Salzburg has one of highest tourist per capita ratios.
Next to Venice and Florence it is the most visited city in Europe.
As we arrived by train crossing the Salzach River, it was easy to see why.
The town is picturesque surrounded by the Bavarian alps, hugging a blue river, with some impressive fortifications in the surrounding hills.
And of course it is the home of Mozart, and was the film location for the Sound of Music.
As we wandered through the quaint Altstadt and then the towering fortifications on the hill, we were overwhelmed by the prettieness and history of it all. Such a lovely place.
However, millions of visitors here before us also agree.
This town is run on tourism, and seemingly it’s entire revenue and industry is driven by visitors like us. The Altstadt, though pretty, is filled not with lawyers offices, banks, and a lawnmower shop, but rather shop after shop dedicated to selling visitors trinkets which they really need on their mantle piece back home.
Mozart balls, Mozart chocolate shaped like a violin, Mozart table cloths, Mozart ash trays, Mozart keyrings, Mozart fridge magnets, and Mozart beer glassses.
And, when you think you’ve finally seen all the Mozart gifts you can imagine, you can then work through the Sound of Music chocolates, ash trays, drinking glasses, fridge magnets and socks.
Inbetween the Mozart gift shops you can occasionally find pristine Gucci and Prada stores catering to the masses of Italians painted in makeup and wearing gravity defying high heels, trying to negotiate the narrow cobbled streets.
(Why they travel all the way to Austria so they can shop at Prada, remains a mystery).
There are however, some lovely cafes hiding in the quieter streets and in the newer part of town. And there’s sun too, in fact according to our calculations we think that in the past few days, we’ve experienced more sunshine than we have in our entire time in Norway.
Brian even managed a reddish hue of sun burn. I vaguely remember that.
Salzburg. Cute town, if not a little trite. You can’t help but feel like you’re walking through a Disney fairytyle movie set. For best results visit in the off-season period during March.