss).
- Spa, sauna and steam room onsite.
Where we ate:
Linzer Gasse 47, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
The food was meh and it appears to be one of the few places left in Europe where smoking is still allowed inside. That being said, they had quite the wine list for sampling. It’s worth a quick stop.
Things to do:
Beware that this is seasonal and the caves are closed in the winter. But I cannot recommend this highly enough. We booked our trip through viator, one of my other favorite booking tools that specializes in location specific tours.
Four notes you need to be aware of prior to booking:
- It is a hike up there. Wear sensible shoes and be prepared for a lot of uphill walking. The bonus? It’s totally worth it.
- It is cold in the caves, no matter the temperature outside. Bring gloves, scarf, hat and dress in layers. You can always take some off once you get out of the caves.
- Photography is strictly prohibited in the caves and the guides are very serious about calling you out if violate the rules (as one person in our group did).
- Our guide Ingo was fantastic – and I am forever indebted to him for recommending the apple strudel in the cafe at the summit.
The Old City… including but not limited to:
Hohensalzburg Fortress (note- funicular tickets are roundtrip)
Green & Schranne markets
Articles I read before we went: