There are many day trips you can take from Munich all over Bavaria. We chose to spend a few days in a small town right past the German border—Salzburg.
After a morning spent recovering from the night’s Oktoberfest-ivities, we hopped on a train for the short ride over to Austria. Trains run fairly frequently (about twice an hour) from Munich to Salzburg, and you can book online or just wait until you get to the station. Tickets run anywhere from 9-30 euros on the DB trains.
Once we arrived, we got on the bus to the Old City center, where we stayed at Hotel Elefant. This hotel. It is ADORABLE. I mean, look at its sign!
The rooms are huge and have gorgeous modern bathrooms. The price is really amazing considering what you get. They have a very nice spread for breakfast as well, which is included.
After an afternoon wandering around the cobblestone streets, we headed to a traditional dinner at the cozy restaurant Gasthaus Zwettler’s.
Even though the days were beautiful temperature-wise, the nights were quite chilly, so we started with soups: a delicious clear beef soup with pancakes.
And a potato cream soup, which had interesting taste, almost like rye bread.
We went “traditionally Austrian” (per the menu) for dinner. Two of us went for wiener schnitzel. It was very good. The breading wasn’t as crisp as the one we had in Munich, but I liked that it came with the cranberries like at Pilsener Haus in Hoboken—I love the sweet with the salty pork.
A grilled fish filet, straight from the river, with a potato cake that was almost like bread, in a lemon butter sauce.
And another fish, this time battered and fried with a potato salad.
We devoured everything, but made sure to save room for dessert, since we planned on trying the Salzburg specialty—nockerl. Nockerl is like a soufflé–dumplings of egg yolk, flour, sugar, and vanilla, whipped up and gently baked to brown the outside and served with a raspberry sauce.
They were amazing, but we soon realized our eyes were bigger than our stomachs—since we had also gotten apple strudels.
The strudels were very good, but we actually had better ones at Café Tomaselli by Alter Markt.
The next day we walked around the Old City. Salzburg is famous for two things: it was where Mozart was from, and it’s also the setting for the “Sound of Music.” You can do any number of Sound of Music tours available–we chose not to—or you can still see many of the famous spots by just walking around.
We started first at Salzburg Cathedral. It was consecrated in 1628, but if you go down into the crypt you can see even older foundations from an original structure.
The inside is covered in ornate paintings.
From there we walked to Kapitelplatz, beneath the shadow of Hohensalzburg fortress. In one corner, an old horse bath.
In another, a man on the giant gold ball, part of an old art installation.
In the back of Kapitelplatz you can enter an interesting little space.
St. Peter’s cemetery, where rows and rows of ornate headstones line the paths. The plots are actually rented and the upkeep done by descendants. If the rent payments are not received, well, you’ll be removed!
Out the other side, we walked along St. Peter’s Church.
We walked by the music school and concert hall before reaching Universitatsplatz, where an outdoor market sells produce, sausages, cheeses, and other little gifts.
All along the market there are little tunnels. If you go through one of these pass-throughs, you’ll end up on the high street, Getreidegasse.
High and low-end stores, gift shops, and restaurants line this street. So do adorable street signs.
We also ventured up to Hohensalzburg fortress, which you can access by funicular or by climbing.
I didn’t love or hate the museum in the fortress, but it’s worth going up there for the views.
Back down the cliff, we left the old city and crossed the bridge over the Salzach river.
We walked down Steingasse street, full of little bars. We went back there later to do a mini bar crawl and ended up eating some amazing schwarma when we realized all of the restaurants had closed.
We only had two days in Salzburg so most of our time was spent wandering the old city, but there are several palaces outside the main area worth visiting as well. If you’re in Bavaria, make a special side trip to Salzburg for a few days, it’s an absolutely beautiful town!