As a child I would have watched The Sound of Music a hundred times. I would sing along with every song and fall in love as Maria and the Captain fell in love. I danced around in my bedroom, spinning myself into my curtains and sing about a few of my favorite things.
Now, as a woman closer to 40 that she wants to admit, I still know those lyrics and still have a love for the story of The Sound of Music. So when we planned to visit Austria during our Europe Road Trip, I knew there was one city we just had to visit; The location for The Sound of Music – Salzburg.
Not only did we visit the stunning movie location, but we also went on a “Sound of Music” tour. The tour was run by Panorama Tours and is a 4 hour bus tour. The bus was large and comfortable with air conditioning, which was great as it was a very hot day the day we went.
Our tour guide was great. He was so entertaining and really knew the Sound of Music. He had the whole bus in fits of laughter at times, even if some of his jokes were “Michael jokes” (read: bad). He even had us doing a sing-a-long when we were stuck in traffic. Michael didn’t know any of the words but he had fun watching everyone else singing about female deer, drops of golden sun and drinks with jam and bread.
As much as I have watched and sung along with this movie, I never knew the history behind it. For example, I had no idea the movie was based on a real story. However, when I say ‘based’ I use that word loosely. Apparently the movie was very ‘hollywooded up’ for the big screen, as most ‘based on a real story’ movies are.
The family was very real, as was Maria the nun who lived in the abbey until she was sent to look after the von Trapp children. She and the captain did fall and love and get married but it wasn’t as romantic as the movie suggests. But what is a movie without romance? I don’t mind the Hollywood version, even now that I know the truth behind it.
The tour not only took you to some of the set locations in Salzburg but we also got to see a couple of little towns just outside of the city. There was one place in particular that took our fancy -Mondsee. A picture perfect Austrian town; an absolute must see if you visit Salzburg.
Many of the scenes were of course shot in studios back in Hollywood but I was quite surprised as to how many scenes were shot in and around Salzburg. It was a very surreal feeling being in those locations, picturing the movie being filmed right where I was standing; a delight for a huge fan of the movie.
Some of the locations the tour covered were:
The tour starts and finishes just behind the beautiful Mirabell Gardens. The gardens is where Maria and the children sing Do-Re-Mi. Not only a must see for Sound of Music fans but also one of the most picturesque places in Salzburg.
This is where the boating scene took place and was also the setting for the Captain’s backyard. Remember when they all fell out of the boat?
This is the new location of the gazebo where Liesl and Rolf sing “I am 16 going on 17”. The scene however was filmed in a different location. They moved the gazebo due to tourists climbing the fence of the private property it was located on and it now sits in a public park for all to see.
This is the abbey the ‘real’ Maria was active and later married the Captain in real life. The abbey does not allow public visits but you can visit the church attached.
Salzburg Lake District
Many scenes were shot in and around the areas of Lake Fruchl and Lake Wolfgang, a beautiful area of Salzburg.
The cathedral found in this quaint village is where the wedding scene was shot. They were not permitted to film the wedding at the abbey where they were actually married in real life, so instead they filmed it here.
Michael is not a fan of the Sound of Music (this will be the reason cited in our divorce), but he enjoyed the tour as much as the rest of us. You do not need to be a fan of the movie to enjoy the sights of this beautiful city and the surrounding areas. All you need is to have an appreciation for beautiful parks, gorgeous lakes and quaint villages and you will thoroughly enjoy the Sound of Music Tour.
Have you ever taken a film set tour while traveling?