The city that inspired Mozart, Haydn and Julie Andrews continues to enchant. And you too could be susceptible to its spell as you weave through its Baroque buildings and Romanesque archways, hoping to hear the lingering echoes of Mozart's pianoforte or a "Do-Re-Mi" from the von Trapp Family Singers. Since there's little chance of that, try visiting during one of the city's many festivals or concerts instead. While you're here, take a stroll through the Gothic Festung Hohensalzburg, say a prayer at Dom zu Salzburg or dine on schnitzel and dumplings in the Altstadt (Old Town) district. You'll soon learn that this city is steeped in more than just musical history; it also boasts a majestic arrangement of medieval strongholds and magical palaces and gardens.
The best time to visit Salzburg is from September to October when summer crowds have tapered off and you can enjoy the beautifully pruned gardens in comfortable temperatures. Although the hills begin to sing and bloom in spring, March and April are still a bit chilly. And summer's gorgeous weather brings increased traffic, temperatures and prices. Winter, though not unbearably cold, will encourage brisk walks through the few gardens that are open. And you'll be right at home if you're a skier, as the surrounding mountains welcome lots of snow. Whenever you go, bring an umbrella as precipitation is common throughout the year.See details for When to Visit Salzburg
Because of Austria's proximity to Germany, Salzburg's official language is German. However, since most Austrian schools teach English as a second language, most English-speakers can get around Salzburg without experiencing much of a language barrier. But should you require a little help, consider bringing a German dictionary or ask a local for assistance.
Like other Austrian cities, Salzburg has several customary practices that are important to remember during a visit to the region. When greeting someone, shake their hand and say "gruss Gott" (greet God) or "gruss dich" (greet you). And when dining, wait until after a toast is given — such as "guten appetit" (enjoy your meal) — before you start to eat.
Additionally, it is important to understand when tips are applicable in Salzburg. Much like other European countries, Austria includes gratuity in all dining bills. However, if you feel you received good service, add an additional 5 percent (or round up to the nearest euro) onto the bill total. When taking a cab, tips are expected, so give an extra 10 percent above the meter fare. And for hotel bellhops and porters, it is customary to give up to 1 euro (about $1) per bag.
Foodies will find plenty to sink their teeth into during their time in Salzburg. Here in the city of Mozart and "The Sound of Music," travelers can find a wide array of eateries and breweries, which range from affordable coffee shops and casual bites to pricier Michelin-starred restaurants and fine dining establishments. In fact, Salzburg has more gourmet restaurants within its city limits than any other Austrian city. As a result, diners can indulge in plenty of top-notch Austrian and German food — which consists of hearty soups, dumplings and stuffed pastries — while visiting Salzburg.
For those on a budget, there are plenty of affordable options. To start, coffee lovers should check out 220 Grad, which roasts all the coffee it serves in-house alongside an assortment of cakes, crostini and small bites. And if you're in need of some authentic Austrian and German comfort classics, grab a bite at Zum Zirkelwirt. The restaurant's menu includes traditional dishes like Wiener schnitzel (fried pork cutlets), gulasch (the Austrian take on Hungarian goulash served with bread), rindsuppe (beef soup with dumplings or pancakes) and marillenknödel (apricot dumplings).
Diners who are willing to spend a bit more coin cannot leave Salzburg without visiting the Michelin-starred Esszimmer. Previous visitors rave about the three-course lunch menu offered here, which features rotating offerings like goose liver pate, halibut and beetroot ice cream alongside recommended wine pairings. Other Michelin-starred options include Carpe Diem Finest Fingerfood and Restaurant Ikarus, both of which were established by Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz.
Walking, biking, fiakers and public transportation are the best ways to get around Salzburg. Many of the city's attractions are found in the Altstadt neighborhood, which means many are within walking distance of one another. For short distances, bicycling is a viable option as well. Within the city, fiakers, or horse-drawn carriages, are also a fun way to get around. There are plenty of taxis available throughout the city as well. But if you're interested in venturing outside of the historic city center, Salzburg's BusTaxi and railway are ideal. And for getting to and from Salzburg Airport, bus routes Nos. 2, 8 and 27 routinely stop at the airport and near Altstadt. Regional bus fares start at 1.80 euros (about $1.95) per ride.See details for Getting Around
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