From rolling green hills and romantic gardens to breathtaking cathedrals and majestic baroque architecture, Salzburg is widely regarded as the “Florence of the North” or the “German Rome”. As the fourth-largest city in Austria, Salzburg is the perfect combination of modern-feel and country tradition.
Salzburg is surrounded by the Alps, and its alpine setting provides endless opportunity for new adventures. While outdoor enthusiasts marvel in this, Salzburg is also a city of art, music, and history, being the birthplace of Mozart and the home of the world-famous Von Trapp family. By studying abroad in Salzburg, one thing is for sure: you will forever leave a piece of your heart in Austria.
Salzburg is loved by millions from all over the world and is frequently called “the city of dreams”. While vacationers can catch a glimpse of why Salzburg is so special, students and residents are the only ones who really understand how enchanting this city is. Study in Salzburg today and see why it is one of the most beloved cities in the world!
While Salzburg is not as large as cities such as Paris or Rome, there are just as many wonderful things to see. As the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, there is an infinite amount of concerts, museums, and events dedicated to the celebrated musician, including his birth home, which is open to the public as a museum. Salzburg is also famous for being the hometown of the original Von Trapp family, and many sites around the city can be found in The Sound of Music movie. If you don’t feel like doing one of the many Sound of Music tours, you can access many film locations for free, such as Mirabell Gardens, Leopoldskron Palace, and Nonnberg Abbey. One of the most popular places to visit while studying in Salzburg is the Hohensalzburg Fortress, which dates back to 1077 and looks out over the entire city. Hellbrunn Palace is another popular site, as it houses the Trick Water Fountains, the famous gazebo from The Sound of Music, and one of the biggest Christmas markets in Salzburg during the month of December.
There are many great places for students to gather in Salzburg. Most university students study at Universität Salzburg, the city’s largest university, so all of the cafés and restaurants in the university neighborhood are always packed with students. Many students also take to the riverbanks of the Salzach River for sunbathing and lounging in between classes. There are also many beer gardens and breweries that students get together in after class.
Most of the museums and tourist sites around the city offer student discounts, such as Mozart’s birth house and the Hohensalzburg Fortress. Sometimes restaurants will even give cheaper prices for students, so ask when you’re eating out with friends. Bus passes and train tickets are frequently cheaper for students as well (and utilize the Bayern Pass when traveling by train into Germany…not specific for students, but most travel this way!).
Austria’s currency is the Euro and they are very much a card-based country. As long as you notify your debit/credit card company that you will be using your card abroad, you should have no problems using it in Salzburg. However, there are ATMs on almost every corner, so cash is also readily available.
Salzburg is not an overly expensive city and there are many ways to keep your budget down. Make sure you shop at the local grocery stores instead of buying loaves of bread at bakeries (and also be sure to get a grocery store card so you can use discounts!).
Culture Shock and Support Systems
Most abroad programs offer support systems for students. These can include orientations before students begin taking courses, history and culture classes, and even monthly culture shock “check-ups”. It is important to select a program that offers support to students, as every student who studies abroad encounters culture shock at one point or another.
While Austrian culture is not particularly difficult to adapt to, there are aspects that are much different than you will be accustomed to. Austrians are very punctual people, with buses and trains rarely running off schedule. Appearances matter in Austria – don’t even think about wearing sweatpants or yoga pants outside! Dress well and be prepared for the drastic weather changes that can happen in Salzburg (always bring a sweater or a jacket with you!). Also, Austrians dress for the season. No matter how warm it is, they won’t wear shorts any later than August. Along with dressing appropriately comes the topic that most international students will never understand: Germans and Austrians love their house shoes. Don’t be caught walking around your dorm/home-stay barefoot! Also, avoid exercising outside. Austrians exercise in gyms, so unless you want to be stared at while running, join a gym too.
One insider tip for studying in Salzburg is to eat the street food. Food stands and mini food shops are the best way to try real Austrian food very inexpensively. From kebabs to sausages to ice cream, street food is a great way to eat cheaply. Linzer Gasse (Linzer Street) has some of the best and cheapest street food as well as some delicious bakeries, and the area is perfect for students, as it lies right outside of the touristy areas of the city.
Another tip is to get outside of the city. While Salzburg itself has an infinite amount of things to do, there are even more hidden gems outside of the city that make for perfect day trips and are fairly inexpensive to get to. Some great day trips to take are to Berchtesgaden/Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, the salt mines and ice caves in northern Austria and southern Germany, and the several little towns outside of Salzburg that make up the Salzkammergut (the most popular are Hallstatt, St. Wolfgang, Mondsee, and St. Gilgen). These little towns also have some of the best Christmas markets, so if you’re studying in Salzburg during December, save some money for the Christmas markets. You will want to buy everything you see and try every type of food sold there, so make sure you don’t spend all of your money during the first part of your semester or year abroad.
A fourth tip is to splurge a little bit and buy a pair of lederhosen/a dirndl. These traditional outfits (known as Trachten) are worn frequently throughout the year, and it is actually more common to see Austrians wearing them than Austrians wearing flip-flops. The best way to buy a reasonably-priced dirndl/pair of lederhosen is from a vendor at one of the many fairs in Salzburg. There are many Trachten stores in Salzburg, but their clothing can run upwards of 200 Euro, while those sold at fairs are usually around 70-100 Euro.