01 July 2011

Salzburg (and around)

This section includes Salzburg and a little about some day trips.

Busy Altstadt
Salzburg is the city of Mozart, a nice city in Austria.

Band at Mirabell gardens
How to get there
Salzburg has good connections with some cities such as Munich, Linz, Vienna and Innsbruck. Check the Austrian rail site OEBB (http://www.oebb.at/) for details. There's also an airport (http://www.salzburg-airport.com/en/) serving Salzburg.

Why might you want to visit Salzburg?
Salzburg is a truly beautiful city offering splendid architecture. Its location makes visiting the stunning Tyrolean Alps logistical and the green area, with lakes such as Wolfgangsee and Mondsee, is very close as well.

City mapping
Salzburg is not a very big place. It is divided by the river Salzach. The Altstadt (Old Town) occupies the south bank while the Hauptbahnhof (Central Train Station) is on the north bank.

Beautiful architecture in the Altstadt
Schloss Mirabell

 You can start in the Aldstadt (Old     town) by roaming around the streets  seeing some great squares like Mozartplatz.  It's fun to roam around and the architecture is delightful. My personal recommendation is to reach the entrance of the Altstadt and just lose your map; go where your instinct takes you. You won't be disappointed  You can take a funicular to Festung Hohensalzburg , a fortress above the Old Town. When you're up there, you get bird's eye views of the Old Town and beyond--a great way to see the landmarks of the city. You can take a guided tour (with audioguides) to explore inside the fortress (this is included in the admission fee if you buy the full ticket) and you can see the dungeons, torture chambers etc.
View from te fortress

Statue of Mozart at Mozartplatz

On the opposite bank of the river
is the Schloss Mirabell 
(Mirabell Palace) and the Mirabell gardens, some
lovely, picturesque gardens
where part of the movie The
Sound of Music was shot. Sometimes, there are musicians performing here in a band.

We stayed in Hotel Mozart , around a 20-min walk to the Hauptbahnhof and a 15 min walk to the Altstadt. It's a nice hotel with fair rooms and fine staff. The rooms lack A/C though, which could become a necessity in summer. http://www.hotel-mozart.at/

Hotel Mozart
Hotel review: Hotel Mozart

Rooms- 7/10 Rooms were fine and had all the usual mod-cons. It did get warm though; we went in June.
Staff- 7/10 The staff were mostly fine including the receptionist, who however seemed to have gotten pretty pissed once because we called him twice one evening for towels.
Location- 7/10 A 20 minute walk each from the Hauptbahnhof (main railway station) and the Altstadt (Old Town). However it is very close to Mirabell Gardens and Palace besides there are many some restaurants nearby.
Breakfast- 8/10 Nice breakfast each morning. There were also nice cakes in the buffet spread. It cost us 5 EUR extra.
Total- 29/40 Mozart is a fine hotel in Salzburg. A bit far from the main touristy areas but Salzburg is a small city so it shouldn't really matter much.

Overall: Recommended

Try the Italian restaurant Spaghetti and Co in the Old Town, near the northern peripheral road (near Mozart Geburthaus). They serve good pizzas.
There is a good cafe at Mozartplatz serving nice cakes.

Mirabell gardens and palace

 Some day-trips
 Here is a possible half-day trip:
 (We took it on a private tour though)
 Go to St Gilgen, a very picturesque town by the Woolfgangsee, Lake  Wolfgang. Take a ferry to St Wolfgang (40 min), another nice town on  the banks of the same lake. Explore the lovely church of the town (no pictures allowed in the interior). Then go to Mondsee, another lakeside town, with a lovely church. The town is nice for shopping and roaming around too.

St Gilgen as seen from the ferry
Mozart's house in St Gilgen

cathedral at St Wolfgang

Church at Mondsee

Other day trips we did were Innsbruck and Linz. These were done independently using trains.

Innsbruck's Altstadt with the backdrop
Some info about Innsbruck:
The Hauptbahnhof is south-east of the Aldstadt. It takes around 20 min to walk to the Aldstadt. Once there, you can see the picturesque architecture and some amazing views of the mountains.

view of Innsbruck from the Innsbruck Nordkette train

view from atop the mountain

Feel the urge to go up there? It's not too difficult. Just take the escalator down from near the Congress and pay 27 euros pp to the person at the ticket counter. Then take the train up to a mountain. The train would stop twice but don't get down. At the next stop, take a special kind of lift to the top. You get great views. There's a buffet up there too. The place is called Innsbruck Nordkette.

One of the many works at Swarovski Crystal Empire
Swarovski Crystal Empire
This is located at the village of Wattens, some 25-35 km from Innsbruck. The center has some amazing works etc with crystal, like a crystal room where you feel totally out of orientation and some crystal calligraphy etc. Of course, they also have a shop.
To get there, you can take a bus which stops at Wattens (opposite Swarovski; bound to Schwaz). You can take a taxi from Innsbruck to Swarovski Crystal Empire but it could be extremely hard to find a taxi to get back to Innsbruck, and a bus may be your only option. The bus station is in the town of Wattens and there is a path from the Swarovski Crystal Empire to the bus station; you do not have to walk on the highway to reach Wattens.

the garden



Walk toward an elegant square called Hauptplatz. If you're coming from the railway station, you'll come across a small garden and then a nice shopping street (Landstrasse) which would lead towards Hauptplatz. As soon as you cross the river is the Ars Electronica Center.

Tourist Friendliness
Many people in shops, restaurants, hotels, shops etc speak English, but you may want to try a few phrases of German!
The Altstadt is not very big and all the squares and street names have signs, even if they are a little difficult to read.
In the Altstadt, mostly only taxis are allowed entry in to the streets but most areas are pedestrianised.

Salzburg is a very safe city. In many areas of the center, even walking around midnight shouldn't be a problem- with some general precautions. 

More Pictures

Inside Salzburg's Dom (Cathedral)

A church in Salzburg, near the Mirabell Palace

Yet another beautiful square...

A classic shot: the Mirabell Gardens, the Cathedral and the fortress


Two days
On the first day visit the Altstadt (Old Town) and roam around aimlessly for a while, then go to the Festung Hohensalzburg fortress. In the evening go to Mirabell Palace and gardens and spend some time roaming around that area. Return to the Altstadt on the second day to catch what you missed. 

Three or more days
Follow the above. On the additional days, you have chances for day trips, such as Innsbruck, Linz, the lake area or a salt mine.

Last visit- Apr 2012
No of visits- 2
First visit- Jun 2011

1 comment:

brian mcquillan said...

Salzburg is a truly beautiful city offering splendid architecture. thanks for posting your blog,nice post & informative.