The “city of salt,” Salzburg is located on the western tip of Austria, close to the German border.
From Munich, you can take a Flixbus, which is similar to a Greyhound or Megabus — buy tickets online and make sure you bring a passport or other government I.D. — for less than 25 Euros round-trip.
It’s called a Flixbus because you can buy your ticket and if you don’t use it, you can redeem your money for a different journey.
On the day I visited Salzburg in late-November 2016 with my travel buddy, here’s what we did:
9:15 am: we arrived at the Flixbus station, carrying our I.D.’s. I didn’t think this was so important until I saw a young German woman crying and pleading the bus driver to let her ride the bus. She had forgotten her ID. I watched her mother (or older friend?) forego her own journey to comfort her, while we were waved on to the back of the bus where there were still seats.
11:20 am: we arrived in Salzburg, at the Hauptbahnhof. After walking in some direction towards a beautifully forested mountain that loomed ahead of us, we asked direction at a hotel and were pointed in the direction of the promenade in the Altstadt (old town) on the left bank of the Salzach River. The medieval and baroque architecture makes this city a very quaint and beautiful tourist destination.
Nested up on a mountain above the Salzach river across from the Altstadt, is a fortress that has guarded Salzburg for about five centuries. No one thought to attack the town because of the fortress, and the city prospered by trading salt. Now, it is still a very “small-town” atmosphere, with plenty of tourist attractions in the older districts.
We walked around the narrow, cobble-stoned streets on the right-bank of the Salzach, closer to the cliffs, for a while, taking in the street vendors selling salt pretzels and other small broetchens and the small shops selling Weihnachten (Christmas) ornaments, eggs, and other trinkets.
We ate lunch at the Hotel Goldene Ente, a 14th century hotel that serves traditional Austrian food on its menu. I ate a salty goulash with hot water and copious slices of lemon, and my travel companion had the classic roast pork with a light and tangy golden beer.
Afterwards, we took a turn on the outdoor ice-skating rink in Mozartplatz, which stands right outside a museum and an old church. Admission is 5 Euros per person, plus 4 per pair of skates. There is a slight discount if you are a student.
|Iceskating in Mozartplatz|
Stepping into a small cafe nearby the ice-skating rink, we drank small cups of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream, which come with a glass of cold water.
|Austrian hot chocolate|
We walked around the bazaar afterwards, which sold all manners of roasted chestnuts, Weihnachten decorations and ornaments, traditional Austrian souvenirs, salted pretzels, and traditional hot Austrian foods.
After petting the horses that draw the old-fashioned carriages that you can pay to ride around the old city in (they were too expensive for my budget, being 60 Euros for an hour), we headed towards the cliffs and took an elevator to the top that takes one to the Museum of Modern Art.
Stepping out, you can look all over the brightly-lit town of Salzburg from this vantage point, and walk to the old stone fortress located nearby the Museum of Modern Art. You can walk through the forested paths, or sit on the bench, overlooking the city below, eat at the restaurant by the Museum of Modern Art, or even walk down the cliffs.
|Mountains across from the fortess|
|Salzburg from the mountain|
After more wandering through Salzburg, we ate at a Chinese buffet in the old-town touristy district near Mozartplatz, owing to the lack of places that accept cards.
Walking by the Salzach river at night, we were awarded with a brilliant display of lights in the dark water — the lights from the church and the many old buildings that were reflected in the glistening glassy surface.
|Salzach at night|
Back at the Hauptbahnhof, the bus gathered its passengers up, and we were transported back to Munich. Bring your passport — there is a border-control check where the guards will ask you just why you’re visiting.
Enjoy Salzburg! Bring a camera to take pictures, and Keep Traveling!