Hi everyone! During my girls trip to Munich to tour the Christmas Markets, we were lucky to take a day trip to Salzburg. We spent the afternoon participating in a Sound of Music bus tour around the city. This was such a fun experience and definitely a highlight of our trip.
To begin, let’s start with some logistics. The meeting point for the tour is about 20 minutes walking from the train station, or 10 minutes from downtown. The company Panorama Tours offers the tour at 9:15am and 2:00pm daily. It costs €50 per person, which is normally steep for me but this was something I’ve always wanted to do with my Mom and it was worth it. The tour lasts 4 hours and I highly recommend purchasing your ticket in advance if you know which day you are going to be there. While on the bus, the guide plays the songs from the movie and encourages a sing-a-long. It really sets a fun tone!
Now let’s get to the fun stuff: here are all the stops you make along the tour:
The tour technically begins across the street from Mirabel Gardens, so you do not do an actual walk-through during the tour. They recommend you stop by afterwards since you have to go on foot through the gardens. This picture was taken in the morning (of my first trip to Salzburg with Mark), and the picture below was taken in the later afternoon. I definitely recommend making this one of your last stops of the day to enjoy the area with less the crowds.
Mirabel Gardens was where the children and Maria filmed do-re-mi in the scene where she teaches them to sing. There is also a fountain, some statues and a covered walkway you will recognize as you stroll through the area. Below are some screen-grabs from the movie along with modern day pictures, to help you visualize it! (Check out the link here to watch the full scene in Mirabel Gardens!).
Mirabel Gardens are such an incredibly beautiful part of Salzburg, it’s no wonder they chose to film such a fun song there!
From the bus tour, you are only able to see the Nonnberg Convent from afar. This is where Maria begins the movie working as a novice to become a nun and later hides from Nazi Soldiers with her family. If you have time after the tour, you can visit the Convent and cemetery. We were not able to make it there in time, so only saw it from the outside.
For more information on visiting the Abbey, check out the link here: Nonnberg Convent. This location isn’t just movie famous, it’s the original abbey where the real Maria was living prior to taking the job as governess for the Von Trapps.
Schloss Leopoldskron, also called Leopold Palace, was used as the rear view of the Vonn Trap Family home. You’ll recognize it in scenes where the family is drinking lemonade outside on the terrace, where Maria & the Baron dance on the balcony during the ball and where the children return home from their day of play and fall into the water!
Hellbrunn Palace was used as the front of the Von Trapp Family’s House and can be seen in the opening scenes during “I have Confidence”. On the tour, you’re able to get off the bus and see the Palace from the back, but you also get to see it from the front as you drive by! (You may recognize that long yellow wall as Maria sings and skips her way to their house).
It’s crazy to think that filming of the the Von Trapp House was at two separate locations! Leopold Palace was the back of the home, and Hellbrunn Palace for the front.
The famous gazebo is currently located in the gardens at Hellbrunn Palace. It’s original location was at Leopold Palace, but was later moved to be more accessible to guests. You cannot enter inside the gazebo due to previous tourists attempting to re-enact the running along the benches and injuring themselves.
The gazebo was used to film the romantic scenes “Sixteen going on Seventeen”, as well as “Something Good”.
After you visit Hellbrunn Palace and the Gazebo, you begin the journey out into the countryside. You make a stop overlooking the town of St. Gilgen and Lake Wolfgang. This area was where many of the panoramic shots were taken in the movie. Since we did the 2:15pm tour (in December), it was already starting to get dark by the time we got to this portion, so I highly recommend the morning tour for this reason!
The last stop of the day is in the town of Mondsee. The abbey is where they filmed the wedding scene between Maria and the Baron. We were able to go inside the church as well.
The tour wraps up in the same spot as it began, so if you didn’t have time to explore Mirabel Gardens prior, you’ll want to make your way over that way while you’re in the area. There are a few other filming locations you don’t see on the tour but can visit in your free time that I wanted to share here as well.
Once finished singing do-re-mi in Mirabel Gardens, make your way to downtown Salzburg. One of the earlier scenes in the movie features Maria singing “I have Confidence” on her way to the Von Trapps. After leaving the abbey, she makes her way through downtown to catch a bus. Below are some screen grabs that you’ll recognize when you visit Salzburg!
To watch the “I have Confidence” scene through downtown, check out the link here.
The Summer Riding School
The Summer Riding School is a theater venue in Salzburg where a few scenes from the movie were filmed. In order to visit the theater, you’ll need to purchase tickets for the Festival Halls Tour. On this tour you are able to see the Large Festival Hall, the House for Mozart and the Summer Riding School.
The tour’s main focus is talking about the history of the Salzburg Festival, which was started in 1920 and highlights music and drama. This is the festival the Von Trapp family performs at together towards the end of the movie. It costs 7 per person for the tour. For more information, check out the link here: Festival Halls Tour.
It’s true that visiting Salzburg is like stepping into the Sound of Music film, but there are also many other wonderful things to do and see in this city too. If you enjoyed this post, I recommend checking out Diane Sawyer’s segment on the Untold Story of the Sound of Music. Her and Julie Andrews visit Salzburg together and reminisce on some of the famous scenes filmed there. It’s a great way to experience the magic of this city, from the comfort of your home.
Auf wiedersehen, Amanda