There are plenty of tours in Salzburg themed with The Sound of Music but there is only one that takes you on the original bus Maria actually caught when leaving the Abbey for her life as a governess in the film.
And so we decided to choose Salzburg Sightseeing Tours.
The Original Sound Of Music Tour has been running since 1967 and showcases historical Salzburg, breathtaking lakes and glorious mountains. The guide on board our bus was both humourous and a delight, encouraging free-flowing karaoke throughout the trip as the well-known jingles from The Sound of Music filled the air.
The Sound of Music is how we non-Austrians imagine Austria. The reality, however, is that it’s an American movie that most Austrians have barely heard of except those directly involved in the tourism industry in Salzburg.
Our guide was very experienced, knowing the movie and the history behind it very well.
The Real Story
The Sound of Music movie is based on the unusual and exciting story of Baron Georg von Trapp, an Austrian aristocrat who married his governess in 1927. Untold in the film, they actually went on to have three children raising the total number of children in the family to 10.
It was a priest (not “Uncle Max”) who entered their lives in 1935 and began to give the family music lessons. They went on to win first place in a choir competition during the Salzburg Festival and subsequent competitions.
When Hitler annexed Austria in 1938 the family immigrated to the US.
In 1941, the von Trapps built a Salzburg-inspired chalet in Vermont which is now is a luxury hotel and apartments.
None of the children in the movie continued a career in acting, however, most of them shared an ongoing bond with the original von Trapp children.
Where does the tour go?
- Mirabell Gardens – Best known as the place where ‘Do-Re-Mi’ is sung with the Maria and the children.
- The Gazebo – Where Rolf and Liesl sang ‘Sixteen Going On Seventeen’.
- Frohnburg Palace – We drove past the palace, which provided the facade, courtyard and garden gate of the von Trapp villa in the film.
- Palace of Leopoldskron – Remember the part of the movie where the kids fall from the boat into the lake? That was filmed here with the palace used as the back of the house.
- Nonnberg Abbey – This is where Maria was a nun in the movie, but it’s also where the real wedding in 1927 between Maria and the Baron was held.
- Fortress – The real backdrop of the Abbey, not the rolling hills from the movie.
- St Gilden/Lake Wolfgang – This spectacular vista is seen in the opening credits of the film. It’s even more picturesque and romantic in real life.
- Church of Mondsee – The location of the movie wedding of Maria and the Baron. Enjoy some free time in this little village over a strudel while admiring its beauty.
Next, we passed by the former home of the Von Trapp family, however, it was not open to the public. Neighbours aren’t too keen on busloads of tourists descending on their quiet piece of suburbia.
There are many other locations in Salzburg from the movie that are not covered on the tour but you can see them for yourself. There’s Residenz Square where Maria sang “I have confidence in me” and the Summer Riding School, where Baron von Trapp sang “Edelweiss” before fleeing for America.
It Is Worth It?
Even for those who might not be into The Sound Of Music, it’s a fun day out. It’s educational, there’s plenty of singing and the picturesque places you visit certainly command your attention in their own right without being just ‘movie locations’.
Published under license from Well Travelled.