AUSTRIA WAS OUR pitstop before heading into Hungary. We have heard much about its beauty from our fellow travelling friends, and so a 7D6N stay it was!
The city of Salzburg is divided by the Salzach river, with the Alstadt (Old Town) on one side and the Neustadt (New Town) on the other. Amazing how the Old Town was salvaged, whilst the opposite side of the river bank was completely destroyed in WWII. Our city guide also shared how the name of the city is literally Salt Castle, named after the barges that carried salt along the river in the old days. Its neighbouring city is also home to the world’s largest salt mine.
Some of the sightseeing we did whilst in Salzburg:
- Hohensalzburg Castle via the FestungsBahn funicular
- Mozart’s birthplace
- Stern Advent with Winter Market
- Half-day trip to St Wolfgang and St Gilgen
- Half-day trip to Hallstat
Salzach river with the Old Town and New Town on opposite sides of the bank
View atop the Hohensalzburg Castle
It starting snowing as soon as we drove into St Gilgen that day. With the short December daylight, we could not really see lake Wolfgang from where we were at. Though I reckon it must be really pretty in the spring.
But we got lucky with our day trip the following day to Hallstat! Oh it was such a picturesque village, like looking onto a postcard! Hallstat is home to some of the oldest’s salt mines in the world, and the Hallstatt-Dachstein alpine landscape is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. Nevermind that there were busloads of tourists and that the temperatures were freezing, we arrived at about 10am just as the heavy snowfall from the day before started to melt. What a beautiful sight to behold!
How we got to Hallstat via public transport, check out the bus/train timings and journey planner here :
1. Take bus #150 from Salzburg Hbf to Bad Ischl Bahnhof (or anywhere from the city along #150 route eg. Mirabellplatz)
-Costs €10.70 per trip
-Buses depart almost every hour, the shortest route takes 1h 28min (52 stops) without any transfers
-No complaints though as the view on the way is gorgeous, passing by St Gilgen and Lake Wolfgang
2. From Bad Ischl, take the train to Hallstat
-Costs about €8.40 for a return trip
-Journey takes 25min (5 stops)
3. Walk up to the ferry point to the left of Hallstat station
-Pay for the tickets just before boarding the ferry, costs €2.50 per trip
-Ferry departs every 0.5 to 1h, journey takes about 15min
-Check out the timetable here
-Tip: On the return trip, queue for the ferry starts snaking pretty early
Ferry ride to Hallstat
Hallstat village set in the mountains
Capital cities, with its rich history and urban development, are always fascinating. Vienna, in particular boasts of stories from the Roman times, Habsburg monarchy, to the Austrian-Hungary empire, WWII and restoration of its cultural landmarks.
Our 48-hour Vienna Pass was pretty worth it, allowing free entrances to most of the places we went to. Some of the sightseeing we did whilst in Vienna:
- Schloss Schönbrunn
- St Stephen’s Cathedral
- Kunst Haus Wien and Hundertwasserhaus
- Sigmund Freud Musuem
- Musuems Quartier
- Burg Theatre along Ringstrasse
The summer palace of Austria’s then monarchy, with walls featuring the colour Schönbrunn Yellow
Built in 1741 for the Hamsburg empress, it was later destroyed by fire and WWII bombings. Now left to its original 1950s restoration and one of the largest drama stages in the world.
Kunst Haus Wien
Sigmund Freud Musuem
St Stephen’s Cathedral
Stephenplatz by night
Mercure Salzburg City https://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-0984-hotel-mercure-salzburg-city/index.shtml
Bayerhamerstrasse 14/A, Salzburg 5020, Austria
Visited December 2017, stayed in a superior double room for €104/night
We had initially booked for early check-in, but arrived earlier than the 10am. The staff was very kind to allow us to check in as I was feeling unwell from earlier before. The hotel is located within walking distance to the city centre, about 15-20 minutes by foot. Not many eateries around the area, it is a quiet street near residential. Room that we had was large and spacious, well-maintained with up to date furnishing. An overall comfortable and great stay – very good base from which to explore Salzburg city. Thank you! -My TripAdvisor review (NaniSG)
Renaissance Wien Hotel https://www.marriott.co.uk/hotel-search/austria.hotels.renaissance/
Ullmannstrasse 71 | Linke Wienzeile, Vienna 1150, Austria
Visited January 2018, stayed in a king room for €156/night
Easily accessible via metro which is just across the street from the hotel. Room amenities were modern and clean, beddings comfortable. The hotel also has a small gym, and saunas for use. Breakfast offered was a wide variety. As part of the Marriott chain of hotels, the volume of guests is understandably huge – the front desk is always busy but not complaints there as it did not take us too long for check in and out.
Only downside was that the hotel had a policy for not returning the deposit payment almost immediately unlike other hotels we had been to, and no invoices was provided for. -My TripAdvisor review (NaniSG)