What are the best things you saw, tasted, or experienced in Salzburg? I am hoping to go for a day trip soon and will most likely be traveling alone, so any and all advice is welcome!
Good choice! Salzburg is like a fairytale! Luckily, most of the nicest things to see are very close together in the old district by the fortress.
First, go see the Festung Hohensalzburg (also called Festungsburg) On your way, walk through the Residenzplatz (scenes from Sound of Music filmed here). In the square is the Salzburg cathedral. If you like cathedrals, this one is very nice inside. Walking through the old city is just a beautiful and pleasant stroll as well with wonderful architecture.
Now the fortress.You can take an elevator up, but if you hike up the road the view is well worth the fitness lesson. Plus you can visit the Stuff. There's a spectacular view of old Salzburg along the river. Absolutely gorgeous! Especially at this time of year when the surrounding mountains are covered in snow!
Once you're done exploring the fortress and its museum, go back down the hill forward Petersfriedhof. There's a very pretty and quaint cemetery at this church and if you time it right you might be able to explore the caves/catacombs nearby (unfortunately, I don't know the hours as they are odd and change during different seasons). Down the hill there is a market that sells homemade, seasonal food. I personally like the hot, chocolate covered pretzels that are bigger than your head. Continue exploring the old city at your leisure. If you're a fan of Mozart, go visit his birth house on this side of the river, and his childhood home on the other side.
If you have time or a second day, take the opportunity to hike up Kapuzinerberg. Aside from being beautiful and extremely peaceful and serene, this hill looks out on the fortress across the river and has one of the most beautiful views over ever seen - the fortress surrounded by snow topped mountains and the old city; especially in fall with the leaves turning. See if you can find the hidden cattle on the hill and the monument to Mozart. I spent almost 4 hours on this hill. It was so lovely I almost didn't want to leave it.
While on this side of the river, take the time to explore the beautiful Stein Alley and Linzergasse. These pedestrian streets have a wonderful old time feel. Gasthof Alter Fuchs on Linzergasse has an amazing feta cheese cordon bleu and beef soup and dumplings.
Alternatively, if you love The Sound of Music, this is the city where it was filmed and they have themed bus and walking tours. Nearby are the salt mines that are the city's namesake. You can go caving or mine carting in them if you don't mind going further afield.
Salzburg is an absolutely beautiful city - especially at this time of year. I hope that you enjoy your trip there as much as I did!
Mentioned in this answer:
Hi Elizabeth—lucky you! As Amy mentioned, Salzburg really is a fairytale. I had the extraordinary privilege of living there for a little while.
Here are some of my favorite things (in addition to what Amy mentioned, all good suggestions and I particularly agree about the Kapuzinerberg!):
Augustinerbräu - Kloster Mülln: A monastery/brewery with the largest beer garden in all of Austria. In winter, there's still plenty of room inside, in spacious, historic halls that just exude old Austrian charm. There are food vendors, but if you want to bring your own snacks, you can. To get beer, buy a token, then grab a stein (either .5 or 1 liter) and rinse it with water from the adjacent fountain—not because the stein is dirty, but because it brings the mug to the right temperature—then walk over to the folks manning the taps and they'll fill it up. Prost!
* Cafe Fingerlos J.M. Fingerlos: My favorite café in a city with more than its share of very good cafés. It gets my vote both for breakfast and for midday pastry pick-me-ups. I miss their müsli with an incredible intensity and their cakes are as flavorful as they are beautiful. The space is less traditional than some of the cafés in the Altstadt, but it's still light, bright and airy. Service is some of the best in town, in my experience—very friendly and pleasant.
* Linzergasse: Getreidegasse is iconic and worth your time, so definitely do it, but take the opportunity to stroll Linzergasse, too—just across the Salzach. There are lots of little shops and a variety of restaurants, plus St Sebastian's Cemetery which are worth a look (the church is closed during mass). I know it's a chain, but I can't help loving Bärenland because there are few things I like more than a shop full of extraordinarily good gummi candies.
*Walking loop: You can actually do a nice walking loop starting out with Linzergasse. Follow it until it is no longer pedestrian-only—it then becomes and then hang a left on to Franz-Josef-Straße It's a lovely street (and Fingerlos is smack on it) for strolling. Follow it to Rainerstraße, cross Rainerstrasse and you'll be at Kurgarten, Mirabell Palace and Mirabellgarten, all of which are free to see (as is the Orangerie). If it's a Thursday, once you're done in the Mirabell complex, cross back over Rainerstrasse onto Schrannengasse where the weekly Salzburger Schranne - Schrannenmarkt Salzburg is held. It's a fun little market to explore.
*Mönchsberg: You can hike/walk this mountain opposite the Kapuzinerberg and see a whole heck of a lot. Start from the Augustinergasse (near Augustinerbräu) and wander your way along past Hotel Schloss Mönchstein over to Museum der Moderne Mönchsberg, along the battlements that helped protect the city (from which you can get some great views of the Untersberg) and over to Festung Hohensalzburg.
I have some more details on my blog, which is linked in my profile. Enjoy visiting Salzburg!
Mentioned in this answer:
When we visited Salzburg, we didn't have a lot of time, so we took one of the "Sound of Music" tours and ended up seeing quite a bit of the city and the countryside as well. We went with http://www.bobstours.com/ and rode in a van...which was perfect. Even our 3 year old daughter enjoyed it. Amazing city! I also enjoyed touring the old town and seeing Mozart's birthplace Mozarts Geburtshaus. Have fun!