Saturday, July 29, 2017

Salzburg on a Budget using the Salzburg Card

Being a "slow" traveler, I am usually not a fan of those "City Cards", a tourist travel card that gets you free admission to tons of attractions (alot of it are museums), get discounts in shops and ride the local bus/metro free. Many of the popular cities in Europe have these cards (sometimes called "Pass"), eg. Lisbon Card, Granada Card, Firenze Card etc. I feel that I usually do not "use up" the value of the card as I usually visit very few attractions a day. Some of these Cards allow you to skip queues or grant priority access and for these, I think they are certainly worth considering (esp to those mega popular sites).

Now obviously not all the cards are created equal. I visited Salzburg Austria over the New Year last year, and found the Salzburg Card amazing value (for me). The card comes in 24-hour, 48-hour and 72-hour versions. Here's sharing some info and tips on how I used a 24-hour card over a 2-day period!

View of Salzburg city from Hohensalzburg Fortress

Now, the 1st thing to note is that it's a 24-hour card. This is different from some other cards, which may be a "1-Day card" or "3-Day pass" etc. Because it's based on hours and not on a date, you can actually use this card over a 2 day period. Today's technology is such that entry into attractions are through bar-codes and QR-codes etc, so the Salzburg card (which has a barcode) activation is done on your first use/entry into an attraction. The 24 hours validity of the card start from this activation time.

Mozart's Birthplace, now a museum of course!

So on my first day, I walked around the city in the morning, which is what I usually do when I reach a new city. I love to just walk around and get a feel of the place without visiting any attraction. Sometimes I can spend a whole day just walking (told you I am a "slow" traveler). I only started using the card like 1.30pm. Now, the list of free admission and discounts attractions are quite numerous. So read your favorite guidebooks or on internet to see which attractions interest you. Obviously, most of the Mozart/Sound of Music stuff are included in the list :). The key tip is, leave your favorite attraction or one that you know will take up the longest time to the last. So next day, just make sure to reach it before the activated time, eg. for me, I made sure to reach before 1.30pm. Once you enter, you can enjoy the attraction however you like even though your Salzburg card is past the validity since the validity is only checked on the point of entry! (by the machine scanning the bar-code on your card)

Cable-car up Untersberg - the cost of the cable car is 23.5€, which is almost the cost of the 24hr Salzburg Card!

The cost of the 24-hour Salzburg card in winter is 24€ and the cost of all the places I've visited worked out to be 84€, so I figured it's really value for money ;). As opposed to those "1-Day" kind of cards, where you'll have to cram visiting all the attractions in 1 full day, this allows you to split your "touring" over 2 days with an overnight rest! (assuming you activate it in the early afternoon like me)

For those who are only staying a night, arriving late morning/noon and leaving next day afternoon, can also utilize this card perfectly. Remember this card also includes free local transportation, so you could take the bus etc to the train station free. I have to say though, that Salzburg deserves more days! So enjoy this tip, and oh, it may be applicable to other "City cards" as well, so do read the fine prints / details!

Salzburg at Night

Walking along the river in Salzburg

No comments: