solo travel diaries: salzburg

photo: finora reilly

photo: finora reilly

We’ve all heard about Salzburg, Austria: home to “The Sound of Music” and rolling hills for miles. Senior communications studies major Emma Lammermeier, found herself staying there for 24 hours during her time abroad during the fall semester. 


Lammermeier departed from Prague, Czech Republic, to meet with some friends in Vienna, Austria, from which she would take her own trip out to see Salzburg. She did all her travel to and within Austria by train. 

photo: emma lammermeier

While her hostel wasn’t close to the train station, it was still within walking distance. Salzburg Hauptbahnhof is about 10 minutes walking from the city center, but the city itself is on the smaller side, with everything being within a reasonable distance. Lammermeier stayed at YoHo Youth Hostel, for the best  combination of location and price. 


After dropping off her belongings, Lammermeier made her way towards some of the major attractions Salzburg has to offer. She started off at the Mirabell Gardens, which are attached to Schloss Mirabell. Although she didn’t go inside the palace itself, admiring it from afar is often enough when surrounded by such beautiful gardens and greenery.

photo: emma lammermeier

Following the gardens, Lammermeier made her way to Holzenburg Fortress. It sits high above the city center, meaning getting to the buildingis a hike in itself. Upon reaching the top, she realized there was no student discount to go inside, making it too expensive for the short period of time she had in the city. After walking around the outside and seeing the view of everything down below, she headed right back down the winding mountain path. 


Unfortunately, the weather was not particularly in Lammermeier’s favor. “It was really cloudy so you couldn’t see the mountains clearly,” Lammermeier said. 

photo: emma lammermeier

Going towards the city center again, people were bustling and festivities were going on. With it being the end of the Oktoberfest season, Lammermeier saw Salzburg’s version of the festival in the city center. There were stands and festivities everywhere, including a carnival. Austria celebrates Oktoberfest on a smaller scale than Germany, but often includes activities like carnivals. This particular weekend was a festival called Rupertikirtag


After a long day of wandering around Salzburg, it was time to retire to her hostel. She was finally able to meet some of her roommates in the hostel, including a girl named Elisabeth, whom she shared a pizza with and watched “The Sound of Music” with in the lobby area. 

photo: emma lammermeier

“The Sound of Music” was one of the reasons Lammermeier chose to visit Salzburg. “I’ve always loved ‘The Sound of Music’ ever since I was little. My grandpa also loved the movie,” she said. Being within the same mountains the movie was filmed is a once in a lifetime experience. 


Lammermeier eventually went to bed and prepared for the partial day ahead of her. The train didn’t leave until the evening, but the time constraint was still there. 

photo: emma lammermeier

She decided to visit Maria Plain, which is just outside of Salzburg heading towards Germany. The church is known for being a pilgrimage site, which Lammermeier didn’t know until getting there; she was more drawn to the wide open fields the area had to offer. 


Being alone in this massive field was like a breath of fresh air for Lammermeier. 


“That’s what made it very memorable, I was surrounded by nature and myself rather than being thrown into the city,” Lammermeier said. 


Maria Plain was her favorite site she saw in Salzburg.

photo: emma lammermeier

Eventually, Lammermeier had to head back into the city to make her train and charge her phone, which was disappointing to say the least. To get between Maria Plain and the city center, there was an hourly bus. 

photo: finora reilly

Being able to experience a new city solo is its own experience, and the experience really comes down to research done in advance. Lammermeier often met up with people in cities she traveled to but chose to travel alone in Salzburg for how safe it was. 


“I felt really safe in Salzburg, and their crime rate is super low,” Lammermeier said. 


Doing research in advance, having a grasp on the language and so on will make a difference in your experience and how you enjoy traveling alone. 

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