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week90aIt’s a hiker’s dream. Fields that are alive with absolutely breathtaking endless peaks and valleys in and around enchanting Salzburg, Austria. Known worldwide as once the home of the Von Trapp family and the birthplace to musically talented Mozart, Salzburg is a must visit city! You will fall in love with the charming city as much as you will fall in love with the magnificent countryside. Dreamy spires, rolling green hills, and romantic picturesque gardens, the city and its surrounding landscape is loved by all who spend time here, with millions of visitors each year from around the world.

I had to the opportunity to be one of those millions and traveled to Salzburg to visit my daughter who was studying abroad at Universität Salzburg. I was really making the trip because she was there and had little idea of what I would be seeing or experiencing other than this was where the beloved “The Sound of Music” was filmed. But as soon as my taxi driver drove into the center of town and I got a first hand look, it was love at first sight with Salzburg as well.

The fourth-largest city in Austria, Salzburg sits along the Salzach River and is a very picturesque European town dotted with renowned baroque architecture, quaint shops and boutique, hidden away restaurants, and wonderful historic attractions. The people are warm and engaging and travel mostly around time by foot, bike, or boat. All of this in addition to being right by the Alps and only a few miles from the German (Bavarian) border, which makes exploring both country’s trails and mountainsides very easy to accomplish.

While my daughter attended class during the day, I would venture out to the nearby hills and mountains to hike to my heart’s content. There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails around Salzburg; too many to cover in just one trip. Many are reachable by public transportation or tour arrangements so no worries if you didn’t rent a car. Closest are the “house mountains” Untersberg and Gaisberg, both spectacular with well-groomed and well-marked trails.

If you only have one day to hike while in Salzburg, then Untersberg of the Berchtesgaden Alps is your mountain. With an elevation of 6,473 feet, it’s less than 10 miles from Salzburg and is reachable by bus. To get there, take Bus No. 25 from Hauptbanhof, Salzburg’s main railway station, to St. Leonhard. Once there, you can pick from several trails to lead you to the mountaintop or take a cable car for €21, an eight and a half minute journey. Once at the top, you will experience spectacular mountain-peak views and a wonderful birds-eye view of stunning Rositten Valley.

Gaisberg is just east of Salzburg and is part of the Limestone Alps with elevation of 4,226 feet. It’s easily identified by the massive antenna standing on the peak. Bus No. 151 from the Mirabellplatz Square will get you to the base, then catch a second bus through the district of Gnigl to reach the popular Gaisberg Trail. Follow this path to a viewing bridge where you have a clear look of the surrounding farmlands, Untersberg, and Salzburg.

And there are more hiking musts! Also close by is the Gerlospass, a mountain pass in the Alps between the Oberpinzgau region and Zillertal Valley. Once you reach the top, an elevation of 4,921 feet, you will see amazing views of parts of the Hohe Tauern National Park. The park itself has 700 square miles and home to Austria’s highest mountain, the Grossglockner at a whopping 12,460 feet! West of Salzburg is the Salzkammergut Lake District, a hiker’s paradise that sprawls from Salzburg along the Austrian Alpine Foreland and the Northern Limestone Alps to the peaks of the Dachstein Mountains. From the village of Fuschl, hike around Lake Fuschlsee or ascend Mont Schober for most beautiful views of the Alps. And just an hour south of Salzburg and right over the German boarder, is Königssee (King’s Lake) for a wonderful hike plus the Obersalzberg uplands in Berchtesgaden National Park. Looming cliffs and soaring mountains enclose the area.

Other nearby popular destinations to hike include: Mount Kehlstien, home to the renowned Eagle’s Nest; the Hochkogel mountain in the Tennengebirge section of the Alps, home to the Eisriesenwelt Werfen, the world’s large limestone ice cave; and for the diehard hiker, the Salzburger Almenweg, a one-of-a kind 217-mile-long trek through the mountain region of Pongau rwith over 120 alpine huts to stay overnight along your journey.

The choices are endless when it comes to hiking in Salzburg. All you just need to do is get on a plane and get there to enjoy!

Getting There: Salzburg has it’s own airport, Salzburg W.A. Mozart International Airport (SZG), the second largest international airport in Austria, located only two miles from the center of town. Once you land, your best bet is to take a taxi to your hotel. Another option is the bus from the airport, which is excellent in Salzburg, but can be lengthy in time with all the stops. Another option is to fly into Munich, Germany and take the Euro Rail to the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof Train Station or rent a car and drive 89 miles to Salzburg.

Accommodations: Best Western Hotel Elefant, Sigmund-Haffner-Gasse 4, Altstadt, Salzburg, Austria reception@elefant.at www.elefant.at Phone: +43 0662 84 33 97. I loved staying here! This is a very quaint, boutique-like hotel housed in a historic 700-year-old building in the heart of old Salzburg and directly off Getreidegasse, a street known for shopping and fine dining. It’s also easy walking distance to all of Salzburg’s major attractions. The non-smoking hotel offers state-of-the art accommodations, free Internet access, and a complimentary full breakfast that is simply delicious. Adjoining the hotel is one of their two restaurants in town, Restaurant Elefant, serving both Austrian and international specialties, fine wines, and the famous Salzburg Stiegl beer.

Nearby Activities: Sightseeing! Pick up a Salzburg Card from the Tourist Information Center and hop around to numerous attractions for just one price. Public transportation is also included! Admissions include Festung Hohensalzburg (Salzburg Fortress), Hellbrunn Palace and Trick Fountains, Marionette Museum, Mozart’s Birthplace and Residency, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Natural History and Technology, Salzach Cruise, Salzburg Zoo, plus many more attractions. Or book a day trip through Viator (coach bus) or Bob’s Special Tours (mini van). I toured with both and enjoyed both equally. There are several excursions to choose from the salt mines and Bavarian Mountains to the Sound of Music Tour and Hohenwerfen Fortress, and many more.

Special Note: After a great day of hiking, dine at L’Osteria located right in the heart of the “new town” section Salzburg. It’s also just a stone’s throw from the Bridge of Locks of Love. Hands down now one of my favorite pizza places in town. We ate there a couple times. With a setting full of energy and good music flowing, this chic must-eat-at Italian restaurant serves timeless Italian cuisine at reasonable prices. Delicious platters include oversized pizzas baked in hearth oven, homemade pasta specialties, fresh crisp salads, and Tiramisu, Panna Cotta or Crema di Fragola for dessert. Fast and professional waiters serve. Make advance reservations as it’s always packed! L’Osteria Pizza E Pasta, Dreifaltigkeitsgasse 10, Salzburg 5020, Austria. salzburg@losteria.eu http://www.losteria.de Phone: +43 0662 87 06 58 10.

If you do have the chance to travel and hike in Salzburg, or already have, please leave a note below with more recommendations for all us to learn. My trip to Salzburg was so amazing and memorable; I know I will definitely return. And with this next trip, I will try some of your suggested posts!

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