Salzburg, Austria

5 Educational Activities Your Kids Will Love!


Points of Interest:

  • Hohensalzburg Fortress
  • Marionette Theater
  • Salt Mine
  • Enormous Pretzels!

Favorite Literature Pick for Salzburg:


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers) 
by Mike Venezia


Journal Idea:


Make your own journal in a 3-ring binder.  Use a variety of the free journal pages available on this site to customize your own journal.  Also remember to include blank pages to add memorabilia such as brochures, ticket stubs, and more.




Transportation & Lodging - We flew into Munich, Germany (largest major airport), rented a car (Autoeurope) and drove the short 2.5 hour drive to Salzburg.  (We opted to have a car since this was the beginning of a longer tour through Central Europe and we chose a car over train travel due to some of the locations we would be visiting). We stayed at Pension Katrin and I do recommend this small hotel just on the outskirts of the center.  We were able to park our car there and just walk everywhere.  Our boys who are 10 and 12 did fine with the 10 minute walk to the center, but bus #5 is also right out the door and comes along every 10 minutes.  One evening we took a taxi because we were too cold and too tired to walk back. From the center it cost us 7 Euros.  Pension Katrin is run by a very friendly Austrian named Sandra.  She went out her way to provide information and anything we needed.  She even provided birthday candles for my son's birthday.  The breakfast is plentiful and the pension is spotless.  Our family room slept four comfortably.



Christmas Markets - We were here for Christmas and it was such a special time to explore this old city.  Live music like choirs and brass bands fill the air.  The stalls are filled with nutcrackers, nativities, and every kind of Christmas trinket you can think of.  And the food... warm drinks, pastries, candies, pretzels, bratwurst and so much more.  

And all under towering cathedrals and strung Christmas lights.  I must also mention the Krampus - a very old Austrian tradition - the opposite of St Nicholas.  He knows which boys and girls have been naughty and comes to punish them.  It's all in good fun, but they really are the MOST scary thing you've ever seen!  We just saw one.  He was hanging out in the market and adults and some brave kids were posing with him for pictures.  


5 Educational Activities Your Kids Will Love!


1. Hohensalzburg Fortress & Funicular - Sitting high on a hill over looking the city of Salzburg is an impressive fortress/castle that is the backdrop of every picture.  It is the first place a young tourist wants to go!  What's not to love about a castle on a hill?  There are two ways to get to the top... either the long winding road up or the funicular!  We chose the funicular of course.  It's a sideways train that takes people up and at the same time a different car takes people down.  Click HereIt was a quick ride, barely enough time to snap a few pictures.  This impressive structure dates back more than 1000 years and over the years has served as a royal residence, protector over the city and prison.  There are a number of rooms to explore, a self-guided audio tour, and magnificent views to Salzburg and beyond.  We also attended a children's show in German.  That was fun.  Although we couldn't understand everything they were saying, we could follow along with the story - a princess who kisses a frog near a water well.  There are also gift shops and stalls to purchase treats and beverages such as pretzels, bratwurst sandwiches and beer.  In all, we spent about 3 hours exploring the fortress and enjoying the hilltop views.



2. Marionette Theater - Just across the river stands a little theater just for marionettes.  This part of the world has a long history in puppetry and was even highlighted in the Sound of Music movie.  We chose The Magic Flute since we were in the city of Mozart.  It was the full opera, 2.5 hours in all with a brief intermission in the middle.  The music was recorded, not live, but very professional.  The beginning of the show includes a portion where you can see the puppeteers setting up and getting ready.  This adds to the wonder of it all.  They do an amazing job and after a few minutes into the show, you forget you're watching puppets and not real people.  The boys loved this. This is a great way to introduce your children to the world of opera. Click Here


3. The Sound of Music Tour - You can't come to Salzburg and not do the Sound of Music tour.  The real Von Trapp family lived in Salzburg and although many parts of the movie are Hollywood's extra flair, much of the story is true.  It's fun to see all the areas where the family lived in real life and also see the places where the movie was filmed.  I highly recommend watching the movie before your visit to the city.  Our boys had fun pointing out scenes from the movie, like where the children went to the Abbey to ask Maria to come back, or the cemetery at the end of the movie where they hid from the Nazi soldiers.  These details delighted 

everyone in our group, young and old.  The actual tour begins at Mirabelle Gardens and includes a 4 hour bus ride with many stops to see: the house, gazebo, trees where the children climbed, lake where they fell in from the boat, and the church that the wedding takes place in at the end.  



4. Spielzeugmuseum (Toy Museum) - This was a fun spot for my 10 year old and me one afternoon.  It was cold outside and the rest of our group was ready to return to the hotel.  We spent about 2 hours exploring the multiple levels and hands-on exhibits.  His favorites were a giant (and very fast) slide, the "marble" room where you can follow your marble through various mazes, the electric train exhibit and all the old toys on display.  They even had a number of toys dating back to the early 1900s.   Click Here


5. Salt Mine - Hallein - Just about a 20 minute drive outside of Salzburg is the Hallein Salt Mine and Celtic Village.  The 1.5 hour tour of the mine is an adventurous and educational experience and definitely worth the short drive.  If you don't have a car, you can also arrange a guided tour from Salzburg to visit the mine.  

They outfit you with Oompa Loompa type suits and along with your group you descend down into the cavern on a train.  There are various stops where the tour guide provides the history and some short films with English subtitles.  The Celts started mining salt 2000 years ago at this location.  And it's also interesting to learn that the opulence of Salzburg is due to the "white gold" of this nearby salt mine and the very greedy archbishop from the 1500-1600s.  You also descend two more times via wooden slides and cross a lake in a boat.  My youngest son is not a big fan of caves or caverns.  He was glad he did the tour, but was also relieved when we got back to the surface.

Click Here



Our Picks for Children's LIterature:


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)
by Mike Venezia


Who Was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?

by Yona Zeldis McDonough and Carrie Robbins


The Magic Flute: An Opera by Mozart 
by Kyra Teis


The Story of the Trapp Family Singers
by Maria Augusta Trapp



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