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But once we reach the top and head off down the narrow track between rocks, trees and cliff faces, the views are stupendous. Snowy mountains in one direction, flat, green valley floor below.

And best of all, not a tourist in sight.

Christian points out the city’s ancient hilltop Hohensalzburg fortress as we snake along ridges and through gullies, before stopping at the Schwiegmühlalm, a hut serving more belly-warming shots of schapps.

“Oh the parties we’ve had here,” he says with a glint in his eye.

At least you can be sure of no gatecrashing tourists, I think. No wonder the locals love it.

 

Eat, drink, sleep

Eat Budget: St Paul Stube is one of the best value venues in Salzburg – students and locals flock in for soups, sausages and such until 2am.

Dishes start from £7.20.

Midrange: Crispy, thin pizzas from a traditional wood-fired oven can be munched at Pizzeria Bistro in Hotel Alpina, a smart take on a basic pizzeria.

Pizzas from £8.

Luxury: Oberforsthof Alm is everything you’d expect of an Austrian restaurant, but with a modern take on traditional fare, including game specials.

Main courses from £16.

 


 

Drink – Budget: Augustiner Braustübl in Salzburg is Austria’s largest beer hall, a collection of ancient rooms with vaulted ceilings.

No music, just one beer (pay, grab a glass and get it filled from the barrel) – plus lots of sausages. £2.40 for 500ml.

Midrange: Butz & Stingl is a throbbing log cabin bar in the middle of Alpendorf. 

The rustic, fairytale venue is filled with dance music, smoke and swaying bodies. Beers from £2.40.

Luxury: Wine Cellar, is a vaulted-ceiling den, all brick and wood, beneath the four star-plus Hotel Alpina.

Conveniently located next to the gondola. Drinks from £4.

 

Sleep – Budget: Haus Heigl is a neat, family-run set of apartments on the main street.

There’s a free sauna and pool. Two-bedroom apartment for four from £55 per night.

Midrange: Hotel Rothirsch is smart but unassuming.

It has perhaps the Alps’ smallest, cosiest cellar bar, the Platzhirsch, but you can still dance in there.

Rooms from £55pp, half board.  

Luxury: Hotel am Dom in Salzburg is a kitsch Seventies fantasy of white leather and fur, set in a timbered medieval building in the old town. From £72pp for bed and breakfast.

 

Getting there: Fly London Stansted to Salzburg from £95.60 return with Ryanair

Photos: Frank Heuer/Tourismus Salzburg, Nick Dalton, Getty


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Skiing in Salzberg: Snowscapes, schnapps and leather mini-skirts in the Austrian alps
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