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Walking at the Salzach | © Tourismus Salzburg
The Salzach Experience
If you are out and about in the city, at some point, sooner or later, you will cross a river. That’s the Salzach. For countless centuries, Salzburg’s main artery has forged its way through the heart of the historical district. The colorful array of opportunities along its banks never fail to lure locals and visitors alike – whether simply for a leisurely stroll, a fascinating river cruise, or mouthwatering culinary experiences!
Salzburg has always been a “divided city” – at least in the sense that the historical district is comprised of a left side and a right side. You see, sedately meandering through the City of Mozart is one of its most famous landmarks: the Salzach. It was salt (“Salz” in German) – shipped along the Salzach until late into the 19th century – which gave the river its name. In 1891, however, due to numerous treacherous shallows and ship engines that were still far too weak to negotiate them reliably, that those activities finally came to an end.
Happily, passengers on board the Amadeus Salzburg aren’t required to perform any rowing duties. Instead, this modern Salzburg ship allows them to focus completely on the phenomenal views of the city. As they cruise towards Hellbrunn, they are also greeted by imposing mountain scenery. Come evening, the landing on the Franz-Josef-Kai is transformed into a popular cocktail bar with a flair uniquely its own. If you are someone who always likes to get in on the hottest trends, you should definitely give the Amphibious Bus a try, too. This vehicle also “casts off” from the same boat dock as the “Amadeus”. And trust us when we say, there’s nothing quite like it in all of Austria. A little way downriver, it leaves the Salzach by way of a ramp, then continues its journey along the road, before finally reentering the river. A truly spectacular sightseeing highlight!
The comings and goings of Salzburgers
If you prefer to keep terra firma under your feet, you should definitely take a stroll alongside the Salzach. Wide pathways on both banks invite you to amble next to the river. As temperatures rise in summertime, shaded seating with views of the cool, wet water are impossible to resist. Moreover, the extraordinary ambience of the summery Salzach Galleries evokes hints of distant countries and continents: This biggest open-air bazaar in Austria takes place on twelve weekends between Whitsuntide and St. Rupert’s Day (at the end of September), conjuring up impressions worthy of the “Arabian Nights”: wind chimes chinking gently in the breeze and strange fragrances mixing with the spirited hustle and bustle of curious visitors.
The Bridges over the Salzach
Salzburg boasts no fewer than 13 bridges! In some cases, they are still in their original locations, while others have replaced ferries that ceased operating long ago. The Makartsteg has developed into a rather special highlight. As a so-called “Steg”, it is reserved exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists. For a number of years now, lovers have been wont to attach their personal “love padlocks” to the balustrade of the footbridge. A popular tradition that is now celebrated in many different cities. Couples mark their locks with their names or initials, then toss the key into the river – a symbol of eternal love. The Mozartsteg is also well worth a visit. Actually, until 1921 people wanting to cross this elegant, art nouveau-style bridge had to pay a toll charge! Nowadays, pedestrians and cyclists can freely make their way across without paying a penny. That said, the old toll house still stands, though now home to the smallest coffee shop in Salzburg.