I have now been to Salzburg in every season and no matter the time of year or the weather, it is a city that I always love. This was my first time in Salzburg during the winter months and the Salzburg Christmas Market is the ideal setting to get one in the mood for Christmas.
The Christmas markets are set in the center of the historic part of town. The market stalls are full of beautiful products featuring traditional Austrian craftsmanship and I’m able to stock up on the most beautiful handmade ornaments for my Christmas tree and some beautiful linens that will help get my home in the festive spirit. Not only are there beautiful things to buy but the smell of mulled wine circles the air as does the scent of Christmas trees and open wood burning fires. There are many delicious food booths where I snack on a fantastic pretzel the size of my face and purchase some delicious Austrian mustard to take home after sampling a large assortment of options.
Once we have filled our bags with more Christmas decorations than we can carry we set off to wind through the beautiful cobble stone streets of Salzburg. The long street called Getreidegaffe is the main shopping street in the historic part of town and you can find nearly every high-end designer there from Hermes to Louis Vuitton and intermixed within are restaurants, bakeries and novelty shops. I love to wander down this street enjoying the shops and there we make a stop at the home where Salzburg’s most famous resident was born – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The Mozart family lived in this apartment in Wolfgang’s younger years before moving to a larger home across town in 1773. There are many amazing historic relics in the apartment about the composer’s life and it is an easy museum to tour in as little as 30 minutes (cost is 10 Euros).
For any Americans missing their Starbucks, you will find one right near Mozart’s birthplace that also has free and clean restrooms in the basement.
I’m hungry from all this sightseeing and my absolute favorite hotel to stay at (or eat in) is the Blaue Gans (Blue Goose) located at the end of Getreidegaffe. I stop at the restaurant for the most amazing pumpkin soup of my life.
For the luxury traveler, another must-see and experience hotel is the Hotel Sacher, which is famous for its delicious Sacher Torte (they also have a sister hotel in Vienna). During my day in Salzburg, Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel are doing a special fashion show at the Hotel and I can see trucks unloading trunks of goodies and I'm insanely envious that I’m not going to that show. But speaking of fashion, I do enjoy popping into the traditional Austrian clothing stores to admire the lady drindle outfits.
Another must-see in Salzburg is the Hohensalzburg Fortress – the largest fully preserved fortress in central Europe that was built in 1077. It is omnipresent on the hill overlooking downtown Salzburg and you can take a quick railway up to the entrance for a tour.
People always assume I love Salzburg because the movie Sound of Music was filmed there, but I’ve only taken the Sound of Music tour once. I suppose it’s worth doing if you are a fan of the movie, but to me the majesty of Salzburg is wandering the cobbled streets and soaking up the charm of this clean and beautiful historic city.