Last weekend I ventured back into Austria for a short day trip across the border to Salzburg — what many people call the “land of Mozart” and was the setting for “The Sound of Music”.
For me, this was a completely unplanned trip (unlike me) but it was a great getaway from a very quiet Garching, the busy Munich centre and explore something new and different. I’m a great fan of classical music, including Mozart, so I felt it would be a wasted opportunity not to travel to this famous city which is a mere hour and forty minutes from Munich. And with the Bayern (Bavaria) ticket, it makes it more than worth a short visit for just 23 EUR to travel all across Bavaria which includes Salzburg — a stone’s throw from the German-Austrian border.
To my great surprise, the weather seemed mostly on my side. The short train ride made for some great views and as I arrived in Salzburg, there were some stunning old markets with a mix of Austrian, German and Italian treats.
Entering the old town (or “altstadt”), I wandered around the cobbled streets and took in the baroque architecture — magnificently preserved in this unique city, offering a multitude of colour.
Salzburg’s “Old Town” (Altstadt), listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Credit: Ryan J.M.Laird
The old town seemed fairly easily to navigate; small enough that you don’t easily get lost. Despite its small scale, there is a huge wealth of culture, which unfortunately I didn’t have the time to fully explore. I stumbled upon the Residenzplatz, the city’s central square which played some great jazz music and made for a very nice stop.
A view from Residenzplatz, at the centre of historic Salzburg. Credit: Ryan J.M.Laird
I love castles, so the visit wouldn’t be complete without visiting the city’s fortress. As seen from Residenzplatz at the top of Festungsberg, a small hill, lies Festung Hohensalzburg (or “High Salt Fortress”) — one of the oldest medieval castles in Europe.
Festung Hohensalzburg (Hohensalzburg Castle) — an icon of the city of Salzburg and one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. Credit: Ryan J.M.Laird
It’s a pity I couldn’t get a better picture of the castle! It was cloudy as I went up (although it had been sunny as I walked through the old town) and then it rained as I came back down. Luckily when I reached the top, it made for some stunning views of the surrounding area.
Looking south from the top of Festung Hohensalzburg (Hohensalzburg Castle). Credit: Ryan J.M.Laird
Looking (approximately) southwest from Festung Hohensalzburg (Hohensalzburg Castle). Credit: Ryan J.M.Laird
View from inside Festung Hohensalzburg (Hohensalzburg Castle) peering through a small window out to the city of Salzburg. Credit: Ryan J.M.Laird
Inside the castle, there is a small area which shows “The World of Puppets” and includes Maria von Trapp from “The Sound of Music”.
Taking the “Festungsbahn”, the funicular railway, down from the Hohensalzburg Castle. Credit: Ryan J.M.Laird
The train back to Munich after a good day trip around historic Salzburg. Credit: Ryan J.M. Laird