Salzburg, Austria. Mark’s first snow fall. Christmas markets & holiday cheer. As you might have guessed, we had a wonderful family holiday this past week. Salzburg was one of the last remaining cities on my European Wanderlust List I made back in January 2016 when I first moved to Belgium. I am so happy we were able to sneak this slightly last minute trip in before we departed back to the US. Our trip to Salzburg couldn’t have been a more festive way to kick off the Christmas season. These European Christmas Markets are really something everyone should experience!
As this was our last European holiday, we decided to splurge a bit on the Sheraton Grand Salzburg. The hotel was excellent and in a great location – about a 10 minute walk from the train station & within 20 minutes of all the main attractions. We also opted for a Club Floor room which, was by far the best idea. While we knew it would be helpful to easily fed Mark at the hotel, it proved to be so much more. As it was cold, we frequently popped back to the hotel to warm up and grab a little snack. Let’s just say I think we definitely got our money worth from the number of coffees we consumed alone :). They also had great high chairs & a good assortment of healthy snacks for us to feed Mark breakfast & lunch daily!
We kept our itinerary low key and flexible. We knew it would be exceptionally cold so we would have to mix outdoor wandering with indoor activities to keep Mark (and us) warm! We spent our first day wandering through the old town and enjoying the Christmas Market! As it was my first European Christmas market, I wanted to take everything in. We even found a great toy for Mark to bring back home with us :). We spent our second day exploring a smaller holiday market, tasting the infamous hot wine (ick! lol), and visiting the Salzburg Cathedral. We opted to skip the Salzburg Fortress as it did not seem overly stroller friendly & the cloudy snowy weather likely meant poor views.
Trips for traveling with tots!
- Salzburg is an exceptionally family-friendly (aka flat) city. Don’t be afraid to bring a stroller with you. We brought ours & were happy we did. It was critical in keeping Mark warm. Be sure to bring a carrier too if you want to explore the Fortress, which is easier done stroller free. We also found the Christmas Markets at night to be overwhelming with a stroller so we opted for the carrier.
- Splurging on a club room floor was totally worth it. We ate breakfast every morning, enjoyed an afternoon snack, and happy hour while pre-feeding Mark dinner. Not to mention the 20+ coffee & cappuccinos we sipped on.
- Exploring cities in the cold is tough! We prefer to walk and explore a city & pop in for a drink or meal once Mark has gone down for a nap. Unfortunately, whenever we went indoors for a substantial period of time, we had to undo some of Mark’s layers as the 50 degree temperature swing meant he could not nap in his outdoor attire. This meant we occasionally woke a sleeping baby, who wasn’t very happy with us!
A few favorites…
- We had a fantastic dinner at Baren Wirt. Authentic Austrian cuisine in an environment suitable for families, this is a must if traveling with tots! And you must try the homemade strudels… they were utterly divine!
- Be sure to visit the Christmas markets if you visit in Advent Season! We found the mornings to be more suitable for strollers, shopping, and generally more tame. We did pop back over at night with Mark in the carrier & it was great to see all the festive lights in the night sky.
- Die Wiessen is a cool, slightly off the beaten path brewery with quality food. It was a great lunch spot in, what seemed like, a mostly locals setting.
Do you have any winter travel planned? What are your favorite snowy destinations to kick off the holiday season?