For a short trip in Austria, I decided to go to Salzburg and Innsbruck. I wish I have gone to Vienna too. Perhaps I will be one day back in the land of mountains and the land of rivers, Austria.
Salzburg is one of Austria tourist destination and famous as the birthplace of legendary Mozart and the setting of classic movie, The Sound of Music. I have lived for 10 years in New Zealand and only recently managed to watch the movie after pressure from friends. Being in English country, I felt that it is a requirement to watch the movie. And I love the movie.
Salzburg is also popular because it is a nice city with the view of Eastern Alps and beautiful baroque architecture on the Altstadt (Old town) side of the city. New town and the Salzach river that divide the old town and new town are (in my humble opinion) nice place to walk through.
My highlight of visiting Salzburg would be beautiful walk around Old and New Town and along the river, checking out Austrian cafes and try some sweet tortes and big bread-y pretzel, visiting local markets along the road that sell beautiful Austrian jewelries and souvenirs and watching some street musical performance while drinking cold beer in the open square. Laid back place and I had a nice relaxing day in the city. Unfortunately it was cloudy and I could not see the Alps from Salzburg 🙁
Visiting Innsbruck was due to recommendation of a very good friend of mine and I was thankful that she did so. It reminded me of my very much loved university city, Palmerston North, New Zealand. Although to be completely honest, I think Innsbruck is a lot nicer. Coming to Innsbruck from Salzburg, I felt a very different atmosphere. The city is located in the wide valley between high mountains and is one of the destination for winter sports.
I was staying with an Austrian university student that I met through couchsurfing. Due to exam coming soon, it was her sister who kindly took me around the city and hike to one of the closest mountain. The weather was not the best for hiking because it was foggy with low visibility and the snow has covered upper part of the mountain. With me being stubborn and insiting to hike one of the mountain on Alps range, she kindly hiked with me to the lower part of the mountain. Perhaps one of the best hike I had in Europe! The view was stunning and the fog, the colour of fallen leaf and the snow made it so beautiful! Here are some snapshots.. Thick low clouds makes it hard to see the higher parts of the mountains.
We stopped in one of the mountain pub for a hot drinks. The people were so friendly and I learnt some German words that I probably have forgotten all now. On the way back, she took me to Bar 360, Innsbruck. The bar is located on top of the building with glass wall allowing us to have 360 degrees view of mountains surrounding the city. Magnificent! Innsbruck perhaps is my favourite place and a place I can imagine myself living in. The reason is because it is a good size city (not too big), friendly people, lots of mountain to hike and to enjoy (imagine living in a place surrounded by white mountains in winter! what a view, right!), many student cafes and restaurants and centrally located in Europe.
Tips travelling in Austria
- Salzburg and Innsbruck are explorable by feet. It is nice to walk around and explore corners of the cities. They are relatively easy and tourist friendly.
- Try Austrian cakes and tortes, pretzel and sausages
- Beautiful all year round! Good mountain hikes in summer and winter sports in winter with stunning views!
- I appreciated having a travel buddy while I was in Austria; hike together and have a drink after.
- Based on my very subjective judgment, culturally it is close to Germany. And I think Austrian are friendly bunch.
All in all, definitely a must visit country if you are in Europe! I would love to live in Austria.