Welcome to Salzburg
If a child was given the best Hornby railway set in the world, and several days to arrange it, they’d never come up with anything quite so charming as Salzburg.
Its toytown beauty makes any visitor feel as if they’ve strayed onto a chocolate box lid; with its rolling mountains, the famous Salzbach river a soft jade green- locals say it changes colour when it rains- and little onion-domed churches, alongside cosy restaurants and medieval palaces.
No wonder Maria Von Trapp wanted to escape the convent and skip through the town squares, singing. All of Salzburg is in love with music; jazz, classical, opera... the birthplace of Mozart, there are concerts every night of the year, a festival every January, and in Summer, luminaries of the classical and jazz worlds gather for the two-month Salzburg Festival, when the streets and squares vibrate with melodies. Even when briefly silent, the Salzburg air is like the distillation of a mountain spring, as cool and clear as new-formed ice.
Hotel Sacher Salzburg
The right bank of the Salzach River offers better value for money than the charming but tourist-friendly Old Town. Around Linzerstrasse and Steingasse, restaurants are good but affordable.
Don’t ask for tap water in restaurants- you will be charged, as it’s considered rude. Ask for still mineral water or "Soda Zitron" -carbonated water with lemon juice.
Take a walk around the little cemetery behind the Festival Hall. Ancient and odd, the tombstones are carved into astonishingly graphic depictions of death, yet they are surrounded by profusions of beautiful flowers. It’s a fascinating place for a stroll.
Be respectful- Salzburg is old fashioned and expects good manners. Brash tourist outfits, excessive loudness and any other antisocial behaviour are not viewed kindly.
Be prepared for the truth about the Von Trapps- the film took several liberties. In fact, the real family left in 1938, when all the children were grown up, and they took a train to Italy from the station- there was no Alpine escape. Ironically, the film’s final scene was filmed close to Hitler’s Summer residence…
Take a boat down the river, or a horse and carriage ride- you’ll get 25 minutes; sightseeing around the Old Town, and both are highly enjoyable, if touristy.
The train station is in the ‘new town’ and has a bus station directly outside.
You can hire a bike by the station from Top Bike (06272-46 56) for about €15 a day.