Austria being royal: Salzburg and around
If you are planning to visit Salzburg and you have the only couple of days, you should read this story. I stayed in Salzburg and around for not even three days but had a beautiful experience.
You know that feeling when you are just amazed by people’s mentality that no matter what they do, they’ll always be just marvelous? I have this feeling with Austria and Austrians. I visited Vienna three times but Salzburg’s area only once. Someone would say that’s too early to make any assumption. Anyway, I took most of these visits and tried to observe not only their architecture, breathtaking nature, quality of life and the system but also people in general and their behavior.
Austrian kindness…not a myth
There is something beautiful in their attitude, and the way they treat people and things. They are not glamorous in their beauty or fashion but in their way of handling things. Royal even during the strongest winter, while drinking a coffee and freezing outside in their jackets. Royal even when cutting cheese for you in the supermarket.
They always seem so calm, polite, smiley and happy. There are stereotypes that people from countries such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland or Scandinavian countries are quite “cold” and “reserved”. What does that mean? Well, to put it simply, according to the belief, “they will smile at you everywhere. But those are their manners and nothing else. They will not be really close friends with you.”
Do you believe in this premise? I don’t. Generalization never brought anything good to this world. I was welcomed in an Austrian home as a part of the family and had amazing treatment. On the other side, even if someone agrees with these stereotypes about Austrians being fake, it’s still better to see a smiley face when you go to the supermarket than a rude one.
A fairy tale called Salzburg
I was exploring some small part of the area around Salzburg and even if I didn’t imagine that, it was one of my best trips ever. People warned me that Austrian nature is unbelievable but I didn’t expect this trip will be so spectacular.
Just walk…and sit near the Dunav (Danube)
One day is enough to explore it but probably the whole life is not enough to admire it. The city is quite small, everything is close and you probably don’t need the public transport at all. And you’ll never get tired of walking around! Everything seems so classy, the buildings and the people, and you could definitely say it’s the home of classical music. Locals are extremely proud of their very own Mozart and you can see that in every part of the city.
There are a lot of tourists and as I was explained, almost all the people on the streets are tourists. Are Salzburg people annoyed by this? Well, yes, but it helps their economy a lot.
Whenever you go, you enjoy beautiful buildings, view on the river and also on the fortress. I didn’t go up to the fortress as I was afraid I will not get time to see the rest of the city. Which might be a mistake, but, anyway, I’ve found my way out.
There is also a shorter way (and it’s for free) to see the Salzburg from the hill on the other side of the fortress. How did I find it? Since I went there alone, I’ve found a girl on Couchsurfing who showed me everything. Having locals while traveling is priceless. This girl happened to be an amazing and strong person who I am still in contact with.
Explore villages around
I spent less than two days in some places around the town. I was taken to Sankt Koloman, a small village located in the mountains in 800 m height. It’s the house of a friend of my friend. The house is so authentic, with famous and huge Alpes on all sides of the village. It means that literally, your window and balcony looks directly at this powerful mountains. Since it’s not possible to explain how spectacular this landscape is, I will just give you a hint with this photo below. And trust me, this photo cannot present even 50% of the view.
There is a fact: People are saving the whole year to spend the vacation in the house like it’s the one my friend is living in. Can you imagine yourself living in such an area? Some of them take it for granted and all this nature is the completely normal thing for them. It’s true that when there is a big snow, sometimes people are stuck. They told me that sometimes they cannot go up to their house and they need to wait in some close city for the service to clean up the road. Luckily, since this is Austria we are talking about, this happens fast.
Explore lakes around
Except enjoying the wonderful villages, landscapes, Alpes and the architecture, don’t forget to rest by lakes. Let me put it in a different way – you can’t miss visiting at least some lake in this area! It’s better than any heaven you imagined before! All of them are, I am sure, amazing in their own way, but try to visit some close ones at least.
For example: Mondsee, Mattsee, Bluntauseen, Attersee, Hintersee, Fuschlsee, Hallstatter see, Traunsee, Zeller see etc. The color of the water and nature around is unreal. I am obsessed with the sea and never thought one lake can replace my joy. And it happened, even when the weather wasn’t that good. Believe me, if you go to Salzburg, find a way to go around the city.
Famous Hallstatt. Why wasn’t I amazed by this city?
Short and simple: I expected more. Hallstatt is an extremely picturesque place and you kinda expect the same or at least the similar situation in reality. Well, it wasn’t. My Austrian friend told me he has better places to recommend me, however, I was sure he is not telling the truth. I thought he is just bored with this place. And I was wrong.
I’m not sure is it because of the foggy weather we had or because of so many tourists (who were taking pictures of literally, everything). Or because of the place itself which is nice, but extremely small. You go up and down within 1 hour and all that with stopping to take photos. The architecture is beautiful and nature as well, but, not more beautiful than in other Austrian villages around. I even wouldn’t say it’s a place to chill.
It’s crowded, the main (or better say, the only) street is tight and there’s no much space to walk or admire the place. Even the lines for pictures in these nice spots are big. If your schedule is tight, maybe you should consider visiting something else around. If you want to relax, you should visit lakes and woods around it but don’t count on staying much in Hallstatt.
Locals are quite annoyed with tourists which proves some of the unfriendly signs “No picture” on the houses. Apparently, their houses are all around the internet but, what’s really funny, that doesn’t stop tourists to still take photos.
Do you know what brings Koreans and Chinese to this place in such big number? I’ve found shocking news – Chinese were so inspired that they replicated this city in China. After this situation, the number of tourists has jumped rapidly.
What else can you do while you are there? You can go to Munich…Or…think twice.
A bit of Germany…Did somebody say Munich?
When I realized how close Munich is to Salzburg (2h by bus), I immediately booked the ticket. By the way, you can use Flixx bus for this trip, and, if I am not mistaken, it was around 10 euros. Unfortunately, I was not that inspired by the city at all. Nice center, classic German architecture, however, that’s it. Nothing to impress me much. Actually, I was missing Austrian beauty. As always, Germany is a bit pricey, so you should count on that as well. Castles around must be nice, but I didn’t have time to visit them.
What can you do there? I was focused on sightseeing only. The beer is good but overpriced (around 5 euros per pint in the center) and there is also a world-famous Hofbrau pub to visit. How famous is this place? Well, there is a line outside for getting a table or just taking photos of the pub. Their souvenir shop is full of people as well. And I must say, it looks like they developed more types of souvenirs that Hard Rock Caffee did. Nevertheless, it was nice to see Hofbrau sign in every piece of thing in this world. If I can go back in time, I would’ve probably stayed in Salzburg’s area for one more day. The level of beauty I saw there can’t be comparable.
What about you? Have you ever been in this Austrian area or Munich? Do you have the same impressions as I do? Tell me your experience or mention anything relevant for readers.