Being the musical enthusiast that I am, I’ve had a slight obsession with The Sound of Music since I was first introduced to it early in life by my mom. It’s a love story, historical (ok… historical fiction), and has a killer score; it has all of the components that I love about a good musical.
Fast forward to me as a twenty-something, planning a trip through Europe for ten days after the completion of an education abroad program that I participated in in Barcelona, Spain. I’m scanning the internet, trying to find fun things to do that both my mom, who is traveling with me, and I will enjoy. The Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg, Austria enters the screen of my computer. Bingo.
I immediately plan portions of our trip around the eventual ending in Salzburg. I even bought the tour tickets for my mom for Christmas, winning Daughter of the Year. First Paris, next Versailles, then on to Munich, and finally Salzburg. By the time we reached the end of our travels, all we could think about was the tour, singing Edelweiss on the trains and humming Do, Re, Mi through the streets.
The time finally came and we met our tour group in downtown Salzburg (which is pretty awesome in and of itself, by the way) at Mirabellplatz, an easily accessible area; we walked everywhere we went in Salzburg. We boarded the bus and took off into the countryside outside of the city. The Greyhound-like bus that delivers passengers to their destinations plays the soundtrack from the movie the entire time so you get The Sound of Music experience every second of the tour. To me, that was awesome. I belted every word (to the annoyance of my neighbors) and I thought it helped set the tone for the entirety of the tour.
I can see, though, how total engrossment into the film could be agitating for people who aren’t quite as into the movie as, say, people like me. The entire tour is non-stop Sound of Music, so if that doesn’t tickle your fancy I would choose another tour. Generally, though, your fellow tour-goers are also von Trapp family enthusiasts so you should be good to go.
The first stop is Leopoldskron Palace. In terms of the film, it is where the boat-toppling scene was filmed. It is also where the captain’s backyard and the palace garden scenes were filmed.
Next, the bus will take you to Hellbrunn Palace, home of the infamous gazebo. It isn’t in the same location where the scene was filmed but it is the actual gazebo which is enough to make you want to sing Sixteen going on Seventeen at the top of your lungs and take a couple leaps around benches.
You’ll take a swift drive-by of the actual Nonnberg Abbey, the still active convent where the real Maria and married the Captain, and where Maria momentarily studied to become a nun. Not in the actual movie, but super cool to see how the real-life events tie into the film. The abbey doesn’t allow visitors inside, but you can definitely take a look around the outside to get a better idea of the type of institution it is.
Next you’ll cruise on to the Salzburg Lake District, which was one of my favorite parts of the tour. This isn’t necessarily from the movie but it gives you a little more insight into the surrounding area and gives those who aren’t so into The Sound of Music a chance to see some scenery. The Lake District was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and left my mom and I wishing we had another day in the city to take part in the abundant water activities.
While you’re dreaming through the lakes, you get to stop to see the city of Mondsee’s wedding chapel, the famous chapel where Julie - I mean Maria - walks down the aisle to marry Captain von Trapp. It is a fully functioning chapel which makes the visit even more spectacular. The town of Mondsee alone is captivating enough to spend time walking its streets and browsing in its charming shops. My mom and I strolled down to the lake near the city to see sailboats gliding through the water. Sticking our toes in was nice, too.
Your last stop is back in the city of Salzburg where the tour officially ends. Luckily, the tour bus conveniently drops you of at Mirabell Gardens where the famous Do Re Mi steps are located. The Garden is also home to the pegasus fountain that Maria and the children sing and dance around during Do Re Mi.
The tour takes about a half day to complete (around four to four and a half hours) so if you want to spend time visiting Salzburg and take the tour you definitely have time to do both. The cost is around forty euro so it is an affordable tour, especially for the amount of time you get to spend actually touring. For more information on this tour, you can visit www.panoramatours.com.
Hi, I'm Madeline
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