On our first morning in Salzburg, Austria we took a Salzburg Walking Tour with Viking River Cruises. This was part of the land tours on our Castles and Legends Viking River Cruise. We arrived in Salzburg the night before after departing from Munich.
The morning started with a delicious breakfast at the hotel and then we were off on our walking tour of Salzburg. Being November it was a bit chilly in the morning, but we lucked out, and the rain stopped! Thank goodness!
The tour left directly from our hotel and included a walking tour of the Altstadt (old town) and then a portion of the new town.
Salzburg is an easily walkable town with the main squares being pedestrian only after 11am. We had to move around a few cars in the morning, but after 11 am it was mainly car free. We lucked out, and the Christmas Markets started on the day we arrived.
Salzburg’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and so worth visiting! The small alleyways are filled with gorgeous shopping opportunities.
One of our first stops was to learn about Café Konditorei Fürst where confectioner Paul Furst created the now world-famous Mozart Chocolate Balls known as Mozartkugel in 1890. We had a couple of Mozartkugel on our pillows when we checked into the hotel. They are a must try during a trip to Salzburg.
We did learn that the original Mozartkugel at Furst are still made by hand versus others you find in Salzburg are made at a factory. This can affect the pricing, but it is up to you to decide if they taste any different from each other.
Our walking tour continued to the Salzburg Cathedral. This is the only one of the 40 churches in Salzburg that guides can take tours inside. The Salzburg Cathedral is where Mozart was baptized. The cathedral has a very interesting history including being burned down so that a new fancier cathedral could be built. The dome of the cathedral was also bombed during the war. The dome has been rebuilt and is truly beautiful.
During our tour of the Salzburg Cathedral, our guide gave you the opportunity to wander and take pictures or sit in one of the pews for about 20 minutes while she gave the history of the Cathedral.
We exited the Salzburg Cathedral and headed to Chapter Square also known as Kapitelplatz. There is a giant oversize chess board that can be played during the summer. You can’t miss the giant gold ball with a statue on top of it modern art that takes up a large portion of the square.
Keep an eye out of for the historic horse bath which was in the movie Sound of Music. One thing I thought was fascinating during our tour was learning that most Austrians did not see the Sound of Music until the past few years.
Our guide told us that she led tours for over ten years based on the Sound of Music and had never seen the movie. When the movie came out it was before DVDs and even VHS tapes. The guides talked to a bus driver who was one of the only English speaking drivers in Salzburg, so he was chosen to drive the movie crew around town.
He told the guides stories about the movie being filmed, and that is what they used during their tours. It wasn’t until the past few years that they finally saw the movies and figured out if the stories were true.
Our guide took us to the square where in the movie you see the Nazi soldiers walking across the square and the Third Reich flag hanging from a building. She told us that when the film was done in 1965 town, residents didn’t know that a film was being done. They walked out of their houses and saw the third Reich flag hanging and the soldiers marching and almost had heart attacks.
During the tour our guide gave us hints on where to visit in town during the afternoon on our own. She mentioned that the castle funicular includes museum tickets and tours at the top. She also pointed out an area in town that you can take an elevator up to get a great overview of the city without having to pay for the museum entrance.
She was wonderful at letting us know different options for exploring on our own in the afternoon. You could see how much she loves Salzburg!
We wandered through Collegiate Church and University Square learning about the history of the university. Before the old town portion of the tour ended in front of Mozart’s Birth Place. Our guide told us about the museum that is inside the house and more about the local area.
We had the choice to continue to the new parts of town or wander on our own. We decided to tuck into the Starbucks on the corner and take a bit of time to relax. I know it will surprise you that I needed some Chai tea.
This was the perfect opportunity to wander around the Getreidegasse, the main shopping street in Salzburg and then into the Christmas Markets.
We figured since it was November the 2nd half of the tour which focuses on Mirabell Palace and Gardens might be worth saving for a future visit. The gardens sadly are not quite in bloom at the end of November.
Our afternoon was spent exploring the Salzburg Christmas Market and eating our way through town!
-Wear comfortable and sturdy shoes. A lot of the walking is on cobblestone which may be wet and slippery. We did over 12,000 steps by noon.
-Dress in layers. The wind coming off the river can get a bit chilly depending on what time of year you are visiting.
-Bring cash so you can pick up a pretzel, bratwurst or other treats at the market stands
-Be prepared to shop for amazing souvenirs! Everything from handmade ornaments to delicious chocolate.
-Have camera batteries with you! You will take a ton of photos! The city is gorgeous!