Birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and setting for The Sound of Music, Salzburg offers families an enchanting getaway that will have you singing its praises.
While Salzburg is a year-round destination, Advent is a special time of the year to visit. Your family will delight in roaming the world-renowned Christmas markets at Cathedral and Residenz Squares. The aroma of mulled wine and hot toasted almonds is impossible to resist, as you listen to local choirs sing in front of the cathedral.
What to do?
Before you begin your sightseeing, consider buying a Salzburg Card. The card provides admission to many Salzburg museums and use of the Fortress funicular, the Untersberg cableway, and public buses, as well as discounts to many cultural events. The cost depends on number of days and time of year. Starts at Youth (6-15) $13; Adult $26.
If you’re short on time and unable to take the funicular or cableway for a bird’s eye view of Salzburg, opt for the express lift to Mönchsbergabove Old Town. With a blanket of fresh snow, it’s the perfect spot for a family photo.
TakeThe Sound of Music tour with Panorama Tours and see where all your favorite movie scenes were filmed - Maria and the children singing Do-Re-Mi in Mirabell Gardens, the wedding of Maria and Captain von Trapp at the church in Mondsee, and the couple’s first kiss in the gazebo at Hellbrunn Palace. Feel free to sing along to the soundtrack on the bus; everyone does! Cost: Youth (4-12) $24; Adult $47.
KidTripster Tip: While in Mondsee, stop in Cafe-Konditorei Braun for some apple strudel. It is one of our favorite things!
See a performance at the Salzburg Marionette Theatre. For little ones with short attention spans, I’d recommend the one-hour afternoon program. Cost: Youth (under 12) $17; Adult starts at $23 for one-hour show; discounted tickets are available with the Salzburg Card.
Stroll Salzburg’s most famous shopping lane, Getreidegasse with it’s holiday lights, wrought iron signs, and secret passageways. With the paid Salzburg Card, visit Mozart’s birthplace, Mozart Gerburtshaus; otherwise save your money and just catch a glimpse from the outside. But don’t miss sampling Mozartkugel, delicious chocolate and pistachio marzipan balls. My boys love them!
If you have an extra day, take a 20-minute train or 40-minute bus ride to the ancient town of Hallein, home of the salt mines. Families (kids 4 and up, only) pull on miners’ suits and board a small train. Kids will love the slides that take them even deeper into the mine and the boat ride on an underground lake. Dress warmly. Cost: Youth (4-12) $12; Adult $24; family discounts available.
Before you fly home, stop at Red Bull Hangar-7 near the airport. Owned by Red Bull founder and Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz, the hangar houses a fantastic collection of historical airplanes, helicopters and Formula One racing cars. Cost: Free.
Where to stay?
Try The Pitter near Mirabell Palace and a ten-minute walk from Old Town. Though the decor is a bit dated, the hotel has rooms that accommodate four people - a rare find in Salzburg. Family room rates start at $174.
If you’re visiting during the winer, I’d ideally recommend spending two nights in Salzburg before heading to one of the nearby ski resorts in the Austrian Alps, likeObertauern. Click here for more on the ski resort.
Editor Shellie Bailey-Shah and her husband confess that "The Sound of Music" is their all-time favorite movie. The family, including their two sons, have seen it at least 25 times.