We flew into Salzburg as a cheap alternative to flying into Munich for Octoberfest, so we only had about a day to explore this city. The weather called for rain so we put on our best waterproof shoes and wandered around!
What to do
After taking a quick bus ride from the airport into the city center, we walked along the riverbank, taking in all of the sights this city had to offer.
We wandered to the Mirabell Gardens, and although quite full of tourists, the colorful flowers stood out on such a grey day, with the castle looming high in the background.
Every hour or so there are beautiful bells ringing from every church, echoing off the mountains, sounding all over the valley. We were reminded of the calls to prayer ringing from mosques when we visited Morocco – quite a beautiful sound to be heard:
As our hostel was located on top of a mountain, we enjoyed strolling through the neaby nature paths, seeing the same city we saw hours earlier on the riverside from above. The trees were full of amazing growth, and the views just could not be beat. Salzburg is a very picturesque, beautiful European city.
My favorite attraction (which is saying something, since I don’t drink much beer) was our visit to Augustine Bräustubl, a local beer hall. We had never seen anything like it – unlike the tiny pubs of London, this involved descending several flights of stairs, making our way through massive halls with towering ceilings and several sets of doors, passing food vendors, and seeing different rooms crowded with rows of tables with enough seating for hundreds.
We took a seat out back in the garden (along with what seemed like the entire city) and had a half liter (or 3). One liter was only €6.10, and at that price we would be losing money by not drinking it! As there is only one kind of beer served, you wait in line, pay for your beer, grab an appropriately sized gray ceramic mug, and head to the man with the keg. There, you hand him your receipt and mugs, and he fills up your massive jugs with beer. You can reuse the same mug all night, which is a brilliant idea to save the environment.
We snacked on pretzels and apple strudel to compliment our beers, and had good conversation as the sun set before walking along the hillside path, seeing the city streets lit up, creating mazes for your eyes.
We arrived at our accommodation in perfect timing, before it started POURING rain. It thunderstormed all night and did not let up in the morning. After breakfast at our hostel, we grabbed our bags and headed to the city center for our last morning.
The rainy weather was a perfect excuse to hit up all of the shops in town. There are many Christmas shops, and we made sure to pick up an ornament for our tree. We checked out a few drindl stores before heading to the train station.
We did not have enough time to see the castle, but would love to come back to this city in the winter when it is covered in snow, so will look forward to hiking another hill in the future.
Where to stay
Sticker shock of Airbnbs in Salzburg led us to looking at hostels. We stayed at Stadtalm, and would definitely stay there if we visited again.
Although the reviews warn you of this, it is literally a hike to arrive at the hostel up hundreds of stairs. On the bright side, this rewards you with the most amazing views of the city. In addition, the staff is restaurant staff first, hostel staff second, so if you arrive at a busy time, expect to wait a bit until the sever can assist you. The rooms are tidy and the €20 price tag includes a basic [cold cuts and cheese] breakfast in the restaurant below, which is always a bonus for budget travelers.
What to eat
Although we don’t remember the particular restaurants we chose, all of these things were on our list of things we ate:
- Schnitzel – meat pounded thin, breaded, and fried. Traditionally veal, but we had turkey
- Sourkraut – fermented cabbage
- Pretzels – some as big as your head!
- Apfelschorle – Apple soda, or apple juice mixed with sparkling water
- Applestrudel – we may have had more than one
This city was a great place to spend 24 hours, although perhaps two days would have been a better amount of time to visit.