Dance to the Sound of Music: Salzburg

Salzburg, Austria - landscape view of the river, looking at the Salzburg Castle atop a hill, against a clear blue sky.


Be well-rested for long walks. 

If you are easily bored out by repetitive stuff (i.e. Mozart here and Mozart there), or are short of time, spend time on Makartsteg bridge (just off Mirabel Palace) and soak in the beautiful sight of Salzburg along the riverside.

Salzburg, Austria - landscape view of the river, looking at the Salzburg Castle atop a hill, against a clear blue sky.

First, some background.

N and I had wanted to take Grayline Sightseeing to go on a 1-day Salzburg sightseeing tour. He looked through the terms and condition, and rationed that the package only included bus ride and no entrance fees or meals etc. If we were to take the train to Salzburg on our own and go on a free-and-easy tour, we would have paid much less.

The general plan was to take an early train (9.30am) to Salzburg and be back after sunset (about 5pm). We would go to Mozartplatz, have some food, visit the Mirabel Castle, if time permits, buy Mozart balls, and then return to Munich.

So off we go, to the land of Mozart!

The toughest step is always the first one.

We were lost upon reaching the station, cos well, Mozartplatz wasn’t exactly outside the train station, and just like all old train stations, the roads around the station were complicated. i.e. If we were to take the wrong road, we would have to take a big detour to return to the right track.

Salzburg, Austria - Entrance to modern part of Salzburg train station.

Salzburg Train Station

The train lines were actually above the station, because they were elevated upon reaching the station. That said, the station was bright and well-lit.

Thankfully, the station was rather modern in design (unlike Munich Main Station), which meant that there was only 1 level of concourse below the lines, and the concourse cut across all the lines, and that meant there were only 2 exits for the station, one on each side of the railroad.

Theoretically, the side facing the direction of Mozartplatz is the nearest to Mozartplatz. The design of the roads were such that one would take a shorter walk if he were to exit from the other side; that side being the one where SPAR supermarket was.

After that, cross the road, turn left, walk straight, and when you reach the river, cross it, turn left and you will reach Mozartplatz in no time.

If in doubt, follow the crowd.

Enroute, we passed by the gardens of Mirabel Palace. To be frank, we stumbled upon it. We saw a beautiful, green park (it was winter, mind you!) just after Salzburg Congress building and walked in to do some exploring. Then we stumbled into the entrance of the garden. If we had followed the crowd and continued down the road, we would have passed by the front entrance of Mirabel Palace and missed the garden!

Salzburg is a beautiful city. The old town architecture was alluring, especially when viewed as they lined up along the banks of the river.

The old town charm was even more attractive across the river, what with the narrow streets, little alleyways and cobblestone walkways.

Unfortunately, of course, we visited on a Saturday and the town was SWARMING with people even at 11am.

Salzburg, Austria - View of Residenzplatz, from Salzburg Museum. It was so cold outside that we had to seek refuge in the museum!

Christmas Markets

There were a few small Christmas markets that were interconnected to form a larger market within the area in and around Salzburger Residenz.

The Salzburg Christmas markets were very much like the others in Munich, except that they served food that were slightly different from those found in Munich.

For example, they had Churros.

The Churros were unlike those found in Colmar; they were baked like waffles. The Churros were then placed on a plate, sprinkled with some cinnamon powder, with an optional side of Chocolate sauce.

If you ask me, I prefer those found in Colmar, because the sauce was free, and  because the sauce was placed in a cup (rather than a side dish), I got to dip the Churros deep deep deeeeep…

The next interesting food they served was baked potatoes (yay!). My encounter with Edinburgh baked potatoes were sort of a dismay, but well, that was not the case with Salzburg! We chose a shrimp sauce that was flavorful (and with real shrimps!). Eating a hot potato on a cold Salzburg winter’s day was the most gratifying thing to do!

We then had a Waffle in Chocolate cream. Well, by looking at the photo, the presentation was not that appealing (no thanks to the chocolate cream that looked like some excretion). However, the cream was not too sweet, and the waffle was crispy and soft. Similarly, the warm waffle also provided some comfort for the cold morning!

The snacks were sufficient for us to scrap our lunch plans and we decided to continue to shop around the markets… until we were so cold (the heat pack just did not work) that we just popped into Salzburg Museum that happened to be around the corner.

Salzburg, Austria - Café Tomaselli, where Mozart had coffee.
Reportedly the place where Mozart had coffee.

Salzburg Museum

I have visited the likes of Louvre and Metropolitan Museum of the Arts. I must say Salzburg Museum should only be visited when it got too cold outside.

They had interesting exhibits like ancient finds etc, but the presentation was confusing and repetitive at times. It was as though a master planner carved up the zones of the museum, assigned it to various sub-planners, and none of them bothered to corroborate their contents.

However, considering that the museum was set in a refurbished building, the modern interior and sometimes refreshing exhibits were commendable. There was one display where people have to open up doors to cabinets to read more about the event written outside (low-tech, but meaningful).

Salzburg, Austria - River view of Salzach, on the bridge Staatsbrucke, in between Mirabel Palace and Mozartplatz. Salzburg Castle is on the hill on the left side. Taken in winter, against clear blue sky.
The best views in Salzburg is on a bridge, overlooking the river.

There was another panorama museum at an annex to Salzburg Museum, and the ticket had to be bought separately.

There was basically just one anchor display: In a cylindrical room, an artist had drawn the city of Sazlburg onto the inner walls. Standing on a platform in the room, visitors can even use a pair of binoculars to scrutinise the details of the painting (yes, that’s how intricate the painting was!).

Salzburg, Austria - Road junction, on the way back to Salzburg station, after crossing the river from Mozartplatz.

Suburb of Salzburg

Mozartplatz was just outside of the museum, but other than the ice-skating rink (which was crowded and we had no interest in), the only highlight was the statue of Mozart (which was interestingly neglected by the tourists).

By then, it was about 3pm and we decided to head back to Munich.

Salzburg, Austria - Streetscape, after crossing the river from Mirabel Palace.
Linzer Gasse in essence.

We crossed the bridge to walk down Linzer Gasse, which was the Salzie equivalent of Orchard Road (but please manage your expectations). We passed by a demonstration advocating for Aleppo, dropped by a supermarket where we bought Mozart balls and potato chips, and then proceeded back to the train station.

The route we took was the one I said that was longer. It took us into the residential area of Salzburg, away from the rowdy tourist crowd. It was a long, but mind-settling walk through the low-rise apartment buildings that at times looked Nordic, at times Communist, and at times like Singapore in the 80s.

We missed the train, unfortunately, and had to wait for another hour for the next one. What to do? We shopped at the supermarket, picnicked our potato chips and did more photo-whoring. By the time we were on our way back to Munich, the sun had set and we were planning our dinner…

If you ask me, Salzburg is beautiful, especially on a winter’s day. However, will I return for a second visit? Perhaps not. The place was over run with tourist. Even though I suggested spending quality time on the bridge to take in the scenery, the tourists do not make for a conducive visit.

However, for a been-there-done-that, it is very much recommended.

Like My Review

If you find the tips helpful in deciding whether to visit this location, or what to do when you come here, do go to Tripadvisor, search for “Zenov” and like my review.

Or, if you are planning for a trip to Bavaria this coming winter, follow my blog, as I will post more about my adventures in Bavaria, and tips on getting the best out of your vacation!

Alternatively, read my entry on Plan a Christmas Wanderlust Trip in Bavaria, where I consolidated all my trip reports while travelling through Germany and Austria!

Salzburg, Austria - landscape view of the river, looking at the Salzburg Castle atop a hill, against a clear blue sky.

3 thoughts on “Dance to the Sound of Music: Salzburg”

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