By Steve Kopandy - Bike Tourist and Cycle Cities Manager
The first time I went to Austria in 2004, was arriving in the town of Salzburg, and each time after that as well.
Sandwiched in between Munich, Zurich, Vienna, Prague and to the South, the Alps and eventually Venice, Salzburg is a crossroads and a gateway. I had the feeling I’d be passing through here again. Such a location really demands it. But the town itself does it’s best to ensure you’ll be back.
The intention of my first trip was skiing at Bad Gastein, a large ski area in the alps, well connected by train from Munich Airport, via Salzburg. The youthful traveller that I was, I checked into the yoho hostel. Central Location, highly recommended for the on tap stiegl and late night parties. It was just the one night in Salzburg, I was just passing through. It’s a beautiful town, but I wanted to get to the slopes, and I knew I’d be back.
Back there I was.
2007 I made a similar trip. Munich Airport, via the yoho again, and this time onto a different ski area, Grunau im Almtal. But again Salzburg was the gateway. And again, I didn’t explore the city, and again, I was reminded I one day should. Even sitting on the train station platforms and staring up at the peaks- stunning view.
Third time lucky. 2009.
I was in a campervan this time. Hooked up with some friends after Oktoberfest in Munich, and we could decide which way to drive. I suggested South to Salzburg. Fully equipped with our cases of Augustiner brau, we went via Berchtesgaden, Hitler’s ‘Eagle’s Nest’ retreat, and went to Salzburg for the night. No yoho this time. Campervan rules.
Believe it or not, this is the first time I realised that Salzburg had a river. It’s such a beautiful centrepiece to the town. You don’t see it from the station or the yoho! So this was my first REAL time in Salzburg. Spent the evening walking around, and the following day exploring the castle area and other parts of the town.
The mountains surrounding the city are imposing and you do get the feeling of being in a deep valley. Fortunately for cyclists, this means it’s a relatively flat town. You don’t have to ride far up or down river to get out of town, and find some wide open space. We had the van, so we were ok to get around. Shame I didn’t know about the Salzburg Bike Tour. But that’s what I’m here for now, to tell everyone how great it is to see a city by a bike. Maybe you’ll be able to do it before I get the chance.
It was the city I was supposed to see the first 2 times. To really get the most out of your travels, get out of the station, hotel and campervan, and explore the depths of a city.
If good things come in threes, my third trip to Salzburg supports that.
Steve Kopandy spent his 20's taking short trips to Europe from his base in London, and has taken guided bike tours and cycle trips in, and to, many European cities. He works as the Business Manager for London Bicycle Tour Company and started Cycle Cities to give more profile to bike tours worldwide.