Growing up, my sister and I must have watched The Sound of Music about 3,560 times. Okay, we didn’t watch it everyday for ten years, but you know what I mean! The movie is well known for it’s beautiful scenery, much of which was filmed in Salzburg, Austria.
Visiting Salzburg has been on my list for a long time, and I finally got my chance last weekend! Peter and I decided to stay overnight on our way to Seeboden. Even though some car trouble meant we had less than 24 hours in the city, I still feel like I saw everything I really needed to see. If you’re headed to Salzburg and want to maximize your time, here’s how you can experience The Sound of Music in a day!
Where to Stay
Schloss Leopoldskron features prominently in TSOM; the mansion’s grounds were used as the Von Trapp’s backyard.
Today, Schloss Leopoldskron is open as a hotel! When I found out, I knew this is where we had to stay. While the film makers definitely used some Hollywood magic to create the terrace in the movie, trust me when I say that it still FEELS like the Sound of Music. As a guest, you can see the original horse statues, wander the grounds and hit the breakfast buffet in the Venetian Room.
Even though the movie used the mansion as the Von Trapp family house, in real life it belonged to Max Reinhardt. Surprisingly, my favorite part of the hotel had nothing to do with the movie. For the Schloss’ library, Reinhardt created a perfect replica of the library at the Abbey in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Now, the books are all available to the guests and you can take a secret stair case up to the second level!
What to See
From the hotel, I put together an easy self guided walking tour. All together it took us about two and a half hours to walk this route, but that included stopping for beers and a snack! If you would rather squeeze in more TSOM, skip the breaks and see my list of further suggestions at the end of this article.
First Stop: Schloss Leopoldskron
Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, I recommend starting your tour here. Only hotel guests are allowed on the property, but there’s a path around the small lake that offers a great view of the Schloss with the Hohensalzburg fortress behind it. The only thing missing is a small boat to capsize!
Second Stop: Nonnberg Abbey
The longest leg of this tour is walking from the Schloss to Nonnberg Abbey. I would recommend using your phone to help you navigate the tree lined streets over to Nonnberg Gasse. As you follow the cobble stone street, you climb up over the city and are rewarded with some killer views. The film crew wasn’t allowed to film in the interior courtyard (and we’re not allowed to see it either), but you can visit the chapel where the real life Maria and Georg married and the gates where the children come and beg to see Maria. We were lucky, and heard the choir practice!
Third Stop: Residenzplatz and Domplatz
The Residenzplatz and it’s fountain appear a few times in TSOM, most memorably in “I Have Confidence”. If you want to recreate Maria splashing the horse, bring a stool! The fountain walls are HIGH. Just around the corner from the Residenzplatz is the Domplatz. The arches and square also make multiple appearances, if only just for a second or two.
Fourth Stop: Felsenreitshule
The Felsenreitschule is the theater that hosted the music festival in the movie. In real life, it is actually home to the Salzburg Festival. In 2020, they celebrated 100 years of the festival. We missed it by three days! Next year we will plan better. If you’re not interested in seeing a performance, you can take a guided tour. The theater runs a tour everyday at 2:00 pm. We were not in Salzburg at 2:00 either day, so we were unable to enter, but the exterior is still worth seeing. Directly next to the theater is the Toscaninihof, where Rolf gives Liesl the telegram for her father. Across the street from the theater is the Pferdeschwemme. The beautiful fountain also pops up a few times in TSOM.
Fifth Stop: Mirabell Gardens
The final stop on our quick and easy Sound of Music tour is Mirabell Gardens! You will recognize EVERYTHING from the “Do-Re-Mi” sequence. Touching the dwarf statue is off limits now, but you can still have a race through the vine tunnel or prance around the Pegasus statue.
Want to See More?
Even though we saw A LOT, our time constraints made it impossible to see everything. If you have more time, add these stops to your itinerary!
- St. Peter’s Monastery – The cemetery was the inspiration for the scary scene where the Von Trapps hid from the Nazi’s in the crypts.
- Winkler Terrace – We see stunning views of Salzburg from this terrace multiple times in the film.
- The Sound of Music Pavilion – The epitome of romance 😂 The pavilion was moved from Schloss Leopoldskron to the gardens of Schloss Hellbrunn.
I can already tell that there’s a return trip to Salzburg in our future… hopefully we’ll have more than 20 hours! Have you done a Sound of Music tour? What would you add? Tell me below!