Friday, January 15, 2010

48 Hours in Alpine Arcadia

Salzburg. I will never tire of this town.

I was there recently thanks to the Hotel Auersperg who had not been able to honour a reservation we made last year because of a delay in renovation work. After my doing the mad scene from Medea on Trip Advisor about it, this customer-savvy establishment quickly offered us a two night stay on-the-house to make amends. We thought, let’s go mid week in January 2010. We’ll have the city all to ourselves and flights will be cheap.

We were right on both counts. Our British Airways flights from London were a reasonable £108 return and despite all their problems, I’d still rather fly BA than the discounters. Plus, I’ve never seen Salzburg so deserted or so beautiful. We arrived in the middle of a snow storm which would have brought London to a chaotic standstill but only served to make Salzburg more cozy and picturesque. On our first night, we walked in snow through the illuminated and deserted piazzas of the old town centre. It was archly romantic.

What to Do

Only in town for 48 hours, we decided to dip quickly into the three areas for which Salzburg is renowned: nature, history and culture. To commune with nature, we took a long snowy walk up the Kapuzinerberg mountain and enjoyed the spectacular views of Salzburg. To satisfy our interest in history we spent a morning in the Salzburg Museum. Newly renovated and brilliantly curated, this museum does a superb job of explaining Salzburg’s rich past. An evening of opera performed by students at the Mozarteum University was our culture highlight. Tickets were a snip at EUR 14 and it was incredibly fun to see such a young and talented cast deliver a sexy and energetic interpretation of Monteverdi’s baroque masterpiece, L’Incoronazione di Poppea.

Where to Eat and Drink

As for dining, we still think the informal Hertzl restaurant in the Goldener Hirsch Hotel is hard to beat and our new favourite when you have a hankering for good beer, large portions, small prices and a fun atmosphere is the Alter Fuchs (Old Fox) on the Linzer Gasse.


We love to shop in Salzburg for traditional clothing, textiles and ceramics and January is the perfect time to do it. We bought beautifully made loden jackets and coats at Hanna Trachten on the Linzer Gasse, all reduced by 50 percent.

Where to Stay

And what about the Auersperg Hotel? Are we friends again? We most certainly are. This is a WONDERFUL hotel in every aspect. Quiet, well located with excellent service and comfortable rooms. The breakfast is superior. Not to mention that when things go wrong, this family-owned operation make things right. As I said in my new Trip Advisor report (still 'pending' ) - when in Salzburg, I see no need to ever stay anywhere else.

Addendum – Getting Home

Because of snow in London, out return BA flight was cancelled but we were able to race directly from Salzburg main train station to Munich Airport on an efficient and inexpensive train where, after several more BA cancellations, we were rebooked on Lufthansa and made it home – which is why, for all their problems, I still prefer to fly BA.


  1. Hi Kate, Checkout NYTimes last Sun (17) Travel section, p7, Alone (or almost) With Michelangelo. About after hours tours of small groups like a dozen or so of the Vatican museums that end at the Sistine. Costs about $400 a head, includes a guide and of course some guards. Gives refs to the various agencies (3) and this is the way I want to do it. Get it online. Best. John.

  2. John,
    Great to hear from you again.
    I saw the NYT piece on visiting the Vatican after hours and agree with you - that is really the only way to go!. FYI - I have experience with one of the companies mentioned, Context Travel. They have developed this concept of walking seminars with small groups and scholar docents and when I am next in Rome, I plan to see the Vatican with them. and, as you suggest, get it online. Let me know if you get there first.