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In need of a girl’s weekend, my friend Genevieve and I ventured to Salzburg, Austria for a quick getaway. Surprisingly, neither of us had visited this neighboring city, which is only a two hour train ride away.

We purchased a Bayern train ticket, which costs €29 for up to five people traveling together. And no, that’s not €29 each, that’s €29 for everyone. And it gets better; this ticket is good for anywhere in Bayern and for round trip when used in the same day.

We opted to stay the night – it was St. Patty’s Day after all – which still only cost us roughly €30 round trip. And, we lucked out with our hostel, Jufa Salzburg; only five minutes walking distance from Altstadt (Old Town) at only €22/night with a free breakfast. Anywhere with free food, I’m there.

We arrived on a gorgeous, sunny Saturday morning, and from the second we stepped off the bus, I was overwhelmed with the city’s charm and beauty.

We weaved in and out of the small streets of Altstadt and stumbled upon an open air market selling traditional chocolates, pastries, meats, cheeses, flowers, and handmade goods [Tip: Be sure to try the Mozartkugel, a traditional Salzburg chocolate with pistachio marzipan and nougat. You’ll notice there are two types, one wrapped in gold and red foil, the other in silver and blue. Opt for the silver and blue, a bit more expensive but it is handmade from the original recipe, while the other is mass produced]. The public square we found ourselves in was busy with activity, much like Munich, but the atmosphere was on a whole other level. It was calm, despite the crowds of wandering tourists and shopping locals. And clean. The air, the streets, the buildings. This definitely wasn’t Berlin. Not a trace of graffiti.

Salzburg, literally meaning “Salt Castle” (Salzburg has a plethora of salt mines), is not only known for its beauty, but for also for being the birthplace of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the setting of the film The Sound of Music.

The Palace of Leopoldskron

Since we only had 24 hours to spend in this little gem of a city, we just had time for the main sights, including Mirabell Palace Gardens, featuring the unicorn fountain used for the “Do-Re-Mi” song in The Sound of Music; Mozart’s birthplace and residence; the palace of Leopoldskron, also seen in The Sound of Music; the Salzburg Cathedral – Salzburger Dom; and the Hohensalzburg Castle, which rests on the top of a hill situated in Altstadt overlooking the rest of the city.

Hohensalzburg Castle

Although usually brimming with flowers and green trees, the Mirabell Palace Gardens illuminated a feeling of desolation and haunted beauty, with the naked tree limbs and wilted flowers quietly anticipating the sun and warmth of spring but being forced to remain hidden from view for a few weeks longer.


The Hohensalzburg Castle, which casts its gaze on the entire city below and offers a beautiful view, wins for most expensive (for what you’re getting), priced at €7,50 to enter through the front gates. Genevieve and I, determined to stick to our low budgets, opted to skip out on the optimal view and went for the free alternative, which was offered from the highest point before entering the front gates. We may not have gotten the full experience, but its hard to go wrong with this view, from any angle.

While we only managed to scratch the surface of the many delights of Salzburg, I have a feeling I’ll be back before the year is over. Salzburg may be small, but it has so much to offer. Whoever said size matters, was wrong.

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