This 4 hour tour cost 35 euro and really is a must for Sound of Music fans. Our bus was just half full but it was full-on with enthusiasm. Our guide Barbara Mortnir is in her late 60s (or, as she sings to the famous tune – ‘I’m sixty going on seventy’) and has been guiding this tour for the past seven years and loves it as much now as when she started.
The film is loosely based on the story of the von Trapp family’s escape from the Nazi and the tour visits both real life sites and film locations. But a word of warning, if you are obsessed by the film story you might not want to disillusion yourself with the truth as opposed to the Hollywood version of events.
Our tour starts beside the beautiful Mirabell gardens in central Salzburg where Maria and the children dance and sing “Do-Re-Mi” around the Pegasus fountain and use the steps up to the Rose Hill as musical lines, singing a note for each step.
Everyone on the bus had already seen the large Baroque fountain in Dom platz where Maria sings to boost her confidence before meeting the Baron von Trapp.
The first stop is at Schloss Hellbrunn Palace Park where some house scenes were filmed and the gazebo where Rolf and Liesl sing “16 going on 17” has been relocated to. Fortunately just as we were leaving three packed tour buses of American, Chinese and Japanese tourists arrived which turned the little location into an absolute scrum.
Next stop was the Palace Leopoldskron where the boating scene was filmed; Maria and the Baron dance on the balcony and sing “Something good”. Barbara regaled us with lots of insider information about the events surrounding this location.
The next two film sequences did not involve a stop and they were the footbridge where the children sing and Nonnberg Abbey where Maria was a novice nun and several scenes were shot.
All the scenes so far have been in or close to Salzburg. We next was a half hour drive to the village of St Gilgen and Lake Wolfgang which are surrounded by impressive mountains. It is a classic Austrian scene and was included in the films opening-scene.
Our final destination was the small town of Mondsee (Moonlake) the film location for the wedding of Maria and the Baron at Basilica St Michael. Barbara provided a spoiler for some fans by explaining that in actual fact they got married in Nonnburg Abbey where Maria had been training to become a nun.
One of the most frequently asked questions was ‘where is the hill they climbed over in their final escape?’ The hill scene in the film is pure fantasy and actually would have taken them disastrously across the border into Germany. The von Trapp’s simply took a train to Italy and then later, onwards to Switzerland – another Hollywood embellishment to the story.
The Sound of Music has become an incredible global phenomenon and Salzburg get 300,000 fans that follow Maria’s trail every year. The tour really is excellent for film lovers because, apart from visiting beautifully scenic countryside, the locations would be difficult to find without a guide and the snippets and gossip from a good guide are gold dust.
For more information on the Sound of Music tour visit Salzburg Sightseeing Tours
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