We have done a lot of truly incredible things on this trip, but I was probably most excited for The Sound of Music Tour. Our friend and former veterinarian in Austin (if you ever need an awesome vet clinic in north Austin, email me and I will give you her info) went to Salzburg with her husband a couple of years ago and they did The Sound of Music tour by bicycle. Their pictures were beautiful and I thought that sounded WONDERFUL. So, when we started planning our trip, I wanted to do the bike tour. Thankfully, Doug noted that we would be going in winter and that while the tour wasn’t his first choice of excursions, he was a hard no if it involved cycling about in late November. That was a great point in the end because it never got higher than 25 degrees that day. Sari and Ashley were both extremely excited for a tour, so I booked one through Panorama Tours what was 4.5 hours long and would take us up into the lakes region to see even more locations of scenes. We climbed aboard our tour bus at 9 am, and got rolling.
The tour was sold out and every last seat of the bus was full. Our guide, Peter, was hilarious, and kept us highly entertained with his fantastic sense of humor and terrible jokes from the moment the tour started. The tour was great because it was not only about the filming of The Sound of Music, but it also included a lot of history about the city of Salzburg. Since I didn’t know anything about Salzburg outside of the fact that The Sound of Music was filmed there, it was all welcome information. I also didn’t realize that the movie is hugely popular everywhere in the world, except Austria. Apparently, they had a more accurate German version first, then America released our highly inaccurate version which no one there cared to see.
We started the tour at the Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron which features the lake that the children fell into with Maria and served as the area behind the Von Trapp mansion.
It was beautiful. The estate is now a hotel, so we could not go inside the property. They planned to film several indoor scenes there since it features a gorgeous ballroom that has mirrored walls, but once the state officials saw the number of actors, crew, and equipment that was inside, they cancelled the filming for fear that it would damage the historical building. So, most of the interior scenes were shot on a stage in Hollywood. The scene were Rolf the Nazi Postman throws pebbles at Liesl’s window was filmed on the side of this building. It is also where the gazebo was originally constructed for the film, but the owners got sick of the tourists hopping the wall to look at it, so it was moved. And our next stop was, the gazebo!
The pavilion is now located near Schloss Hellbrunn and is accessible to the public. You can’t go in it because some little old lady broke a hip dancing around on the benches in there, but it is still neat to see.
We also saw the tree-lined avenue that Maria skips down with her guitar for the first time on her way to the Von Trapp’s residence, and the trees where the children are hanging like urchins when the Captain drives by with Baroness Fancy von BlondeFancypants.
The yellow house below served as the exterior of the Von Trapp mansion, and the gate (which is open, so you can’t see it) is the one that Maria stands at after dancing her way through her Confidence song on the way to their home.
We next went to the lakes outside of Salzburg. Our first stop was at Wolfgangsee. It was totally stunning.
You see that little snow-covered tip of the mountain to the left? It has a hotel on it!
I was grumbling about how I wish I had known about it so that we could have stayed there when Sari politely reminded me that it was probably way out of our price range. You can take a cable car up, and it’s featured in the film when the kids are singing and playing with Maria on the mountain top.
Our final stop of the day was at Mondsee where the church is that Maria and the Captain were married in. It was super pretty, and the lake there was also gorgeous. Can’t go wrong in Austria!
We also stopped for apple strudel and coffee before leaving because when in Austria, eat the strudel.
The tour ended at Mirabell Palace and our tour guide graciously walked a herd of us over to see the filming locations there. We saw the fountain that the children play in, the ivy tunnel they run through, and the famous stairs they hop up. It was a beautiful garden, and we felt thoroughly satisfied with our tour. Worth every penny!
Our tour guide suggested Augustinerbrau zu Mulln for drinks after the tour, so we walked that way.
Even writing this I cannot get over how beautiful Salzburg is. It looks like a Viking River Cruise commercial.
When we arrived at the beer hall, we were hugely confused as to what to do. All of these little old men were getting mugs off a wall, then getting in a line. We decided to do as they professionals do, and followed suit.
We quickly learned that you got your mug, bought your beer, then took it to be filled. We then moved on to find seats in one of the halls. We got there right after it opened and it was easy to find a seat, but by the time we left the place was hopping.
We bought an array of meats, cheeses, and breads from the food booths, and enjoyed our beers. It was a really relaxing way to end the day.