After strolling around the cobbled streets of Salzburg’s Old Town sightseeing, wouldn’t you want a way in which you can enjoy this site and much more by simply sitting back and relaxing in one position? If so, I would recommend that you take a short ride on the Amadeus Salzburg, a boat that is operated by Salzburg Stadt Schiff-Fahrt and will sail you down the Salzach River. The Salzach River obtained its name because it was known for transporting salt down the river and the word, “salz” is salt in German. Due to the shallow waters of the Salzach River, cruise ships were stopped from sailing on it from 1891; however, since 2002, the Amadeus Salzburg has made it possible for you to enjoy a scenic ride for a while on this glorious river.
Depart from the Anlegestelle Altstadt jetty
There appears to be only one dock from where the Amadeus Salzburg departs, which is at the Anlegestelle Altstadt jetty near the Makartsteg Bridge. You can purchase tickets for one of three tours that the Amadeus Salzburg offers from the ticket-office that is located on the shore at Franz Josef Kai 1a, 5020, Salzburg or online via the Salzburg Ticket Shop.
The first type of cruise that you can experience is the standard tour of the city, which continues down the river until the Uberfuhrer Foodbridge. This tour lasts 40 minutes and costs approximately 15 EUR (16 USD) for adults and 7.50 EUR (8 USD) for children.
The second tour and third tour that you can enjoy is down the river to Hellbrunn Landing, where you can see Hellbrunn Palace. The duration of these tours are approximately 2.5 hours and the prices range from 18 EUR – 28 EUR (19 USD – 29 USD) for adults and 10 EUR – 19 EUR (11 USD – 20 USD) for children. If you have purchased a Salzburg Card, then this tour may be included in your package, so it is recommended that you check in advance.
Boat journeys run from April until the end of October and tours may be cancelled at the last minute due to adverse weather conditions, so it is advisable you try to enjoy this earlier on in your stay in Salzburg in case the weather interferes with your option to enjoy it! Departure times for the tours vary contingent on the season in which you visit. As I was short for time and my feet were tired from working around the Old Town, I purchased a ticket for a standard tour of the city.
Located next to the ticket-stand is a mini fast food truck that offers some tasty items and ice cream for your consumption. This is perfect if you have to wait for 30 minutes or so for your boat to arrive. There are also some round, silver, steel tables and chairs for you to sit outside and enjoy whilst eating your food or devouring your ice cream. I would advise that you line up in the queue for the boat at least 5–10 minutes before your departure time. This is because this popular river transportation can be heavily populated with tourists.
Children are given the chance to steer the boat
The boat that you will be on is a modern ship that can accommodate up to 80 passengers. It has a unique design with large windows, allowing you to see the picturesque city of Salzburg as you glide by. The crew, which will consists of 1–3 persons including the captain, are delightful and humorous and will ensure that you feel relaxed during your time on-board. It should be noted though that there are no restrooms.
The seating within the boat is very clean and comfortable; however, I would recommend that you either try and obtain a window seat or a seat at the front so that you can have a good look at the views of Salzburg. As recommended above, try and get in the queue to board the boat at least 5–10 minutes before departure to ensure you get the best seat for you.
The captain and his/her crew person(s) also have two spare steering wheels and will offer two children on board the opportunity to sit at the front with the steering wheels, so that they feel that they’re in control of the boat. This is a nice touch and certainly not something I have seen in other cities where I have taken boat trips. It also means that parents can sit back and relax for a bit too as their children are entertained in “navigating” the boat.
Pass by the wonderful New Town and picturesque Old Town
Most of the commentary on board is recorded and is in English and German. However, the captain will add his/her own bits of commentary every now and again too, which will make the experience more interactive and enjoyable, especially due to their humorous nature. You will learn basic facts about the history of the River Salzach.
You will be informed that it is 225 kilometres (140 miles) long and runs through parts of Austria and Germany. In Salzburg, the River Salzach separates the New Town and the Old Town. The New Town is home to the Mirabell Palace and Gardens and a number of famous hotels. The Old Town is famous for its incredibly well preserved history, magical squares and Hohensalzburg. As you travel down the River Salzach, you will see the world-famous and magnanimous Hotel Sacher on the side of the New Town. You will also be able to see Hohensalzburg, which is in the Old Town and is one of Europe’s largest fortresses and the only one that has never been conquered and taken over.
Once you have passed the Old Town, you will be introduced to the residential villa area, which consists of a few houses amongst the tremendous hills and mountains of Austria. Whilst some passengers on-board may feel disheartened after passing the Old Town area as there is not so much to see apart from the houses, I would advise them to focus on the turquoise waters, green hills and blue skies to truly appreciate the nature of Salzburg.
A boat that can dance by doing the waltz on water
If you decide to opt for the standard tour for only 40 minutes, as I did, your boat will turn around at the Uberfuhrer Foodbridge and you will return passing the same gorgeous sites that you have seen on your way towards the footbridge. If you’re travelling in the afternoon or late afternoon, you are likely to spot a number of locals and tourists sitting and relaxing on the river banks. This is another way in which the exquisite location of Salzburg can be enjoyed; by sitting back and looking at Hohensalzburg and hearing the bells of the monastery in the Old Town ringing whilst the sunshine beams on the water.
Before your boat journey ends, the captain and his crew will have a wonderful surprise for you once the boat passes under the Makartsteg Bridge. This is because the captain and his crew will put on some wonderfully loud music by Mozart and will navigate the boat in such a manner as if it is doing the Waltz on water, at varying speeds. This is such a lovey way for the journey to end and a memory that you will be able to treasure forever. Having enjoyed boat rides in London, Paris, Geneva and Prague, I have never been on a boat that dances, so the Amadeus Salzburg is recommended if you have some spare time.
A relaxing and leisurely affair in a naturally beautiful city
Salzburg is a city that I cannot get enough of and I have enjoyed it by foot, by coach, by horse carriage and by boat. Each form of transportation has shown me this superb city in a different way. By enjoying Salzburg by boat, you can see sites such as the residential areas where the locals live, which will enrich your experience in Salzburg in comparison to only seeing the major tourist sites.
If you’re looking for a way in which to relax in the tourist heaven that is Salzburg, I would suggest a ride on the Amadeus Salzburg followed by a meal at either Hotel Sacher or Restaurant Brunnauer where you will have the opportunity to taste food by local chefs that love to cook and in places where you will be able to continue your relaxing experience in their hometown. The sailing experience on the Amadeus Salzburg is a leisurely affair and would be appreciated most by those that are content with seeing nature’s beauty in comfort.