CHRISTMAS IN SALZBURG
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holiday season is officially here and I’m sooo excited! Right before my official break for Christmas, I managed to squeeze in a mini holiday in Austria. Have you ever been? I have actually visited Vienna a few times in the past but this was my first time in Salzburg and hopefully, not the last. As you probably guessed, I loved it – so much so that I couldn’t wait to share a few photos over here and on my Instagram.
On the edge of the Alps, under a great clifftop fortress, Salzburg is one of Austria’s largest and most picturesque cities. Famous for its baroque architecture, it has one of the best-preserved city centres you’ll find north of the Alps. It’s a popular destination all year round but really comes into its prime over the holidays.
One of the things I was most eager to do was to explore the Christmas market, so that was the first stop on our itinerary. The Salzburg Christmas Market dates back to the fifteenth century which makes it one of the world’s oldest Advent markets. The scent of warm mulled wine wafted through the air, Christmas music was playing, church bells would ring out occasionally and the most beautiful Christmas ornaments were in display. Yes, I was in heaven! This Christmas market has officially become one of my favourite ones in Europe together with the ones in Alsace (feel free to check my vlog if you haven’t watched it yet!) and Aachen.
Smaller markets were dotted around the city, some in smaller squares and others tucked behind quaint arcades. We also spotted an ice skating ring but decided to skip it in favour of cheese strudel and coffee at Cafe Tomaselli. With out tummies full and our feet rested, we took the funicular up to Hohensalzburg Fortress. Overlooking the city of Salzburg, this is the largest fully preserved castle in central Europe. It is also the top spot to go for a panoramic view and hosts a cute little Christmas market (I’ve saved a few videos and photos from it on my Stories if you’re curious to see how it looked like).
If you get the chance to visit Salzburg in the beginning of December, you may also experience a Krampus parade. Krampus is half goat and half devil, a creature that goes around punishing the children who have misbehaved around Christmas season. Well-behaved children are rewarded by St. Nicholas with presents. On December 5 every year, Austrians celebrate Krampus night where hundreds of Krampus take to the streets. While we did see quite a few people dressed as Krampus around the city, I wouldn’t really be keen to be part of this parade given how loud and scary they were.
Salzburg was overall wonderful – not only was it beautiful this time of the year but it can serve as a starting point for different fun day trips. I finally managed to tick off Hallstatt my travel bucket list and discovered Innsbruck but more on that in an upcoming post – watch this space!