The Hills ARE Alive
43 people found this review helpful
Famously reknowned as the setting for many scenes from The Sound Of Music film, the city of Salzburg has much more to offer than stunning scenery.
It is also a World Heritage Site for it's historic, beautiful city and hill fortress.
Austria itself is what England would have been like were it not for the Industrial Revolution and subsequent population explosions.
Any industry is well hidden, there are very few high rise buildings and there are no large cities.
The countryside is consequently green and predominantly tree covered from one end of the country to the other, yet also has spectacular and unspoilt mountain ranges.
It is like one big National Park.
The city itself sits on the River Salzach, with the old town largely to one side of it. Paved streets, pretty alleyways, ancient churches and public squares are dominated by the adjacent hilltop fortress of Hohensalzburg.
The relaxed feel of the numerous street cafes add to the general ambience. It is a very safe city to visit.
Like many European cities, it offers a city discount card which gives free admission to many museums, attractions and public transport. This is a true bargain and will save you money.
The attractions of this city are boundless and surprisingly good.
Sound of Music fans will be spellbound, but there is so much more to this fabulous city than that.
1. Buy a Salzburg Card.
2. The frequent No 2 bus gives a cheap and quick ride direct from the airport to the city centre.
3. Catch the 25 bus from the centre to Grodig (about 20 mins). Then take the cable car up the Untersberg mountain to just under 6000ft. There is a cafe and restaurant at the top. There are superb views of the surrounding mountains. (Transport and cable car free on Salzburg Card).
4. Visit Hitler's mountain residence at The Eagle's Nest (Kehlesteinhaus) which is over 6000ft up. Take the 'oldtimer' bus from the rail/bus station (6 euros) for the one hour ride to Berchtesgarden railway station. This is an old fashioned and restored autobus from which you can wave imperiously at staring and envious passersby. Change to the 838 bus on Buslane 1 at the station and alight at a place called Dokumentation (about 10 minutes). Board the official mountain tourbus. This then winds up a tortuous, single-track mountain road with tunnels and hairpins, to the base of the Eagle's Nest. There are fabulous views on the way up if you dare to open your eyes! A 400ft tunnel walk then follows before you enter the original brass lift up into the building itself at the top of the mountain. There is a cafe and walks at the top. Bear in mind the 'oldtimer' bus timetable for the return journey.
5. The Hohensalzburg Fortress dominates every view from the town. It is accessed by the funicular railway from the old town (free on the Salzburg Card) and you could easily spend a full day here, exploring the fortress and it's amazing interiors. Try the Panorama Terrace Restaurant here for great food at very good prices, the views are breath-taking.
6. Visit the Stiegl Brewery, which has brewed Marzan beer since 1492 and which claims to have the largest beer exhibition in Europe. It has the very interesting story of beer making in it's vaults and exhibitions about the company. Your visit is followed by a free litre of beer each and a free gift from the shop, which is a bottle of beer or a branded glass. There is a good restaurant on site too. Take the no. 1 or 10 bus from the centre and alight at the Brauhausstrasse stop (about ten mins). Follow the signs for a 200 yard walk to the brewery. Transport and entry free on the Salzburg Card.
7. Hellbrun Palace is on every 'must see' list. Take the no 25 bus direct to the palace (about 15 mins). Transport and entry free on the Salzburg Card. It was built in the early 17th century by Archbishop Sittikus, purely for his amusement and that of his guests. There is a free guided walk around the grounds which have water powered mechanical models and trick water sprays which shoot out at visitors from the most unexpected places, to the delight (and screams) of surprised children and adults alike. The grounds and lake are otherwise a tranquil place of beauty. The palace interiors are stunning.
8. Next to Hellbrun Palace and on the same bus route, is Salzburg Zoo. This is at the foot of Hellbrun Mountain which provides a rocky backdrop to many of the free range enclosures. There is a wide variety of animals and a petting section. Well worth a visit. (Transport and entry free on Salzburg Card).
9. The Mirabell Palace and grounds have free entry. They are in the centre to the rear of the Bristol Hotel. A relaxing place simply to sit and people watch. The complex planting arrangements, covered walkways and illuminated fountains are the subject of many photographs and there are occasional free band concerts near the fountain in the evenings.
10. As a change from the fairly limited Austrian cuisine. a great Italian Restaurant close to the centre is L'Osteria which is near the Bristol Hotel. It has great food at bargain prices. The staff are very friendly and English speaking. The restaurant is much bigger than it looks from the outside and has a really 'buzzy' atmosphere. Be warned that the pizzas are truly enormous and you can have a 'half and half' with no embarassment. This in one pizza with two halves of your choice for two people, for the price of just one. This comes as a massive half of pizza each. You have been warned!
11. Mozart's birthplace museum in Getreidegasse is worth a visit – free on the Salzburg Card. It is on the central street of the old town. Admire and photograph the many unusual metal shop signs which hang there.
12. Don't forget to take the 20 minute river cruise – free on the Salzburg Card, on the Stadt-Schiff-fahrt (City Cruse Line) This a a trip up-river on the Salzach. Ever been on a boat which does a waltz?
13. The Sound of Salzburg Show takes place in the Stieglkellar Dinner Theatre just below the fortress and is easily accessible on foot, turn left at the bottom of the funicular. Have the 3 or 4 course dinner option with 1 free drink. The meal is typically Austrian and of quite good quality. The show is chiefly songs from the Sound of Music, done well by a small troupe. There is a 7 euro refund on production of a Salzburg Card on the night. Don't forget to ask for the free CD as you enter, as the staff seem reluctant to publicise this freebie.
14. St. Peter's churchyard and catacombs at the foot of the funicular have beautiful cast iron tributes and feature a catacomb carved into the fortress rock face. This is accessed by uneven stone steps inside the cliff, from the graveyard and is free on the Salzburg Card.
15. BUY A SALZBURG CARD and enjoy!
43 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.