YOU might not be able to travel far right now . . . but that need not stop you planning your next holiday. So why not expand your bucket list
Our new series picks out favourite destinations around the world and focuses on the things that make them truly special. Today’s dream destination is Salzburg in Austria.
THE CLASSIC SIGHT
From the old town, an adorably cute funicular railway leads up to the Hohensalzburg fortress.
This giant beast of a castle is effectively a village in its own right.
There are museums inside about puppetry and Salzburg’s Prince Archbishops but the real joy comes from strolling around the courtyards and ramparts.
Check out salzburg-burgen.at.
THE WOW MOMENT
High on a mountainside near the village of Werfen, a clifftop path leads into Eisriesenwelt, the world’s largest accessible ice cave.
Stepping inside feels like walking through the wardrobe into Narnia.
Stalagmites look like animals and enormous ice walls shimmer under torchlight. The 33-euro (£30) entry price includes a cable car ride.
NEW FOR 2021
No one wants an open-air pool in the middle of winter, so the pool area of the massive Volksgarten park has been given over to ice skaters.
Two skating circuits and another two ice paths have been constructed for anyone wanting to play at being Torvill and Dean.
THE TOP TOUR
The Sound Of Music was filmed in and around Salzburg, and unashamedly cheesy tours take in the top spots from the movie.
These include the Do Re Mi fountain at the Mirabell Palace, the gazebo at the Hellbrunn Palace and the church in the town of Mondsee where Maria von Trapp marries.
Panorama Tours runs half-day tours for 50 euros (£45). See panoramatours.com.
A CULTURAL FIX
Salzburg's other musical claim to fame is that Mozart was born there.
The city doesn’t half milk this fact, but the museum inside his birth house is pretty good.
There are plenty of instruments and papers on display but the back story is the eye-opener.
Mozart was an authentic child genius but sure he had pushy parents too.
Find out more at mozarteum.at.
THE FUN NEIGHBOURHOOD
Next to the Salzach River, low-key Mulln offers a collection of multicultural restaurants.
But the real star of the show is the enormous Augustiner Braustubl.
This sprawling monastery is filled with long communal tables.
Beer is served straight from the barrel and market-like stalls sell tasty sausages, cheese and pretzels.
During the summer, months, the huge beer garden is always tremendously enjoyable too.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
From the Hohensalzburg fortress, the walk across the Monchsberg hill is delightfully peaceful.
Woodland, old ruins and prime views out over the city come together until you reach the Museum der Moderne.
From there, a lift track carved through the middle of the hill takes you back to the city centre.
Look out for the little hut selling mulled wine on the way.
A FANTASTIC FEAST
The hugely atmospheric Gasthof Goldgasse comes with wooden beams and hidey-holes.
There is a strong sense of tradition too, with several dishes based on 18th-century recipes.
The signature dish is the £19.50 fried chicken in a copper pot, although for a true belly-filler, plump for the suckling pig.
WITH THE KIDS
Just out of town in Bad Durrnberg, the Salzwelten salt mine has been operating for 2,500 years.
Nowadays it is full of caves and novelty transport.
You take a train inside, go “Wheeee!” down two giant slides and cross the German border inside a tunnel.
Then the real twinkling magic happens as you board a raft and float across an underground lake.
Kids are likely to be giddy all the way through. See salzwelten.at.
ONE MORE TREAT
Salzburg’s old town is brimming with public art.
You can often find something impressive by walking down a narrow lane and peering behind a gate.
Some works are more obvious than others, though, and it is difficult to ignore Sphaera.
This man standing on top of a giant golden ball dominates Kapitelplatz — one of the old town’s many handsome squares.
GETTING THERE: Jet2 flies direct to Salzburg from airports including Stansted, Manchester, East Midlands, Bristol and Birmingham.
See jet2.com for details.
For further information, head to salzburg.info.
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