Passion Points: Food/Wine
You Asked: I am traveling to Austria this summer for the Salzburg Festival. Can you recommend where to stay in the city, as well as what restaurant, activities and sights not to miss?
Every summer, the Baroque city of Salzburg comes alive with opera, music and theater during the five-week Salzburg Festival. Hotels and restaurants book up fast during this time, so it pays to be an early planner. Here are some of the city’s highlights not to miss.
WHERE TO STAY
The city’s grande dame property is the family-run Goldener Hirsch, which is located in the center of the Old Town and has an understated elegance and beautifully furnished rooms. The city’s other fabled property is the Sacher, the sister hotel of the venerable one in Vienna, which has grand interiors and rooms that overlook the river. For travelers who prefer to be based in the scenic Alpine countryside, Schloss Fuschl is a chateau that seems to have spring out of a fairytale that sits right on the shores of one of Austria’s largest lakes. Even if you don’t stay here, you should make the forty-minute drive out for dinner; the Fuschl’s restaurant is one of the area’s best.
WHERE TO EAT
For a big night out, the elegant, old-world dining rooms of the Goldener Hirsch and Sacher make gorgeous backdrops for memorable meals. The menus in both places feature a fusion of Swiss, Austrian and German cuisines. A more relaxed ambience is found at the Blaue Gans, close to the Opera House, which served local cuisine. For a unique dining experience, don’t miss Ikarus in Hangar 7, housed in a ultra-modern glass-and-steel construction near the airport. The restaurant operates on an interesting, rotating-guest chef concept, i.e. every month sees a different young, up-and-coming chef take over the kitchen here; all of them share an innovative approach to seasonal, local ingredients.
For local favorites, there’s Tavern S’ Herzl, the Goldener Hirsch’s cozy taverna with wood-clad interiors and hearty portions of meat, sauerkraut and dumplings. Less caloric fare (read more seafood) is served at Purzelbaum, a local spot in a mostly residential neighborhood whose dining room has a beautiful Art Nouveau ceiling, though on nice days most prefer to dine in the garden. Restaurant K & K, right by the Cathedral, occupies four floors and about six dining rooms, all of which are decked out in wood-paneling, a hodge-podge of antiques and cast in candlelight. The cellar houses a massive, stone-clad Bierkeller where you can try locally brewed beer. And Carpe Diem, right across from the Goldener Hirsch, sells “finest fingerfood,” (more like haute tapas) and the informal setting and quick courses make this a good spot for a meal before a performance.
For the most beautiful setting, longtime Salzburg loyalists choose Pfefferschiff, located in a suburb about a fifteen-minute taxi ride from the center. The dining rooms are too stiff and formal, but on warm nights, diners can book a table in the pretty garden and chef (and owner) Klaus Fleischhaker’s regional, seasonal cuisine is excellent. Another good choice is the restaurant of the Gewandthaus, a historic museum on the southern outskirts of the city (you can arrive at the restaurant via horse-drawn carriage) that serves inspired Austrian cuisine in a memorable setting (it’s also a great choice for lunch thanks to a terrace with magnificent views of the Alps). Further in the countryside, about a 40-minute drive, is Schloss Fuschl, whose restaurant also has a fabulous terrace and is a good spot for lunch.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
First timers should tour the city’s greatest hits—the Hohensalzburg Fortress, the Salzburg Cathedral, the Peterskirche and its old cemetery, and the Residenz Palace —and the best way to see them is with a local guide who can provide the historic context.
Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart and his early life can be traced in several museums and historic buildings. Of course, seeing one of his operas performed during the festival may be the best way to celebrate the Austrian composer.
Of course, many U.S. visitors associate Salzburg with The Sound of Music (though don’t be surprised if locals either have not heard of the film or loathe it as many still feel it Disney-fies their town). For fans, many of the film’s most iconic locations can be visited in Salzburg and environs, including the Mirabell Castle and gardens, the pavilion of the Hellbrunn Castle (of “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” fame) and the Felsenreitschule and its festival halls where Georg von Trapp performs “Edelweiss” in the movie. The Villa Trapp was even refurbished and opened as a hotel in 2008.
And art aficionados should make the tirp up to the Museum der Moderne Mönchsberg, which opened in 2004 on top of the nearby Mönchsberg (it can be reached via an elevator system that runs through the mountain). The museum houses an interesting collection of modern and contemporary art and has a fabulous museum café with lofty views.
Search By Keyword
This island has unspoiled coral reefs and protected lagoons so...
The country's most stunning landscapes and exhilarating outdoor activities center...
New on Indagare
Give the Gift of Indagare The perfect present for travelers: a membership to Indagare. Buy now
Indagare Insider Trips: Cuba, Myanmar and India: We’re planning trips throughout the year. Contact Indagare (212-988-2611) to be added to the wait list.
- Community: Share advice with fellow members asking about your favorite travel discoveries.
- Indagare Insiders: Three-day itineraries for families in London and art lovers in Vienna. Plus, fashion insider Chiara Ferragamo’s picks on what not to miss in Florence, Bonnie Gokson, owner of Hong Kong’s lofty Sevva on Hong Kong, Culinary Insider: Budapest.
- Rant & Rave: Indagare members can share their advice with the community by logging in first, then clicking here: Rants & Raves.
- Give the Gift: Indagare: Give the gift of travel intelligence with a membership to Indagare. For details or to order, call us at 212-988-2611 or click here: Gift Membership.
- Indagare Plus: Remember that hotels marked by an Indagare Plus symbol offer preferential rates and benefits to members.
- Indagare Share Feature: Share articles, postcards and reviews with family and friends on such networking sites as Twitter, Facebook and Delicious. Simply click on the three small dots that symbolize our connect icon, at the end of every article, and follow the link to the networking site of your preference.
- Sample Indagare: With free bi-weekly email blasts on new hot spots and insider tips when you sign up for our mailing list.
- Profile feature: Members share your profiles, comments, favorite articles and IQs. Just click on the Profile tab on the upper right of your screen and look for the Edit My Profile blue tab.
- Indagare means to discover, explore, seek, scout in Latin.