I have never been to Salzburg. Simple as that. I’ve been to NYC, Washington DC, Paris, London, Athens, … and many many other beautiful places but for some reason I’ve never visited Austria’s 4th largest and probably the 2nd most famous city which was up until 3 years ago only a 3h train-ride away. Well, with two weeks of vacation to spent at will I planned two days in Salzburg, and it was well worth it :-)
And sorry for yet another travel post. I promise they will be in the minority in the coming months :-)
First of, getting a Salzburg Card is a good idea when visiting the city. With it you get free admission to most of the more famous tourist attractions. The card also includes a ticket for the public buses (sadly not the local trains) so getting to these sights isn’t any issue either.
Right after leaving the hotel I made my way through the city to the Fortress Hohensalzburg which thrones over the western parts of Salzburg.
Constructed in the 11th century [source] the fortress offers a stunning view over the whole city and the region with panorama terraces in every direction. There are also tours, exhibitions and restaurants but my personal highlight was the mulled wine-booth on the terrace facing the city :D
Here the tourist card had another advantage besides being able to ride the “Festungsbahn” for free: I could skip the ticket queues in both directions ;-)
On my way back to the hotel I stopped by the 17th century baroque cathedral of Salzburg which has a beautiful interior. Don’t forget to also visit the crypt which can be accessed by a stare case next to the main altar.
In the heart of the crypt there is even a small exhibition of shadow pays that’s kind of reminiscent of Halloween ;-)
After a good night’s sleep and checking out of the hotel I made my way to the Mönchsberg for which the SalzburgCard luckily also offers a free elevator ticket. The main attraction on this 540m tall mountain in the heart of the city is the newly built Museum der Moderne. Being not the greatest fan of modern arts I skipped this one but the building is definitely nice enough for an HDR shot :-)
The whole mountain also acts as an urban recreation area with a nice forest and the so-called Stadtalm (which also offers a restaurant I totally forgot to get back to after the walk but promise to visit the next time I’m in town (and leave the train station).
Salzburg Museum is situated at the Mozartplatz and should therefore be already on your route to Hohensalzburg castle anyway. It usually houses a number of exhibitions in parallel. Until March there is, for instance, one about art depicting the Hohen Tauern mountain range including photographs and paintings spanning at least 200 years.
As with the other sights I’ve mentioned admission is free if you have a SalzburgCard.
Another first was my stay at a Motel One. I had seen hotels of that chain time and again but never got a room before either due to another opportunity presenting itself or it being completely booked.
Another selling point this time was its location right on the east bank of the Salzach and it being very close to the train station. When I arrived I was pleasantly surprised about how modern, comfortable and large my room was. Motel Ones are not really comparable to the likes of Hilton or Holiday Inn (although my room here felt as modern as any Hilton I’ve ever stayed in) but I was still very happy with my hotel choice!
The breakfast was a bit disappointing, though, with no warm dishes and hot drinks only coming out of a machine but the view from my room’s window onto the Salzach more than made up for that :-)
All in all I’m pretty sure this won’t be my last stay at a one of these hotels. It seems like they are usually located very close to the local train station which makes them far more attractive to me than for instance the ibis budget hotels (the hotels formerly known as “Etap”). They definitely are more expensive but if there are no cheaper alternatives available, they are a very good second choice for me :-)