48 hours in Salzburg

Mozart's city is a city of chocolate, beer and coffee served with a mountain of cream. But music is the local delicacy.


WATCH OUT FOR...

WATCH OUT FOR...

...crowds flocking into the city for the various festivals: Mozart week in late January; Easter; and the main summer festival which lasts from late July to the end of August. At these times, hotels get booked up months in advance.

WHY GO NOW?

Although Salzburg is a great year-round destination, early summer is, to my mind, the perfect time to visit: the climate is pleasantly warm, and the crowds who congregate for the summer festival have not yet started to arrive. Music-lovers need never feel deprived: whatever the time of year there is always a concert on somewhere in the city.

A WALK IN THE PARK

The Mirabell Gardens, on the right bank of the river, is the place where Maria von Trapp and all those children ran around singing "Doh, a deer..." - at least in the Hollywood version of their story. In spite of all that, it's still a very pleasant place for a stroll.

BEAM DOWN

No one flies direct to Salzburg from the UK, so, given that you will have to change somewhere, the cheapest option is to fly with Go (08456 054321) from Stansted to Munich; there are three flights a day, and fares start at £80. A train goes from Munich airport to the main railway station, and from there, the direct train to Salzburg takes just under two hours.

CULTURAL AFTERNOON

Culture in Salzburg can be summed up in one word: Mozart. He was born in a house on Getreidegasse, christened in the Cathedral, where he was later a chorister, and moved with his family to a bigger place on Makart Square. There is a monument to him in the square which now bears his name, and he wrote the music which is played at most of the many concerts taking place every night in various city venues. Of all this, the family home - the Mozart Wohnhaus - is the most interesting to visit. You are given an individual Walkman, and you walk around listening to music composed for some of the instruments which are on display.

SUNDAY MORNING, GO TO CHURCH

The elegant cathedral, with its greyish-white interior, was built in the 17th century, and rebuilt after its dome was bombed during the war. The only colour comes from the paintings inside the dome, and on the barrel- vaulted ceiling. The sung Mass at 10am every Sunday is worth hearing even if you are normally a non-churchgoer.

THE ICING ON THE CAKE

Musical purists might scoff, but try not to miss the opportunity of seeing the Salzburg Marionettes performing one of the operas of Mozart, or other selected composers, in their own elegant little theatre on Schwarzstrasse. Although the music is all recorded, and most of the time you can see the strings, the puppets are so lifelike that there are moments when you could believe you were looking at real people up on the stage.

DEMURE DINNER

Head for Rudolfskai, on the left bank of the river. The Altstadtkeller is a lively place, and the Wiener Schnitzel here is as good as any: the accompanying live music isn't too distracting, and the service is pleasant. If you prefer something more discreet, though, go up the road to Zum Mohren, where the food is consistently good.

GET YOUR BEARINGS

The old - and frankly rather twee - part of Salzburg is sandwiched between the Monchsberg mountain and the river Salzach. Most of this part of town is pedestrianised, which makes visiting much more enjoyable, but adds to the feeling of unreality which pervades the Altstadt. Across the river, the Kapuzinerberg mountain towers over a more modern city. The tourist information office in Mozartplatz is the place to buy a Salzburg Card, which for about £10 will give you free entrance to the city sights for 24 hours.

TAKE A HIKE

Once you get to the top, Hohensalzburg and its grounds are worth exploring. It is the largest fortress in central Europe, and is an exceptionally solid structure. Built in the 11th century, it survived a peasants' revolt and was only slightly damaged by Napoleon. On the way to the Prince-Archbishop's private apartments, you pass the Salzburg Bull, an ancient organ which once played every day at four in the morning as a sort of civic alarm call. Walk back down towards the city by the Nonnberg Priory, where once the nuns wondered how they could solve a problem like Maria - von Trapp that is - Salzburg's other musical legend.

TAKE A RIDE

If you are not energetic enough for mountain-climbing, take the cable- car which whisks you the short distance up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress. The journey only takes a couple of minutes, and is worth it for the view over the city alone. The cable-car station is at the side of St Peter's cemetery, and the cost of the ticket includes the entrance to the grounds of the fortress.

AN APERITIF

Although white wine is a popular drink in Austria these days, the real favourite is beer. Stiegl is the local brew, and you should find a glass of it in any of the old city cafes.

ELEVENSES

On the principle of "when in Rome", it would be unfortunate to miss out on that excellent Austrian custom of coffee and cakes. The cakes come in many varieties - Sachertorte and Black Forest gateau are only the beginning - and the coffee comes with a mountain of whipped cream. Try the Cafe Tomasselli on the Alte Markt.

WINDOW SHOPPING

Mozart is the theme here too, unless you are looking for jewellery or Austrian fashion. The local speciality is the Mozartkugel, a chocolate- covered ball of chocolate truffle with a marzipan centre. There are playing- cards, notecards and ties covered with musical motifs, and fruit liqueur in violin-shaped bottles. If you want a more lasting souvenir, the shop at the Festschpielhaus has an excellent selection of live recordings from past Mozart festivals.

CHECK IN

The hotels in the Altstadt are the most convenient, since most of the places you will want to visit are within a short walk. Try the Hotel Elefant, in Sigmund-Haffner-Gasse (00 43 662 843397); until the end of June, a single room is Sch950 (about £47.50), and a double Sch1,480 (£70); from July to October a single will cost you Sch1,150 (£55), and doubles start at Sch1,700 (£80). If you have a car, you are better off on the other side of the river, where parking is easier. Try the Hotel Auersperg, in Auersperg-Strasse (00 43 662 889440), where single rooms start at Sch1,290 (£60) and doubles at Sch1,740 (£83); during the festival (23 July until the end of August) singles are Sch1,490 (£70) and doubles are Sch2,140 (£102).

LUNCH ON THE RUN

There are plenty of city-centre places which serve lunch - light is not a word to apply to Austrian food. Cafe Streif, at Getreidegasse 50, is a pleasant choice, with a selection of frankfurters, sauerkraut and other typical dishes.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?