What Happens on The Sound of Music Tour

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For many travellers heading to the city of Salzburg during their European adventure, the decision has solely been made on the fact that this was the sole filming location (aside from Hollywood studios, as you will later figure out) for the world’s most renowned musical film, The Sound of Music.

So to decipher whether it is worth venturing to Salzburg for the sole purpose of partaking in the Sound of Music Tour, I did just that, headed off to the city of Salzburg to sing my way through the Austrian countryside to the soundtrack of TSOM and determine exactly what happens on The Sound of Music Tour.


Clearly I do not own this image. This image belongs to Hollywood, I just found it on the interwebs.

Which Tour Company Should I Choose?

First of all its worth noting that there are a number of groups who offer the Sound of Music tours – making it quite difficult and somewhat irritating to choose a tour company that you think will offer you ‘the best’ tour. It then of course becomes even more confusing when two of the tour companies on offer are both claiming they have ‘the Original’ Sound of Music tour – confusing much? As it turns out, Grayline offer THE Original Sound of Music Tour, as they first started the tours shortly after the film was released. They have a great knowledge of all film locations considering they were the transport company for all the actors on set way back when it was filmed. I’m glad we came to some kind of conclusion there.

Which Tour Should I Choose?

As if it couldn’t get any more confusing, there are then two tours to choose from: The Sound of Music Highlights tour and the Hop-on-hop-off Bus. Of course it depends on the individual, but I would highly recommend opting for the Highlights Tour if you want to gain an unprecedented amount of information on the film you would otherwise never know, from a knowledgable guide who could consider themselves an expert on the film, filming of the film, and all the filmy filmness. Seriously, they know their stuff.

How Much will it cost me, times, etc?

$43. The tour departs daily from the Mirabellgardens at 9:30am and 2:00pm – you must book in advance. 

The Vontrapp house - or is it???

The Vontrapp house – or is it???

What Exactly Happens on the Sound of Music Tour?

Now to the important stuff.

Prior to the tour I didn’t really have any expectations. So long as I got to sing along to the soundtrack, venture into the Austrian countryside and see some of the filming locations, I was as happy as a kid on Christmas Eve. However some tour go-ers expect to see film sets or house interiors — not. going. to. happen.

All of the interior shots were filmed in a Hollywood studio. Most of the exterior shots were filmed in Salzburg city and surrounding areas. On the tour you will see most of these filming locations, however many of these are from afar. This is due to the fact that many filming locations were held on private property and avid fans cannot visit the properties on the tour or otherwise.

Mirabellgardens - Photo: Salzburg Tourismus

Mirabellgardens – Photo: Salzburg Tourismus

What you will see: The tour starts at the Mirabellgardens, one of the most recognisable filming locations on the tour. From there you will have a little city tour inside the vehicle, whereby your guide will point out the various filming locations in the city and describe each scene as they occur in the movie (there’s even a little trivia, mentions of bloopers, etc.). Then, the tour takes off to Hellbrunn Palace to see the gazebo where Liesl and Rolf sing “I am sixteen”. You can’ go inside the gazebo to reenact the film, but you can have a picture taken in front of it. From there, the tour goes to the two filming locations for the Vontrapp Family House: one palace used for the exterior shots and the other, Leopoldskron Palace, used for the lake shots. You will only be able to view the palace from the other side of the lake, as the property is privately owned (apparently linked to Harvard University, in case you’re at all interested).

From there you will pass back through the city to view (from inside the vehicle) Nonnberg Abbey. If you would like to return later and explore the Abbey in-depth, your guide will offer information for how to get there, etc. Then its off into the Austrian Countryside to the following locations: St Gilgen; Wolfgang Lake; and Mondsee Church where the wedding scene was filmed.

The tour ends here with 45-60 minutes free time to explore Mondsee (aka have a coffee and apple strudle, shop for some kitsch souveniers, and perhaps wander to the lake if there’s time).


Would I Recommend It?

Absolutely! For any fan of the film, the Sound of Music Tour is an absolute must. You won’t be disappointed with the selection of filming locations, but the best part of the tour was undeniably the insider knowledge gained from the tour guide.

World of Wanderlust was welcomed to Salzburg with the Salzburg Tourismus. As always my opinion is my own.

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    July 30, 2015 at 5:03 am

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m going to Salzburg in a few weeks and didn’t know which of the SOM tours to take or what they included. This was perfect!

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    KangKang Hsu
    May 18, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Hey, I just found your blog today, it is really cool! I’m traveling around the world by myself too, but just start it for couple months. There are some feeling I pretty understand it! Always happy to know who is traveling solo around this world. Maybe meet u somewhere in the world one day! Best on you, Brook~

    February 19, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    I was in Austria a few weeks ago and did The Sound Of Music Tour and I absolutely loved it!
    Great way to see Salzburg and it’s surroundings 🙂

    Kayt Adamson
    January 12, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    I’m planning on taking a road trip from Vienna to Salzburg for this tour 🙂 I’m glad I was able to read this to set realistic expectations. Great post! 🙂

    Jessica C. (A Wanderlust For Life)
    December 22, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    I love learning more about film sets and locations. I guess I’m just a behind-the-scenes kind of person! This is great and when we get back to Austria, it would be a fun trip!

    December 22, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Thank you for this great post. I partly live in Austria for 2 years now, but I never thought about doing the Sound of Music Tour. But will do now.
    Btw. You are right – It is the “Von Trapp” House on the picture 🙂

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    December 22, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Nice pics.Thanks for posting nice blog.

    December 22, 2014 at 6:47 am

    So glad you got to do this. When we went to take the tour, about ten years ago, I was not use to reading military time, and we missed the tour all together. Now, I have practiced and am very proficient in telling military time.

    Liz B. @ Umami Life
    December 22, 2014 at 5:31 am

    Great post! I’ve spent a lot of time in Vienna but never Salzburg, would totally go for something like this. – a clean eating bento blog

    December 22, 2014 at 3:25 am

    I’m going there next week so this blogpost was perfect and so helpful! Thank you for taking the time to type this out:)

    December 22, 2014 at 12:51 am

    That is great post with expected question.
    Thank you.

    December 22, 2014 at 12:05 am

    i want to go! i have seen both the film and the musical on numerous occasions!

    December 21, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    I’m glad that’s the company you went with! I went on their SoM tour once with some American friends and they just loved it! I think I also prefer them because the other company in question has been known for suing smaller companies in the area for using “Sound of Music” in their tour descriptions to make sure they keep their monopoly on SoM and while I get that it’s a tough business and they gotta do what they gotta do … quite frankly I think that’s just not the spirit of either Salzburg or the movie. And it’s bad karma. 🙂