After our overwhelmingly emotional day at Dachau, we got the chance to explore the Christmas market in Munich’s city center. We were out for a short while, eating bratwurst and enjoying the twinkling lights, before heading back to our (amazing!) hostel. Luckily, our hostel was a five minute walk from the central bus station; there are so many great options for day trips outside of Munich and we chose …. (drumroll, please!)…. Salzburg, Austria!
Salzburg is only an hour and a half bus ride from Munich, so we decided to go for just a day! If you didn’t already know, a majority of The Sound of Music was filmed in Salzburg; so, you could only imagine what our itinerary consisted of. If you ever visit Salzburg, I have one major recommendation: buy a SalzburgCard. The card gives you free entrance into most major attractions, free transportation, and discounts on certain restaurants. It’s available in three options: 24, 48, and 72 hours. Since we were only in the city for a day, the 24 hour card was perfect for us!
Our first stop of the day was Mirabell Palace and Gardens, where Maria sang “Do Re Mi” with the Von Trapp children. Although it was bitingly cold, we walked from the bus station to the gardens. We scaled down the infamous stairs for the end of the “Do Re Mi” musical number and walked through the archway that the children ran through in the movie. With every step, I channeled Maria Von Trapp.. and I freakin’ loved it. (Fun fact: I had never seen any kind of water completely frozen over, until I looked into the fountain.)
With the whole day ahead of us and our SalzburgCards in hand, our next excursion was summiting the mountain range Untersberg, overlooking the countryside below. Before we were able to catch the next bus, we strolled around town and through the cute alleyways. A one-way trip to the mountains was about a half-hour and waiting for the lift was about another 15 minutes. Taking the cable-car, we scaled the mountain at soaring heights! Once we reached the top, we could look out over Salzburg at a (literal) bird’s eye view. I was even able to see the Von Trapp house used in the movie! Neither of us were wearing snow shoes or hiking boots, so we were unable to hike to the panoramic view. But we stopped in a little cafe for some tea and warmth (p.s. the tea was kinda gross).
After scaling back down the mountain and riding the bus into town, we explored the town center (including Mozartplatz), leading us to my must-see in Salzburg: St. Peter’s Cemetery. The church itself is a beautiful building and felt quite ethereal to walk through. It was amazing to walk through the cemetery and see all of the history, some of which were recent as of last year! I wanted to get a better view of the grounds altogether; as we followed paths through the yard, we stumbled upon 12th century catacombs that led up to a second chapel. After a steep few flights of stairs, we stepped onto a balcony, with buildings towering over us and the graveyard below.
Another must-see in Salzburg: Hohensalzburg Fortress. Once we climbed back down the catacomb steps, we made our way to the fortress lift. At the top, we had most amazing view of the city (by far my favorite view of Salzburg!). The main courtyard held a small market with local food and souvenirs; we tasted some local honey and I had a treat called bauernkrapfen. Similar to a donut, the bread was light and filled with some sort of marmalade (so delicious)!! Katie insisted we visit the marionette museum (it’s about puppets) and, although hesitant, I agreed. Let me tell you, it was fairly creepy in my opinion.
We finished exploring the fortress and descended back to the city; we ventured through some Christmas markets that were filled with pretzels and pastries (my absolute favorite things!) (cue Julie Andrews singing “My Favorite Things”). Speaking of “My Favorite Things”, we were able to taste two Austrian delicacies: schnitzel and strudel! But not after a savory pretzel of course. With our bus leaving at around 9pm, we had several hours to spare, despite doing everything we had wanted. We killed about an hour in a local Starbucks before trying wiener schnitzel at a local restaurant. After a warm meal, I made it my mission to take some strudel home with us. Raspberry rhubarb (I love rhubarb!!) and the classic apple strudel were my picks.
I think one day in Salzburg is plenty of time to experience the city to the fullest. It’s the perfect day trip outside of Munich and it has so much culture and history, not to mention you can vicariously live through Sound of Music movie locations. I’d love to explore more of Austria one day, hopefully Vienna or Innsbruck!