Sunday 21 June 2015

Salzburg River / Old Town Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 10.4 km (6.5 miles), terrain: flat

Salzburg finds its way onto lots of tourists' must-visit list for Europe: its mighty hilltop castle, and its narrow lanes echoing with the clip-clop of horse-carriages are hard to resist for anyone searching for old-world charm.
Salzburg, Kapitelplatz with a view of the castle
If you've fallen for Salzburg's enchantment, there's a great, simple run right in the middle of town: just follow the trail along the northeast bank of the Salzach River, and add a loop through the scenic old-town. If you run in the mornings or evenings, you'll hardly recognize the place, as the day-visitors won't be anywhere in sight, and you'll have the town to yourself (and the locals, of course). No more bus-groups off on the Sound of Music tour...
Tomaselli's at Alter Markt
Let's start the route in the heart of town, at the Alter Markt (Old Market), at the Tomaselli Cafe, already in business for over 200 years. Now we'll turn to face eastwards, and run by the old fountain and out past the old town hall, with its clock-tower.
Along Gisela Kai
Now turn right and head over the Staatsbrücke bridge over the Salzach to the shore-drive on the other side, Gisela Kai. Then, we'll turn right and head southeastwards now, staying along the river. There is a river-side trail that goes for kilometers. Sometimes pedestrians have to share the same paved trail with bikes, sometimes there are separate trails. For the first 100 meters, you have to run next to buses and fight with bikes for space, but then it's great.

Luckily, they put in underpasses beneath the few bridges, so you don't have to wait at traffic lights at every busy cross-street.
Mozartsteg pedestrian bridge back to the old town
In just a few hundred meters, you'll pass the 100-year-old footbridge to the old-town, the Mozartsteg. We'll cross it on our way back later, but now just keep heading straight, with the water to your right side.

After you pass the first car bridge, you'll see the Volksgarten park open up on the left side. It began life as the Kaiser Franz-Josef Jubiläumspark. It was dedicated to the Austrian kaiser on the 50th anniversary of his reign in 1908, just a few years before the monarchy disintegrated in the chaos of defeat in World War I. You might want to loop a bit into the park and run by the pond for a bit of variety.
Pond in Volkspark
The riverside trail changes names to Ignaz-Rieder-Kai, but continues southeastwards along the river, gradually curving southwards. You can run for as short or as long as you please. This route turns around at the next car bridge, Hellbrunner Straße, to make it 10-kilometers long. But you could add on many kilometers if you want to keep going, or just turn around any time earlier to shorten it.
So now you just run until you find your own turn-around spot and head back to town.

But when you reach the grey-metal Mozartsteg footbridge again, turn left to cross it to run a short loop through the nicest part of the old-town, beneath the looming castle.
Mozart, Salzburg's favorite son, likes hanging out at Mozartplatz
After crossing the Salzach, continue for a short block and you'll see the little square, Mozartplatz, on the right. Turn right there and stay on the left side of the Mozart statue, running past the big fountain on the left.

You have now come to the archbishop's palace, where you turn left to run southwards to the next block with its own square, Domplatz (Cathedral Square). This is, as you might guess, right in front of the huge baroque cathedral.
Salzburg's baroque cathedral
Now continue straight through the arcade to the next square, Kapitelplatz, with its strange golden globe with a statue of a man on top.

Continue uphill, towards the castle, following the lane to the castle cog-train station. Just before the station, turn right through the iron gates into the stunningly beautiful cemetery, Petersfriedhof. This is part of St. Peter's monastery, still in use.
In the monastery cemetery
Run westwards through the cemetery, with the cliffs to your left and the monks' buildings built into the cliff-side.

Exit the cemetery on the west side and you'll find yourself in St. Peter's Square, with an old church, a fountain, and what is billed as Europe's oldest restaurant, founded in the year 803 (over 1,200 years in business!).
The square in the middle of the monastery
We're almost back at the starting place now. Just exit the square through the archway to the north (on your right), with the Franciscan church-tower rising behind it.

Now run one block up Sigmund-Haffner-Gasse and then turn right, and you'll be back at the old market, where we started.

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