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Sound of Music bus tour

I am a huge Sound of Music fan and we are making a day trip to Salzburg primarily to go on a SOM tour. I know Steve recommends Panorama and Bob's...just wanted to see what other's experiences were like. I noticed on Bob's website you have the option of doing the Toboggan ride but didn't notice that on the other. Any insights or suggestions you can provide would be very helpful!

Posted by
5828 posts

We did the SOM Panoramic tour in January. Being the "off season", the company used a minivan type of vehicles with a driver/guide. I think that Peter was our guide and he talked a good talk filling in the real vs movie version of Maria's story. I understand that tour buses are used during peak season. With the just seven of us, we were not subjected to 30 or 40 SOM fans sing the do-re-me song for the duration.

The tour is pretty much as characterized by the RS guide book. It's a fun thing to do, but would not be the first thing to do. Given that the day we did the SOM tour was a rain day and we got a chance to visit the surrounding countryside, we had a great day.

The tour is the cheapest if you go directly to the company's booth across from the Mirabelle Garden and waver your RS Guidebook. We booked through our hotel and were picked up at our hotel.

PS. There is a long stop at Mondsee for a strudel break. Don't be late getting back to the van/bus. Our guide said that the have had to leave late stragglers to get back on their own.

Posted by
969 posts

I really enjoyed Bob's Tour. We went on the half day tour. It was on a van rather than a large bus. The tour picked us up right at our hotel in old town. The toboggan ride was optional and we skipped it. We had a snack stop at a restaurant with a beautiful mountain and lake view that is seen in the opening clip of the movie. It was a good way to get out in the areas around Salzburg. It's helpful if you have done some research first so you will have an idea of what you will see in relation to the movie.

Posted by
18864 posts

Unless you just happen to have a lot of money you want to donate to someone, I would advise against doing an SOM tour.

I suggest you first find the DVD of SOM with the running commentary by producer/director Robert Wise. After hearing it, you will understand that very little of what the tours cover is really from the movie, except for things you can readily see on your own.

Mirabell Gardens (Pegasus statue, Do-Re-Mi steps, arbor) are on the road from the Hbf to the Old Town. The Old Town, with the Residenz (where they hung the big Nazi flag) is open to anyone. You can walk from the Old Town around to the Nonnberg Abbey and see the front gate (nothing else from the movie was shot at the Abbey).

Nothing was actually shot at Leopoldskron. They did copy the lakeside patio at Leopoldskron for a temporary set elsewhere on the lake. That's where the boat tipping scene was shot. It's gone. The gazebo used for distance shots was moved to Hellbrunn Palace, but it was not used for the singing and dancing scenes in the movie. Those were filmed in a sound stage in Hollywood.

One of the tours takes you to see the wedding church at Mondsee. You can visit it on your own.

Most of the movie (family home interior, inside the abbey, cemetery) was actually shot in sound stages in Hollywood. If you really want to see where the movie was filmed, go to Hollywood.

Posted by
5677 posts

I loved the Bob's SOM tour. I did not think it was a waste of money AT ALL. It was a small van. We saw the in town sites and our guide pointed out additional places we could go on our own. We went out into the country side and saw meadows like the ones in the musical. The guide was very clear that these were not the sites in the movie. We did visit the church. She explained why it looked so small. We did do the luge (toboggan) ride. I'd done one in the Czech Republic and they are a blast, don't miss it. And don't let any travel partner's say, "oh, I'm too old..." You can control the speed. The views are wonderful and the exhilaration of the ride is terrific.


Posted by
8664 posts

Take the advice of Lee with a grain of salt. He has never gone on a tour anywhere, and bases all of his comments on just a personal contempt of tours. Period. He doesn't know if the tours are good or not, if they are enjoyable, if the guides know their stuff, or if the tour is a waste of money or not. He puts them all down, doesn't matter where or what kind of a tour it is. Considering how many people on this forum have truly enjoyed these SOM tours, had a great time on them, and recommend them, it seems a bit harsh to then say they wasted their money. Talk about making people feel bad! They fulfilled one of their dreams, so it isn't nice to shoot it down. The tours are very upfront about what they will be seeing, (or won't) and don't stay in business, continually getting good reviews, by pulling the wool over the eyes of dumb tourists.

I haven't gone on one of the SOM tours, but if you want to go on one, do it. Then come back and let us know how it was.

Posted by
18864 posts

I've done the tour of Neuschwanstein. That was the tour of the castle by the castle, the only tour you can take. All the Profit-Added tours do is take you out to the castle, some even by the same trains you can do by yourself.

I've gone to the Eagles Nest. When I went, there were free-lance guides at the bus parking lot offering tours for a few Mark. Apparently those tours are no longer offered, but if you research the web, you can find as much information. If you're not willing to do that, at least settle for David and Christine's tour that starts from Berchtesgaden. You don't need someone to hold your hand from Salzburg.

The worst one is the Dachau tours. If you are already touring Munich, you probably are using an inner zone dayticket. For just a few more euro, you can make it a Munich XXL dayticket, which covers all your transportation to and from the Memorial. The Memorial charges 3€ for a 2½ hour tour of the grounds. No one has ever proven to me that the third party tours are any better (in fact I know of no one who has even taken both to compare). The 3rd party guides are probably guides trained by the Memorial. Memorial guides have to take a year-long training course and pass an extensive test; outside guides need only attend a short course and give a test tour.

Do I have a "personal contempt of tours". Not all tours. But for those that I feel take advantage of my fellow travelers, I do have contempt.

Posted by
6858 posts

Since the OP stated she is a huge SOM fan and just wanted opinions from others who have taken the two different tours, then only people who have taken one of those tours should answer.

I am also a huge SOM fan and I don't care whether the scenes were actually filmed in the visited places or not. I did take a SOM tour and although it was 17 years ago I can still remember that I enjoyed it, as did most of the others on my tour. I especially enjoyed the stop in Mondsee to see the church and have some delicious strudel. And on our tour nobody sang the 'Do Re Me' song, although the guide tried to get it started. Our particular tour did not offer the toboggan ride option so I can't comment on that. Also it was stated at each site we visited whether or not it was actually used to film the scene or was just used as 'inspiration' for it, so there was no advantage taken.

And, for what it's worth, some people would just rather do a tour with a group of like minded individuals than 'on their own'. There is nothing wrong with that and they shouldn't be put down for that, and certainly shouldn't be told: "don't do it, it's a waste of money", especially by someone who hasn't taken the tour in question. Tours can be very enjoyable and, if that's the case, then it isn't a waste of money for them.

Posted by
16893 posts

Sounds like you've had a good variety of opinions. Opinions here vary, too, about the SOM tour. Given your strong interest, I think you'll always wonder what you missed, if you don't try it. Give yourself as long a day-trip as possible to enjoy the rest of Salzburg, in addition to this four-hour activity.

Posted by
487 posts

Thanks for posting this question, Rachel.

Thanks also to Lee. You helped me decide not to take this tour! :-)

And I too am not a big fan of tours. Very few to be honest. I prefer to do my research, and take off when I want, and linger where I want. So thanks for your feedback Lee :)

Posted by
15 posts

Wow, thanks everyone! I've put so much time into planning the rest of our 17 day vacation that I don't want to piece together a SOM tour of my own...

I know there are a lot of options but I do indeed what to see for my eyes the hills, castles, gazebo and anything else I can experience. I do understand hollywood and how it makes movies but what I wanted to know what who had been on the tours...

thanks for all the feedback!