Having visited Vienna and Graz in the East, and Innsbruck and Salzburg in the West, the latter is certainly my favourite.
Adam was surprised when I said this: for him, the imposing mountains surrounding Innsbruck swung it. I can’t deny that they are truly stunning and the wide, sweeping River Inn, along with the bright paintbox buildings, perfectly compliment the snow-topped peaks.
Despite this, there was just something about Salzburg. I don’t know whether it was the fact that we could eat and drink in an old monastery, or that we were walking in Maria Von Trapp’s footsteps, or just the sheer quantity of stunning buildings in such a small space, but here are some of my favourite things, in no particular order:
1. Bob’s Tours
I plan on doing a full review of this fantastically intimate tour at a later point, but for now enjoy this image of our wonderful tour guide- Rosa Maria- and our American companion recreating Julie Andrew’s ‘I Have Confidence’ routine. As well as throwing herself into everything with enthusiasm and passion, Rosa Maria also happily took photos for us and recounted personal stories and tales of her experiences both with the Hollywood movie and the real life story.
As I’ve already alluded to, this monastery dating back to 1621 was a hidden delight. Looking at it from the outside, you cannot imagine the cavernous interior that waits for you below. With several huge beer halls, an epic beer garden and an extensive food hall, this would be the perfect place to spend a sunny bank holiday Sunday.
3. Residenzplatz and around
This area is absolutely crammed full of amazing architecture and for that reason it’s one of my favourite spots. On our final day, before heading for our flight, we just sat here and people watched whilst listening to a violinist play beautifully.
On the Sunday, they had a lovely market, with one stall selling every type of pretzel under the sun! Heaven.
My hope is that next time we visit, we’ll have chance to take a ride on one of the horse-drawn carriages. Particularly as you can get a 25 minute trip for 4 for only 11 euros per person.
4. Mirabell Gardens
Aside from the sheer volume of tourists, this is a gorgeous spot to just sit and relax. It really is beautiful and amazingly maintained. I can certainly see why so many Austrians choose to get married here.
5. Around the River, particularly at Sunset.
This is somewhere else that I’d really like to spend more time and seems like a perfect picnicking spot in the Summer months. Grab a blanket, a couple of pretzels, some emmental cheese, and a cold beer (or radler [shandy] for me!)
6. The presence of traditional dress!
Whether it was the waiters in the beautiful Munich-style beer hall Stieglkeller, the beautiful dresses in the shop windows, or just the day to day people, I saw an amazing abundance of traditional dress in all of Austria. However, it seemed particularly abundant in Salzburg and the neighbouring towns and I have to say, I loved them! The dresses are stunning (I want one!) and even the men’s attire have the ability, when worn right, to look gorgeous!
7. The food!
The longer I spend in Austria, the more I come to adore their food: pretzels and other beautiful breads, fried cheeses, pumpkin seeds, delicious dumplings.
One of our restaurants of choice in Salzburg this year was Zwettlers, where I enjoyed an amazing potato and bacon soup for starter, cheese and spinach dumplings for main (which, whilst delicious, paled in comparison to Will’s amazing main!) and then we all shared an authentic ‘Salzburger Nockerl’ for dessert. Food, service and location all superb! A massive thumbs up from us.
Before becoming Vegetarian, Will’s favourite restaurant was Barenwirt, which also resided in Salzburg. But it is definitely a place for carnivores… and people with BIG appetites, as the portions are certainly generous.
For a more detailed review, head here.
8. The proximity to the Salzkammergut (‘Lake District’)
Who wouldn’t want to wake up within driving distance of these stunning views?
Reading an article today, I was thrilled to see Austria come out on top as the best country for Ex-Pats to relocate to, but I have to disagree with their selected city. For me, I could definitely imagine myself living in, or around, Salzburg.
I’ve even been working on my (limited) German.
So if anyone has any jobs going for a down-and-out English teacher, hit me up ;).