Salzburg: Music. Mountains. Maria.

Inspired by a recent viewing of The Sound of Music at the Kennedy Center.  

This post highlights a few of my favorite things…

For such a small city, Salzburg certainly packs a whole lot of punch. This stunner of a city has something for everyone: art, Mozart, extraordinary views that just won’t quit, and ample opportunities to stalk and relive various moments of the von Trapp family.  You guys. This is where all of your Sound of Music dreams come true! You can climb every mountain, eat crisp apple strudels, and COME ALIVE! So basically Salzburg is the epicenter of all things good and worth living for in this world. Whatever your reason for visiting, similar to the Captain’s propensity towards Maria, it won’t be long until you fall under Salzburg’s captivating spell.

We took a two-day reprieve from Germany and took the 90 minute train ride from Munich to Salzburg. While Vienna has been on my most wanted European cities list for years, due to time restrictions and proximity, visiting Salzburg made the most sense. I am so glad that we carved out time to explore this picturesque city. Often overshadowed by its big sister, it’s easy to overlook Salzburg. The truth is, it’s a beautiful storybook kind of city and is certainly worthy as a must-see on anyone’s travel list. And, well, there’s just something about Maria. So there’s that.

The romantic Old Town (Altstadt) is an area of narrow medieval streets and courtyards just begging to be explored.

Hohensalzburg Castle

This remarkable 11th century castle is prominently perched on a hilltop overlooking the city of Salzburg. The result? Ridiculous views for as far as the eyes can see.

Ride the funicular to the top of this fortress for spectacular city vistas.

There’s always time for a dress-up session when armor’s involved.


Salzburg Cathedral

An imposing 17th century cathedral that oozes of opulence. Mozart was baptized here!


Mirabell Palace & Gardens

Beautiful gardens, statues, and fountains and so fun tracing the steps of the von Trapp family. This is where Maria and the children sang Do Re Mi and dance around the Pegasus Fountain in front of the palace.


Mozart’s Birthplace

Number 9 Getreidegasse marks the famous address of Mozart’s childhood home that is now a museum.


The Residenzplatz

Located in Salzburg’s Old Town, the Residenzplatz is one of the city’s largest and most charming squares. The Residenz Fountain is often considered as one of the most significant Baroque monuments of modern Europe.

During the Sound of Music’s carriage ride scene, Maria and the children sing as they pass the Residenz Fountain. 

Biggest Win

Quite possibly the second best dining experience of our entire lives (number one is hands-down Alinea in Chicago), was our dinner at Hangar 7 at Restaurant Ikarus. The restaurant’s guest chef concept is truly unique and pure genius. Each month, an international guest chef applies his/her cooking philosophy and creates a multi-course menu (when we were there, our Hong Kong chef had created a delicious ten-course menu). The food was phenomenal, the service was exceptional, and the ambiance was equally incredible. The restaurant is situated in the Hangar 7 complex on the outskirts of Salzburg near the airport. Eating an incredible meal surrounded by numerous aircraft is easily one of our most memorable and wonderful dining experiences to date.

Biggest Fail

Sometimes even the greatest of plans, research, and detailed itineraries get a little screwed up. Enter the world-renowned Salzburg Music Festival, an annual music festival dating back nearly a century that is held each summer for five weeks. Naturally I was thrilled that our stay in Salzburg coincided with the festival and I ordered tickets over two months in advance. When the website and your ticket order are both written in German and your four years of high school German have sadly been lost in the archives, you go with it and hope for the best. It’s not that our music performance was bad. It wasn’t. In fact it was pretty good and the setting of the Kollegienkirche Collegiate Church was lovely. It’s just that it was Japanese–Japanese singing, instruments, performers, dress, the whole nine yards. Which usually in our book, is a surefire recipe for success. If we were in Japan. Or if we had expected that. But when you are expecting a classical or operatic musical performance, and it turns out being a Japanese performance (and you have already had a few drinks and you are the youngest people there by at least thirty years), you laugh. Really hard. Like laugh so loud that people stare at you with shameful eyes and you’re grateful that there’s an intermission so you can leave to drink some more before you are politely asked to leave.

So much promise on that stage.

Life Is Better at the Lake: Fuschl am See

We traveled to beautiful Fuschl am See and spent a glorious afternoon sipping on Aperol Spritzes and noshing on strudels alongside its turquoise waters. I wish I could say that we spent our afternoon exploring the area and engaging in active water sports like paddle boarding or kayaking, but that would be a bold-faced lie. And I can assure you we regret nothing. The area is as gorgeous as these photos portray–definitely worth a visit!

Thing to know: Fuschl am See is less than thirty minutes from Salzburg and accessible by bus. Bus tickets are less than 10 Euros per person. 



What We Missed

The Sound of Music tour! Hahahaha. I KNOW. But T had zero interest in it and well, if I’ve learned anything from Maria, it’s that life is about compromise and making hard choices. I mean, she left the ABBEY for the Captain. So the least I could do is honor T’s wishes to skip the Sound of Music tour, right? Right. I’m basically a nun. A selfless singing nun.

So I leave with you this:

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good-bye.
I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye — Goodbye!
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