We loved our short time in Salzburg and found Austria to be one of our favorite countries of the trip. There’s a lot to see and do in Salzburg, but here are our top three recommendations.
3. Visit a Schnapps Shop
We were told by a few coworkers and friends before we left that we needed to visit the schnapps shop. A quick Google search shows that the name of the well-known shop is ‘Sporer,’ and was featured on Rick Steves’ travel show and in his guidebook. But of course, we didn’t think to look it up so we were just on the look out for it as we wandered the streets. We crossed the river from our hotel, the Radisson Blu Altstadt, and ended up in the Bistro-Cafe Pepita, pictured below, for lunch. Much to our delight, the server led us to the back of the restaurant where we were greeted with endless bottles of house-made schnapps. This was apparently not the shop we were originally looking for, but we had a great time helping ourselves to free samples of schnapps, brandy and absinthe. The food was pretty tasty and decently priced as well, and our server was very friendly.
Address: 5020 Salzburg, Linz Alley 12
Later on in the day while strolling through the Getreidegasse shopping alley, we did find the other place and went in for a few samples. The major differences were that it was more crowded and that you had to pay for each taster, and they weren’t exactly cheap. It was founded in 1903 and today is run by the 4th generation of the same family. They specialize in schnapps, rum and liqueurs.
Address: SPORER, Getreidegasse 39, A-5020 Salzburg
2. Visit the old churches and monasteries in the old city
One of the coolest things about Europe is that everything is just so much older than it is here in America. St. Peter’s Abbey was founded in 696 AD. The famous St. Peter’s Cemetery is also on the grounds of the Abbey, as well as the St. Peter Stiftskeller restaurant, which claims to be the oldest restaurant in Europe. Mozart often directed the orchestra and choir and played the organ at this Abbey.
Address: Erzabtei St. Peter, St. Peter Bezirk 1, A-5010 Salzburg
A short walk away from St. Peter’s is the Salzburg Cathedral (Dom), which is a very large and beautiful church and one of the top tourist attractions in Salzburg. The first cathedral was built in 774, but the current dom opened in 1628.
Address: Domplatz, Salzburg 5010, Austria
1. Visit the Hohensalzburg Castle
Easily our favorite attraction in Salzburg was the giant castle that looms on a hill above the city. It’s one of the largest and best preserved medieval castles in Europe and offers stunning views of Salzburg and the Austrian Alps. Construction of the fortress began in 1077. To get to the castle you can either walk up a very steep hill or you can take the cable car. A fortress ticket is 9.80 Euro and includes a round trip ride on the cable car, entrance to the castle and an audio guide.
Honorable mention: The Augustinerbrau, a giant beer hall run by monks, which has a large beer garden. We tried to go in the afternoon but it wasn’t quite open yet, so went back later to take a peek but didn’t stay for a beer.