Salzburg is now one of my favorite cities in Europe. So much of the history has been preserved in the old town center, including history I’ve never come face-to-face with, like the influence of Nazi Germany during WW2. We also loved touring the Fortress, attending a classical music concert, and going on a Sound of Music bike tour! Here is a list of our favorite things to do in Salzburg.
Mozart Concert in the Fortress
Seeing as how Mozart was from Salzburg, we knew we had to hear some of his music while we were there. We decided to book tickets to hear a string quartet and a pianist play Mozart up at the Fortress. The concert was held in a medieval room that overlooks the old city. It was really wonderful. There is the option to have dinner there beforehand, but we opted to skip that and enjoy another restaurant in town. Even though we aren’t big classical music fans, we really enjoyed this unique cultural experience. And the Fortress is beautiful!
Fraülein Maria’s Sound of Music Bike Tour
This bicycle tour came recommended in the guidebook, and after a bit more research, I knew that this was the tour company to go with. And we bet our money wisely, because this tour was awesome!! Salzburg is a really bike-friendly city, and our tour guide was fantastic. She was so fun loving, kind, and really professional. They made it super easy to rent the bikes, make sure you were fitted well, and facilitated the tour experience really well so everyone was safe and no one got left behind. There were only a few strenuous portions (hills!), but we were always given the opportunity to walk our bikes if needed.
On the tour, you ride through Salzburg past many of the locations where they filmed The Sound of Music. As we rode, our guide gave us a bluetooth speaker, and we listened to the soundtrack as we pedaled! We went by the fountain where Maria and the kids are singing “Do-Re-Mi” (we were given “curtain clothes” to wear here, and the opportunity to do a sing-a-long, haha! we were so embarassed), the cemetery that was inspiration for the location where they hid from the Nazi’s when they were escaping (they actually filmed that scene on a sound stage), the lake where the kids went boating, the dirt road where Julie Andrews’ famously sang her pump-up song before meeting the kids (“I have confidence in confidence alone!”), and the convent. The convent was my absolute favorite site. The church is so beautiful. It is - no joke - the holiest-feeling place I’ve ever been. I can’t wait to go back.
On the bikes, we got the chance to see Salzburg - both the historic area, and the more modern parts of town - while simultaneously getting some exercise, and enjoying the beautiful weather. I highly recommend this experience!
World War II History
Salzburg was an important city during World War II. It’s the first city that I’ve ever been to where I knew that Hitler had also been. Standing in the Residenzplatz, knowing that Hitler had been there, and that there had been a massive book burning in the square…was really powerful and sort of scary. To know he orchestrated such terrible atrocities, and that I was standing right where he was… I didn’t like that, but it felt important to honor those feelings, and recognize the weight of the world.
There are also stumbling stones all over the city. I wrote a whole post about this, but they’re basically markers to point out the residences of people who were kidnapped and murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust. Again, this was really powerful and upsetting. It was life changing to keep seeing them all throughout the city.
Salzburg is a beautiful city and we can’t wait to go back!