Our Favorite Cities – Salzburg
By: Laura Falk
Salzburg…the birthplace of Mozart and filming location of The Sound of Music. I’m not a big classical music fan, but I am a huge fan of The Sound Of Music, which is basically why my family went to Salzburg. We arrived on a Friday afternoon and left late on Sunday. Doesn’t seem like a lot of time, right? Wrong! Salzburg is a very compact city and a weekend is plenty of time to enjoy Salzburg. Seriously, trust me! We had our 3 year old son with us, so I know it can be done without being rushed. Plus, if you say in the Old Town, you can stay right in the middle of the sights.
There are two main parts of the city: The Old Town and The New Town, which are separated by the River Salzach. But don’t worry, there are a couple different bridges that you can use to walk across. Walking the city is incredibly easy! There are public busses that you can use, but walking is more enjoyable. Many of the sights are located very close to one another. Majority of the historical sights, and Sound of Music sights, are located in the Old Town. There were several websites that I utilized to find out the different filming locations. Or, you can use The Sound of Music Hop On Hop Off bus. We didn’t use that as we went on the Salzburg Panorama Tours, which I highly recommend. Not only does this tour show you the Sound of Music filming locations around Old Town Salzburg, but it also takes you outside of town and up into the Lake District so you can see St. Gilgen and Monsee, as well as the Leopoldskorn and Hellbrunn Palaces. Here is the website for the Original Sound of Music Tour offered by Panorama Tours. We really enjoyed this tour, as did our 3 year old son who even got caught up in singing. Yes, there is singing on the tour bus.
As mentioned before, the city is broken into 2 parts, Old Town and New Town. The only real major sight in the New Town is the Mirabell Gardens, which is a definite must. There you can see the Pegasus fountain in which the Von Trapp children and Maria marched around, frolick through the vine maze, and hop on the stairs made famous at the end of “Do – Re – Mi”. It is a beautifully landscaped garden which offers a great view of the Hohensalzburg Fortress in the background. If there is one thing to check out in the New Town, it is definitely the Mirabell Gardens.
In the old town, the major sights include: Fortress Hohensalzburg, Sift Nonnberg, Saint Peter Cemetery, Residenzplatz, Mozartplatz, and Mozart’s Geburtshaus (Mozart’s birthplace). All of these sights are very close to one another and are very easy to walk to. Fortress Hohensalzburg is on the top of the cliff above Salzburg, but you don’t have to walk all the way up there….there’s a tram that will take you! The sight is beautiful from Fortress Hohensalzburg, so please make the trek up there. Our family walked down after we were done because I really wanted to see the Sift Nonnberg (Abbey where Maria actually lived and is featured in The Sound of Music). You cannot go inside of the Abbey, but you can take photos on both sides of the gate as pictured in the movie. I will warn you, the walk down from Fortress Hohensalzburg was STEEP, so please be careful!
As I said earlier, Salzburg can definitely be a weekend trip. It’s very compact and easy to walk. Most everyone speaks English, but German is the official language spoken. Bonus, the airport is only 15 mins away from the Old Town and will cost no more than 20 Euro. Now go enjoy Salzburg!