The Sound of Music - Self Guided Tour

By 20th Century Fox [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The first movie I remember seeing was a musical. Not a Disney feature or any other animated story, but a full-fledged, grwon-ups musical. Though I didn't understand most of the plot line, I was captured by the musical numbers, dances, colors, and the magic of cinematography. Therefore, it was no surprise to my parents that on our first ever Europe trip, the only thing I wanted to do was a tour following my favorite movie ever, "The Sound of Music". Though there are many companies organizing these tours throughout Salzburg, we opted for a self-guided tour. I wanted to take the time to enjoy every location and doing so in my own pace. For a full immersion experience, we created this self-guided "Sound of Music" tour. All is left for you to do is book that flight and enjoy.

Leopoldskron Palace - Back Exterior von Trapp House

By Wald1siedel [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

This is one of the main exterior locations of the movie. Used as the supposed back of the von Trapp family house, the interior of the palace was never used and in fact, even the scenes taking place on the terrace were shot on an adjacent property. Though the Leopoldskron Palace had the original horse gate, the movie could not be shot there and a replica was created on the property near by, known as Bertelsmann. Since then, the two properties became Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron. The inside ballroom scene, though not filmed in the palace, was shot on a set whose decorations were inspired by the Venetian room of the palace.

St. Peter's Cemetary - Final Escape Scene

[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The abbey where the von Trapp family were hidding from the Nazis is inspired by the St. Peter's Cemetary. In the climactic scene, the fammily tried to fled to Switzerland following a performance in the Salzburg festival. Escaping from the Nazis, they hid behind family crypts guarded by locked gates. The scenes were of course not filmed in the actual cemetary, but when you visit you can definitely see the inspiration.

Mirabell Gardens - "Do Re Mi"

The marvelous "Do-Re-Mi" song scene had me running singing in parks for years. Though the clip was filmed all around the city, a grand majority of it is taking place in the amazingly beautiful Mirabell Gardens. From the steps routine to the dancing around the sculptures, you will be able to see it all. This is one of the most true to the film locations on this tour, and even if you are traveling with a "not Sound of Music fan", this park doesn's stop being a great experience.

Gazebo - "16 Going on 17"

By Bede735 [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

My first impression of the gazebo was "it is way smaller than I imagined". I couldn't understand how Liesl was able to run between the banches in such a small area. And indeed, the "16 Going on 17" scene was shot in a Hollywood studio, mimicking the real gazebo, though in a larger scale. The real gazebo was originally placed in the Bertlesmann property, but was later moved to Schloss Hellbrunn to accomodate the amount of tourists that were coming to see it.

Nonnberg Abbey - Maria's Abbey

By Andrew Bossi [CC BY-SA 2.5], from Wikimedia Commons

All of the outdoor scenes of Maria's convent were shot outside the Nonnberg Abbey. However, this is not the only fun fact about this location. The real Maria Augusta Kutschera, who later became Maria von Trapp, actually became a postulant in this abbey in 1924. This is also where the captain and Maria got married (not in the movie, but in real-life). In the movie, you can see the abbey in the scene where Maria is leaving it, singing "I have confidence", and when the children later come to look for her.

Fronburg Castle - Front von Trapp House

By Luckyprof [CC BY-SA 3.0 at ( )], from Wikimedia Commons

One of the great surprises I had on my "Sound of Music" tour is that the front exterior of the von Trapp home does not belong to the same house as the back exterior. While, as I mentioned, the back exterior of the house belongs to Leopoldskron Palace, the front is the Fronburg Castle (Schloss Frohmburg). The castle, which is now the Mozarteun Music Academy, is seen when Maria first arrives to the house from the abbey, as well as later when the family is about to escape. Though portrayed as the front of the house, the side shown in the movie is actually the back side of the castle.

Residenzplatz - "I Have Confidence"

By Barbara Marko-Bartilla [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Located in Old Salzburg, the platz is recognizable mainly due to the impressive horses fountain. The two scenes in which it appears is when Maria sings "I have confidence" and spalshes water while passing by, and also later when the nazis walk through the platz with the Third Reich flag going up. The platz is very wide and always full of life, with many horse carridge rides offered near by. It is also close to many other attractions in the area of Old Salzburg.

Lake Wolfgang - Aerial Shots

User:Tigerente [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

The director definitely didn't shy away from using mesmerizing aerial shots of beautiful Austria. Multiple squences in the movie, especially during the begining, include beatiful pictures of areas near by, with instrumental version of the movie soundtrack. One of the areas filmed is Lake Wolfgang. The lake is surrouned by mountains with many small villages on its shore, including Strobl and St. Gilgen. If you need a break from the urban atmosphere of the city, make a day trip to this area, for a breath of fresh air and inspiring scenery.

Felsenreitschule - Salzburg Festival Theatre

By Hvplux [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

The famous theatre depicted in the movie as the home of the Salzburg festival, actually occupies this role in real life and the festival takes place in it yearly during the summer. If you are able to schedule your trip around it, even better. The real Trapp Family Singers performed here in a festival in 1936, though in the movie it appears that the performance took place just before they ran away in 1938. You probably remember the Nazis that were stationed in the "window compartments" in the walls and if you really are a detail-oriented person, you will probably notice the emergency exit through which the family escaped in the movie.

Mondsee Abbey - Wedding Scene

By Bwag [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

The spectacular wedding scene, supposedly taking place inside the same abbey Maria was from, was actually filmed in a different location. Mondsee Abbey is located in the town of Mondsee, which is in the Vöcklabruck distric in the Austrian state of Upper Austria. It is one of the towns on the shore of lake Mondsee, another amazing spot appearing in multiple aerial shots in the movie. My first impression of the abbey was an astonishment of its size. It was also the first "film location" I have been to, which made it all very real.

I hope you will enjoy your venture through the Sound of Music filming locations, and make sure to share your pictures with us on our facebook page.