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Salzburg, Austria: A Christmas Market

One cool thing about living overseas because of the military is that we can take advantage of base programs. Take ITT (Information, Tickets, and Travel), for example; it’s like their very own travel agency that designs and provides trips to all over Europe! We looked at their list of trips when we arrived in September and immediately signed up for their November day-trip to Salzburg’s Christmas Market. For just €49 a person (actually, I think it was less than that), we were escorted on a comfy bus (or three, rather) all the way to Austria and back. 

Sure, we could’ve driven ourselves, but we’re taking baby steps as far as our trips go; we also don’t have snow chains for our car yet, and it’s mandatory that you have them these days—living this close to the Alps, the roads get pretty icy this time of year. 

Speaking of icy, it was FREEZING the day we went. The temperature hovered around 0 and -8 Celsius (around 20 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit)! I wore five layers (bra—totally counts—tank top, long sleeve, zippered hoodie, and a jacket) and I was still cold at times! 

Our bus left the base at 4:30am and we slept until just after we crossed the boarder into Austria. We had a pit-stop to stretch our legs, use the bathroom, and get some fuel to start our busy day.

(Sudrast in Arnoldstein, Austria)
I love the European way of having cereal and meat for breakfast!

Then we were back on our way. The drive up there was gorgeous and I was thankful we weren’t driving, if only for the sake of being able to enjoy the views without worrying about where we were going and the other drivers. It was also fun to randomly hear the ladies sitting next to us break out into song. Something about hills being alive with music? 🙂 

I took these from the bus. Just imagine it 100 times prettier than this.
Can’t wait to check out that castle when we go back!

I spied a nun walking very close to the Abbey. I wonder if she knew Maria….

Just a little indication on how foggy it was the day we were there! That’s the fortress on top of a huge hill. We climbed it almost all the way to the top!

We arrived into Salzburg just after 9 am, which was
perfect timing for the market. The booths had just opened, but it was
almost completely empty; we could walk around and enjoy everything
without having people in our way.  

Our first order of business was finding something to warm me up. Luckily, one of the first stands was alcohol. Don’t mind if I do! At least I got the espresso flavored liquor—it was delicious. 

Everything was beautifully decorated. Next time I’ll take something other than my point and shoot. Actually, to be honest, my hands were frozen every time I took a picture, so I didn’t really put much effort into them. I’m probably not supposed to tell you that, though, huh. Whoops.

We did a quick loop around all the shops and then wondered around Salzburg for a little bit. 

This made me giggle. I’m curious what “schmuck” means in German.

Love the outfits! I only wish I wasn’t too much of a chicken to get a better photo of them.

After walking around it was time for lunch. Since we’ve clearly never been to Salzburg before, and because I really need to start researching places before we go there, we had no idea where to eat. We saw this cafe open with a decent-looking menu, so in we went! It was warm inside, the beer was good, and the food filled us up!

Just after lunch we continued walking around and saw this lovely stand; I wish we ate there, because it smelled divine. You buy the chicken right then and there and they’ll fry it for you and then you eat it!

We headed back to the market to buy presents for everyone.  On our way back we were drawn to some beautiful singing. It turned out to be a quartet singing a capella Christmas songs. Hearing them sing gave me goosebumps. 

It turns out I didn’t take pictures of the booths…just one reason I need to go back. I did take pictures of these, because I thought they were really pretty and several people told us about Salzburg’s glass and egg ornaments. 

After our shopping was complete we treated ourselves to the most magical dessert I may have ever tasted. I will recreate this just as soon as I can figure out what exactly it was. They explained it as pancake with whatever topping you want. We got it with a plum jam-like filling and applesauce on top. DELICIOUS.  

After a scrumptious treat it was off to see more of Salzburg. 

Oh, you know, just a normal game of chess 🙂

So, normally I wouldn’t take pictures of a cemetery. I find them somewhat creepy. But, this one looked very similar to one I’ve seen in a movie, so we walked through it.

We had about an hour to kill before our bus left, so we decided to make the trek up to the fortress (Hohensalzburg Castle). All. The. Way. Up. A GIANT. Hill. I know I’m being a little extreme, but I had been up since 3:30 am, was so cold I thought I was turning into a popsicle, and had been on my feet all day; the last thing I wanted to do was climb a mountain hill. But I did it anyway and I’m glad I did, because the town was gorgeous from up there.

We made it all the way to the castle and then realized we had to pay to go in/higher up. We only had a few euro left on us, so we opted to not go in. 

On our way back to the bus my stomach started rumbling. Luckily, we remembered seeing the perfect snack stop: 

You guys, that pretzel is bigger than my head!

If you are still reading this, I have three more random pictures to share: 

Really? REALLY?!
This poster was allll around town. Had to share. My husband promptly turned the other direction when I took this picture.
I thought this was pretty neat!

I think this post is the longest on my blog so far. Is
anyone still reading? I don’t blame you if you aren’t—I need to figure
out a way to blog about these trips without talking your ear off and
sharing too many pictures. Sheesh!  

I’m so excited to go back and take the actual Sound of Music tour sometime this spring or summer! I thoroughly enjoyed our day-trip to Austria!


  1. I'm still reading!! I love long posts…especailly when they are full of pictures and travel stories! I'm long winded too though…I say WHO CARES! Write what you love. 🙂 Looks like you had a wonderful trip!!! I can't wait to visit Salzburg in January! I'm sure I will be a popsicle too! By the way, "schmuck" means jewelry in German…but in the case of that sign…it was saying "beautiful old Christmas tree decorations!" Cool huh?

  2. I LOVED the detail–not too much at all! I went to Salzburg a couple of summers ago but would love to go for the Christmas market- looks so amazing! Glad you had a good time even though you were freezing!

  3. I LOVE your pictures, Jess! I can't wait to go. Actually I can wait, until it is warmer!!! Thanks for sharing all those wonderful pictures!

  4. I visited Salzburg 7 years ago when I was studying abroad, and you pictures brought back so many memories! Yes, I took a picture of the giant chess set too. Next time you go, you MUST try some weinerschnitzel. And perhaps go on the Sound of Music Tour (yes, it's cheesy, but if you're a fan…). Great pictures, and I don't mind long posts with lots of pretty pictures either!

  5. Loved each and every picture! I could look at them all day. By the way, Schmuck in German may mean jewelry, but in Yiddish that ain't what it means! Wish your poppy was here to tell you – maybe your Aunt Gail could enlighten you.
    Keep the pictures coming!!

  6. Great blog Jessica! Don't worry about the length…I enjoy reading it and looking at the pictures…reminds me of times when I traveled overseas…really lovely!

  7. There is a very slim chance that I'll be in Barca for work in May. If I go, can we do the Sound of Music tour together? PLEASEEEEEEE

    Loved this post, I read every word and loved every picture! Sound of Music is my favorite movie in the whole wide world, so this is wonderful to me!

  8. great post..the goulashey soup picture made me so hungry! Im not sure if it was goulash but whatever was in that bowl looks delish.

    As soon as i saw the picture of the cemetary I thought of the scene in sound of music when the family is fleeing and the eldest daughters crush alerts the germans they are there.

    I would love to go to the sound of music tour!

    Itt trips are great.

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