As we made our way into Austria, our first stop was the city of Salzburg. Usually, we're not that fond of big or busy cities and when travelling by camper-van we tend to stick to the country-side, but we couldn't help but fall in love with the beauty of Salzburg. So what makes Salzburg so special and captivating?
For many people, "The Sound of Music" springs to mind when they think of Austria. The city of Salzburg, the setting place for the movie, is lovely to visit and explore. If you're particularly interested there's even a themed tour that focuses on points of interest from the movie. This wondrous city has many treasures; from baroque churches, squares, fountains to various places dedicated to Mozart who was born in this town. If you get the opportunity do not miss the International Festival, usually running from July to August, which is a great celebration of music.
Where To Park Your Camper When Visiting Salzburg
We found that the Reisemobil Stellplatz Salzburg was the perfect location for us to park our camper in Salzburg, both in terms of its location and affordable price. There is no shortage of Salzburg accommodation of the hotel and B&B variety but if you travel by camper you have far fewer options! The Reisemobil Stellplatz Salzburg is easy to reach without having to navigate through the city traffic, yet only 6km from the city centre. We chose to cycle into the city from the camper area, but there are also two bus stops just outside the camper area where you can hop on the local bus for the short distance into Salzburg. The camper area itself is very neat and simple, spacious enough for a city camper area, clean and well run with friendly staff. If you're interested in what it cost us to Campervan around Europe for 4 months, then head over to our Budget Report section to read our Europe Campervan Budget Report article.
The Best Way To Explore Salzburg
An excellent way to get a feel for the city is to book a Hop-On-Hop-Off Salzburg City Tour from GetYourGuide. Once you have an idea of the layout of the city and which areas you want to spend more time exploring, you can easily walk or cycle all around the city. We cycled from our camper area to Makartsteg Bridge, which is famously full of "love locks". We left our bicycles locked nearby alongside the river to explore the city on foot for the day. As we have done in other cities throughout Europe, we really enjoyed making use of Rick Steves' Audio Tour to provide us with information as we carried out our own Walking Tour of Salzburg. Of course, you could also join a Guided Walking Tour. No matter how you choose to explore Salzburg, consider getting yourself a Salzburg Card. This offers you free and unlimited use of public transportation as well as entry to numerous sights and attractions. If you plan on visiting most of the tourist sites and attractions, this can save you a fair amount.
Here Are A Few Of "My Favourite Things" About Salzburg
If you're in any way a fan of the movie "The Sound Of Music", then you will absolutely love visiting Salzburg and we bet you won't be able to stop yourself from making silly references to the movie and singing out loud every now and then! If you're particularly interested in the making of the movie, then you may want to consider booking an Original Sound of Music Tour. Otherwise, you can just make your own tour as we did. Feel free to watch our YouTube video to laugh at Lisa's singing and performing all around the sights of Salzburg!
Top Must-See Sights Of Salzburg
These spots are popular for a very good reason and although you might be amongst many other tourists when visiting, we think these sights simply shouldn't be missed.
Mirabell Gardens and Schloss Mirabell - This elaborate palace and even more beautiful palace grounds are the home to many Sound of Music memories. You do need to pay to enter the Mirabell Palace, but you are free to enter and walk around the stunning and well-manicured Mirabell Gardens. The Palace was built in 1606 and is a cultural heritage monument. The garden offers some great views, especially of its symmetrical design from the Pegasus Fountain. It also has hedge mazes and many other themed gardens.
Festung Hohensalzburg - The Salzburg Fortress is both impressive and imposing as it sits dominating the mountaintop. As budget travellers, we're not entirely convinced that the steep entrance fee is worthwhile, so feel free to skip going inside if you're travelling on a tight budget. But that doesn't mean you can't still appreciate it's grandeur!
Festungsbahn Salzburg - It's good fun to ride the Funicular up to the top of the hill and to reach the Hohensalzburg Fortress. However, if you prefer to save that money for a snack and would rather get some exercise, skip the mountain cable car and walk to the top of the hill instead - it is a steep walk, but we were happy with our decision to walk as it gives you more time to take in the stunning scenery!
Getreidegasse - The most popular tourist street in Salzburg, the Getreidegasse stretches through the Old Town Area forming a Picturesque old shopping lane with characteristic wrought-iron signs denoting the various businesses below. You won't be alone here and with the number of tourists in peak season, we found it far from peaceful, but it was fun to stroll through the streets and imagine what it may once have been like!
Salzburg Cathedral - This Baroque Cathedral is located in an enclosed square next to the Salzburg Residenzplatz and St. Peter’s Abbey. The Cathedral has been demolished and rebuilt several times since it was initially built in 774.
Taste Sachertorte & Mozartkognel - We don't need much excuse to try the local delicacies of new places that we visit. Salzburg's two specialities are Sachertorte and Mozartkognel which meant we had to try both! You'll have to try for yourself, but we unanimously agreed that Mozartkognel was the winner and we promptly had to have a few more just to be certain!
The Secret Spots Of Salzburg
Even in the peak of the August tourist season, we managed to find a few stunning hidden locations where we could enjoy the beauty of Salzburg all by ourselves. Even more surprising to us was that these were all areas that are completely free to visit!
Steingasse - This historic cobblestoned lane is one of the oldest streets on the right-hand side of the Salzburg historic district. It runs parallel to the Salzach River and at the foot of the Kapuzinerberg. Its medieval charm, with trendy pubs, remains a nearly tourist-free part of old Salzburg and is a great place to escape the tourist frenzy.
Richterhöhe, Mönchsberg - You can walk all the way to this stunning viewpoint without having to pay the Hohensalzburg Fortress entrance fee. Make sure to appreciate the architecture of the Salzburg Fortress on the mountaintop from the outside on your way up and then stop to enjoy the views out over the city once you reach the top.
Kapuzinerkirche - For one of the best views over the city, walk all the way up to the top of the hill to this monastery and admire the views out over the river.
If you have your own transport you can easily make a day-trip to the outskirts of Salzburg to visit the following popular destinations:
Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves in Werfen (30-minute drive south of Salzburg) is considered to be one of the largest ice cave complexes in the world and even during the hot summer months, can be cold inside the underground lair. Using headlamps, visitors are taken into the depths of the caves to the sight of amazing ice structures which creates a wonderfully unique atmosphere.
Explore Salzwelten - one of the oldest salt caves in the world in Hallein (30-minute drive south of Salzburg). A tour of the will take visitors underground and includes a train ride, a boat ride and a trek. A small train takes visitors to the depth of the mine and then slides down a long wooden slide, just like miners did in the old days to learn about how salt has been mined for over 7,000 years. Underground, visitors will actually cross the border into Germany