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The Original Sound of Music Tour Review – Salzburg, Singalongs and a Cider

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Whether you are a lonely goatherd, a flibbertigibbet or someone who just wants to taste their first champagne, then a Sound of Music tour is a great plan. The Original Sound of Music tour guides you through Salzburg and its gorgeous surroundings, the backdrop for this iconic movie musical. Read on for our full Original Sound of Music tour review.

Disaclaimer: There is a way to get prosecco on the tour, but not champagne.

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The Sound of Music

Rodgers and Hammerstein, esteemed musical theatre composers had Broadway hit after Broadway hit. Their powerful partnership produced some of the most famous musicals of all time, and among the most loved is The Sound of Music. The musical won the Tony Award for Best Musical and in 1964, the cast and crew arrived in Salzburg to film the movie version. When it was released It was a smash hit everywhere (apart from in Austria funnily enough). It had a rather good night at the Academy Awards picking up Best Picture, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Scoring Music and Best Sound statues.

If anything, time has only improved its fan base. Across the world, people don nun’s habits and warble their way through film singalongs, every Christmas people get day drunk as it plays in the background and I defy anyone to not at least hum along to Do Re Mi!

The Real Sound of Music

One of the most extraordinary things about The Sound of Music is the true story that lies behind it. Maria Augusta Kutschera was real, and Baron Georg von Trapp and his seven talented children were real too. The show, hit musical film (and less popular film) were all based on Maria’s own biography written in 1949. Maria was a novice nun and was sent to be governess for one of the Baron’s children. The family fell for her as she fell for the Baron and after a struggle between her love and her Christian devotion she married Baron Von Trapp in 1927.

The family really were a choir but whether or not that learned their scales with an adorable musical number we can’t be sure. We do know they started performing in public in 1937 and escaped to the USA in 1938…but let’s not let the truth get in the way of an excellent Hollywood plot.

Original Sound of Music Tour Review

As usual, I was running slightly late but I dashed up at 14:00 on the dot, had my name ticked off and grabbed a couple of spare seats on the coach. I had two seats to myself, behind a group of four Brits. As the tour went on, I could tell that the two ladies of the group were really into the film, one of their partners was up for a good time and the other wanted to sink into his seat. They were a fun bunch.

We began making our way through Salzburg and I realised that this was going to be a real whistle stop tour. I guess that with only four hours, and a lot to see it was always going to be the case.

Nonnberg Convent

From the coach, we saw the Gothic roof of the Benedictine Nonnberg Convent. It sits at the bottom of the big Festungsberg that looms over one side of the city. There has been an order here for over 1300 years. Its most famous resident, Maria Kutschera, was sent from here to be baroness to the Von Trapp children. Nonnberg Abbey is a very quick drive by stop on the tour but it is possible to visit the church and churchyard from central Salzburg easily if you want to return. It’s a 10-15 minute walk from the centre of the Old Town.

On The Coach

We then began our first bit of driving. Along the way, we had a lovely mix of commentary from adorable tour guide Peter, video clips from the film or documentaries all about The Sound of Music or fun singalongs I pulled up the lyrics on my phone as a back up so I could really go for it without making a fool of myself. It is worth noting that the coach had excellent refreshment offerings. A mini bottle of Prosecco can be had for a few euros and it really helps to oil those vocal chords! I got one and it was a lovely sipper as we visited one of the stops.

We drove past a couple of other spots from the movie, including the house that served as the front of the the Von Trapp’s house. This is a music school and so it is very understandable that they don’t want tourist buses spilling out a whole lot of tourists wielding cameras. I didn’t get a decent snap as my phone couldn’t quite cope with the zoom required. Bring a better camera than mine!

Red Bull

Now, this isn’t part of the tour officially but as a big Red Bull fan, I was a little overexcited to be on the correct side as we passed the Red Bull headquarters. Emerging from the front of the unusual office is a herd of bronze bulls called, Die Bullen von Fuschl (The Bulls from Fuchl). You will only see half of the statue from the road as half of the bulls are inside the building. Mind you, it is the largest cast bronze sculpture in Europe so whether you enjoy the energy drink or not, it is still quite impressive.

Schloss Leopoldskron

Schloss Leopoldskron is seen in the Sound of Music from one angle, its rather attractive backside. The back of the building was used as the Von Trapp’s house. It is a gorgeous Rococo mansion with an incredible location, backing onto the water. The Venetian Salon was also entirely recreated on a sound stage for some more scenes too.

As part of the tour, guests take a walk around the lake. That’s the lake from the film that the kids and Maria tumble into from their small boat. From afar you can see the Schloss and its boat dock seen in the film. It is now a hotel so the public can’t wander around unless they are guests. If you are a huge Sound of Music fan then why not book a room here? The library is stunning and the grounds are full of S.o.M highlights.

Schloss Leopoldskron used to be home of a certain gazebo that may have heard of but it was vandalised and had to be moved. Never fear though…we will see it soon.

Now in fact!

Schloss Hellbrunn

Hellbrunn Palace is the new home of the legendary gazebo that played host to Leizl and Ralph’s, “I am 16, going on 17” number. Of course not the whole thing was filmed inside (there wouldn’t be room) but plenty of it was. During our visit, the benches were missing for rebovation but normally they are in there. Either way, you can’t spin around it yourself. I’d imagine there would be far too many broken windows and/or broken ankles for that. Near the gazebo is a touching information board all about Charmian Carr, the actress who played Leizl. She was an extraordinary women but I’ll let you read all about that.

After seeing the gazebo you get around ten minutes to explore. I ran up to the house to see the front, up a long and dusty drive way. but taking a little stroll in the gardens is probably more pleasant.

In summer, I would definitely recommend returning to the palace to see the trick fountains. You can see more info about it in our Salzburg Itinerary.

Mondsee Abbey

Our coach sang their way through the countryside until a glittering blue lake came into view. We wound our way down to the edge of the quaint little town of Mondsee.

The real Maria Kutschera and Georg von Trapp got married in the church at Nonnberg Abbey, Maria’s order in Salzburg. However, in the film, the location was the rather striking Mondsee Abbey, also known as Basilika St. Michael. The late-Gothic church was built in the 1400s and is the second largest church in upper Austria. It’s pretty Baroque exterior was added in 1714 and the whole place was refurbished in the 2000s making it shiny.

Take a little time to look at the altar and its glimmering gold and silver details. Then look again and see if you can spot the skeleton of Abbot Konrad II with his lovely sunburst crown. There are four other skeletons beneath him and several more relics to discover too.

…oh, and you can pick up a little bottle of holy water.

Mondsee Lake

The group were given some free time in Mondsee. I think it was around 45 minutes. Most people took a spot in one of the pastel coloured restaurants and cafes opposite the church. I decided that it wasn’t for me and decided to take a little trip down to the water instead. I’d been travelling for two weeks with pretty bad weather and it was a relief to be in the sunshine.

Walking straight towards the water from town brought me to a nice waterside cafe bar. I ordered a glass of Most (Austrian style cider) and sat on the jetty listening to the lake water lapping against the wood and a band warming up for an afternoon gig next door. It was so relaxing and much more pleasant than the rammed places in town. I think I was the only tourist there for quite a while.

Top tip: If you are thinking of doing this too, pop a pin on Google maps for the coach park to make it easiest to find your way back on time.

Mirabell Gardens

Our final stop was an optional extra. Some people disembarked the coach and disappeared off for the rest of their afternoon plans. Peter offered to show the rest of us the way into the Mirabell Gardens. These beautiful formal gardens, surrounding the Neoclassical Mirabell Palace are best know by Sound of Music fans for being one of the Do Rae Mi locations. The children march around the Pegasus fountains (so name for the winged horse in the centre) and up and down the nearby stairs. These would be entirely overlooked if it wasn’t for their moment in the final sequence of the song. Plenty of people can be seen jumping up and down and standing proudly at the top with their arms up a la Maria and the kids. It rather lovely to watch…or to do.


If you’re thinking of joining The Original Sound of Music Tour, here is some information you might like to know:

  • To book tickets, check out the Panorama Tours website.
  • There are two tours a day, one at 9.15 am and again at 2.00 pm.
  • The tour lasts around 4 hours.
  • For the best views you will want to sit on the right side of the coach as you face forward. This will give you gorgeous views as you head down to Mondsee (plus the Red Bull statue).

Final Thoughts on Our Original Sound of Music Tour Review

For a short tour, one that fits neatly in-between lunch and dinner (or breakfast and lunch) the Original Sound of Music Tour packs in a lot. I know there are longer tours, ones that allow you to see more of the palaces. Some take you to a gorgeous mountain so you can spin in true Julie Andrews style, but I only had 2 days in Salzburg so this was perfect.

Check out my itinerary for 2 days in Salzburg here.

I can’t claim to be the biggest Sound of Music fan. I know most of the songs to a point (or entirely), I have attended a Sound of Music singalong with friends dressed as a kitten and a girl with a blue satin sash (IYKYK) but at heart I’m probably more of a Mary Poppins gal. The Original Sound of Music Tour definitely satisfied my desire for a Sound of Music slice of Salzburg. Didn’t see any Edelweiss though so I’ll have to come back!

Rosie xx

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One thought on “The Original Sound of Music Tour Review – Salzburg, Singalongs and a Cider

  1. Salzburg, Austria’s Alpine capital, sits astride the Salzach River. The beautiful streets and squares ooze classical charm, and classical music in equal measure. Grab your Salzburg Card and follow this 2 day Salzburg itinerary to see the best of this European gem.

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