“The hills are alive with the sound of music, with songs they have sung for a thousand years. The hills fill my heart with the sound of music. My heart wants to sing every song it hears.” This is the title track sung by Julie Andrews, who plays Maria von Trapp, in the famous movie, The Sound of Music.
You cannot possibly come to Salzburg and not complete The Sound of Music Tour, which has been formed in honor of the phenomenal life story of Maria von Trapp. Maria von Trapp led a remarkable life, which was documented in her autobiography. She has written about her childhood, her decision to become a nun and subsequently and surprisingly being convinced by her fellow nuns to marry Baron Georg von Trapp. Her story is so captivating and moving that a musical was produced, following which the highly-acclaimed and international movie, The Sound of Music was created.
Millions of tourists travel from near and far to experience The Sound of Music Tour so that they can re-live the feelings that they felt when watching this heart-warming movie. For me, the movie has a special place in my memories as it was my grandfather’s favourite movie and I would often watch it during my childhood and whilst he was still alive.
A must-do for a Sound of Music fan
Now, who best to complete such a tour with than the company that took the film crew to the various locations where this enormously successful movie was shot? It’s quite an easy answer right? Salzburg Panorama Tours is who you need to make your reservation with because they know the intricate details of Maria von Trapp’s life as well as stories and tales about the movie cast that will certainly make you chuckle.
I have completed guided tours across a number of European countries and my favourite, without a doubt, would have to be the Sound of Music Tour with Salzburg Panorama Tours and I could not recommend the experience enough. For a Sound of Music fan, it is a must-do in Salzburg and most likely one of the main reasons that you’re visiting this picturesque World Heritage Site. During the tour, you will be able to learn about the real-life Maria as well as many anecdotes about Julie Andrews and her fellow cast-family in the making of the movie. I would urge you to consider reserving your ticket for one of the most talked about and thoroughly enjoyed tours on a global scale.
Did you know...?
Did you know that the real-life Maria was brought up with no other children or religion yet somehow found herself seeking to be a nun at Nonnberg Abbey? Did you know that the real-life Maria also had three children with Baron Georg von Trapp, meaning that as a family they had a total of ten children? Did you know that the great grandchildren of the real-life Maria and Baron Georg von Trapp are still alive and singing around the United States and Canada and continuing the legacy of their famous family? Did you know that the von Trapp family home in the movie was shot at multiple different sites rather than one building?
Salzburg Panorama Tours offers you the opportunity to learn so many facts about the real-life Maria versus what is included in the movie. With a bus painted with Julie Andrews and the children on it combined with the infectious, charming and comical guides such as Peter, David and Walter on board to entertain you, it’s time that you start experiencing the journey of Maria von Trapp in style.
During the Sound of Music Tour you will pass a number of memorable sites and there will be some for which you disembark from the colorful bus and have the opportunity to take some fantastic photos. In this online review, I am going to share the route of the tour with you so that you can get a real insider’s guide as to what you will be able to see and when!
Stop 1: Leopoldskron Palace
Within fifteen minutes of boarding the bus, you will arrive at your first stop, which is Leopoldskron Palace. Here you will be able to see the beautiful Lake Leopoldskron, which mirrors the Palace and is the exact spot where the famous boating scene in the movie was filmed. Whilst observing the beautiful Lake Leopoldskron and the Palace, you will also see the incredible and majestic mountains in the background. Just in case you need your memory jogged, the famous boating scene is where Maria and the von Trapp children were sailing and, upon seeing Baron Georg von Trapp, became very excited and stood up on the boat which led to it capsizing. Please note that you will not have the opportunity to visit Leopoldskron Palace as it is now private property.
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Stop 2: Hellbrunn Palace
After a fifteen minute drive, you will have the opportunity to hop off the bus again and visit a part of Hellbrunn Palace. You will walk through the main entrance for the grounds and to the gardens for about five minutes until you reach the famous Gazebo where the song, “I need someone older and wiser, telling me what to do. You are 17 going on 18. I’ll depend on you.” was sung. Unfortunately, the Gazebo is now locked as a rather energetic eighty year old decided to jump from bench to bench and re-enact the scenes in the movie and regretfully slipped and injured herself, following which the mayor decided that to prevent any more passionate fans being injured, the doors of the Gazebo had to be firmly locked.
You will be given the chance to enjoy the gardens at Hellbrunn Palace for around ten minutes upon which you will need to hop back into the comfortable bus in order to see some more famous sites. Your enthusiastic guide will subsequently point out the pathway near Hellbrunn Palace, where Maria swung her suitcase around as she sang, “I have confidence in sunshine. I have confidence in rain. I have confidence that spring will come again. Besides which you see, I have confidence in me.”. The pathway also served as the front of the von Trapp family home in the movie and is now a school. Please note that the bus will not stop for you to hop-off and see the pathway.
Passing By: Nonnberg Abbey
About ten minutes from Hellbrunn Palace, you will pass Nonnberg Abbey, which is still a convent today and was where the real-life Maria was a nun (albeit only for a short-time). It is also the location where the real-life Maria married Baron Georg von Trapp, unlike in the movie, which presents the couple as marrying in Mondsee (another fact that I learned from the Sound of Music Tour!).
Nonnberg Abbey has twenty-one practicing nuns today in comparison to the four-hundred nuns that it had at the time of the real-life Maria. Due to the Abbey being an existing place of worship and service, it is not possible to walk within its walls and therefore, you are only shown it from a distance. However, it looks beautiful even from a distance and you get to see Hohensalzburg, the fortress, in the background, which is a fantastic photo opportunity. The friendly bus driver will also complete a three-hundred and sixty degree turn so that every passenger on board can get the type of snaps that they want for their holiday memory.
Passing By: Salzburg Lake District Area
After touring the movie locations within the town of Salzburg and within forty-five minutes or so, you will have the opportunity to see the Salzburg Lake District Area including St. Gilgen where you will see Lake Fuschl and subsequently Lake Wolfgang. As you drive past these areas relatively quickly, make sure that you have your camera ready for some panoramic shots. The areas that you are passing are shown in the opening shots of The Sound of Music film.
The scenes of the picnic in the movie were filmed during these areas and you absolutely must see these tranquil and heavenly-like locations. The limestone from the mountains has made the waters a beautiful turquoise color and with the mountains in the background, the scenery is beautiful. The views are spectacular and memorable.
Stop 3: Mondsee - Wedding Chapel
After driving past the picturesque Salzburg Lake District Area for thirty minutes or so, you will then stop at the unique and quaint town of Mondsee, which is where the wedding scene in The Sound of Music movie was filmed. The Wedding Chapel is called St. Michael’s Church and is situated right in the middle of the town centre. The Church itself is magnificent and houses 7 beautiful side altars carved by Meinrad Guggenbichler. You will also learn a number of facts from your informative guide including the fact that the organ in the Church was the exact organ that was played in the movie!
You will also be given around 1 hour of free time in Mondsee to check out some of the little souvenir shops and have a bite to eat. I would recommend visiting Mrs Braun’s establishment for some apple strudel with either ice cream or vanilla cream. Mrs Braun’s establishment was regularly used by the cast in the Sound of Music when they needed an area to do their costume changes and have a bite to eat and the owner, Mrs Braun, who is still there today, was also in the restaurant in 1952 when the movie was shot!
Stop 4: Mirabell Gardens
Following on from spending an hour of free time at Mondsee, you will then board the bus and head back to central Salzburg to visit your last stop. On the return journey, you will appreciate the high-technology screens that will be operated on the bus, and where you will be able to watch a short unseen documentary on The Sound of Music, until you reach Mirabell Gardens, the final stop on The Sound of Music Tour.
Mirabell Gardens is the exact location where the song, “Doe, a deer, a female deer. Ray, a drop of golden sun. Me, a name I call myself. Far, a long long way to run. Sew, a needle pulling thread. La, a note to follow so. Tea, a drink with jam and bread. That will bring us back to doe, oh oh oh.” was filmed. Your informative guide will point out the fountains, steps and statues that were used during the scene.
4 hours for 42 EUR (46 USD) per person
The Sound of Music Tour with Salzburg Panorama Tours was worth every euro and definitely was the best way to see the sites from the movie and the incredible Austrian countryside. The excellent and lively commentary meant that the tour was absolutely brilliant. The tour did not feel rushed and was perfectly timed. It started at 9.15 am and was 4 fantastic hours of fun.
One of the last statements that the guide made was, “Multiple generations of one family tend to come and do The Sound of Music Tour as the movie has a close place in many people’s hearts”. I am quite sure that in the future, I will be taking the younger members of my family on this incredible experience so that they can feel connected to our grandfather who loved this movie too.
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