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SALZBURG IN 48 HOURS: In Winter
With the Salzburg Festival in summer, jazz in autumn and the Christmas markets during Advent, Salzburg is always well worth a visit no matter what the time of year! In winter, too, this snowy Mozart metropolis captivates with all kinds of attractions! We will take you with us on an intriguing getaway filled with sightseeing, culture and romantic togetherness in Salzburg.
Sattler Panorama at the Salzburg Museum
We stand there in the middle of a big space. All around us are hundreds of houses, people and trees. Actually, it’s not real. However, it really does feel as if we have been transported back to the 19th century. You see, this circular painting was actually created by Johann Michael Sattler at that time. It depicts a panorama of Salzburg City as viewed from the fortress. And it does so with photographic precision. Four small telescopes are also there to help you take a closer look at the countless minute details. And that’s exactly what we do. The very moment Danny presses his eye against the lens, I hear him begin to giggle. I scoot over to his side. Then it’s my turn, I peer through the eyehole and catch sight of a procession in front of the cathedral. A little farther to the right in the direction of Nonntal, a woman is hanging out laundry in her garden. And a carriage has accidentally trundled into the River Salzach. What? A carriage, seriously? If we had more time, we could probably spend the entire morning looking at all the other stories it had to tell. But sadly, we didn’t. “Would you like to see the panorama for real?”, Danny asks me with a gleam in his eye. Of course! Okay then, let’s head up to the fortress!
Up to Hohensalzburg fortress in just 54 seconds
The queue waiting in front of the entrance to the fortress funicular is a long one. A lady with a blue hat and a thick winter scarf is the last person in line. Just as I’m about to stand dutifully behind her, my friend tugs me by the arm and pulls me away from the crowd. “Don’t forget we have the Salzburg Card”, he whispers in my ear. And so, without another moment’s delay, we slide through the turnstile and board the red cabin. The doors close and we begin our 54-second ride up to the fortress. I stand right next to the big glass window, marvelling at the views of the historic district below. Danny slides his arm around my shoulders, and together we enjoy this short trip into the past. When we get to the top, we are enchanted by the views of downtown Salzburg all over again. This time, however, it’s not a painting. It’s real. After a short stroll, we reach the far side of the fortress. From here, we are treated to breath-taking views that extend from Nonntal all the way out to Hellbrunn. And there, all of a sudden, I see the garden of the lady in the Sattler Panorama. Admittedly, there is currently no indication of any laundry on the line, but I can clearly make out the garden wall and the quaint little home. In the far distance, I gaze in awe at the snow-covered Alps. I would happily have dallied a little longer to enjoy the views, but Danny is already getting a little antsy. “Let’s take a short walk over the Mönchsberg”, he urges, and rolls up the sleeves of his down jacket. Clearly, he means to get down to (hiking) business.
Walking in a winter wonderland & Museum der Moderne
With the fortress now at our backs, we make our way towards the Museum der Moderne. The paved pathway leads us past ancient fortifications, through brief patches of forest and open meadows. As we roam along hand-in-hand, it suddenly begins to snow. Tiny snowflakes dance a graceful ballet in the air, before falling as light as a feather to the icy ground. There, just in front of me, Danny triumphantly declares victory, pointing eagerly in the direction of a grey building. After surmounting one last hill, we stand there before it – the Museum der Moderne. I feel as if I’ve now travelled forward in time within a matter of minutes. Impressed by the medieval charm of the fortress barely moments ago, it is now contemporary architecture that is set to work its wonders on me. Admittedly, this museum of modern art represents quite a challenge for both of us, especially when, as you step inside, you are confronted by a vast exhibition space that spans the better part of 2300 m². However, the longer we spend in this museum, the more we are impressed by the clarity, the purity and the simplicity of its design. After a few hours of art and culture, we hop on the Mönchsberg lift and ride back down to the Old City. Dusk is already beginning to set in as we make our way back to the hotel.
An extraordinary sledding experience
The next morning, we feel the need for a little physical exertion. Armed with a detailed city map, we begin our expedition to one of the city’s many green oases. Though admittedly, the season being what it is, that green has been transformed into a brilliant carpet of white. After a 30-minute walk, we are standing there with the Krauthügel before us. In comparison with the Mönchsberg, it’s tiny, of course. And I have to say, it doesn’t look terribly inviting. And we’re supposed to be able to go sledding here? In the middle of the city? Seriously? But it’s true! And were not disappointed. Just beyond a gentle left-hand turn, all kinds of wintry outdoor excitement have been unleashed. Children are running up the hill, their eyes wide open with excitement, towing their sleds behind them. As we get closer, we begin to hear the fun they’re having. Here a “yahoo!”, there a “get out of the way!” We follow in the footsteps of these pro tobogganers, when a little girl, probably still in elementary school, runs right up to us. “Want to have a go?”, she shouts, and holds the rope of her sled eagerly in front of our noses. Without giving it a second thought, Danny accepts the invitation and, in no time at all, he’s already seated and raring to get going. I make myself comfortable in the back, press up tight against him and wrap my arms around his chest, just in case. Needless to say, he never even attempts to brake as we hurtle down the hill. And of course, just before getting to the bottom, we encounter an insignificant bump in the snow, barely the size of a fist, but certainly enough to get us out of kilter. A second later, and we’re lying there, laughing hilariously in the soft snow. In the distance, we can hear the girl applauding our performance.
The Sea of Lights in Maria Plain
After a more or less successful sledding expedition, we return to the hotel. Come late afternoon, Danny has yet another surprise up his sleeve for me. Intrigued, I get into the taxi. Where are we going? What does he have planned? We begin to drive up a mountain, and before long, we’ve reached our destination. Warily, I climb out of the taxi. “Stay here and wait for me, I’ll be right back”, he pants, and disappears into a building. “Gasthof Maria Plain”, I read on the welcome sign. Maria Plain? - If I’m not mistaken, there’s actually a famous pilgrimage basilica here, too. After what seems like an eternity, he returns, with two heavy lanterns in his hand. One for me, the other for him. Grinning, we proudly march side-by-side up the road leading to the basilica. Once at the top, we are treated to truly marvellous views of wintry Salzburg. I place my lantern on the ground, turn to Danny and look deep into his bright blue eyes. “Thank you”, I whisper to him. That’s the only word I’m able to muster at this magical moment. This is indeed a perfect ending to an even more perfect weekend. I can definitely recommend Salzburg. For a weekend getaway. In winter.
If we have whet your appetite to spend 48 hours in Salzburg during the wintertime, now’s the perfect time to go ahead and book an inexpensive package offer!