'The Hills are Alive' immediately pops into my head when I think of Salzburg, Austria. As a little girl I loved The Sound of Music and dreamed of living in the Von Trapp home. It was not until visiting Austria in July 2009 that
I saw it for its true beauty.
Werfen Ice Caves
We stayed at the beautiful Goldener Hirsh hotel, centrally located in old town. The hotel had an authentic Austrian charm to it. The room was very comfortable and had historic touches throughout. The room keys were not your standard room key, they were actual keys on a rather large key ring. It was somewhat annoying to carry every day but we weren't going to lose it!
We began our stay in Salzburg with a tour to The Werfen Ice Caves through Panorama Tours. We did not realize prior to the tour how much hiking we were going to do. It took almost an hour with an elevation change of about 600m to get to the cave. It was a beautiful hike and an amazing experience being above the clouds! When we reached the cave it was zero Celsius. We only walked approximately 1km out of the caves 42km but the ice formations we saw were breathtaking! If you are visiting Salzburg May- October and are physically fit to handle the hiking I recommend you go.
The Werfen Ice Caves are the largest ice caves in the world and are not to be missed!
Eagle's Nest Tour
Due to my interest in WWII history, we went on a tour of the Eagle's Nest. It was a cabin built as a birthday present for Adolf Hitler. There were other buildings built near the nest used as headquarters for the Nazis but were all bombed during the war. The nest has been transformed into a restaurant and now lacks historical charm but it had wonderful views of the Swiss Alps and surrounding towns. It is not a must see by any means. The tour had mixed reviews before booked it but decided to try it anyway. If it were not for the views I feel it would have been a waste of time.
After our tour, we still had a half day to spend touring in Salzburg. We took the time to visit the Hohensalzburg Fortress. The fortress is over 900 years old and sits on top of a hill overlooking Salzburg. To visit, you must take the castle lift. You will need to allow 1.5 -2 hours to visit the fortress. This includes travel time up and down the hill via the lift. Opens daily at 9:30a. Save time and money by buying your tickets in advance online.
Mozart's birthplace, Stiftung Museum, is located only 10 minutes by foot from Hohensalzburg Fortress. This is was the perfect spot to finish our day. This three-story apartment is complete with antique furniture and memorabilia from Mozart's childhood. Open daily from 9am-5:30pm. Adult tickets are 11 Euros.
Sound of Music Tour
A trip to Salzburg would not be complete without a Sound of Music Tour. It was a 4-hour tour that took us to some of the iconic places in the movie. We did not go inside any buildings since most inside scenes were filmed in Los Angeles, California. If you love the musical it is not to be missed.
Our tour ended at Mirabell Gardens. We spent some time walking through the gardens before we had to catch our train to Vienna. If you have time you can also visit Mirabell Palace. Both the palace and gardens are open daily.
3 days/3 nights is a perfect amount of time in Salzburg. Consider taking a week long trip to Austria and pairing it with Vienna!
Next Stop: Vienna, Austria