Please sign in to post.

Sound of Music Salzburg

My husband and I will be visiting Germany for the first time in August, spending a week in Berlin and a week in Munich. During the Munich leg of our trip, we'll spend a day in Salzburg. I realize it's a ridiculously touristy thing to do, but I'd love to see many of the sights highlighted in "The Sound or Music," a film I enjoyed in childhood, the first that inspired me to travel by showing me the breathtaking beauty of Europe.

I've read terrible TripAdvisor reviews for the bus tours, so I'm wondering if other Sound of Music lovers have found better ways to see the film's sights. Has anyone had a particularly good experience with a local tour guide they would recommend? Is there a downloadable audio tour that will help me live my Maria dreams?

Packing my dirndl and looking forward to your suggestions,
Greer

Posted by
3283 posts

Look for the DVD The Sound of a City. Julie Andrews returns to Salzburg and discusses the making of the movie and they show many of the movie locations. It was at my library. Also, There is lots of stuff on the internet listing the sights in Salzburg that were SOM locations. I did the Panoramic Tour. It was fairly good. I usually don't do tours and super "touristy" stuff but I'm a big SOM fan and I'm glad I went on the tour. We also did some of the SOM sights on our own.

Posted by
2089 posts

I visited Salzburg on a long day trip from Vienna via train and made good use of the HoHo bus--it stops at all the SOM sites, which are fairly spread out, and you can exit and spend as much time as you need, just catch the next bus and continue on. There's an audio guide and I spent time at Mirabell and toured Hellbrunn before going to old town and touring Mozart's Gebursthaus.

Posted by
6027 posts

I took a Bob's tour and it was very enjoyable. Touristy? Yes. Hokey? Yes. Fun? Yes. Entertaining? Yes. Worth the time and price? For me, yes. Be sure the tour goes to Mondsee to see the church where the wedding scene was filmed. Lovely little town and we had great strudel at Cafe Braun - disclaimer, that was many years ago so can't vouch for them now if they're even still there.

Posted by
1402 posts

I’ve done the tour in 1970, 1987, and 2011. I think it was the Panorama bus tour each time. For the first tour I don’t think as much of the city was off limits for vehicles. These days many of the sites can only be visited by foot or bicycle. Somewhere on the internet there is a posting of the locations. Sorry I don’t remember the url.

We always enjoy watching the film before we go to refresh our memory.

Posted by
2354 posts

We did Bob's and enjoyed it. Forget the snobs who say it's touristy and hokey-it's your vacation and you should do what appeals to you and the bus tour is definitely the easiest way to see those places and they also often include some gorgeous scenery outside Salzburg! For the record, we are very much into the concerts and art museums that the snobs would suggest-we went to the Mozart dinner concert(mostly opera) at St. Peter's. I did really enjoy going to a house museum there that had a piano he supposedly played-it was an awestruck moment.

Posted by
7575 posts

We did a Bob's tour and quite enjoyed it. My hubby is not a SOM fan and he enjoyed the day as much as I did.

Posted by
17642 posts

I love the movie Sound of Music. I've watched it dozens of times. One year for Christmas, my daughters gave me a DVD of SOM to replace my well used VHS. The DVD came with a running commentary by director Robt Wise on the making of the movie. After learning how the movie was made - where the scenes were shot - I would never take one of the tours. Never mind that it is "touristy and hokey". Most of what you visit on the tour are either easily accessible walking around Salzburg on your own (Mirabell Garden, the Residence, the outside of Nonnenberg Abbey) or their part in the movie is pretty contrived.

Leopoldskron was not the Von Trap home in the movie. It doesn't even appear in the movie. The building used as the outside of their home was the Frohnburg, but all of the inside scenes were filmed in Hollywood. The gazebo you would see at Hellbrunn was only used for brief distance shots. All of the singing and dance scenes "in the gazebo" were shot in a sound stage in Hollywood. Did you think that it really just happened to start raining at the end of "You are sixteen"? Nonnenberg Abbey was a kloster when the movie was shot and they were not allowed inside. The interior scenes at Nonnenberg were either sound stage sets (the courtyard) or shot elsewhere (the Chapel). Over half of the movie was filmed in sound stages in Hollywood. Would you pay $50 or more to ride a bus around Hollywood singing "Do, a deer"?

The lakeside patio (where they swamped the rowboat was actually a temporary set copied from the one at Leopoldskron, built on the same lake, next to Leopoldskron.

Some of the tours offer an excursion to the wedding church at Mondsee. That's about the only thing you can't easily see walking around Salzburg, but that's easy to go to on your own. I stopped by Mondsee once on my way through the Salzkammergut to Hallstatt. I also saw St. Gilgen and Wolfgangsee on the same trip.

So, if you think riding around on a bus with other Amercans is worth $50, by all means do it, but don't be fooled about what you are seeing.

Posted by
812 posts

Its been awhile, but I took the Bob’s Tour in 2010 and really enjoyed it. It’s a van tour rather than a bus bus tour, so that was nice. We also stopped for strudel at a cafe with a great view! It’s easy to find and walk to see the sites that are in town, but I enjoyed the tour for getting to the farther out sites and for the fun of being with other SOM fans.

Posted by
107 posts

I heard good things about Fräulein Maria's Bicycle Tour, think it’s 3-4 hours and ~$35.

Posted by
6027 posts

I heard good things about Fräulein Maria's Bicycle Tour, think it’s 3-4 hours and ~$35

I agree, I've also heard good things about these and they sure look like fun. The only thing you miss on a bike tour is the church at Mondsee which was one of my favorite stops on the tour.

Posted by
66 posts

There are a lot of sites you can see without joining a tour. Also, we stayed at Villa Trapp (the former home of the actual Von Trapps - not in the movie) and it was one of my best travel experiences. Highly recommended for an overnight.

Posted by
3283 posts

Ditto, re. the wedding church in Mondsee. That for me was a must see and it was wonderful. Anything in town you can do on your own though, I really enjoyed my tour.

Posted by
64 posts

I went to Austria decades ago and I have always regretted not doing the Sound of Music tour. At the time I was on a “Europe on $20 a day” budget. You better believe if I get back to Salzburg I will be on the tour, singing all the way! Pick one and do it!!

Posted by
604 posts

The last time I was in Salzburg (May 19) The Sound Of Music Store in the old city across from the Spielzeug Museum had a nice free museum/display upstairs of the Movie and original Maria and Family.

Posted by
21 posts

By the way Everyone... We are from New England, and many years ago we were at the Von Trapp Inn in Vermont where some of the grandchildren sang for us...BUT I was totally disappointed to learn that the family did not escape "over the mountains" like in the movie----------they took a TRAIN!! HA!

Posted by
126 posts

Headed to Salzburg in Sept and booked my tour with Panorama months ago. While I may or may not sing, I'm looking forward
to being on a bus full of people who do. I think it will be a great way to get out of the city and see the sights and locations
of the film. Roughly 90 days and counting.....give it a go!

Posted by
180 posts

After looking at the tours offered and where they visit, I decided to rent a car and create my own tour, even staying the night at the Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron (which really isn't that expensive) when I found out that the tour groups don't even go there, all they do is stare at it from across the lake

Posted by
17642 posts

all they do is stare at it from across the lake

That's better than the movie. Leopoldskron does not ever appear in the movie, so why are you even looking at it. At the time of filming, they wanted to use the Leopoldskron building as the Von Trapp house, but it was being used as a school, and the school didn't want the disruption of filming there, so they copied the lakeside patio on a set next door on the lake (since dismantled) and used it for the lakeside scenes. The house shown in those scenes (Frohnburg) was not even on a lake. They shot scenes on the patio and scenes looking at the front of Frohnburg and put them together to look like one lakeside house.

Posted by
3283 posts

fourfinleys, I've done a SOM tour and enjoyed it, well enough. When I read your idea about renting a car and creating your own tour, my reaction was, why yes, if I go back, which is fairly likely, I will create my own tour and pick up some of the things I missed or wished there was more time for. A lot of folks like the tours. It's fun to be with other people that are in love with a sweet, nostalgic movie. Have you taken a tour to know that its a ripoff? A couple of friends of mine just took the bike tour and LOVED it.

Yes, the scenes of the house in the movie were bits and pieces of various properties and the actual home was at Villa Trapp. Leopoldskron had little to do with the movie. And most people do know that the movie is pretty much historically inaccurate. Nonetheless, its a "thing" and people look for different things when they visit.

Posted by
245 posts

Speaking of the bike tour, how strenuous is it. It sounds fun but I haven’t been in a bike in years. I would have no qualms doing some biking on my own but wonder about keeping up with a group.

Posted by
3283 posts

Julie, the people that I know that just did it are two 22 year olds and their moms. One a recent cancer survivor and one gal that is bigger in stature. Knowing these gals, I think most could do it. They had a blast.

Posted by
1280 posts

I am following this SOM discussion (as previous ones) slightly amused, obviously being a member of the very rare species which has never - yes, you won't believe it - seen the notorious SOM movie.

Ostensibly there is a choice to make, i.e. between visiting the real locations where the movie was shot, or to corroborate the illusion the movie has created in the minds of myriads of people.

Posted by
3351 posts

I love the Sound of Music, too!

We’ve been to Salzburg a couple of times, and in preparation for our last trip, I looked on-line at all of the locations in Salzburg related to the movie. (I didn’t care about their authenticity- just reliving scenes from the movie.)

We saw several of the sites ourselves, including the gazebo which is next to a beautiful garden. Since we were on our own, my husband was able to take a nice photo of me next to the gazebo. I stopped into a nearby toilet afterwards, came back out, and the gazebo was mobbed with a tour bus of people!

Of course, we missed the commentary and tour group singing that would add to your experience.