Salzburg Travel Guide: Spellbound by Salzburg and Werfen, Austria

sound of music trail werfen

Every so often I find myself in a place that captivates me as much as it inspires me. Cue Salzburg, one of Austria’s most charming small cities that relies solely on tourism due to its attractive old world charm, stunning architecture, film location for The Sound of Music, and for being the birthplace of the world’s most prolific composer, Wolfgang Mozart. But as if its musical pedigree weren’t enough, the city’s natural beauty – and its proximity to other quaint, small towns like Werfen and Halstatt – is also reason enough to pack your bags – that’s why I added Salzburg to our Europe itinerary! Before I get into the details of Salzburg, let me talk a little about breathtaking Werfen first.

sound of music trail werfenWe spent three days in and around Salzburg, and I have to say, I was completely spellbound! Werfen is famous for being the location where Maria Trapp taught the Von Trapp children the “Do Re Mi” song in the classic film The Sound of Music, with the 900-year-old Hohenwerfen Castle in the background. While I must confess that I’ve never actually seen The Sound of Music myself, I imagine Werfen must be fun for history and film buffs to see up close and have a picnic in the hills like Maria. Aren’t these mountains just gorgeous??

sound of music trail werfen

Salzburg is also well-known for being one of the locations from The Sound of Music. There were definitely tourists around me singing/humming “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” Salzburg is very much a Baroque city, and the streets of the Old Town reflect that. A few hours are all it takes to fall hopelessly in love with this city! Take leisure time to roam up and down every narrow side street. If you’re in the mood to shop, you might find some souvenirs or treasures along Getreidegasse, the famed shopping street in Salzburg. There are also quaint cafes around every corner, and even shops selling traditional Austrian clothing.

travel with kids Salzburg

Getreidegasse is a narrow pedestrian walkway – good luck squeezing your way through the mobs of people, especially around house number 9 – which turns out to be Mozarts birthplace in 1756. Bit of a tourist mill, but a quick visit will allow you to say stuff like “It was the violin he played in his childhood that really caught my eye” over drinks with your fancy friends. And while you’re stuck amongst the crowds of tourists on the main street, don’t forget to look up – the ornate wrought iron signs and the intricately carved window frames are so pretty!

travel with kids Salzburg

We stayed at the most incredible AirBNB farmhouse in Salzburg. Yes, you heard me right! Acres and acres of wide-open land, the stunning Austrian Alps in our backyard, and oh the fresh country air!! There was also a playground right on the grounds of the property for the kids to play on lest they are bored of riding on one of the cute pedal cars provided by the AirBNB host or petting the farm animals just next door.

Hope you enjoy these pictures of Salzburg and Werfen!

travel with kids Salzburg

travel with kids Salzburg

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Vienna Travel Guide: What to See and Do in Vienna

Vienna family of five vacation

If you are looking for a fairy-tale trip, then there is no more perfect a place to visit than Vienna. Vienna, Austria is rich in history, music and baroque architecture, but still has a modern feel to it in parts of the city. Picture a capital city as romantic as Paris but with a third of the crowd. A place as cosmopolitan as London but so much cleaner. It’s a dream come true and it’s all in Vienna, Austria. You’ll surely fall in love with Vienna at first sight, like I did!

If you’re not spending that much time in Vienna, you’ll definitely want to take a hop on, hop off bus tour like we did via Vienna Sightseeing. This is the most convenient and comfortable way to travel and pack in the main sights, especially if you are traveling with small kids! We got off at Schönbrunn Palace Vienna and Naschmarkt, and these are definitely two must-see destinations in Vienna.

 

Schönbrunn Palace Park

Vienna family of five vacation

The palace is the former summer residence of the Hapsburgs. If you take a tour of the palace and museum, you will learn about the royalty that lived here, particularly Franz Joseph who at 18 became ruler and survived the suicide of his son, the murder of his wife Sisi, and even throughout WWI. Austrian tales of yore got your attention yet?

Vienna family of five vacation

The palace park is huge and is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon or a day here. Amongst the gardens here you will see some of the most beautiful flower arrangements. There is also the Vienna Zoo inside the palace grounds that I am told is top notch, if zoos are your thing. We didn’t check this out because I have this weird thing about zoos. (I’m not a fan of animals being confined, and growing up in Chicago, I can go to Lincoln Park Zoo anytime which is free, so I for sure wouldn’t pay to go to another zoo.) However, it is free to enter the palace park!

Naschmarkt

Vienna family of five vacation

Our next hop off stop on the Vienna Sightseeing tour was the Naschmarkt. This is Vienna’s most popular market with 16th-century origins. Located at the Wienzeile over the Wien River, it has more than 100 food & vintage stalls, plus restaurants! Definitely a must-do in Vienna. It’s a true Viennese market experience for locals and tourists alike! Each of the little food stalls or huts in the market offers a different style of food. You can find traditional kraut at Naschmarkt sold from a wooden barrel in the age-old fashion, right next to cutting edge fusion mixes from Italian, Japanese or Moroccan delis.

Vienna family of five vacation

When in Vienna, obviously you must eat schnitzel. But don’t forget to satisfy your sweet tooth and try a sacher-tort. This is the famous chocolate cake you may have heard about. It is one of the most decadent desserts and is shipped all over the world, but you can try it right here in its birthplace, which makes for a memorable experience in itself.

Vienna family of five vacation

You might be surprised to learn that most Arab Austrians are of Iraqi and Lebanese origin. Our best meal in Vienna was at this Lebanese restaurant called Duzi’s Kitchen. Hands down the best Lebanese food I’ve ever had (not like I’m an expert on Lebanese cuisine, but I will say I loved this ethnic meal way more than eating schnitzel!)

Vienna family of five vacation

Danube Island

Vienna family of five vacation

Like any major city, there is plenty for kids to do. In Vienna, we rode city buses and trains to take the kids to Danube Island, where they had a blast jumping on trampolines and zip lining. Recommend this place for getting the energy out of your kids!

Vienna State Opera House

Vienna family of five vacation

There is so much music history in Austria, particularly Vienna where many musical greats resided like Mozart, Beethoven, and Sigmund Freud. It’s not surprising that opera is one of the main attractions in Vienna. The Vienna State Opera has one of the biggest stages in Europe for good reason – they have over 300 performances and 70 productions a season. There are 180,00 costumes – which is worth 6 miles of fabric – that are housed in a building next door connected by an underground tunnel! So mysterious and romantic, don’t you think? We know nothing about opera, but the kids enjoyed watching opera on the big screen outside the opera house along with thousands of other people on the street!

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into Vienna. Scroll down to see more photos from this gorgeous city! Stay tuned for blog posts about other cities we visited in Austria, coming soon.

Vienna family of five vacation

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VIENNA sightseeing tour

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VIENNA sightseeing tour

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