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Our brief guide on what to do to enjoy 2 perfect days in Salzburg, Austria.
Salzburg is one of the lesser-known cities in Austria but is, quite arguably, the most beautiful. The city may be better known for its affiliation with Mozart (you’ll even see his face on chocolate wrappers), he having been born here, but Salzburg has many more secrets to unearth than just 18th century composers.
Befitting a post-breakfast stroll, Petersfriedhof is described as a ‘cemetery to die for’. While you’re in that neck of the woods, the 700-year old St. Peter’s Bakery is worth a visit if you happened to skip breakfast. The medieval and imposing figure of Hohensalzburg Fortress is a visible distance away, reachable with an energetic climb. Views from the top are as impressive as the 1,000 year-old fortress itself.
A recent addition to the city and yet to be added to tourist’s guidebooks is the opportunity for a cruise down the river Salzach. Cruises include a 40-minute journey providing different perspectives of the city and surrounding alps, while 90-minute tours visit familiar scenes from the film The Sound of Music. Afterwards, it might be a good idea to visit what is widely known as the best beer house in town. Augustiner Braustubl is a traditional tavern taking the appearance of an old monastery (many have confused it as such). Once you have selected your beer stein and filled it with nothing but, well, Austrian beer, you’ll also find available an array of food to gorge on for a late lunch. Definitely one for the beer lovers.
Very much off the beaten track and not at all true to its translated name, Bad Gastein possesses not only a view of the alps and the Gastein valley, but ample comfort food too. Catching the chair lift up to the viewpoint, one can take in the views while dining on a hearty alpine cheese fondue. Once more, neighbouring ski runs provide the means to take a toboggan back down the mountain, if the time of year is right.
Café Bazar is one of the two reputable cafes in Salzburg, though Bazar has more its share of locals than tourists. Here’s where you’re most likely to see intellectuals, artists, and politicians strategising or philosophising over a strudel and a coffee. The other side of the canal you’ll notice the Cathedral in which Mozart was baptised. It might be a little cosier than other cathedrals, but having been founded in the 8th century, it is one of Europe’s oldest.
It’s probably high time for a peruse around Getreidegasse. The cobbled street, not far from the river, is home to many quaint traditional shops selling authentic handmade items like hats, puppets, schnapps, and jewellery. In other words, the sort of things you don’t need, but would be quite nice to have.
Next up is Mirabell Palace. Even if it’s a foggy afternoon or a wet November night, the gardens at Mirabell never lose their beauty. Sweeping, grandiose flower arrangements do well to complement the views of the castle sitting on top of its mountain in the distance.
Once you’ve become peckish, the Stieglkeller serves up some impressive-looking dishes for a mid-range restaurant. While the food hall is spacious and comfortable, the food is best enjoyed in the summer when one can admire views of the city below. If one is keen to soak up some local beer as well as some atmosphere after dinner, then both O’Malley’s and Die Weisse are good options. However, Salzburg, as you will discover, is not exactly short on its pubs and breweries.
Also read: 2 Perfect Days: What to Do in Vienna