The hills are well and truly alive with the sound of music in Salzburg. Not only is this magical city the birthplace of Wolfgang Motzart but it is also well known among musical lovers as the home of The Sound of Music story. It was Maria von Trapp’s book The Story of the Trapp Family Singers written in 1949, that shared the incredible tale we are familiar with today that first caught the attention of Rogers and Hammerstein. They successfully adapted the book into a Broadway musical in 1959 and thanks to Robert Wise in 1965, the musical was later adapted in to the five time Oscar winning film we know and love today.
As an admirer of Julie Andrews and the film The Sound of Music I decided that no stay of mine in Salzburg would be complete without a tour of some of the movie’s famous locations. I booked The Original Sound of Music Tour, a 4 hour tour by coach with Panorama Tours. This tour is great for any fans of the film, particularly the die hard ones as the guide provides a commentary of behind the scenes of the filming as well as letting everyone in on the tricks Hollywood producers used on set and in editing. For example, without trying to spoil it for anyone, there were in fact three gazebos built for those serenading scenes in the movie! You also learn about what the true story of the Trapp family singers were and what was just artistic licence in the movie. Even though I did this tour because of my love of the movie and all things Julie Andrews, I left with a better understanding and appreciation for the real Maria von Trapp and her story.
Now when I say that this trip is also great for the die hard fans I say it because I genuinely heard someone say to their friend “I’m so happy I could cry” at one of the locations we visited. Fifty one years after the movie was released and it still has an incredibly large fan base. Also there’s singing on the bus which I am not ashamed to say I joined in with. I mean I had after all downloaded the soundtrack to listen to on the way over to Europe from Australia so I was ready. Like I said..not ashamed!
Not all filming locations are accessible on the tour. Some were filmed on set in a studio (like when the Trapps were hiding in the abbey just before they fled Austria) while others weren’t easily accessible via coach (like the exterior of the front of the Trapp family house which had no adequate parking for a bus and a fair walk down a lane to get to). You do however see quite a bit including a quick city tour of Salzburg, the exterior of the rear of he Trapp house, one of the gazebos used for filming, the church where Maria was married in the film, and the Mirabell Gardens where a lot of the scenes for ‘Do Re Mi’ were filmed. All these locations are spaced quite far apart so not only do you get to learn more about the film you love but you also get to enjoy some of the beautiful Austrian countryside. Not to mention you are also recommended a place to enjoy apple strudel during the lunch stop!
I’ve tried hard not to go into too much detail about the tour. I don’t want to reveal too many of the secrets I’ve learned because it is a wonderful thing for a fan to appreciate for themselves. I would recommend that anyone interested in this tour to choose the morning departure time. The last stop is back in town at the Mirabell Gardens and I suggest allowing yourself to enjoy the afternoon recreating the scenes of the movie and just taking the time to appreciate the gardens. It is a very beautiful place to be especially in Spring. Not only is it beautiful but it is also way too much fun frolicking around and posing in all the different places where parts of ‘Do Re Mi’ were filmed, as you can see for yourself.
The Sound of Music tour was a highlight for me. Yet some locals don’t see what the fuss is about and many have never seen the movie. Whilst it’s true that the film did not do so well in Austria, it is still a great experience for fans of the movie. I loved it and I couldn’t wait to get back and watch the movie again with all the insider knowledge I’ve since acquired.
Have you done the same tour or are you interested in visiting Salzburg? Let me know in the comments below!