When I arrived across the border into the Austrian city of Salzburg, it was my first time in this country since a football trip to Vienna in 2005. It was also a crazy adventure, as the only reason for basing myself in Salzburg was because of a football bet ( #grodigbet ), another complete freak out of the Nicky Barmby, Lee Adams and Jonny Blair book of coincidences. Whatever way fate had led Lee and I to Salzburg, this city felt like home for 4-5 days. Austria was a breath of European fresh air for me after 4-5 months in Central Asia and India.
We based ourselves in the YoHo Hostel, one of Europe’s Famous Hostels. From that base, we set about touring the sights of Salzburg and around over the next 4 days. By far the best and cheapest way to do this is by getting a Salzburg Card!
The Salzburg Card allows you free entrance to almost every museum in the city, as well as a free boat tour, free transport and many other things. If you are ever in Salzburg, you have to get a Salzburg Card! Basically there are three different tariffs:
24 hours – €24 for adults, €12 for children
48 hours – €32 for adults, €16 for children
72 hours – €37 for adults, €18.50
I was there for four days so the 72 hour option was the one to choose. This allowed me time and flexibility to take full advantage of the Salzburg Card over three days. It starts and stops from the time you first use it.
The biggest advantage of the Salzburg card is saving money, but we also found that you save a lot of time queueing for tickets. The card basically allows free access to all public transport in the city and almost every museum, with a few tours also included in it. As a long term backpacker, I took advantage of the card and worked out that if I had spent the money each time instead of buying a card, it would have cost me around €150 Euros! So I saved a lot of money on it.
Here are some of the places I went using my Salzburg Card. My backpacking buddy Lee Adams also had his Salzburg card of course!
Salzburg Zoo is fantastic. It is based at Anif, so it was handy for Lee and I on route to Grodig. This is an unexpected treat. The animals are wide and varied and we particularly loved the Alpacas, one of them kept staring at me for about a minute, it was so funny, a true “never to be forgotten” travel moment.
We also saw lots of animals from all over the world including lions, flamingoes, monkeys and jaguars. The zoo normally costs 10.5 Euros. It was a brilliant surprise to find such a good zoo in Salzburg!
The famous Stiegl Brauwelt (brewery) is also included in the Salzburg Card and this was yet another fantastic experience. I haven’t actually toured as many breweries on my travels as I could have done, but Lee and I loved this place – as a bonus you get a gift and three beers at the end. Prost!
Lee and I did a boat cruise in Prague so we decided to do the same thing in Salzburg. Included on the Salzburg Card is a full 60 minute cruise on the Salzach River. You can sit back and relax as the guides explain parts of Salzburg to you from the luxury of a boat.
It seats 60 at a time and runs until 4pm in April, and later until 8pm in busy summer months. The normal price is 15 Euros.
Not only did we visit the Hohensalzburg Fortress, but included in the Salzburg Card was the cable car to the top and a full guided tour of the fortress.
We spent quite a while up here and afterwards had a beer overlooking the city in the Salzburg sunshine.
It would have been hard for Lee and I to visit Salzburg and not at least see one tribute to Mozart. In the end we visited his statue and square and both of his museums. The Salzburg Card covers you for all of this.
However, inside the actual house where Mozart is born, photography is forbidden so you better go in for yourself and find out!
As well as visiting Mozart’s birthplace, we also visited the actual place where he lived most of his life when he wasn’t out on tour. It was hard to believe that Mozart was leading orchestras aged 12, yet sadly he died aged 35. It shocked Lee and I as we were both 36 when we toured this place.
As well as all these places, public transport on trams and buses was included in the Salzburg Card, which can also be booked online. Salzburg is a fantastic city, it exceeded my expectations, which takes a lot of doing these days. It’s been a busy few weeks of travel since I was in Austria, but the memories live on. Austria is really really worth a trip. The people are incredibly cultured and friendly. Here are some of my Salzburg videos: