Even if you haven’t seen the movie, most of the free world has heard of the Sound of Music and knows that Julie Andrews played Maria Von Trapp. I have seen the movie a few times but never in a single sitting–it’s a great movie but it’s just so damn long!

Apart from Julie Andrews and the music, it is the beautiful scenery that sets the movie apart from other musicals. I don’t think most Americans had heard of Salzburg before the movie came out in 1965. I’m pretty sure most of the reason American tourists visit the city is largely in part due to the movie–the opening scene with Julie Andrews belting out “The Hills Are Alive” with the dramatic mountains rising behind her in the background probably hooked viewers right in.

My two traveling companions were a bit more gung ho about the Sound of Music than I was and decided to do the “official Sound of Music bus tour.” I also signed up but I was very hesitant. Who wasn’t to say the tour would be a waste of money?

However I’m really glad I went and the following pictures will do a good job of explaining why. The tour took us to some of the places where they filmed some scenes in the movie and gave us brochures that pretty much featured every single place in Salzburg used in a scene that wasn’t included on the tour. We also had the most awesome tour guide who made the corniest, most stupid jokes–the kind of stupid jokes that make me laugh a lot.

As you can see in the pictures, the weather wasn’t so great in Salzburg. It was cold and rainy the first day. However I can now add Austria to the growing list of countries I need to travel back to. I mean, seriously, LOOK at that scenery!

We toured around in this awesomely cheesy bus.

This lake is the scene where Maria and the children were rowing in the boat which then capsized, spilling its occupants into the lake. The house in the pictures, Schloss Leopoldskron (and previously owned by the King of Bavaria) was not used in the movie–but it was used as the inspiration for the terrace scenes at the rear of the Captain’s house overlooking the lake. There is also a room inside the house that inspired the set for the ballroom scene (the ballroom in the palace was too small).


You will all recognize the glass gazebo in this picture–where Rolf and Liesl sang “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” and danced amongst the benches (and Maria and the Captain sang “Something Good” but I don’t remember that song). The gazebo was only used for exterior shots however–any filming that took place inside the gazebo was actually inside a studio. The gazebo was too small to accommodate the choreography for “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.” The gazebo used to be located next to Schloss Leopoldskron, but it was moved to the grounds of Hellbrunn Palace because apparently tourists kept trespassing onto private property to get a peek at it.

And here’s a look at the famous Untersberg:


The following house was used for the exterior shots of the Von Trapp family house (the actual house the Von Trapps lived in was not used). Known as Schloss Frohnburg, the front of the house was actually used as the back of the house in the movie, the terrace overlooking the lake. The back of the house was used as the front of the house, when Maria was skipping through the gates and the tree-lined lane singing “I Have Confidence” (she had just gotten the job as a governess for the Von Trapps). The house used to be the former summer residence of the Prince-Archbishop (dating all the way back t0 1680). Today it is now private property and the bus wasn’t allowed to stop in front of it (the owners apparently hate the Sound of Music tours), so it drove by it twice.

We then started the “lakes and mountains regions” part of the tour. It seems Salzburg is surrounded by villages sitting on the edge of lakes that are nestled between majestic mountains. Despite the cloudiness, the views were incredible. The fog added an eerie quality to the pictures. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the first village we went to. Note the paraglider in the second picture–and yes I went slightly overboard with the picture taking.




The next town we visited was Mondsee. We were able to get out and walk around for a bit here–I really wished we had had more time to explore, but we were pressed for time. The church you see in these pictures (St. Michael’s Church) was featured in Maria and the Baron’s wedding scene. Mondsee is also located on the shores of a lake–appropriately named Lake Mondsee. I also had some of the best apple strudel here; just looking at the picture makes my mouth water all over again.





And Lake Mondsee:



I have more Sound of Music related pictures that I took after the tour in the Mirabell Garden in Salzburg. But I’m going to leave this post here because I took about a zillion pictures in this city. So watch for the Mirabell Garden pictures next!