From the city of Zell am See in Austria, I met Verena in the summer of 2015 in Oslo when I was wrapping up my long European adventure and she was en route to start an epic 250 km hike through Norway.
A pure outdoors enthusiast, you can usually find Verena hiking one of the many beautiful trails surrounding Salzburg, cycling along the Salzach River, or training for her next competition with Tri Unlimited, her local sports club.
Verena made her way to Salzburg in 2009 to start university, and continues to live and work there as a grammar school teacher as well as a trainer at an adult primary school.
Quite fond of the work/life balance of her chosen profession, Verena takes full advantage of her time off as a teacher. Her travels have taken her to England where she studied for a year and perfected her English, an around the world trip with stops in Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, and all around Europe where she has fallen in love with places like Florence and Slovenia’s Triglav National Park.
After a recent career change, I too have started to see the rewards of teaching, and hope my travels take me back to Europe soon so I can join Verena on her next adventure!
Thanks for sharing Verena!
Very often people call Salzburg the Rome of the North. And indeed, the baroque city’s rich history, which is strongly tied to the history of the Roman Catholic Church in Middle Europe, shows in the many churches of Salzburg.
The big cathedral in the centre towers above the surrounding buildings: New and Old Residence. People who want to avoid big tourist crowds should visit the Franciscan church; the modest appearance from the outside hides a breath-taking interior.
Kapitelplatz, Residenzplatz and Mozartplatz are the main squares of the city and invite you to take a rest and enjoy the city’s atmosphere over coffee and apple strudel.
Sure, there are plenty of nice cafés, especially in the centre. If you are a real coffee lover, however, you should definitely check out 220° café (Chiemseegasse 5). The family run business offers first class coffee in a small but chic coffee bar/shop. Café Alchemie (Rudolfskai 38) is another place you should not miss out when looking for something special.
If the weather allows, go and grab a coffee-to-go at the tiny kiosk at the Mozartsteg, a footbridge over the river Salzach. The riverbank is a great spot for a coffee break.
Walking the narrow cobbled streets of the Old Town is one of the best ways to discover Salzburg. On both sides of the Salzach River you’ll find plenty of narrow winding streets with all sorts of shops, cafés and bars. Probably the most famous one is Getreidegasse with its many old, traditionally forged business signs.
Salzburg is also home to many great museums – Mozart’s birthplace might be the most popular one. It’s worth a visit. During high season in the summer one should be prepared for crowds squeezing through Getreidegasse, making their way to the pink house.
Once you are inside the building, however, you should be able to take in the place’s atmosphere without being rushed through the various rooms. The multistory museum offers ample room to accommodate quite a few tourists.
If you want to combine hiking the city’s ‘mountains’ and visiting another museum you can make your way up to Mönchsberg. There are plenty of paths leading up to the lush green plateau covered with trees; from there you have fantastic views over both sides of the city.
The museum of modern arts overlooks Salzburg; its terrace invites you to stop by. Going for the vertical, you can conquer the city’s climbing wall near the Augustinian Brewery. On the other side of the Kapuzinerberg River is a bit of a contrast to Mönchsberg. Its steep forest paths are home to chamois.
The best way to explore Salzburg’s surroundings is to rent a bike. Taking off from the city centre, one can cycle along the Almkanal, an icy cold canal that runs through Mönchsberg and stirs the wheel at the ancient bakery of St. Peter Abbey. Locals dare a jump into its freezing water for cooling down.
Sound of Music settings, such as Leopoldskron Palace and Hellbrunn Palace, can be found on the way. Hellbrunn alley, 2.5 kilometers long, leads back towards the city.
Day trips to the many stunning places near Salzburg are a must if you stay more than a few days. Climbing Bleckwand you will feel closer to heaven: the views above Lake Mondsee are fantastic and hard to beat! Lake Fuschl is another great spot close to the city. A half an hour bus ride brings you to the lake’s glistening turquoise shores.
Salzburg definitely is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Whether you fancy strolling through cobbled, narrow winding streets or more of an outdoorsy person, you will love Salzburg. It’s well worth a visit!