Salzburg is a bucket list destination — not just in Austria, but in the world! Thanks to its compact size, you can see the highlights in two breathtaking days full of picture-perfect moments.
Cafe Tomaselli was already a Salzburg mainstay in Mozart’s time. The composer who was born and raised in Salzburg actually used to frequent the 17th century coffee house and order an almond milk. It’s only appropriate that your stay in the city begins in Tomaselli’s ornate dining room with soft boiled eggs or one of their signature pastries.
Walk across Alter Marks square to Getreidegasse street, which is Salzburg’s iconic shopping mile and a great first stop to experience the hustle and bustle of Old Town. It’s a narrow, winding street with international designer and high street brands behind Baroque storefronts. One tradition that remains are the wrought-iron store signs that hang from the facades: even today’s retailers have to forge their logos in elegant black metal.
Once you arrive at house Nr. 9, it’s time to walk through the decorated stone portal and up to the second floor. You’re standing in the townhouse where Wolfgang Mozart was born and lived with his family until he turned 17. The Mozarts’ apartment was since turned into a museum that celebrates the great composer’s legacy and introduces visitors into his daily 18th century life. See the violin and clavichord that little Wolfgang used to teach himself music and even compose some of his early works.
Exit Getreidegasse street towards Mönchsberg mountain and sneak a peek at the Horse Pond, a beautifully decorated 17th century water basin, where the Prince Archbishop’s horses used to be washed an groomed.
Take the elevator from Anton-Neumayr square up to Mönchsberg mountain. Here, inside a modern concrete bungalow, restaurant m32 awaits with spectacular views over Old Town and an ambitious menu.
M32 belongs to the Museum der Moderne, a haven for contemporary art. Tour the museum for its brilliant permanent collection as well as impressive temporary exhibits. In the past, star artists like William Kentridge, Oskar Kokoschka, and Chuck Close have been on rotation.
After a walk past the greats of modern and contemporary art, take a gentle stroll along the Mönchsberg mountain’s tree-covered ridge. There are many scenic lookouts over the city and if you loop across the mountain you’ll even stumble upon several small city castles and a historic monastery. Meander for as long as you like before making your descent back into the city!
Restaurant Zum Fidelen Affen is exactly what you want after a long day of sight-seeing. It’s pretty but casual, has great food, and is located dead in the city center. Order Austrian classics, including a great Wiener Schnitzel with parsley potatoes.
Salzburg’s Mozarteum University attracts the brightest young musicians from all around the world to the city. Enjoy a showcase of their virtuosic talent at a concert inside the University’s vibrant campus buildings.
Start your second morning with another Salzburg institution: Cafe Bazar. This 20th century gem is just what an Austrian kaffeehaus should be: stocked with delicate pastries and illuminated by Art Nouveau chandeliers. The breakfast menu offers Austrian staples and plenty of hearty egg dishes.
Your first stop is nearby Mirabell Palace, one of Salzburg’s most iconic historic sights. The palace itself was built in 1606 by the city’s Prince Archbishop (for his illicit love Salome Alt). Its romantic setting attracts many brides and grooms to the city to tie the knot in its stunning Marble Hall. Take a tour of the state rooms and the perfectly manicured garden, which stretches out as a French Baroque masterpiece under Hohensalzburg Fortress. The flower-lined paths invite visitors to wander and snap pictures from one of the city’s most photogenic vantage points.
Fans of “The Sound of Music” will recognize Mirabell from the scene where Maria and the von Trapp children play in the garden’s Pegasus Fountain and sing “Do Re Mi.” Impromptu reenactments of this scene are encouraged, as long as you stay in key and don’t disturb other visitors.
Refuel in style at Hotel Sacher, one of the most iconic properties in Austria. The hotel’s terrace overlooks Salzach river and serves everything from the city’s finest sausages to the iconic Original Sacher-Torte, which melts in your mouth and soothes the soul.
If you’ve spent the last days staring up at Hohensalzburg Fortress, wondering what hides behind its mysterious stone walls, you’re in luck. After lunch, walk or take the cable car up the mountain to explore the stronghold from 1077 CE. The Fortress Museum shows exhibits on the lives of the Prince Archbishops who built Hohensalzburg and inhabited it for centuries. Tour their former apartments and banquet halls on the third floor, where original furniture evokes Salzburg’s economic and political power in the early 1500s. Hohensalzburg Fortress also affords some of the most stunning vistas over Salzburg. Take your time before the descent and soak in the Baroque city scape in all its glory.
Take a car or Bus Nr. 25 south of the city to Hellbrunn Palace, a “pleasure palace” of Prince Archbishop Markus Sittikus. The egg-yolk-yellow schloss might not be Austria’s most opulent, but the extravagant grounds that surround it hold an entertaining secret: a network of “trick fountains” was installed by Markus Sittikus and still runs today. Play in the water and watch as other visitors get surprised by fountains on the walking path. A water-powered miniature theater acts out the daily life of a small Baroque city - just like Salzburg.
Goldener Hirsch is one of the most historic inn-style hotels in the city — the oldest documents referencing it date back all the way to 1407. Aside from offering five-star accommodation to travelers, the hotel restaurant is also one of the best in the city, with classic Austrian food prepared to the highest standards.
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