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Well look at me, all fancy, having just had a mini break to Salzburg! I booked this trip as an impromptu last minute treat for Nik’s for his birthday last month. I know that seems a little extravagant for a normal birthday (it wasn’t a biggie), but the stark reality for us is that for a while, we didn’t know if Nik would make this birthday, and thank the lord he did, so lets bloody celebrate I say! I decided to book Salzburg as it was somewhere Nik had been as a youngster, and said he wanted to re-visit with adult eyes if that makes sense. You don’t have the same appreciation for all the culture and gorgeousness as a youngster do you. So, in part one of this little travel tale, I thought I would give you the low down on our mini break to Salzburg and some hints, tips and the basics just in case you are planning a trip yourself. I will cover the culture and beauty of Salzburg in my next post or you will be here reading all day……or asleep… Its a bit of a long one, but I hope its useful!
Lets start with the basics, like how I booked it etc, as I saved about £120 on the price I found it on the travel agents websites. It was a good saving so wanted to share. I booked everything separate. I had carried out my research and knew the exact location I wanted to stay in, that the trip into town was only a short journey from the airport and that as the flight was so short, a budget airline would suit me fine. I was a little nervous as the last time I booked like this was in my pre children traveling days! Since I have had my sons I tend to do packages as I want to know everything has been taken care of. Now they are older, they wont be accompanying us as often so I don’t worry so much.
I used the various flight sites to look up and compare flights to Salzburg. I knew that I wanted to fly out early morning, and come home late so that we got three full days there. I would advise doing this, as we really did utilise all of the time we had. I found on E-dreams that I could fly out at 6am and come home on our return journey at 7pm. Perfect! I also found that booking with two separate airlines saved me about £70. We flew out with Ryan Air and home with Euro Wings. I did worry about the Euro Wings flight as I had never heard of that particular airline, but they were brilliant and to be totally honest, the experience with them was better than Ryan Air. I wouldn’t hesitate to book with them again. Also, just be aware that Ryanair now charge to take a mini suitcase onto the plane as hand luggage. If you don’t pay for two cabin bags (about £7 pp) then you can only take a small handbag on board.
Where we stayed;
Then I moved onto the hotel booking. As I say, I knew that I wanted to stay in the old town, and that I wanted to be fairly near to the things we wanted to see. I used Hotels.com to book my hotel, using their facility that they have to filter your choices, by distance from a certain landmark etc. I use Hotels.com quite often for hotels in London, and if you are registered with them, you get special discounts from time to time. (You also collect “nights” to earn free nights, so worth looking at) I used one of these discounts and saved £50 on our hotel for the two nights. Perfect! We stayed in a little 4 star hotel called Altstadthotel Weisse Taube. It was nothing fancy, but it was clean, incredibly friendly and efficient, perfectly located and the beds were like sleeping on a cloud! On that note, what is it about hotel bedrooms that make you sleep so well? Im a notoriously bad sleeper, yet I always sleep so well in hotels. Hmmmm, I need to look into this!
Anyway, I digress. It suited our needs just fine.
As we were only here for three days, we really wanted to eat as traditionally Austrian as we could. I will be honest here and say I had no clue what Austria’s traditional food was, other than apple strudel! I know thats very uneducated, but I just didn’t know. I imagined it a little like German cuisine and I suppose it was. As a vegetarian, I did not struggle at all to find something to eat, despite the fact that the menus are all pretty small compared to choices we are often faced with in UK restaurants. In some ways that was better as I am rubbish when faced with too much choice! Restaurants and pavement cafe’s are everywhere, and you will not struggle to find somewhere to eat. We didn’t plan on partaking in any fancy dining while here as it was all about the sights for us. On our last night, we went to an amazing little traditional cuisine place, tucked away off the beaten track in the old town, and had an amazing meal. I had spinach and parmesan Semmelknodel Dumplings. These are firm, tennis ball shaped yumminess made from bread, eggs, spinach and seasoning. So simple, yet absolutely delicious. They served it with a salad and it was so gorgeous. For meat eaters, these are often served with pork or beef. (excuse this basic photo, I only had my phone)
Nik had the famous Wiener Schnitzel. The most Austrian way to eat this is with veal, but as Nik dose not eat veal, he had it with pork. This breaded dish is traditional served a redcurrant jelly and potato salad, which is how he enjoyed it. He said it was gorgeous! Another dish that I had on another night was a cheese Spatzle, which is a little like gnocchi that you may know. This a very famous vegetarian dish served in Austria, and loaded with cheese and flavour, absolutely amazing. A must for any cheese lover. We found Austrian cuisine to be very hearty and wholesome. If you are a foodie you will not be disappointed. It should probably be here that I disclose that yes, we did accompany each and every meal with ice cold glasses of Austrian beer, mainly Stiegl…..it was delicious…..I have no guilt…..yum.
You also HAVE to try the famous Mozart Balls. Beautiful chocolates that are worth everyone of their calories!
I wanted to share some things that we discovered on our mini break. I really feel that these will help anyone that makes a trip to beautiful Salzburg.
Buy a Salzburg card – This is the biggest tip I can give you if you are planning to sightsee. This card (see it here) costs around £24 – £28 for 24 hours, about €36 for 48 hours, and gets you in to many of the attractions for free. For example, the cable car up to the fortress would cost you €25, so just doing that covers your cost of the card. Its a fabulous money saving purchase.
Get on the bus – The busses are incredibly efficient, regular and cost effective. If you have a Salzburg card, you travel for free within the city too. We jumped on the bus from the airport into the town and it cost just €3 each. Once we bought our card our bus trips were free. I really liked being on the bus too, a great way to see the residential side of the city.
Don’t expect late nights – Nik and I both enjoy eating quite late at home, but in Salzburg, food stops at around 9 o clock. We went out one night around 9.30, and very few places were still serving food! We were like “whaaatttt”??? We are used to London where you can eat at anytime, so that was an eye opener. You can drink until much later, its just food that stops.
Take cash – again, something that we were surprised at was that many places did not take card. Restaurants, shops, buying your Salzburg card etc, all had to be paid in cash (Euro’s). We were very nearly caught out one night, we thought we was going to have to offer to wash up! There are plenty of cash machines around though, so once you know it really isn’t an issue.
A Weekend visit – Because of Niks shift pattern at work, we went over a weekend, something that I would usually avoid due to the crowds. However, we feel it played in our favour with this trip. The Saturday and Sunday had lots of locals going about their daily life, but all very laid back and chilled, and no tourist crowds. This meant we could walk around the attractions in relative quiet. On the Monday, it was like coach loads of tourists and school trips were everywhere. The weekend, in particular the Sunday, were so much calmer and nicer. Just be aware that on a Sunday, some of the attractions operate reduced opening hours.
No Glam squad required – Salzburg has a very relaxed, very laid back cafe culture type vibe and I never saw anyone dressed up to the nines. It was all very casual. I took a few tea dress type dresses with me, and paired them with flat shoes of a night. I don’t think I saw anyone in heels the entire three days. It was like a different world! (Remember, Im from Essex where girls walk their dog in their skyscraper heels)! It was fab as I was always so comfortable and perfect for walking and exploring the city. Lovely!
Roof top bars – I love a roof top bar, and wanted to have a drink in one in Salzburg. We chose The Hotel Stein, which is right on the river, on the opposite side to the old town. Be warned, you have to book a day or two in advance if you would like evening drinks up there. The view is lovely though, so worth getting organised for.
Salzburg is amazing and I really would urge anyone to add it to their must visit list. I cannot wait to share some of the more cultural side to Salzburg in my next post. It was such a relaxed pace of life, and the people were lovely. A few people told us before we went, that it was really expensive there. We found it on a par with London prices, although you do see things like happy hours on drinks in some bars. To give you an idea, we were paying around €4-€5 per pint and around €12 for a main meal. We had the most amazing time, have come home feeling relaxed and happy, and have fallen just a little in love with Austria.
Id love to know what you thought of this travel post and if it was useful. Im planning on featuring a few trips over the coming months so would love your feedback on whether this is a useful format? I thought breaking it down into two posts might be a little more digestible Do you enjoy a city break? What city breaks have made you leave a little of your heart there? As always, Id love to know about your experiences xx
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