I know, I know. The Sound of Music tour is the #1 thing on everyone’s list of “THINGS YOU MUST NOT DO IN SALZBURG FOR ANY REASON EVER,” but honestly, I didn’t know what else to do there. It was a beautiful town and sure, I could’ve gone to the castle which would’ve been cool, but it also would’ve taken an hour and then what? Yes, I could’ve gone to Bratislava instead altogether but how many more churches did I need to see on my trip?
The night before in the bar in my hostel, I was talking to a few fellow backpackers and one had just arrived back from a day in Salzburg where she had gone on the Sound of Music tour. She said she loved it and it was so cheesy but also fun and you get to see a lot of the mountains and sights outside of Salzburg. I told her I hadn’t watched the movie in 15 years and she said she hadn’t either and that I should still go. So, it was decided right then and there that I would do this thing.
The snow on the train ride to Salzburg (about 2.5 hours from Vienna) and the inside of the Salzburg Central Station.
I got up early that morning, bought a coffee and some breakfast, and hopped on the Vienna Metro to the Central Station where I purchased a one-way ticket to Salzburg. I had no idea how long the tour was or what time I’d be headed back so I assumed I’d figure that out in the evening. After a pleasure train ride through a light snowstorm, I got off the train in Salzburg and quickly walked for 10 minutes to Marienplatz where the tour started. I found the information booth, bought a ticket, and spent the next hour or so walking around the Old Town. I arrived back at the bus with more food and drink because this was going to be a four-hour tour and that’s a long time.
Our tour guide was South American and very, very entertaining. She knew her facts backwards and forwards and she could yodel like a badass. There were 40 or so of us on the coach bus and the tour took off. We drove for a long time through the mountains outside of Salzburg with lots of winding roads, as we watched a short documentary narrated by the actress who played Leisl in the movie, Charmian Car.
We watched various scenes from the movie before we got to the corresponding locations. There were lots of photos taken. Lots. We stopped at Leopoldskron Palace, where the lake scene was shot (though the house at the lake isn’t the house used as the exterior in the movie) and later on we passed St. Peter’s Monastery, the monastery that Mario leaves in the very beginning of the movie. We also passed by the long road that Mario skips down at the beginning of the movie during the song “Confidence” and a bridge outside the Old Town that the kids walk down during another part of the movie.
L-R: The outside of the house that was used as the exterior of the Villa von Trapp; the aforementioned bridge; the entrance to the the Schloss Hellbrunn which is where the infamous Sixteen Going on Seventeen gazebo now lives; the road that Maria skips down at the start of the movie; and the lake from the infamous lake scene where the children and Maria fall into the lake; the infamous gazebo, and St. Peter’s Monastery.
We stopped and looked at the small town behind Lake Wolfgangsee where Mozart’s mother was from, St. Gilgen. Our last stop was in town of Mondsee, where the cathedral was located where the wedding was at the end of the movie.
L-R: Top: Town of St. Gilgen; inside of the Mondsee Cathedral, the outside of the Mondsee Cathedral; some of the adorable buildings in the town of Mondsee; seagulls on Lake Mondsee.
The tour ended where it began, at Marienplatz. It was a very, very long day, but it was worth the trip to Salzburg and back. Was it cliche? For sure. Was it also very fun? YES. I’m not a fan of the movie but I know it well enough to appreciate this tour. I loved seeing Salzburg and Mondsee, too.
If you’re heading to Salzburg and you’re considering taking this tour, you can get more information about it here.