This is a rundown of three activity-filled days spent in Salzburg on a beer-themed trip organised by the local tourism board in May. A.K.A How to have fun in Salzburg!
I've been to Salzburg twice before, but always only for a fleeting day or so, en route to (or coming back from) the beautiful mountains of Austria. I didn't remember much other than visiting Mozart's house and doing a Sound of Music tour!
We were super fortunate with the weather, which was warm and sunny, and really too good for the start of May.
BEAUTIFUL IN SPRING
I spent the first day walking around the city and along the river. I didn't really know where I was going, but Salzburg isn't big and I'm not that ambitious a walker.
The whole place seemed to be glowing in the sun. It was pretty and almost.. heavenly? This seemed the most apparent at the famous Mirabell Gardens, where I stopped to relax and take a few photos.
This is where you can find those steps where part of the Do-Re-Mi song was filmed in The Sound of Music movie. Now, you'll often find crowds of tourists trying to get a photo on one of the steps.
I felt a bit nostalgic being there. I thought of when my mom and I ran through the tunnel (like Maria did), laughing all the way. My mom is a huge fan of The Sound of Music and that was one of the reasons I brought her to Salzburg last time. She loved it!
AN E-BIKE TOUR!
Have you been on an e-bike before? This was my first time and it was a REVELATION!
Ricardo loves cycling - he's constantly trying to get me on the bike at home. But I usually crush his hopes with my two main excuses:
"I hate cycling in in the city"
"There are too many hills here!"
Well with an E-BIKE, cycling was a complete breeze! It's like, not even cycling. It gave me the boost I needed to feel more confident in urban areas (and like a hero on empty/countryside paths).
We started the tour in the city in Mozartplatz Square, where we picked up the bikes. I was happy to know that we were going to cycle straight OUT of town!
Within 5-10 minutes, the scenery had completely changed. We were soon on a path flanked by green grass on each side and mountains in the distance.
I wanted to stop SO MANY TIMES (so many beautiful spots!) but as per group tour etiquette that was a bit difficult. I did almost get left behind a couple of times because I took too long taking pictures somewhere.
My favourite part was cycling along Hellbrunner Allee - a long (5km), straight road lined with tall chestnut trees. It was along this road that Maria had danced and sang 'I Am Confident' and entered into the grounds of the Von Trapp mansion - in real life known as Schloss Frohnburg (Frohnburg Castle) It's the yellow building seen in the photo above.
Hellbrunner Allee connects to Hellbrunn Castle and its gardens, so that's where we ended up next. Again, it's a popular spot for Sound of Music fans as this is where the famous gazebo is now located!
I have to note that I loooooved this part of the trip the most - it was so exhilarating to be speeding through the beautiful countryside with so little effort! Haha
Our bike tour ended at Kaltenhausen Brewery - Austria's oldest brewery. It's been around since 1475!
We were treated to a whole variety of beer to taste - from traditional recipes to more innovative, specialty beers. I couldn't finish all of it.. I'm not a great beer drinker (I'm very slow). I generally prefer dark beers and I remember they had a really good one.
I couldn't decide what filled me up more - all the ham and cheese or all that beer!
Still, I had a sweet tooth and asked for an apple strudel after. That was my favourite part :p
Another day, another brewery!
This time it was Augustiner Brewery (or Augustiner Bräu - not to be confused with the one in Munich), which seemed to be a popular beer hangout as they had a huge outdoor seating area. They also served a variety of snack food to go with the very large mugs of beer they served.
The spiced sausage things (sausage cake??) were really good.
Fun fact: the building used to be a monastery, and the monks who lived there began brewing beer in 1621!
MAKING MY OWN BEER!
Our trip included a beer brewing experience at Bierkulturhaus, which is a kind of.. beer academy.
I can't say I'm super interested in brewing any of my own beer in future, so I've easily forgotten everything they tried to teach us here. But what's important is that I remember I had fun doing it!
Oh yeah and.. undeveloped beer smells a bit like Marmite.
Also they had a cool toy/game downstairs, which was a strong magnetic stick and a bunch of bottle caps you can throw at it!
I'm just going to quote the information that was given to us to describe #lederhosendonnerstag as it is straight to the point:
In 2013, two guys started encouraging people to wear their Lederhosen (or Dirndl) not just for baptisms and for the Festival. The picked Thursday randomly and the project spread through word-of-mouth. Every Thursday, men dress in Lederhosen and combine them with Chucks and business shirts. No rules. Once a month, everybody gets together for an after-work-clubbing with live DJs and everybody dresses in their Lederhosen or Dirndl.
Doesn't it sound like a super fun event!! I looked forward to this evening the most.
We had our attire rented locally in Salzburg and we were ready to go on Saturday evening - Saturday because Salzburg had advanced in some football tournament and the usual Thursday was a no-go, haha.
Our experience was supplemented with lessons on how to play the alpine horn.. and also how to yodel.
With the alpine horn.. I think we all just made a lot of fart noises with our mouths. I think the key to playing the horn well is to be able to make the most well-controlled fart sounds with your mouth. I could be wrong. But I sure was a lousy alpine horn.. artist? haha
Yodelling was less challenging but so hilarious. We all laughed a lot and I think found the whole thing amusing and a lot of fun. I have not practised my yodel since leaving the party, however.
^With Christine, who was so great to party with!
The party was set outdoors and I was really entertained by the sight of so many people in traditional clothes and dancing to hip hop/whatever that's popular these days.
It was good to dance - all that beer made it easy for me to tolerate the music (hahaha).
In fact I had so much fun that I was sad when we had to leave!
RAISING THE MAYPOLE
Since it was early May, we were lucky to be able to attend the raising of the Maypole festivities taking place at Stiegl Brewery. Basically another reason to drink yet even more beer!
I'd never witnessed such an event before and it didn't occur to me that it literally meant raising a giant, wooden pole upright from the ground. Using a series of sticks of varying lengths. It took a few hours.
The place was packed with people and their families. I think everyone was extra happy as it was a sunny day too.
TWO MORE THINGS I LOVE
You can find it by using the Mönchsberg lift that takes you up (60m in 30 seconds!) to a popular lookout terrace. Just look it up on Google Maps.
ICEZEIT ICE CREAM BAR
The weather was so hot that this place really saved me. Also, the staff were so friendly and nice that I got free ice cream when they noticed I kept coming back!
This post was created in collaboration with Visit Salzburg - check out the website for lots of useful info on how to plan your visit, how to make the most of your time, and most importantly how to have fun in Salzburg!