It’s Baroque architecture and strong links to classical music history make this famed Austrian city a picture perfect place for a short family stay. But, of course, a huge bulk of tourists really come here for just one thing – the renown Sound Of Music tour. If the kids are bursting to sing along but you’re not so keen (or you really want to experience Salzburg but your kids aren't so keen) we’ve got a unique solution to your Doe A Deer woes. Here's how to do a city and Sound Of Music tour of Salzburg with kids that's fun for the whole family. 

The Destination: Salzburg With Kids

A university and religious town at heart, Salzburg is home to some stunning cobbled streets, magnificent cliff-perched buildings and some colourful history. As the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, it is a charming mixture of quaint bakeries, chocolatiers and impressive religious structures all sitting side-by-side with the huge coaches full of Von Trapp devotees. In the summer it throngs with tourists from all over the world but it small enough to be easy to navigate with young children – ideal for a day trip or a couple of nights sojourn on a larger European holiday.

The Attractions In Salzburg With Kids

Let’s start with the obvious – The Sound of Music tour. The most famed – and the one that claims to be the original – is Panorama Tour’s Tour 1A, “The Original Sound of Music Tour”. For fans of the musical, this is a heady experience of four hours aboard a tour bus with some seriously obsessed people. They will take you to see everything you could possibly want to see related to the movie from Captain Von Trapp’s backyard to Hellbrun Palace gazebo (reconstructed specifically for the fans).

By all accounts, if you want to indulge this is a fun experience. You’ll meet several other very committed fans and get to dedicate the time to singing all the old favourites with other like-minded musical nerds.

If you’re curious about some of the Sound of Music sites, but the Panorama option seems like too much of a commitment, there is another way. Rickshaw Tours offers a unique and comfortable way to see Salzburg so that you can tick the Sound of Music box, you’ll still get to see other points of interest that don’t involve singing “Edelweiss” and even small kids will be engaged.

Perched in front of a rickshaw is a surprisingly relaxing way to view the city. Since it is such an intimate experience (the rickshaws can take two adults plus a small child or three kids on their own) you can tailor the tour to suit your needs. Their “Round of Music” tour ranges from 45 minutes to up to 2 hours and will still take you to major Sound of Music sites like Mirabell Gardens without being too overwhelming. On top of that you will still viewing other major tourist attractions and get a bit of a history lesson. Best of all, if the historical and movie trivia is boring for the kids, just being in a rickshaw should be entertaining enough to keep them occupied.

While tours are not always an independent traveller’s ideal way to visit a city, it’s a good idea to start a visit to Salzburg with a tour to get your bearings and a sense of the city’s (very complex) history. After that, put on some good walking shoes and spend your time getting lost among the laneways of the old city. Keep an eye out for Mozart’s birthplaceHellbrunn Palace, Nonnberg Abbey and Trinity Church.

Food in Salzburg With Kids

There is plenty of café-style food all over the streets of Salzburg. In particular look out for the creatively shaped artisanal baked good and gummi bear cakes.

Salzburg is home to Europe’s oldest restaurant, St. Peter Stiftskeller, which was established in the year 803. For this reason alone it is worth popping by, even just to view the outside. It is a fine dining restaurant so may not be appropriate for children, depending on your kids’ temperaments.

[For more travel tips on how to eat in expensive restaurants with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]

Triangel is well recognised as serving reasonably priced local fare in a casual atmosphere. It’s a good place to stop mid-old town explorations for refueling and recharging.

Family Friendly Accommodation in Salzburg With Kids

The Salzburg tourism bureau has a comprehensive website with several accommodation options.

The Holiday Inn Salzburg City offers their kids eat free deal to entice families. It is very close to the charming Linzer Gasse and they do allow pets to stay on request.

The Practicalities of Salzburg With Kids

If you are in any way planning to do any sort of Sound of Music tour, rewatch the movie before you go. Even the shortest Rickshaw Tour will take you to some very specific sites that will have no significance if it’s been 10 years since you saw the musical. (Or, if you have the option, see the Sound of Music live on stage. For other family-friendly live shows on Broadway and in the West End, see the suitcases&strollers story here.)

While a Rickshaw Tour is doable in the rain, it is better to hold off for a sunny day as the guides are reluctant to take you to the Mirabell Gardens in the damp.

If you don’t plan to move outside the old quarter of Salzburg, it is quite a small area and easy to navigate just by walking with young children. Despite the streets being cobbled and with a few small inclines, you will see strollers everywhere – just make sure yours is sturdy enough to handle the lumps and bumps.

If you plan to drive into Salzburg with kids for the day, parking is relatively easy and cheap (for Europe) – choose a carpark on the other side of the Salzach River and it is a pleasant and easy walk across to the tourist area.

Bring small change as public toilets often charge for usage and you will need coins to open the cubicle doors. 

If you're looking for a countryside holiday destination not too far from Salzburg, try some time in the German area of Chiemsee. For more travel tips, see the suitcases&strollers story here

Images: Gunter Breitegger, SalzburgerLand Tourismus, Tourismus Salzburg