Friday, October 10, 2014

Western Europe Family Trip: Magical Salzburg!

•  Germany •  Austria •  Switzerland •  France 
• 2 adults • 2 kinder • 
• 4 countries • 8 cities • 
• 13 towns • 17 days • 
• 25 flight hours • 1 car •  
One Amazing Adventure

Part 2 of 5 of our Western Europe Family Trip

3 Days Magical Salzburg
4 Days Swiss Cities 
3 Days French Alsace Region
4 Days Black Forrest

3 Days Magical Salzburg!

You may want to read the previous post about Romantic Bavaria, Germany in case you missed it...

We arrived in Salzburg train station from Munich via a 2 hours direct train ride, found our way to the tourist information office which is located right within the train station and got all we need to know about the city (come early, the office closes at 4pm, we arrived 10 minutes before it closed!)

After explanation by the friendly receptionist, we decided to purchase the 24 hours Salzburg card, which allows us to explore over 30 destination in Salzburg and free ride on most of the public transport (city bus, cable cars etc). The card cost us $25 each but it was a good deal, as the cable car ride alone would have cost us $22. There are other options such as 48 or 72 hours card, you can read more about the benefits of this card here, or even order yours online.

It was drizzling when we arrived, so we took a cab to our hotel and had our dinner at the local restaurant recommended by the hotel host. Austria food has strong influence of German, so beers, pork, potatoes dishes are commonly available. 

One of the local Austrian dish recommended by the waitress. Normal as it seemed, it was actually very delicious with lots of potatoes, cheese and hams. We went to bed with a really satisfied tummy on our first night in Salzburg. 

Our meal for the night... Now it is obvious why all of us returned home with the excess weight, all the meat and carbo intake. *burp* 

Salzburg itinerary highlights: 

• Cable car Untersberg 
• Sound of Music Trail: Hellbrunn Palace & Trick Fountain
• Salzburg Old Town
• Getreidegasse
• Sound of Music Trail: Mirabell Garden
• Salzach River cruise

Breakfast was included in our hotel stay and to our surprise, they prepared generous serving of hams, bread, yogurt and fruits. So we started our morning with big healthy breakfast and took off with the city bus by 8am and reached our first destination by 8:30am as planned.

Today the duo dressed up in their mommy-made siblings attire - the dungarees dress and suspended pants that is replica of the German's traditional wear, Leder Hosen. They were looking so adorable that they attracted attention wherever we went. 

See how they love to pose with daddy's camera? :)

Hellbrunn Palace & Trick Fountain

With the Salzburg card, we got a free 30 minutes guided tour to this magnificent garden full of ponds, water features and summer blossoms. It has water canals running underneath the garden and that lays the foundation for the Trick Fountain.  

The Trick Fountain, a place to make you laugh and scream, I would highly recommend visiting if you are traveling with young kids. Just come prepared with extra clothes or jacket in case they got wet with the tricky water fountains that shoot water when you least expected it. It's amazing that this garden was built back in 1875.
Hellbrunn garden is not short of statues

Waiting for feed the ducks, their favourite activity.
Briefing before starting the guided tour to Trick Garden

Hellbrunn Palace

Me at the Sound of Music  signature Gazebo 
Of course we won't miss the Sound of Music Gazebo, where the young Von Trapp sang the song "I am 16 going to 17". But the truth is the movie was firmed in a Hollywood setup, not actual location.

We stopped by the outdoor playground which is really large and full of creative child play made of wood. The duo had so much fun there that they refused to leave.
Getting here: bus 25 from city center. Get off at Hellbrunn station.

Cable Car Untersberg 

On the way up to the top of Untersberg

Lovely view from the cable car

The cable car service at Untersberg takes the passengers to the peak of the Salzburg which is 1776m above sea level. It runs every 30 minutes and since it was quite empty when we were there, we decided to have early lunch to warm up our bodies. The Untersberg restaurant right opposite the cable car station offered lunch menu with fresh salad, noodle soup and choice of roast pork / vegetable wraps at only €7.50, that was really a steal! So we enjoyed a filling and pleasant meals before starting our engines. 

The ride to the peak took about 10 minutes, it was so foggy that we could not see a single thing from the peak, visibility was nearly zero. So we just had a cup of coffee and an ice cream each on the restaurant at the peak, surrounded by thick white fog, it felt peaceful and somewhat unreal. The kids actually enjoyed the experience and I would say it can be romantic if there was only 2 of us without the duo. :)

We headed back down to the base station after the coffee break, it was drizzling as we arrived at the base station, lucky I have checked weather forecast and came prepared with raincoats, legging (for my little girl), hooded jacket and foldable umbrellas. So even thought I was wearing a sleeveless summer dress, I survived the 12°C up on the peak.

Getting here: bus 25 and get down from Uttensburg. Entry is free with the Salzburg card else it costs €22/adult and €11/child.

• Salzburg River Cruise 

After 6pm most attractions in Salzburg had closed, so we decided to take a river cruise which is free with the Salzburg card but had to pay another €7 for our little boy who is 5yo.

The ride was only 40 minutes but took us to the outskirt which can't reach by walking. Due to the lousy rainy weather we didn't get to see the magnificent mountain view... but the captain was really friendly and made the children super happy when he did the triple 360 degree spin before docking.

There is no toilet on board so ensure you clear tour bladder in the public toilet nearby before boarding.

• Getreidegasse & Mozart Birthplace

Cathedral at the end of Getreidegasse

Getreidegasse in the rain

Mozart birth place

Door bells, how lovely

The Romantic Lock Bridge

Salzburg old town breathes history in every lane we visited. There are many bridges that connect both side of the city and one of which actually has many locks on it, which reminded me of the lock bridge in Paris, this is probably the replica version. :) 
It was raining cats and dogs so instead of getting ourselves all soak, we ran into Mozart Cafe which is on the first floor of the shopping alley overlooking the alley. We had the local dessert, apfelstrudel (apple strudel) and Mohr in Hemd (which is really chocolate molten cake with warm sauce and cool whipped cream), served with a cup of Cafe Mozart, which is mocha coffee with chocolate liquor and schlag. The chocolate molten cake was really sinfully nice, so was the cafe Mozart, creamy and smooth. 

"Caffeinating" in progress :)

Coffee break at Cafe Mozart

Mirabell Garden

Visit to Salzburg will not be complete without a stroll in the wonderful Mirabell garden, this is the place where the Von Trapp children sang the popular "Do,Re,Mi" song.

Thanks to the summer weather our eyes and souls had a wonderful feast with the colorful summer flowers. The duo were super excited when they saw the fountain (which looks exactly the same as in the movie!) and the foliage covered passage, they walked on the edge of the fountain singing "Do, Re, Mi" for few rounds before they finally satisfied and agreed to leave. Everyone's spirit were soaring high and we left for dinner with big smiles on our face.

Entrace to the Mirabell Garden

Me and my lovelies

Blossoms at the Mirabell garden

As we only had 1 1/2 day in Salzburg, we had to forego some of the places of interest, like the Hohensalzbug Fortress, the Underground Salt Lake and Salzburg Zoo, but the wet weather really slowed down our traveling speed (just imagine walking with 2 little ones with raincoats, umbrella and handbag in a busy alley and chilly wind, lucky my Big Guy is strong and helpful...)

Hotel Lilienhof
Siezenheimer Straße 62
Salzburg 5020

A family run hotel located out of the city center, however it was easily reachable with the city bus with only 20 minutes ride. The breakfast was generous and the hotel staffs were mostly friendly. The room was basic but clean and pleasant. Plenty of brochures and Salzburg card is available at the reception. Definitely worth the money.

My rating: 3.5/5

We left Salzburg to Zurich via the Intercity propeller plane with a limited numbers of passengers on board. This was the first time my little ones came up close with a propeller plane (instead of a model plane!) and it got them all so excited. It was just a short 1 hour flight but a rather relaxing one with friendly airstewardess on board.

Fancy some Mozart chocolates for souvenior? :)

First propeller plane ride for the duo, good bye Salzburg!

That's all my travel journal about Salzburg, unfortunately I have lost the remaining notes on my iPhone so I have to gather my memory before I can post the next post for our next destination - Switzerland and Germany Black Forest. :(

Nevertheless, feel free to contact me or leave a comment if you have any questions, I shall try my best to respond. 

Worth Knowing...

  • Check for "Mittag Essen" or "Mittag Meal" for lunch deal, it is often more value than order ala carte. If you are vegetarian, look for "gemüsa" which means vegetables.
  • The weather in July was hot - around 24°c in day and 13°c at night, however when it rains or get windy it can be quite chilly. So dress light but get a hooded jacket ready. 
  • Prepare an umbrella or rain coat for the little ones, it rains almost everyday in July. However, the good news is in summer (July - August) some touristy places actually opened longer hour due to longer day light.
  • Check for cheap Europe airfare using skyscanner, it allows you to compare prices from different airline operators.

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  1. Went to Salzburg once with my sis in law... really miss that trip!

    1. It was a memorable trip for us, as the duo were singing Do, Re, Mi nonstop around the fountain, even a German family asked us for the lyrics to teach their kids. At least managed to preserve some memory here.. :)