Saturday 16 July 2016

Salzburg by road

I may have mentioned once or twice my love of road travel (see here). No crowded airports, dependence on schedules or faff about luggage and weight restrictions. Just throw all you like in the back of the car and drive to your own tune.

In Schengen Europe sans frontières, country borders tend to whizz past quite frequently, and with nothing more to mark them than a discreet sign on the roadside; blink and you've missed it.
So the week before last, taking in eight countries in eight days was less frantic than it sounds, involving a leisurely, unhurried pace by car.

Remich, Luxembourg, in the wine-making Moselle valley

Leaving London at lunchtime on Saturday, I was in Luxembourg, via France and Belgium, by late afternoon, for a night stop-over in picture-pretty Remich, on the bank of the Moselle river and vineyards.

The next morning we were in Germany in under 5 minutes, driving south-east ... bypassing industrial Karlsrühe and Stuttgart ... taking the ring road around Munich (sadly, it's been on my bucket list for ages) ... to Salzburg - only about 10 kms across the border of Bavaria. We've crossed the Moselle, Saar, Rhine and Danube in one day.

First impressions: entering the city in a summer rain shower through this extraordinary archway cut into the rockface was my first indication that Salzburg would not disappoint.

The setting is rather fairytale: there's the Salzach river (the old transport route for the salt that was the source of the city's wealth) with the domes and spires of the Altstadt ...

View of Salzburg: Altstadt, river and fortress from the Mönchsberg

below a 900 year old fortress, the Hohensalzburg, and a circle of Alps as the backdrop.

 There are the expected tourist icons: Mozart everywhere (fair enough, it's his hometown), fiakers with pretty ponies, baroque palaces and fountains, dirndls in every shade and style in shop windows ...

but no tackiness, an authenticity preserved

The Getreidegasse, smart shopping street, with original shop fronts

leads to the DomQuartier, home of princes and archbishops, where Mozart played some of his first concerts as a child prodigy

and from where you get a birds eye view from the roof

to the Residenzplatz circled by palaces

the Altermarkt with outdoor cafés 

and a fleet of waiting fiakers.

At the cathedral around the corner is the font where baby Mozart was baptised. Later he served as organist here.

Hills and mountains are the backdrop everywhere you look

View to Hohensalzburg fortress from the Grosses Festspielhaus - both concert venues

Love locks on the pedestrian Makartsteg bridge

Fiaker on Residenzplatz

And parts of the city are built theatrically into rockface

as here at the Mönchsberg, where a lift whizzes you way up to the top, to the Museum der Moderne

with the most fantastic views of the city

Back down in the Alter Markt there's Café Tomaselli, supposedly a favoured haunt of Mozart back in the 1700s and von Karajan (also a native Salzburger) some two centuries later  

for coffee and sachertorte.

Following Mozart's haunts definitely gets you brownie points here, one feels. He is after all the city's most famous and favoured son

But don't mention the Sound of Music - 

Warning in a fragment of an installation in the DomQuartier, part of an exhibition exploring Austrian identity (Raum, Zeit, Identität). 

Salzburg, Austria, July 2016


  1. Karen, my only visit to Salzburg was brief, as I waited to change trains, I was able to have just a quick stroll around the station area. I greatly appreciate your wonderful photographs that show me what I missed.

    It is grand to see a place that lacks tackiness. I wonder how it is prevented?

    Please do show us more pictures from your multi-country road tour. xo


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