48 Hours in Salzburg pt I

Oh, Salzburg. Where do I even begin? I'm surprised I'm back home writing this because I would have very happily stayed there if I could. I've never felt as comfortable or as at home in any other city. Salzburg forever has my heart.

Salzburg Hohensalzburg Fortress
The Sound of Music was one of my favourite films growing up (and still is!). I would watch it incessantly, singing along and mouthing every spoken word. Then, when I was 16 and on a flight to Ibiza, I read the plane magazine and saw an article discussing their flights to Salzburg. It had never even crossed my mind that I could actually visit the location of this film I loved so much, but right there and then I had a new goal in life. 12 years on, I finally achieved it. 
Salzburg road
When booking our flights, we (obviously) chose the cheapest tickets, which turned out to be British Airways, surprisingly. Our flight was only about 25% full and the seats were wide with lots of legroom. I hate flying but this was a really pleasant trip. It was a clear morning so I got to see both London and Whitstable from the air as we left British airspace and headed over mainland Europe. As we descended into Austria, we had a panoramic view of the snow-capped mountains against the most beautiful blue sky. It absolutely took my breath away.
Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron Tree Swing
As the flight was so empty and we'd only taken hand luggage (a new experience for the overpacker in me), we breezed through the airport in a matter of minutes and easily found a taxi driver outside to take us to our hotel. Leopoldskron is an absolutely beautiful lakeside palace which was built as a family home for the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg in 1736. Oh, and it also happened to be an actual Sound of Music set. The Von Trapp garden scenes were all filmed inside the palace grounds and the Leopoldskron Venetian Room was reproduced on a sound stage for the Von Trapp ballroom.
Swing on Tree Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron Suite
After the most beautiful taxi ride ever, we arrived at the hotel, where the receptionist told us about an offer on upgrading to a suite. Most of the hotel rooms are in the adjacent Meierhof building, which was originally the administration building for the palace. The suites, however, are all inside the Schloss itself so we went for it and took the lakeside Marlene Dietrich suite. The moment we walked into the bedroom and saw our view was probably the best moment of my life. I have never seen anything as beautiful and it brought me to tears. With the famous garden below us, leading to the lake reflecting the trees opposite and the Untersburg mountain against the bright blue sky, it didn't look real. 
Leopoldskron Untersburg View Leopoldskron Mountain Lake Suite View
Now, as I said, I'm a big fan of The Sound of Music and that was my main reason for visiting. I'm not much one for nature. In fact, if you could design the worst possible holiday for me, it would be something in the countryside, all "back-to-nature"y. Not my scene at all. I'm more of a cultural city traveller. Salzburg, of course, is proper countryside. There are mountains, for Christ's sakes. To my great surprise, I fell in love. I don't think I'd ever actually seen a mountain in real life- not a proper one, anyway- so I was woefully underprepared for how magnificent the Alps really are. Everything out there felt so fresh and clean and, although the landscape is overwhelmingly huge, it didn't feel at all intimidating. In fact, if anything, I felt closer to the earth, as crazy as that sounds!
Leopoldskron pillow chocolate Leopoldskron Marlene Dietrich Suite
Prosecco Leopoldskron
The hotel room was so luxurious that I couldn't quite believe this was happening to me. With little chocolates on the pillow, binoculars supplied on the windowsill so we could take a closer look at the scenery and complimentary Prosecco brought up for us, I felt like royalty. As we'd been up at 3am for our flight, and the hotel was about a 25 minute walk away from the city centre, we decided to spend our first day exploring the immediate area and the hotel grounds. You better believe that the very first thing I did was head down to that gate where the famous boat scene was filmed. It was so surreal to see it in real life when I've watched it on screen so many times and we were lucky to experience it with such glorious weather.
Leopoldskron Sound of Music Boat Scene Leopoldskron Sound of Music lake Sound of Music garden set
Soon after we'd arrived at the lake, a business brunch started in the hotel and fancy businessmen took over the terrace so- after a short-lived attempt at using the complimentary bicycles before I realised I was way too scared to cycle on Austrian roads- we walked to a local restaurant called Strassewirt where all the waitresses wore traditional Austrian dirndls. Obviously we chose to sample some schnitzel (which doesn't come with noodles FYI) and it was absolutely delicious! Light, fluffy batter and tender meat with a side of herb-peppered potatoes. What's not to love?
Wiener Schnitzel Austrian Leopoldskron entrance gate
A trip to the local Billa supermarket followed, where we walked through the most peaceful little estate and marvelled at the gorgeously quaint homes. They almost look like gingerbread houses straight out of a fairytale. On returning to the hotel, we explored the other rooms in the palace.
Salzburg house Salzburg fortress
Leopoldskron has a long history of owners, eventually falling into the hands of Max Reinhardt, who founded the Salzburg Festival. As a Jewish man, his property was confiscated by the Nazis during WWII and he fled to America. Max died shortly after the end of the war, so the palace was returned to his son Wolfgang, a film producer who owned the rights to the Von Trapp story, hence why part of The Sound of Music was filmed on his property. It was important to the Reinhardt family that the home should remain a living building, rather than a museum, so when the Hotel Schloss company bought it in the 50s, they kept all public rooms open 24 hours a day for guests to visit at their leisure. 
Leopoldskron Venetian Room Leopoldskron Venetian Room Sound of Music ballroom
As I said earlier, the gold-panelled Venetian Room was recreated to form the ballroom for the film, although it's much smaller in real life- just about big enough for a 10-seater round table. The huge marble room, with its high painted ceiling and balcony overlooking the lake, is absolutely mesemerising too, and the most beautiful place I have ever eaten breakfast. The real highlight, however, is the Max Reinhardt library, which is the closest thing to the library in Beauty and the Beast that I have ever experienced. Every single wall is packed floor-to-ceiling with books (mostly English) and a small balcony circles the entire perimeter of the room. We couldn't work out how to get to the balcony as there are no ladders or steps, until Rich noticed- get ready for this- a hidden doorway. There is literally a doorway disguised as a bookcase which hides a spial staircase leading up to another secret door, this time camouflaged as a wooden panel. I just wish we were staying longer so I really could have made the most of this stunning room!
Max Reinhardt Library Leopoldskron library Hidden secret door disguised as bookcase
With that, we headed back for a bath in The Biggest Bathtub I Have Ever Used- complete with dressing gowns and slippers supplied by the hotel- and watched the most magnificent thunderstorm roll in. Yes, really. We stayed in THE Sound of Music mansion and we only went and experienced an actual Salburg thunderstorm. Did I run around singing My Favourite Things? Well, I could hardly miss out on that opportunity, could I?
Salzburg Untersburg storm Raindrops on window
Leopoldskron at night
Once I'd exhausted myself singing about doorbells and kettles and other things that must have been exciting in 1930s Austria, I snuggled up in our comfy bed and had the most restful night's sleep that I've had in a long time. Then it was up bright and early for what is possibly the best day of my life...

8 comments:

  1. That swing 😱😍 I was getting all happy-emotional reading this! Before bed did you take the drapes down and fashion your pyjamas? Such a dreamy hotel, for more than one reason of course. What an amazing time xo

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  2. Your trip sounds so dreamy! I have to admit that Sound of Music is not my cup of tea at all, but Salzburg really does look well worth a visit, and that it would have me singing and skipping through fields with the Alps as the backdrop. That library looks especially incredible, too! x

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  3. Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!

    I was reading this like 'FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK' and then you mentioned the hidden room behind the bookcase and I was like 'HOLYYYYYYYYYYYYYY FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK'.

    I now really want to go to Salzburg.

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  4. I visited Salzburg in December and have to say, it was one of my favorite places EVER. We also stayed at the Schloss Leopoldskron. It was seriously a fairytale. The pictures (both the ones I took and the ones you posted) really don't do it justice!

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  5. Looks like you had an amazing trip! I went to Salzburg for a school trip when I was around 14/15 and I really liked it, would love to visit again soon :)

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  6. Oh Becky this looks AMAZING <3 So beautifully done, and Im so glad you had a wonderful time! x

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  7. This post made me so excited! I love the sound of music, and I'm so envious you stayed there. I definitely would have sung Favourite Things. Just going to sit here reading all of your Austrian posts this morning...Suitcase and Sandals Blog XX

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  8. I want to go! Salzburg sounds amazing. Great photos! x www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x

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