Austria’s Salzkammergut lake district is where the “the hills are alive,” and you’re surrounded by the scenic wonder that has enthralled nature lovers from Emperor Franz Josef to Julie Andrews. This is Sound of Music country. Idyllic and majestic, it’s a gentle land of lakes, refined with forested mountains, and storybook villages rich in hiking and biking opportunities.
To get from Vienna (Wien) to Salzburg, we took the Westbahn private train from the Wien Westbahnhof station. Tickets can be purchased on the train and you just need to find the right platform and train. Remember that the state run trains OBB also may use the same platform so you need to check that you are getting on the right train. In our case the timings on the Westbahn worked better for us but you can check on the internet which works better for you. I also thought that the Westbahn website seemed to be a little easier to use than the OBB site.
Westbahn rail site: https://westbahn.at/en
Austrian rail site: http://www.oebb.at/en/
Where we stayed:
Hotel-Pension Bloberger Hof
Hammerauer Straße 4 5020 Salzburg, Austria +43 662 830227
The bus stop providing direct connections into the centre (line 21) is 100 metres away from the Bloberger Hof. The room we got despite booking almost a year ahead was tiny and the shower was so tiny that a person cannot turn when standing in it and if you are a big person, you could not possibly fit into the shower. But overall the place was clean and was okay for 2 nights. Carry and use mosquito repellant since this hotel is in the countryside and that really is its charm. Again other folks may find it more convenient to stay in Salzburg city itself.
Attractions and Tours in Salzburg:
In Salzburg you can choose to visit sights on your own or in the city you will see stands with folks selling various tour tickets. Alternatively your hotel will be able to help you get tour tickets.
Sound of Music tour: When in Salzburg, how can we not experience the Sound of Music tour. You can choose to do the tour with Bob (mini-bus with fewer people) or Panorama tours (which is a big bus with 50 people – 9.30 am or 2 pm for 4 hours) We opted for the smaller group tour and enjoyed this a lot since it is one of our all time favorite movies. It’s really fun to see the gazebo where the sixteen going on seventeen song was filmed and other sites such as the lake and mansion seen in the movie.
We also enjoyed the Bavarian mountains tour by Panorama at 2 pm for 4 hours. We really loved the beautiful Austrian countryside and hills with idyllic scenery.
If time permits and weather is clear go to Hallstatt – two hours southeast of Salzburg to Salzkammergut lake. The tiny train station is across Lake Hallstatt from the post card-pretty town by the same name. Stefanie (a boat) meets each arriving train and glides scenically across the lake into town. I wish we had more time to explore the countryside in Austria but perhaps on another visit.
Other sites to visit include:-
Salzburg Fortress (Festung Hohensalzburg). You can dine with a panoramic view of the city at the restaurant at the summit of Hohensalzburg Fortress . The funicular is a fast and convenient way to get up to the fortress and back down to the Old City.
Salzburg Cathedral: Majestic and spiritual, be sure to visit as early as possible to avoid crowds. If you are in town on a Sunday, the 10 am Sunday mass is beautiful per reports.
Old Town and Mirabell Gardens with the steps where the ‘Do Re Mi’ song was filmed. From the beautifully designed gardens you can see the cathedral and fortress.
Those coming by train can deposit their luggage in a locker at the Central Train Station if needed and take a bus or taxi or walk to the historic city center. The short walk along the Salzach River takes about twenty minutes and is a wonderful way to experience Salzburg.
If arriving in Salzburg around noon, you can join the popular guided tour starting at 12:15 or 2:00. The walk through Salzburg’s Old City takes between 60 and 90 minutes and sets out from Mozart Square. No booking is necessary.
Other attractions in Salzburg include the Great Festival Hall, St. Peter’s churchyard, the Domplatz, and Mozart’s birthplace in the charming Getreidegasse.
Grünmarkt, is a local market which is right in front of the Kollegienkirche (University Church), where you can get pastries and other knick knacks too. “Salzburger Heimatwerk” is a store with Austrian handicrafts.
Restaurants in Salzburg
- You will find sausage stands for inexpensive sandwich options in several places.
- Saran Essbar – we had Indian food here. Judengasse 10 | Altstadt / Mönschberg
- Toskana Cafeteria Mensa (closed Sat- Sun) inexpensive and popular with students in old town behind the residenze in courtyard opposite Sigmund -Haffnergasse 16
- Fingerlos – towards the train station, on the street of Franz Joseph #9. Known for its passion-fruit cake. You can also get brunch or regular midday meals, but their desserts are definitely the best. Closed monday.
- Alter Fuchs: Linzer Gasse 47-49, Salzburg 5020
- Spicy Spices (vegetarian)
- Wolf-Dietrich-Strasse 1, Salzburg 5020, Austria
- Schatz konditorei – café with delicious cakes, strudels etc
Salzburg is one of Europe’s most charming cities I think. And there is so much beautiful countryside all around it that this is a place I would actually love to live in instead of visit.