“I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but there’s an old movie that was filmed here. It’s called ‘The Sound of Music.'” This from a fellow tourist while I took in views of the alps at sunset on a hill above Salzburg. Now, I’m not a huge SOM fan, but I have seen it and I am indeed aware that it was filmed in Salzburg. But I didn’t go there to dance around the glass gazebo or sing “doh, a dear” as I ambled through town; I went because a friend told me it was a great place to experience Europe’s favorite Christmas markets. I wanted a little last adventure of 2013 before heading home for the holidays, so off to Salzburg I went for some gluhwein, schnitzel and the hills, of course.
I arrived on a Sunday afternoon and the Christkindl Market was rammed with tourists. I took one lap before walking up the stairs to the hills near the castle. It’s a fairly easy 20 minute walk from the center of town and the views just keep getting better. At the top between the castle and the modern art museum, there’s a great lookout spot with some of the most spectacular views I’ve ever seen. The hills most certainly are alive. This became my favorite activity in Salzburg and I went back each day to take in the views and have a peaceful moment. On my last morning, I walked through the museum, had a second breakfast at the rooftop café and enjoyed more spectacular views.
Dinner my first night was at Stiftskeller St. Peter, called the oldest restaurant in Europe, established in 803 A.D. I chose the Mozart dinner concert with four courses of lovely food separated by a 15-20 minute string quartet and opera singers performing Mozart classics. For under 60 Euro, I thought it was a great value and a charming evening. The hall itself was also beautiful and added to the festive atmosphere with a huge Christmas tree taking center court.
On my second day, I walked across the river to the Mirabell Palace. The gardens were lovely in the winter but I can only imagine how spectacular they must be in the spring and summer! After a quick apple strudel snack, it was back across the river to walk along Getreidegasse, Salzburg’s pedestrian only shopping street most notable for the decorative signs identifying most shops. This is also the street that is home to Mozart’s birthplace. At the top of the street, I stopped in Carpe Diem for lunch. This cute little eatery known for high-end “finger food” with several options served in tiny savory cones. My favorite was the pumpkin risotto with a seared scallop. Washed down with some hot kombucha punch, a fantastic alternative to gluhwein.
The Christkindl Market was much more peaceful on Monday and Tuesday with far fewer crowds. I wandered through sipping my gluhwein and munching on the absolutely delectable Kaiserschmarrn, a kind of bread-pudding like concoction cooked in a large skillet like paella and topped with hot plum sauce. Just putting the pictures of this treat in the gallery of this post made me start to drool. 🙂
The market itself I think is best for atmosphere and eating. I can’t say I did much shopping as all of the stalls teemed with kitsch and touristy items. Just to walk through, sniff the cinnamon and spices in the air and join in the merriment is reason enough to experience Salzburg in the festive season. And get some Kaiserschmarrn. 😉
© Jennifer Konopasek and GoodTravelerKarma, 2014.