We are grandparents traveling with grandkids (age 13 and age 15) visiting Salzburg for two nights in late May. With piano lessons, the grandkids have been learning some of the Sound of Music (SOM) songs. What SOM and Salt Mine tour would you recommend we take? Can we do both tours in one day? Thanks in advance for your advise.
We took the Panoramic SOM Tour 1A in January. As an off-season tour we were driven around in a small passenger van. I understand that the company uses a coach type bus during the summer when demand is higher.
I understand that prices are lower if you walk over to the small office near Mirabella Garden, and get a discount by waving your Rick Steve's guide. We paid the premium associated with the hotel booking the tour with the benefit of a hotel pickup.
We especially enjoyed the drive through the country side as we didn't have a car. The guide talks a good talk regarding both the SOM and Salzburg in general. A nice way to spend half a day.
We took the Bob's Tours SOM (in RS book) which worked fine for us. It was a small bus with only 9 of us in it. We got out to see a some sights and stopped at a restaurant with a wonderful view of the lake.
I too took Bob's SOM tour. I really enjoyed it. It was a small van and the guide was good. We even got to take a luge ride. :)
These tours might be entertaining (nothing wrong with that), so if you like riding around with a bunch of other Americans, singing "do, a deer", go for it. But don't ever think what they show you has anything to do with the movie (of which I am a big fan). It's a pretty expensive "tourist trap".
First, most of the movie (the interior scenes of the monastery, the home, the cemetery - and the dancing in the gazebo) were actually shot in sound stages in Hollywood.
Most of the few scenes shot in Salzburg were shot in readily accessible venues - Mirabelle Palace (do-re-mi steps, the arbor), the Residenz, the town square where she caught the bus - or temporary sets (the lakeside patio), long gone. You don't need to take the tour to see them. They will probably show you Leopoldskron and tell you it was the Von Trapp home in the movie; it was not. The house use as the Von Trapp home was only used for exterior shots (and it wasn't on a lake).
The out-of-Salzburg venues - Hohenwerfen castle, the wedding church at Mondsee - will likely not be shown to you.
If you don't believe me, get the CD of SOM, the one with the commentary by director Robt. Wise. Then you will know the truth.
Can't guarantee that things are the same now, but out SOM tour several years ago included the wedding church in Mondsee and time for an apple strudel at a cafe in town. And, if you take the small van tours, you don't have to sing Do,Re,Mi either.
Five years ago I took the bus from the Salzburg Hbf to Mondsee. It took less than an hour and cost 5,60€ one way, far less than the 40€ charged by the tours. Depending on the time of day, you can spend an hour in Mondsee, or two, or more. I had time for a Sachertorte.
"you don't have to sing Do,Re,Mi either."
I thought that was why someone would be willing to pay so much for the tour.
The tour also includes:
Mirabell Gardens, which are readily accessible, and free, to anyone.
Leopoldskron. The lakeside patio at Leopoldskron was copied for the temporary set. Nothing was actually filmed at Leopoldskron.
Hellbrunn Palace. The gazebo used only for distance shots on the temporary set is now at Hellbrunn. The actual gazebo where "16 going on 17" was filmed was a sound stage set in Hollywood.
Nonnburg Abbey. If you go up to the fortress, you can walk around the path overlooking town and see the Abbey. All the interior and courtyard abbey scenes were filmed in Hollywood.
We enjoyed Bob's SofM tour, and the kids in the van seemed to really enjoy the stop at the luge ride.
The Hellbrunn location was not the original location of the gazebo. It was built for the movie in the backyard of the Meierhof, the building next to Schloss Leopoldskron, which was originally the schloss' carriage house. When I was a study abroad student, my school's classrooms were located in the Meierhof, and the gazebo was still on-site there.
I really enjoyed the half day Bob's SOM tour. There were girls on the tour about the same age as your grandchildren and they seemed to enjoy it also. We did go to the wedding church. My favorite highlight was the stop at a cafe overlooking the lake. Absolutely beautiful. We had the option to go on the luge, but no one on our tour wanted to go. The music was played in the van, but no one in our group sang along (I guess we were a dull group!) Our tour guide was good about telling the truth about what was in the film, what wasn't, and what was different in the film. This tour was also nice because the van picked us up at our hotel in the morning and we were done by around noon.