The train ride from Vienna to Salzburg took us around 2 hours and 30 minutes. Our tickets were bought and printed earlier, so we only had to present our copies to the conductor to be ushered into the allocated carriage. We bought all intercity transportation tickets earlier to manage time and expectations. We didn’t want to take the risk of buying on site to avoid unfortunate circumstances ie. sold out tickets, more expensive prices. Better safe than sorry right? You can buy the train tickets from this website.
Because we had a baby with us, we were placed in a special carriage. Which means we didn’t have to fight for seats with others. Plus it was more spacious too. The journey was comfortable as well, and the breathtaking scenery made it more pleasant.
First day in Salzburg
We arrived around 4.15 PM, and the sun was already setting. The hotel was quite a distance from the train station, so walking over was not an option. We had to wait for a taxi, but because they counted Aidan as one person, most of them refused to drive us to the hotel. We needed to find a bigger taxi (which at that point of time, was nowhere to be seen). After numerous attempts of hailing taxis, we finally found a 5-seater taxi and headed to the hotel.
The hotel we stayed at was the Holiday Inn Salzburg City. The location was quite okay – about 15 minutes walk away from the Old Town. The first thing we did after checking in was to ask if there were any halal restaurants around, and to our relief, there was plenty! The concierge gave us a map to an Indian restaurant located 300 meters away. Indian food???? Can I get a whoooop whooooop!? Yes, finally a break from kebab, shawarma and the likes of it. I need me some real food (actually I’m pretty biased. Everyone knows I love Indian food. I can eat Indian food all dayyyyyy). So Nazeef and my FIL went out to take away dinner while the rest stayed at the hotel.
Second day in Salzburg
After our breakfast, we walked to Mirabellplatz, where Schloss Mirabell or Mirabell Castle is located. The name Mirabell brings the meaning ‘admirable’ and ‘beautiful’ – which lives up to its name with the mesmerizing baroque-styled castle and glorious gardens. Schloss Mirabell is known for the movie ‘The Sound of Music’, where several scenes were filmed here. If you are a fan, be sure to go for The Sound of Music Tour. You can also catch a glimpse of Festung Hohensalzburg or Salzburg Fortress on top of the hill from the gardens.
Our next stop was the residence of the famous music composer, Wolfgang Mozart. It’s just a few minutes away by foot from the Schloss Mirabell. The building can easily be identified with white block letters that says ‘Mozart Wohnhaus’ painted across the soft, pastel cream building. There’s an admission fee of €10 for adults to enter his house.
Just a minute away from Mozart’s residence is the Makartsteg bridge, also known as the ‘Love Lock Bridge’ of Salzburg. It’s a widely common culture where people have their names engraved on padlocks and then have them locked at the desired location as a symbol of their love. It is also one of the bridges that connect the Old Town to the New Town.
Salzburg does not have trams or underground metro, so we used the bus to move around. Frankly it’s quite tricky, but asking around helps, as well as referring to the bus schedules placed at every bus stops. After taking a few photos around the bridge, we headed to Avis Rental Car that we booked for a driving trip to Wolfgangsee and Hallstatt. *I will compile the trip to Wolfgangsee and Hallstatt in the next post*
Third day in Salzburg
On the third day, after returning the car, we took a bus from the main train station (bus routes 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 goes to the city center directly) and stopped at Rathaus. We then walked through the city towards Festung Hohensalzburg. It was quite early in the morning, and most shops weren’t opened yet. The city center hosts a mixture of modern and vintage shops. The city was quaint and lovely, and there was a faint smell of cinnamon that made our stomach grumbled.
After about 10 minutes walk, we reached the funicular railway that leads up to the fortress. Prices (including both ascent and descent on the funicular and fortress admission) was €6.80 for adults. We were the only ones in the funicular so we had the whole space to ourselves (probably because it was still so early, about 9.30AM).
The fortress is over 900 years old and initially built as a safe haven for archbishops. Upon arriving, we were in awe of the panoramic view of Salzburg. It was picturesque – the Old Town, New Town and surrounding mountains blended beautifully together. We took our time there, munching on butter biscuits and buns, soaking in the ambiance and just enjoying the view.
After descending the funicular, we took the same route towards the bus stop. To our surprise, their Christmas market was open, buzzing with tourists. It was located near the main square and we decided to walk around to look for souvenirs. We also tried their churros, made with cinnamon and chocolate and they were delicious. Quite different from the one I tasted in Malaysia as theirs were crunchy. But really, really good.
By 12.30 PM we took the bus and went back to our hotel to pack because our driver to Prague will be picking us up at 2.00 PM. Overall, Salzburg gave us such a good vibe. It wasn’t as busy as Vienna, and it was smaller too. But I quite like it. It was calmer, more serene and somehow I felt right at home there. They also had really good Indian restaurants (back at it again with my Indian food…) but seriously, their butter chicken was really good. Makes me want to cry thinking about it.
Salzburg, checked. Up next on the blog: Wolfgangsee and Hallstatt!