Salzburg, Austria is a picturesque city best known for it history in music! Salzburg is where Mozart created many of his masterpieces and many of the sites also formed the backdrop to the movie “The Sound of Music“. The Sound of Music Tour was the highlight of Salzburg for me and for so many reasons. The Sound of Music was a movie that was released in 1965 but has managed to enchant many generations of children and adults around the world.
Being on the tour made me feel like I was part of the Von Trapp family’s world just for a day!
Singing ‘Do-Re-Mi’ in Mirabell Gardens
I grew up watching the Sound of Music with my siblings during school holidays. When we drove past the Mirabell Palace and it’s gardens, I was excited to be told that this was the backdrop for one of my favourite scenes; where Maria and the children dance around the statue of the winged horse, Pegasus. They were singing ‘Do-Re-Mi’ and dancing about in true musical movie style. Our tour bus did not stop at the Mirabell Palace but we made a mental note to return and take in the beauty of the garden. I will write about our visit in a separate post but you can see from the picture, that since we had visited in winter, the fountain had turned to ice but was still a pretty sight to be seen.
The back of the Von Trapp family home - Leopoldskron Castle
In the Sound of Music movie, the Leopoldskron Castle was used as the setting for the back of the Von Trapp family home. The children were often seen playing in the beautiful garden. This was also the scene where Maria takes the children out for a boat ride and they all fall into the Leopoldskron lake.
Nearby was also the path where Maria danced a sung her way to the Von Trapp mansion at the beginning of the movie (see 2:34 minutes of this video). Today, people use this as a running path, but I could just imagine Maria with her suitcases singing “Confidence in me” as she started her new journey with the Von Trapp family.
I am 16 going on 17, Hellbrunn Castle
The Hellbrunn Castle was built by Prince-Archbishop Markus Sittikus in the 17th century. In the movie, Liesel Von Trapp and Rolf (the mail boy) sing “I am 16 going on 17” around a glass pavilion. This glass pavilion used to be located in a private property but has since been moved to a public park near Hellbrunn Castle to allow tourists to visit anytime.
I was excited to see this glass pavilion because it was one of my favourite parts of the movie. I remember looking up to Liesel as a child and wishing that I could be 16 going on 17 too!
When we arrived at the glass pavilion, I wanted to jump up onto the benches just for a few seconds but before that thought became reality, my lovely tour guide mentioned that the pavilion was locked. Apparently, many before me had the same idea, and after reenacting the scene a few times, someone broke their leg. I will just have to settle with a picture where I pretend to dance into the pavilion.
This is also the scene where Captain Von Trapp and Maria share their first kiss and sing the romantic song “Something Good“. ‘Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good’… to be able to see this glass pavilion in real life.
The abbey where Maria was a novice, Nonnberg Abbey
We were able to see the Nonnberg Abbey where Maria was a novice. The abbey was used at the beginning of the movie to show the nuns going to mass as Maria runs inside the abbey after dancing about on the hills. The abbey itself is not open to the general public so we did not get to see the interior, but what I found fascinating is that the real Maria and Captain Von Trapp were married in this abbey.
Amazing Scenery from the movie
The movie captured the beautiful mountains and lakes of Salzburg, especially St. Gilgen and Lake Wolfgang. The scenery was breathtaking especially with the snow. When I looked out at the frozen lake, I could imagine people kayaking or swimming there, having family picnics and just enjoying the sun during the summer season. A mental note to self was made – return to Austria in summer!
Maria and Captain Von Trapp’s wedding at Mondsee Cathedral
Who doesn’t like a good wedding scene? The last part of our tour took us to Mondsee Cathedral so that we could visit the place where Maria and Captain Von Trapp were married. The Cathedral is exactly as I expected and just as grand as I remembered it in the movie. We spent about 15 minutes in the church and then spent the majority of the time eating delicious Austrian deserts in a nearby cafe.
Singing songs from the movie
These tours are meant to help you relive scenes in the movie as you listen to songs from The Sound of Music in between locations. However, our tour group was not a singing bunch, so we listened to songs from the movie and enjoyed the scenery. I had just as much fun on this tour either way – singing or no singing! However, if you would be disappointed with a lack of singing, these tours operate in groups of 10 so why not bring some friends along so that you can sing “Do-re-me” together!
Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
Till you find your dream.
Have you been on this tour or suggest other tours that you think might be just as fun?
Look out for my next post about the other sites that I visited in Salzburg and don’t forget to comment and subscribe! Happy travels!
The ‘Real’ Von Trapp family
Before going on this tour, I found out some facts about the real Von Trapp family which were later mentioned by my tour guide.
- Georg Von Trapp was actually born in Zadar which was part of the Austro-Hungary empire but is now part of Croatia
- Georg Von Trapp and the children later moved to Salzburg after the death of his first wife
- There was actually 10 Von Trapp children – 7 from the first marriage and 3 from Maria
- When the family escaped the Nazis, they did not dance off to Switzerland. Instead they escaped by train to Italy to do a concert tour and later ended up the USA
- Georg sadly died 4 years after they escaped Austria and Maria lived well into her 80s
- The Von Trapp family music legacy lives on with the great grand children of Captain Von Trapp. Click here for a youtube video I found!
I also went to the ‘Sound of Music’ exibition where I learnt all about the family, and will talk about that in my next post. Until then, read about the real Von Trapp family here.
Who provides these tours?
We booked our tours through Viator because I was slightly more organised and wanted to book in advance. The local tour providers were Panorama Tours so if you arrive in Salzburg and did not book in advance, give them a call and see if they can fit you in. They operate the tours in a number of languages so let them know in advance about your language preferences. I’ve read about English-speaking tourists who have had to listen to audio guides during a tour as the only places available were in German. We were lucky to have an English-speaking guide.
We spent AUD$47 per person because the exchange rate was good but check on the site to see what the prices are in Euro as they have a number of packages.
When is the best time to do the tour?
We went in winter and it was beautiful, but I recommend doing the tour in spring or summer as the places will look more like the scenes in the movie.