Schnitzel and Noodles – Salzburg and The Sound of Music

Schnitzel and Noodles in Salzburg

There are only 150 000 people who live in Salzburg. Yet every year more than 300 000 mad, Sound of Music tragics begin a pilgrimage to this picture perfect city.

Sure they’ve come to see Mozart’s birthplace and eat questionable spheres made of chocolate and marzipan. They’ve possibly come to see the oldest restaurant in Europe (circa 803), drink at the Stigl brewery and wander by an impossibly blue river on a clear day. But really, most have come to drink tea with jam and bread, eat crisp apple strudel and schnitzel with noodles. They’ll probably want to see the bridges and parks where seven Von Trapps in curtain-made play clothes first learned to sing, and possibly find their way onto a bus tour so they can discover first hand that you can’t skip from bench to bench in a gazebo singing ‘Sixteen going on Seventeen’. But you can take a photo from the outside.

A confession. I’m one of them. A childhood in which I was told occasionally that I held more than a passing resemblance to Gretel rears its ugly head. Doe a Deer was the soundtrack to my early years- though it was years before I discovered the Nazis. Sensible woman that she was, my mother would turn it off after the wedding. All good romantic comedies end with a wedding. Fleeing from Nazis and then facing an impossibly long trudge through mountains would not have been a comforting thought for a timid, flat footed five year old me.

So, here it is; a Sound of Music inspired 24 hours in Salzburg.

Breakfast: Tea with Jam, jam and bread

It’s an important note to learn in the progression of Do- Re-Mi. Tea- a drink with jam and bread. One delightful way to start a day is with breakfast at Hotel Sacher. Right on the river, this elegant facade in pastel peach is a proper old school European hotel. In the evenings there’s a pianist playing jazz and classical standards in the lobby bar. There’s fruit and cake to welcome you to your room and sturdy umbrellas in the lobby. Its sister hotel in Vienna is home to the the original Sacher Torte – though if you’re keen for a taste you can purchase a small piece of this dark chocolate cake, encircled by apricot jam and ganache for less than £3.

Breakfast in Cafe Sacher is a refined affair- the International Herald Tribune is mounted on wooden frames, most coffee orders will come with plumes of whipped cream, tea arrives in modest pots and bircher muesli in gentle, wide lipped bowls. The choice of a set breakfast will bring a boiled egg, slices of ham, slivers of mountain cheese, pastries, bread rolls and jam.  The best plan is to share one of those and some muesli with a partner- then you can both indulge in some jam and bread, a pot of tea and prepare yourself for the rest of the day.

Nb midweek there are some good deals to be had at Hotel Sacher. Here are some other pluses, beyond the location. There is valet parking (for those driving in and out of Salzburg), free wifi and a certain novelty in chocolate scented bathroom products.

Hotel Sacher

Tour: Panorama Sound of Music Tour

There are no shortage of Sound of Music Tours in Salzburg. The Panorama bus tour operates twice a day (at 9.30 am and 2 pm) and departs from in front of the Mirabell Palace. It goes for around four hours. That is four hours to be on and off a bus with a bunch of other Sound of Music fans (or 50 per cent of people who are reliving their childhoods, and 50 per cent weary spouses who are relived to know that you can purchase beers and small bottles of champagne on the bus). The guides are generally hilarious. You would have to be, with that as your job all day, every day.

And whatever you do, know with some certainty that you’ll be more sane than the 19 year old who apparently spent most of the tour in tears. Of joy. She’d watched The Sound of Music twice a day, every day since she was five and going on the tour had been her life’s ambition. When the day actually arrived, she was too overwhelmed to enjoy any of it.

What the tour will allow you to do is get out of Salzburg and see some of the spectacular countryside around Salzburg. You’ll see the glacier lake out the front of the Von Trapp house where Maria and the children fell out of the boat (and Gretel nearly drowned during filming).

You’ll see the trees they were hanging out of like local urchins.  You’ll see the gazebo (though since an octogenarian fell and broke her hip trying to skip from bench to bench some twenty odd years ago, it’s now locked).

You’ll see the hills, which may, or may not come alive. You’ll finish the tour back at the Mirabell gardens, so you can skip through green trellises and dance around fountains.  And in the middle of all of that you’ll see the church in which Maria married.

Panorama Tours
Cost: Euro 40 per person.
Things to note: it is mainly on a bus, with minimal touring of Salzburg town centre. You’re best off doing that yourself. There is music played, but thankfully, singing is minimal and optional.

Crisp Apple Strudel

The spectacular church that Maria and Captain Von Trapp married in is in a small lakeside town called Mondsee.

The tour will deposit you here for around an hour, to explore the church and surrounds. It’s a sweet town that has clocked its market as a tourist target. There are tatty gift stores, but also some sweet local bakeries, which allow you to take some time out with a bowl of chicken noodle soup and a plate of strudel to refuel and enjoy some of your favourite things. Vanilla cream (essentially custard), or ice cream optional.

Schnitzel with Noodles: Restaurant Herzl

I’m more of a raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens kind of girl- but for those of Austrian-ancestry (i.e. The Hungry One)- schnitzel with noodles is the epitome of comfort. It’s in his DNA. We ate plenty of these breaded cutlets in Salzburg, but the best version was at Restaurant Herzl. On the wider periphery of the old town its interior is reminiscent of a hunting lodge, with wooden beam ceilings and bench seats. Waitresses are impossibly pretty, a few even in braids and sporting dirndls. Around us most of the patrons are speaking German. The ‘calf schnitzel’ is made from a thin film of blushing rose veal, crisped with batter that billows and puffs like an exhale from a steam train. There’s a wedge of lemon to the side and a modest portion of potatoes, sweetly boiled with parsley and butter. For the noodle component, split an order of the spaetzle with mountain cheese, or petite rags of pasta sautéed with ham, butter and parsley (Schinkenfeckerl).

Drink a stein or two of one of the speciality Stiegl beers on offer- and finish off with a small portion of Imperial Cake (chocolate, hazelnut and marzipan layered and cloaked in more chocolate) and a shot of apricot schnapps. Even if the dog bites, or a bee stings, you’ll leave happy after this. I promise.

Restaurant Herzl
Herbert-von-Karajan Platz 7, Salzburg

Other Salzburg hints and tips

For a good drink, plate of food and view down over the city, walk up the 300 metres or so to the Stiegl Brewery. You can sit out on the balcony on a sunny day and enjoy the aspect, as well as a few of their more obscure beers (and for those who may be keeping the drinking at a minimum- maybe they’re pregnant- maybe they over indulged- know that surprisingly, their alcohol free beers are actually darn good).

One plate of food not to miss there are the stuffed dumplings with fried onion and sauerkraut. Meaty clouds, with just the right kind of piquant cut through. If your spouse has made it through a whole day with Edelweiss stuck in his head, a plate of these is the least you can offer.

Stiegl Brewery
Bräuhausstraße 9
5020 Salzburg


  1. So cool. I’d love to visit someday! Even though Sound of Music was never my absolute favorite…

  2. GREAT post! So excited to visit here in July! xx

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