Let me tell you about the Sound of Music Tour we put together when visiting Salzburg, Austria.
Sound of Music (1965) is one of my all-time favorite movies! With a family with seven children that portray the seven musical notes, it’s full of wonderful and cheerful songs! Even as I write this, I’m getting excited, and I could spin around in my living room, singing out loud. The hills are alive with the sound of music!
It was chosen as the movie that should be broadcast after a nuclear attack to raise the morale of the survivors, so you can imagine how happy and uplifting it is!
BOOK Salzburg: The Sound of Music Exploration Game, it’s only €7.99! It’s a city exploration game based on The Sound of Music movie. Follow clues and solve puzzles to discover the places depicted in the movie and unlock stories about the movie and Salzburg at your own pace.
Sound of Music tour – filming locations
The movie was made after Maria Von Trapp’s memoirs, and it’s a true story, although romanticized for the big screen.
So filming in Salzburg is not a coincidence. This is where the actual events occurred.
Accommodation and hotels in Salzburg. We chose to stay a bit further from the city, at Haus Amalia, located in the heart of the mountains. For a hotel in Salzburg, here are some central hotels with amazing reviews:
- Medium budget: Apartments an der Salzach, Altstadt Hotel Hofwirt Salzburg, APT. STONE-LODGE
- Boutique/Lux: Arthotel Blaue Gans
A lot of the scenes, especially the interior ones, were filmed in Hollywood studios. But the exterior scenes are authentic, and they were filmed in Austria.
You can take an organized Sound of Music Tour. It takes 4 hours, costs about €60 ($65) per person, and offers backstage information and the movie soundtrack on the bus.
Or you can try a bike tour, it’s €40 ($44).
We thought the price was a bit steep, so we decided to go by ourselves in our car to discover each spot. We, too, had the Sound of Music soundtrack in the car, and we got to see everything at our own pace.
DIY Sound of Music tour – Filming locations in Salzburg
Mirabell Palace and Gardens
The Mirabell Palace and Gardens hosted the scenes for the Do-re-mi song!!! Maria and the children run through the ivy tunnel, climb on the fountains, and in the epic ending, they stand on the famous steps that become musical notes!! Yesss, I stood on those steps as well; you can’t imagine how thrilled I was! Even if the day was cloudy, it didn’t matter! Everywhere around, there were people that sang and recreated scenes from the movie. It was an absolute joy!
The horse fountain (Pferdeschwemme)
This is the spot where Maria takes the children on their adventures in town after they leave the Von Trapp home. Maria had previously made play clothes for them out of drapes.
Mozart Bridge (Mozartsteg)
In the same sequence, Maria and the children cross over this beautiful bridge, while singing My Favorite Things.
It’s a beautiful square in Salzburg, which Maria passes through during I Have Confidence.
This is the convent where Maria was a nun. The interiors and courtyard were filmed in Hollywood, but the gate that Maria passes through while singing I Have Confidence is here, at the Nonnberg convent.
Also, at this gate, the children come asking for Maria after she decides to leave the Von Trapp family.
The gate is here on google maps. You have to climb a few steps to reach it, as it’s on a hill below the fortress that dominates Salzburg’s skyline. But once you are there, believe me, you will enjoy seeing Salzburg from above and all those elegant rooftops.
St Peter’s Cemetery (Petersfriedhof)
St Peter’s Cemetery, one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, was an inspiration for the scene at the end when the Von Trapp family is hiding from the Nazis, and Rolfe finds them. Actually, the scene was filmed in Hollywood, where they reconstructed St Peter’s Cemetery.
Rock Riding School (Felsenreitschule)
It’s a fabulous auditorium where the festival at the end of the movie is held. Here Captain Von Trapp sings an emotional Edelweiss, and all the family sings So Long, Farewell. I really wanted to visit it, but when we arrived in the evening, there were a lot of well-dressed people outside. A show was scheduled inside, so we were unable to enter.
To plan a visit, it’s important to follow the visiting schedule. Daily guided tours are offered for a fee of €7 ($7.60). However, the receptionist informed us that there may be additional tours available each day, so it’s best to check directly with the facility.
DIY Sound of Music tour – Around Salzburg
I am Sixteen, going on Seventeen Gazebo
Our DIY Sound of Music Tour, of course, includes the most romantic gazebo in the world, where Liesl and Rolfe sing I am Sixteen Going on Seventeen! Does anyone else feel those intense teenage love feelings when they witness this scene, or am I alone in this? Of course, I took the opportunity to spin around like a princess!
The gazebo is not the one in the movie. Well, actually, on the outside, it is. But the inside scenes were filmed in a studio, in a much larger pavilion. Oh, and you can’t enter it because there were a lot of incidents with tourists trying to jump around on the benches, like Liesl in the movie, and they decided to keep it closed for safety reasons.
How to get there: The Pavilion is at Hellbrunn Palace (the filming crew donated it to the city and has been placed here). You can visit it for free since it’s at the entrance. But I recommend you also visit Hellbrunn. We had so much fun in the gardens 😉. And it’s included in the Salzburgcard.
The castle is now a fabulous 5-star hotel; you can only visit it if you’re a guest. But you can see it from across the lake, from a nice and quiet park. We left the car at the park’s entrance and took a short walk so that we could see the castle better.
The outside scenes of the Von Trapp residence were filmed here. Maybe you remember when Maria and the children were in a boat and fell into the water. You can see the Pegas statues very clearly from across the lake.
The Mondsee Cathedral is where the Captain and Maria got married. The moment when she enters the church with a huge white train, and she climbs the steps to the Captain is unforgettable!
Mondsee is about 30km away from Salzburg.
St Gilgen is a small town on the Wolgangsee Lake, and it appears in the movie right at the beginning, filmed from the helicopter.
It’s about 30km away from Salzburg and you can see the famous view at this viewing point.
Afterthoughts on our DIY Sound of Music Tour
I loved it! I think doing the Sound of Music tour on your own is fairly easy. Most filming locations are right in Salzburg, with a walkable distance between them. But some are further, and you need a car or a bus to get there. The bus network in Salzburg is pretty good, so don’t avoid using it.
For more information on each location, we found a useful resource here. We had the printed pages with us and read along on the spot.
We spent a day and a half in Salzburg and saw everything we had planned: the city’s main attractions and the Sound of Music tour. I marked on the map below all of the Sound of Music filming locations (in orange) and other attractions you want to see when you go to Salzburg (in blue).
Happy Travels! And singing!
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