Salzburg, Austria exceeded all of my expectations as a home-base for study abroad. It hit all of the must-have’s on my list when looking for a place at the beginning of my fall semester, which seems like years ago. When I was looking study abroad programs and locations, I had no idea Salzburg even was a place — and now I call it my second home.
The three things I really wanted to be able to do while studying abroad was to hike, ski, and be able to travel easily. Salzburg passed with flying colors in all of those departments. I know that everyone who studies abroad says that they studied and lived in the best place ever, but I actually picked it the most perfect home for myself for the past four months.
Here are 10 reasons why you should study abroad in Salzburg, Austria.
1. There are mountains everywhere.
No matter what direction you look, there will be a vast stretch of beautiful snow-capped mountains. You can hike or ski pretty much any time of year and get to any of the best skiing in Europe in just a couple of hours on a train.
2. The food is just incredible.
Schnitzel! Spinach dumplings! Goulash! These delectable dishes are found all around the city and at pretty decent prices.
3. A follow up on the food, the coffee is amazing.
I found the best cappuccinos of my semester abroad right in Salzburg. Be sure to go to 220 Grad when you’re there, if you can.
4. It’s easy as heck to travel around to other countries.
Munich and Vienna, which have very large international airports, are extremely easy to get to by trains that run pretty much all day. Other cities in Europe are totally accessible for weekend trips from Salzburg. Pro tip: get the ÖBB student card to get 50% off all of your trains within Austria!
5. Weather is unpredictable!
This may seem like a con for some, but I loved that it snowed one day and was sunny and 70 degrees the next. Mountain weather is a real thing.
6. The tourism is kept to a minimum.
For me, every time I traveled to new places I was very annoyed by the constant swarm of tourists groups that would overcrowd the city. Here in Salzburg, you would run into a couple of groups a day (probably doing the Sound of Music tour or outside the Mozart house), but if you steer cleared of those locations, it wouldn’t feel too crowded.
7. The city is super easy to get around.
AIFS was generous enough to give all of their students monthly bus passes for the time we were in Salzburg, but I easily could walk to class and the city center every day.
8. They care about the earth!
As our Earth is slowing dying around us. Salzburg, and Austria as a whole, are super environmentally conscious. Not only do they have an incredible effective recycling system, but plastic bags are rarely offered to you in stores and the buses in the cities are partially electric to decrease the city’s carbon footprint.
9. It’s small, but not too small.
I was able to try new local places weekly and also was able to become a regular at other places. With a smaller city like Salzburg, I also felt like I was able to do everything on my bucket list I wanted in the short four months I was there.
10. It’s got such a good vibe.
The people and the views together make for such a great city. I’m not biased at all, but Salzburg is definitely one of the best cities in Europe.