Ah, Austria. How do you describe Austria? How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? Visiting Austria is like floating on cloud 9. The breathtaking alps and kind locals add an ultimate cozy factor to this magical country. My friends and I started in Salzburg then took a day trip to Innsbruck. This trip was not too expensive and gave me memories that will last my lifetime. Keep reading for awesome recommendations and just the right amount of motivation to book your ticket today.
Warning: Me and my friends are young college kids who are a bit crazy. There are other options of getting to Salzburg from Lux, but we opted for overnight trains. It maximized our time there on Sunday and it was much cheaper than a flight. We spent ~€130 for both ways. (Keep in mind we also booked last minute). The normal price range for a flight from Lux –> Salzburg is ~€300 if you book in advance. Yes the overnight trains were rough (especially because we had three transfers in the middle) but we survived to tell the tale and so could you. We went in mid October.
There is great public transportation in Salzburg but I felt no need to use it! Even in the rain, Salzburg is a definite walking city. If you want to travel to the surrounding areas a bit like we did, then go to this user-friendly website to see the time tables.
Getting from Salzburg to Innsbruck is easy. There is a direct train from Salzburg Hbf –> Innsbruck Hbf for ~€45 if you book in advance.
I focused my time mostly on nature activities, but there are also plenty of other things to do in Salzburg (like the Sound of Music tour!)
In Salzburg, take the incline to the top of the Hohensalzburg Fortress. Buy your online ticket here to save money. I’d recommend buying the €15,70 all inclusive ticket that includes the museum. The panoramic view at the top of the fortress will blow you away! The contrast between the alpine mountains in the background and the lush greenery in the foreground is stunning.
Other (free) things to do in Salzburg: visit the gorgeous Dom zu Salzburg Cathedral, play a game of giant chess at the base of the fortress incline, wander around the abbey and Mirabelle Gardens from the Sound of Music, and see the iconic St. Peters Abbey.
If you’re craving some quality time with mother nature, I would HIGHLY recommend visiting the Bavarian Berchtesgaden National Park in southern Germany. It is around an hour bus ride from Salzburg. By the train station, take bus #840 to Berchtesgaden Bahnhof (~45 minutes). From there it is an easy 10 minute shuttle on either bus #841 or #842. It was only €10,5 for bus tickets that we bought (in cash only) from the driver as we got on. We took the Jennerbahn cable car up to the tippy top of the mountain and stepped into the middle of a blizzard. To our great surprise it was a winter wonderland! We frolicked in the snow for a while then took the cable car to the middle of the mountain and started our hike from there. After consulting the info center we opted for an easy 2.5 hour hike through the dazzling fall forests and mountains. The reds, oranges, and yellows on the trees in the mountains were UNBELIEVABLY beautiful. A view of the stunning aquamarine Lake Konigssee is a special bonus. Once we reached the bottom we were greeted with tons of quaint restaurants and shops. There is also a boat tour (that was closed when we went at 5) through the gorgeous lake that looks amazing. This place was not just a hike but an experience.
Now for perhaps the best activity that I can recommend to anyone ever … paragliding in Innsbruck! Not only is Innsbruck in and of itself a gem to visit, but paragliding in the nearby Tirol region is a must do for any adrenaline junkie. We booked through Tandem Paragliding Tirol and it was a 10/10 experience. The company set us up with a direct taxi from the Innsbruck train station to the paragliding spot and back to the city center for €11/ person. The paragliding itself was €114 with a group discount. This includes videos and pictures taken that can be downloaded right to your phone! Once we got there they give us jackets, shoes, and gloves and we headed up a cable car to the glorious peak. Snow-capped mountains greeted us while we prepped to take off. The actual ride was ~15 minutes, and it truly felt like I was flying. There are really no words to describe the euphoria that this activity induced.
My final activity tip is to explore the beautiful mountain town Innsbruck as much as you can! We went on a sunny day and the views were a dream. The clear, green water against the snow capped mountains in the backdrop look fake (that’s how beautiful it is!) Definitely go up the Stadtturm City Tower. We spent €3 on a student ticket I could have stayed up on that observation deck forever! It overlooks the medieval old town against the Nordkette mountain range. You can also see the famous Innsbruck ski jump in the distance. The best part was strolling around the city and seeing how HAPPY everyone is! It is infectious. How could you not be happy with such beauty all around?
We spent most meals snacking in train stations or on top of mountains, but I do have two great recommendations for well priced food.
The first is a great Chinese restaurant in Salzburg called Asia Kitchen. We feasted on the €15 buffet after a long day of hiking. The fried rice was to die for!
Next is a restaurant nestled in a cabin in Berchtesgaden National Park called Jenner-Kaser Franz Graßl. It is a locally owned restaurant with the coziest atmosphere ever! I got a delicious Radler (beer + soda combo) and spaetzle for €15.
Wow, just writing this article makes me want to go back already! Take my advice and visit Austria sometime in your life. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT. Follow your heart and head to the mountains! Follow @city_savvy_lux for more tips on travel and life around Lux.