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DIY Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg, Austria

Let me tell you about the Sound of Music Tour we put together when visiting Salzburg, Austria.

Sound of Music (1965) is one of my all-time favorite movies! With a family with seven children that portray the seven musical notes , it’s full of wonderful and cheerful songs! Even as I write this, I’m getting excited, and I could spin around in my living room, singing out loud. The hills are alive with the sound of music !

It was chosen as the movie that should be broadcast after a nuclear attack  to raise the morale of the survivors, so you can imagine how happy and uplifting it is!

BOOK Salzburg: The Sound of Music Exploration Game , it’s only €7.99 ! It’s a city exploration game based on The Sound of Music movie . Follow clues and solve puzzles to discover the places depicted in the movie and unlock stories about the movie and Salzburg at your own pace.

DIY Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg

DIY Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg

DIY Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg

Sound of Music tour – filming locations

The movie was made after Maria Von Trapp’s memoirs, and it’s a true story, although romanticized for the big screen.

So filming in Salzburg is not a coincidence. This is where the actual events occurred.

Accommodation and hotels in Salzburg . We chose to stay a bit further from the city, at  Haus Amalia , located in the heart of the mountains. For a hotel in Salzburg, here are some central hotels with amazing reviews:

  • Medium budget :  Apartments an der Salzach ,  Altstadt Hotel Hofwirt Salzburg ,  APT. STONE-LODGE
  • Boutique/Lux :  Arthotel Blaue Gans

A lot of the scenes, especially the interior ones, were filmed in Hollywood studios. But the exterior scenes are authentic, and they were filmed in Austria .

You can take an organized Sound of Music Tour . It takes 4 hours, costs about €60 ($65) per person, and offers backstage information and the movie soundtrack on the bus.

Or you can try a bike tour , it’s €40 ($44).

We thought the price was a bit steep, so we decided to go by ourselves in our car to discover each spot. We, too, had the Sound of Music soundtrack in the car, and we got to see everything at our own pace .

DIY Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg

Sound of Music Organized Bus Tour

DIY Sound of Music tour – Filming locations in Salzburg

Mirabell palace and gardens.

The Mirabell Palace and Gardens hosted the scenes for the Do-re-mi song!!! Maria and the children run through the ivy tunnel, climb on the fountains, and in the epic ending, they stand on the famous steps that become musical notes !! Yesss, I stood on those steps as well; you can’t imagine how thrilled I was! Even if the day was cloudy, it didn’t matter! Everywhere around, there were people that sang and recreated scenes from the movie. It was an absolute joy!

DIY Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg

Do a dear, a female dear!

DIY Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg

The musical steps!!

The horse fountain (Pferdeschwemme)

This is the spot where Maria takes the children on their adventures in town after they leave the Von Trapp home. Maria had previously made play clothes for them out of drapes.

Salzburg music

Pferdeschwemme – The Horse Fountain

Mozart Bridge (Mozartsteg)

In the same sequence, Maria and the children cross over this beautiful bridge, while singing My Favorite Things .

DIY Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg


It’s a beautiful square in Salzburg, which Maria passes through during I Have Confidence .

sound of music tour diy

Residenzplatz seen from the balcony of DomQuartier

Nonnberg convent

This is the convent where Maria was a nun . The interiors and courtyard were filmed in Hollywood, but the gate that Maria passes through while singing I Have Confidence is here, at the Nonnberg convent.

Also, at this gate, the children come asking for Maria after she decides to leave the Von Trapp family.

The gate is here on google maps . You have to climb a few steps to reach it, as it’s on a hill below the fortress that dominates Salzburg’s skyline. But once you are there, believe me, you will enjoy seeing Salzburg from above and all those elegant rooftops.

DIY Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg

St Peter’s Cemetery (Petersfriedhof)

St Peter’s Cemetery, one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, was an inspiration for the scene at the end when the Von Trapp family is hiding from the Nazis, and Rolfe finds them. Actually, the scene was filmed in Hollywood, where they reconstructed St Peter’s Cemetery.


Rock Riding School (Felsenreitschule)

It’s a fabulous auditorium where the festival at the end of the movie is held. Here Captain Von Trapp sings an emotional Edelweiss , and all the family sings So Long, Farewell . I really wanted to visit it, but when we arrived in the evening, there were a lot of well-dressed people outside. A show was scheduled inside, so we were unable to enter.

To plan a visit, it’s important to follow the visiting schedule . Daily guided tours are offered for a fee of €7 ($7.60). However, the receptionist informed us that there may be additional tours available each day, so it’s best to check directly with the facility.


Wikimedia Commons photo

DIY Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg

DIY Sound of Music tour – Around Salzburg

I am sixteen, going on seventeen gazebo.

Our DIY Sound of Music Tour, of course, includes the most romantic gazebo in the world , where Liesl and Rolfe sing I am Sixteen Going on Seventeen ! Does anyone else feel those intense teenage love feelings when they witness this scene, or am I alone in this? Of course, I took the opportunity to spin around like a princess!

The gazebo is not the one in the movie. Well, actually, on the outside, it is . But the inside scenes were filmed in a studio, in a much larger pavilion. Oh, and you can’t enter it because there were a lot of incidents with tourists trying to jump around on the benches, like Liesl in the movie, and they decided to keep it closed for safety reasons.

How to get there : The Pavilion is at Hellbrunn Palace (the filming crew donated it to the city and has been placed here). You can visit it for free since it’s at the entrance. But I recommend you also visit Hellbrunn. We had so much fun in the gardens 😉. And it’s included in the Salzburgcard.


I must’ve done something good!

Leopoldskron Castle

The castle is now a fabulous 5-star hotel; you can only visit it if you’re a guest. But you can see it from across the lake, from a nice and quiet park. We left the car at the park’s entrance and took a short walk so that we could see the castle better.

The outside scenes of the Von Trapp residence were filmed here. Maybe you remember when Maria and the children were in a boat and fell into the water. You can see the Pegas statues very clearly from across the lake.

DIY Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg

Mondsee Cathedral

The Mondsee Cathedral is where the Captain and Maria got married. The moment when she enters the church with a huge white train, and she climbs the steps to the Captain is unforgettable!

Mondsee is about 30km away from Salzburg.


St Gilgen is a small town on the Wolgangsee Lake, and it appears in the movie right at the beginning, filmed from the helicopter.

It’s about 30km away from Salzburg and you can see the famous view at this viewing point .


St Gilgen, austria

Afterthoughts on our DIY Sound of Music Tour

I loved it! I think doing the Sound of Music tour on your own is fairly easy. Most filming locations are right in Salzburg , with a walkable distance between them. But some are further, and you need a car or a bus to get there. The bus network in Salzburg is pretty good, so don’t avoid using it.

For more information on each location, we found a useful resource here . We had the printed pages with us and read along on the spot.

We spent a day and a half in Salzburg and saw everything we had planned: the city’s main attractions and the Sound of Music tour. I marked on the map below all of the Sound of Music filming locations (in orange) and other attractions you want to see when you go to Salzburg (in blue).

Happy Travels! And singing!

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DIY Sound of Music Tour

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Staying at haus amalia – accommodation close to salzburg », din aceeași categorie.

Staying at Haus Amalia – Accommodation close to Salzburg

Staying at Haus Amalia – Accommodation close to Salzburg

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Thank you so much for such a useful guide! I used it excessively whilst touring glorious Salzburg over the last few days! Thanks!

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Aww, I’m so happy to hear that! I hope you had a great time! 🙂

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This looks wonderful. Thank you for sharing your experience. My husband and I will be going to Salzburg this weekend. Sunday is the day we are going to tour all the areas from the movie. I am so excited. It is by far my favorite movie next to Mary Poppins. Coming across your step by step stops will for sure help us out a great deal. Didn’t really want to spend money on a tour. I know you get a lot of extra info you may not already know. But the price is a bit much.

Heeey, Stacie, thank you so much! It’s one of my favourite movies too (also Mary Poppins of course!)! We also didn’t want to spend money on a tour, although as you say, I’m sure they give out lots of trivia. But they are kind of pricey. I hope my research helps you and you have a wonderful time! 🙂

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Trips to Uncover

A Self-Guided “The Sound of Music” Tour of Salzburg, Austria

sound of music tour diy

Salzburg is a beautiful and historical town in Austria close to Munich and right next to the German border. The city rose to fame after the 1965 American musical, The Sound of Music, was filmed around the city. Tourists from around the world enjoy visiting the filming locations from the movie and yes, I am one of them. Here is a self-guided tour of The Sound of Music spots in Salzburg. Because some of the spots are outside of Salzburg’s town centre, the tour may take you two days. Enjoy!

Mirabell Palace Gardens

Start your tour in the New Town of Salzburg at the Mirabell Palace Gardens. 

The Sound of Music Connection: Maria (Julie Andrews) and the Von Trapp children sing “Do Re Mi” throughout the garden. Definitely one of the most famous musical scenes in the movie!

If you enter the Gardens from the south, you will see two Greek statues. Maria and the children mimic their fencing pose.

mirabell gardens sound of music

Continue into the garden and you will see the Pegasus Fountain where Maria and the children dance around the edge.

mirabell gardens sound of music

Next, you will reach a set of stairs that Maria and the children use as a musical scale. From here you’ll have a great view of Mirabell Gardens with Hohensalzburg Fortress in the background.

mirabell gardens sound of music

Make sure to go up the other set of stairs by the Pegasus Fountain, which leads to the Gnome Garden. Maria and the children take turns tapping the head of the gnome wearing glasses.

mirabell gardens sound of music

As you leave Mirabell Gardens, walk through the vine tunnel that Maria and the children skip through.

mirabell gardens sound of music

Mozart Footbridge

Next on the tour, take the pedestrian-only Mozart Footbridge (Mozartsteg) across the river to the Old Town.

The Sound of Music Connection : Maria and the children cross Mozartsteg during the song “My Favorite Things.”

mozart footbridge sound of music


Walk through the beautiful Residenzplatz.

The Sound of Music Connection : During the song “I Have Confidence in Me,” Maria splashes in the Horse Fountain.

residenzplatz salzburg


Walk through Kapitelplatz. From here you’ll have an amazing view of Hohensalzburg Fortress.

The Sound of Music Connection : Maria walks through this square during the song “I Have Confidence in Me.”

kapitelplatz salzburg

Nonnberg Abbey

Make your way to the historic Nonnberg Abbey.

The Sound of Music Connection : Several scenes in the movie were shot around the Abbey, although filming inside was not permitted. The real life Maria Von Trapp lived as a nun at the convent and also married Captain Georg Von Trapp here!

nonnberg abbey sound of music

St. Peter’s Cemetery

Head to St. Peter’s Cemetery (Petersfriedhof), one of my favourite spots in Salzburg and one of the most beautiful and unique cemeteries I’ve ever seen.  

T he Sound of Music Connection : St Peter’s Cemetery was used as the inspiration to build a set in Hollywood where the Von Trapp family would hide from the Nazis, although the real family never hid in a cemetery. Franz Wasner, the real life Max Detweiler (the Von Trapp’s advisor and choir conductor), is buried here.

st peter's cemetery salzburg

Rock Riding School

Next, walk past Salzburg’s Rock Riding School (Felsenreitschule). The only way to see inside the Festival Hall Theatre is by tour or to see a show.

The Sound of Music Connection : The Von Trapp children rehearse for the Salzburg Music Festival in the Rock Riding School’s Festival Hall Theatre. On the night of the festival, Captain Von Trapp sings “Edelweiss” and the whole family sings “So Long, Farewell” here before they make their escape. Although their performance did not play out like this, the real life Von Trapp family performed here in 1935 and won the Salzburg Music Festival in 1936.

self-guided sound of music tour

A short walk will bring you to the beautiful Horse Pond (Pferdeschwemme ) where parade horses were washed and groomed in the past. 

The Sound of Music Connection : Maria and the children dance past the Horse Bath during the song “My Favorite Things.”

horse pond sound of music

M ö nchsberg Lift Terrace

Continue along the road and you’ll reach the Mönchsberg Lift (Mönchsberg Aufzug), which is located inside the Modern Art Museum of Salzburg (Museum der Moderne). This is the last filming location in the Salzburg town centre. I suggest ending your first day of the self-guided tour here. Take the lift up to the top floor and you will find a terrace (formerly known as Winkler Terrace) with one of the best views of Salzburg. This view is amazing at sunset!

The Sound of Music Connection : The beautiful city view from the terrace can be seen while Maria and the children sing “Do Re Mi.”

self-guided sound of music tour

Schloss Leopoldskron

The rest of the filming locations on this tour are outside of the Salzburg town centre so it may take another day to see them, depending on how much time you’ve spent at the previous spots. If you are interested in visiting these sites, you can rent a bike, drive, taxi, or take public transportation.

Schloss Leopoldskron is now a hotel and you can only enter the former palace if you are staying as a guest. However, you can see the back of the palace and its beautiful terrace from across the pond along Konig-Ludwig-Strasse.

The Sound of Music Connection : Several scenes in The Sound of Music were filmed on the terrace. Schloss Leopoldskron was also the original home of The Sound of Music gazebo until it was moved to Schloss Hellbrunn (which you will see later).

schloss leopoldskron sound of music

Schloss Frohnberg

Continue south to Schloss Frohnberg, which is now part of the Mozarteum Music Academy. Tours of the palace are not available but you can see the front of the palace from the road.

The Sound of Music Connection : Schloss Frohnberg was used as the front of the Von Trapp family home in The Sound of Music .

self-guided sound of music tour

Schloss Hellbrunn

A bit further south is Schloss Hellbrunn. One of Salzburg’s Prince Archbishop’s built the palace as a place for fun. The palace has no bedrooms, several trick fountains, and vast woodland grounds. I highly recommend paying the entry fee for Schloss Hellbrunn, which includes a tour of the palace and the trick fountains – it’s so much fun! However, you can walk around the palace grounds and see The Sound of Music Gazebo for free.

The Sound of Music Connection : Located on the palace grounds is the famous Gazebo where Liesl and Rolf sing “16 Going on 17,” and Maria and the Captain later sing “Something Good.”

schloss hellbrunn salzburg

Villa Trapp

On your way back to the Salzburg town centre, cross the Salzach river and stop at Hotel Villa Trapp. In 2008, Villa Trapp was turned into a hotel, which you can tour or stay in.

The True Story of the Von Trapps: In 1926, Maria Kutschera was sent to this family home by the Nonnberg Abbey to tutor Captain Georg Von Trapp’s sick daughter. One year later, Maria and Georg were married when she was 22 and he was 47, and she became stepmom to his 7 children. Maria and Georg had another 2 children of their own (of 3) while living here. To earn some cash during tough times in 1935, the family began to perform as a choir. In 1938, the Nazi’s arrived in Salzburg and the Von Trapp’s made their escape by train to Italy just one day before Hitler closed the Austrian borders. The Villa Trapp was seized and used as a private home for SS Chief Heinrich Himmler during the war before being returned to the Von Trapps, who sold it to a Catholic mission. The Von Trapp family performed in over 2000 shows in 30 countries before settling on an American farm that they turned into a hotel. Georg died in 1947 and Maria lived until 1987 – she even had a small cameo in The Sound of Music ! 

The Sound of Music Connection : This is where the real Von Trapp family lived from 1926-1938.

von trapp family home

BONUS: Meadow in Werfen, Austria

Although this filming location is not in Salzburg, I highly recommend visiting this meadow in Werfen, Austria if you can. The meadow is about a 40-minute drive from Salzburg. When you reach Werfen, drive up Schartenbergstrasse and you will see a meadow with a section that is surrounded by a wood fence. This meadow has the most amazing view of the Austrian Alps and Hohenwerfen Castle down below. You will really feel like you are in The Sound of Music at this spot!

The Sound of Music Connection : In a famous scene, Maria and the Von Trapp children have a picnic in this beautiful meadow and then start singing “Do, Re, Mi.” 

picnic meadow sound of music

I hope you enjoyed this self-guided tour of The Sound of Music filming spots in Salzburg!

sound of music tour diy

To read my blog post, “How to Spend 2 Days in Salzburg,” click here .

To read my blog post,  “What and Where to Eat in Salzburg, Austria,”  click here.

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Best way in touring the Sound of Music location

We will be visiting Salzburg in late October and plan to tour the Sound of Music location. DIY - Do it Yourself Tour is possible or not. Please advise the best way to do it. What kind of transportation if DIY ?

I suppose that anything is possible. We took the Panorama SOM Tour 1A at the beginning of the year (January):

The tour route description gives you a rough idea as to the tour stops. You could use something like Google Maps to locate these stops. You will need to do some research as to the filming story - what's real, the back story etc.

You should be able to access the sights by some combination of buses, walking and rural bus service. The folks who over stay Mondsee church stop apparently get back to Salzburg by intercity coach service. That said, a do it yourself tour would likely take you more than the half day guided tour unless you have a car.

A DIY SOM tour is a frequent source of discussion on the Trip Advisor forum. Liz, a local expert on Salzburg, outlines a great overview of sites from the movie and how to see them on your own in this link:

I agree with Liz for the most part. Almost everything still in Salzburg from SOM can easily be seen without a tour, but I have to disagree with her slightly.

The singing and dancing scenes were filmed in a much larger gazebo in a sound stage in Hollywood (did you think it just happened to start raining at the end of the song?). The gazebo at Hellbrunn was originally located on a temporary "patio" set on the same lake with Leopoldskron, and was only used for distant shots.

Leopoldskron never appears in the movie. The scene with the Captain and Maria talking after the boat swamping was filmed at two separate locations, Frohnburg, which is not on a lake, behind Maria, and the temporary lakeside patio set, which was a copy of the patio at Leopoldskron, behind the Captain.

I went by bus to Mondsee in 2009, on my way to Hallstatt. There is a bus every hour from in front of the Hauptbahnhof in Salzburg to Mondsee. The bus trip takes 51 minutes, less than 20 minutes longer than driving, according to ViaMichelin, so you are not giving up a lot of time by doing it yourself on the bus (and, of course, you can stay as long as you want. I.e., there is more than one bus back.).

We went on the Panorama SoM Tour in mid-May and as far as I can recall every one of the stops was a public location so in principle you could DIY the tour.

I certainly would not recommend driving it yourself - we drove into and out of Salzburg when we visited and without a doubt it was the most congested and convoluted driving of the many towns we drove through on the trip. In fact the tour bus had the devil's own time getting through town - the guide had to get out of the bus a couple of times to move barriers so the bus could make a turn. It would appear that Salzburg is in the middle of a road-improvement program. A lot of construction added to an 'old town' street layout adds up to - take public transport :-) There is plenty of public transport so it would just be a matter of laying out the trip and overlaying it onto the available public routes.

The one big reason we liked the Panorama trip was the guide - Peter - perhaps because of the traffic we had a long trip so he filled in quite a lot of history on the city - it was like two tours in one.

There are many sites within the city that you can easily see on your own like others said. The majority of the sites of interest within the city (fountains and building seen in the movie, walking bridge, Mirabell Gardens, Cemetery that "inspired" the cemetery set in the film, and more are best seen on your own, and are within walking distance of each other within the town of Salzburg. There are many guides you can read that are even sold in Salzburg that can help you find these sites. There are a few sites from the movie or that inspired sets for the movie that are farther out, and Mondsee (the wedding church) is much farther out. You can can get to them on your own DIY. I liked the convenience having it arranged on a tour for these sites, and the fun of being with an SOM group. If you end up looking for a tour, I enjoyed Bob's Tours. On this tour we had a smaller van with 8 total people and had a really good tour guide.

At $110 to $120 for two people, those commercial tours had better be awfully good.

P.S. The bus from Salzburg Hbf to Mondsee in 2009 cost 4,50€/per adult, each way (about $24 for the trip), and you can stay as long as you like.

As Lee notes, Bus 140 goes from Salzburg to Mondsee about every hour and takes less than a hour each way.

You can plan your trip using:

For Fahrplan use "Con" (out of) = Salzburg and for "Nach" (towards) = Mondsee. Reverse to get back. Or under the "Busses/Linien" tab enter the line number 140 and you can also see the stops.

I also checked using Google Maps. It looks like you can get from Mirabelle to Leopoldskron with Bus 170 but Google Maps has you walking the last 1.7 km to Leopoldskron. Getting from Mirabelle to Hellbrunn on Bus 170 is more direct with only a. 6 km walk.

That's "Von" (out of), not Con.

Typo. c to the left of v on my qwerty tablet.

Easy to do. I find it difficult to proofread my own postings in that little box. Sometimes I come back to a post a day later, and I'm aghast at the typos and grammatical errors I find. But some people don't bother to proofread, either.

We did the SOM tour with Bob's special tours. We were lucky, we couldn't book early so once we got to the Hotel Elepant, the desk clerk called Bob's for us and got us a 2pm tour. the normal 2pm tour was booked so Bob's had a Taxi that helps them out take us. He was great. The van was very new, clean and large and we had the van for just our family of 4. There are several sites you could do on your own in town but the best part for me was driving out in the country. He took us off the beaten path through some beautiful hilly farmland that made the trip. I would assume the bus would take you by interstate which was not as scenic of a drive.

We were very happy with Bob's and would take them again.

"...through some beautiful hilly farmland..."

Sounds like the route the bus (140) took. It was definitely not the "interstate". I was so impressed with the beatiful rural scenery that I took three pictures out the front window of the bus.

Only my trip was 6,50€, one way.

You can stay in the actual family home in Salzburg - Villa Trapp - It is full of old family photos and some original furnishings. The woman who runs it is very knowledgeable in the family and home history and is happy to share. It is really a lovely B&B.

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Lyssy in the City

"NYC Based Food and Travel Blog"

Salzburg, Austria – DIY Sound of Music Tour

Hi friends, welcome back to my Germany and Austria series 🙂 While planning our trip, I saw we’d be close to Salzburg so I immediately added it to my itinerary to live out my Sound of Music dreams! I didn’t gracefully spin on top of an idyllic mountaintop, but we did have fun recreating the “De-Re-Mi” scene. There are SoM tours you can join, but with our time constraints, I found this awesome guide of the top spots online and we did our best to see as many spots as we could. I’d recommend doing it this way to avoid crowds and for the flexibility, unless your heart’s desire is on a place not walkable like the church they got married in. Most of the sites are right within the Salzburg city center, so these pictures were taken over two days.

sound of music tour diy

On our final full day of vacation (insert sad face), we got up earlyish, got ready, and made it to the Mirabell Gardens by 8 am. We were delighted to have it almost all to ourselves! I could reenact the “Do-Re-Mi” scene from the Sound of Music without feeling silly, even though everyone else does it. We had a blast skipping through the garden pretending to be the Von Trapps.

sound of music tour diy

Jon and I then walked to get some coffee and continued on our tour. We enjoyed our authentic Starbucks sitting in the Residence Square overlooking the Residence Fountain. This setting is the backdrop when Maria sings “I Have Confidence” and splashes some water in the fountain.

sound of music tour diy

St. Peters Cemetery was the next stop and it was beautiful! This is my least favorite scene in the movie, but it was filmed on a Hollywood set and this spot was the inspiration.

sound of music tour diy

The Festival House where the family performed and made their daring escape.

sound of music tour diy

The Horse Pond is another backdrop to Maria singing “I Have Confidence”.

sound of music tour diy

We then walked about half an hour to Leopoldskron Palace, the Von Trapps’ beautiful home in the movie. This is technically private property and only for hotel guests, but there was a wedding being set up and the gate was opened so we innocently walked through. What a beautiful spot to get married! We got a few pictures and then were on our way back to our hotel to check out. I wanted to see the famous Gazebo, but it was two miles away and we were under a time crunch to make our train. Always good to have a reason to come back 🙂

sound of music tour diy

Jon and I stopped by a bustling market on our way back and grabbed two pretzels and a delicious pastry. The pastry was flaky but crunchy on the outside, and the cream inside was so light and airy but not too sugary. It’s not very filling, but it was incredible.

sound of music tour diy

Some final pictures of Salzburg.

sound of music tour diy

We had a very short time in Salzburg, but we definitely made the most of it! Salzburg is a relatively small city so I think two-three days would be the perfect amount of time to see it all. From Salzburg we took the train to Vienna where we would be flying out the following morning. I hope you enjoyed our twenty-four hours in Salzburg! The conclusion of this Germany and Austria series is coming up next 🙂

Posts in my Germany and Austria series:

  • Munich – New Town Hall & St. Peters
  • Munich – The Residenz & German Food
  • Bavaria – Lake Starnberg & Eibsee
  • Bavaria – Neuschwanstein Castle 
  • Bavaria – Hohenschwangau Castle & Alpsee
  • Bavaria – Zugspitze & Eibsee
  • Bavaria – Walchensee, Geroldsee, & Partnach Gorge
  • Bavaria – Königsee
  • Bavaria – Obersee & St. Bartholomew
  • Bavaria – Maria Gern, Hintersee, & Ramsau
  • Bavaria – Eagles Nest
  • Salzburg – Hohensalzburg Fortress

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37 thoughts on “ Salzburg, Austria – DIY Sound of Music Tour ”

Beautiful pictures..I had no idea that so much of the Sound of Music movie location is part of Salzburg and available for everyone to see. Thanks for sharing!

Thank you! It’s so great to be able to see most the sites from the movie, it’s such a beautiful city! Glad you enjoyed 🙂

You really captured the essence of SoM and Salzburg Lyssy. Glad it all worked out for you, but I am disappointed not to see a spinning on the mountain top view. Loved the heel click. Did you try Kaffeee mit Schlag when you were in Austria? It was decadent. Thanks for sharing. Allan

Thank you! Next time I go I’ll have to get that video. We didn’t try that coffee but we would’ve loved it! We only had the ice cream coffee in Germany and that was decadent too.

Beautiful photos with the added advantage of not too many other people in them.

Thank you! It is nice not having to patiently wait for people to clear my photo ops 🙂

I know exactly what you mean!

Amazing photographs, Lyssy. Leopoldskron Palace is a beautiful place for a wedding. I think pastries are a good way to say goodbye to Austria. What a wonderful holiday you had, and all in all 2022 has been a great travel year for you.

Thank you! Pastries are always a good idea 🙂 We really made up for the last two years and are so lucky to have been able to take these two amazing trips.

Another great collection of memories!!!

Thank you!!

That sounds like a wonderful last day! I can not imagine getting married with a backdrop view like that; it looks like they had perfect weather for it too.

It would have been a stunning day and place to get married! Would be a destination wedding I wouldn’t mind going to 🙂

What a beautiful city! It’s hard to see the magnificence of it in the movie, but your photos captured it SO well. Love the action shot! Can’t wait to see what’s next on your agenda!

It is such a beautiful city! I need to watch the movie again now that I’ve seen it for myself. So glad you enjoyed this!

How enchanting to follow the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg and the weather looked amazing too!

It was the perfect day for our tour! We had so much fun 🙂

The Sound of Music is one of my favourite movies. How neat to visit some of the locations featured in the film. That pastry looks amaaaazing.

It was so cool being able to see where the movie was filmed, it’s one of my families favorites! The pasty was amazing for sure!!

Among your many talents, I did not realize you were a dancer too. Loved these pictures. This was my mom and dad’s favorite movie and stage play. Your post made my heart warm today.

Haha definitely not a dancer! So glad you enjoyed this post! We had the best time seeing all the sights, it was a dream!

I’ve never seen the Sound of Music, but all your photos are beautiful and I absolutely LOVE Salzburg, such an amazing city 🙂

You need to watch it!! Salzburg is such an incredible city 🙂

What an amazing day! And the Leopoldskron Palace looks incredible!! I remember seeing some of these Sound of Music spots when I was there, but the weather was so cold we sort of rushed through them, which is a pity! When I was living in Austria I was also surprised to hear that many of the Austrians I met had never heard of or seen the Sound of Music! I couldn’t believe as it is really an iconic movie to me ahah! Thanks for sharing!

We got lucky with a beautiful day, I imagine it’s not as fun when it’s cold! It seems like everyone should see The Sound of Music! I still get excited seeing nYC spots in movies haha.

Such a great blog! Lyssy I don’t think I’ve ever made it to the end, or even the middle, for that matter, of the Sound of Music film, and I can’t say I know what it’s about. I just remember all the singing on the mountains, but your pictures and blogs inspire me to watch it again as an adult.

Thank you!! You’ll have to watch it again, it’s always a good idea!!

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Beautiful photos, and I feel transported to “The Sound Of Music” looking at them. This is so magical and awesome!!!

Your photos are a testament to the beauty of Salzburg. I like the one that caught you in mid air. Pretty good hang time, I must say. How do you visit these awesome places in great weather and manage to avoid having throngs of tourists in your photos? The Von Trapp house is stunning. Many years ago I saw the Trapp lodge in Stowe, VT. I hope you and Jon have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

I’ve never seen the film of The Sound of Music, but I once saw it on stage (in German) at the Salzburg State Theater. The audience loved it, which was surprising to me since I knew the people of Salzburg used to have a totally negative attitude about it, for the first half-century after its Broadway opening.

This post brought me so much joy. I love the Sound Of Music film and would have so much fun visiting some of these spots! Your photos are truly beautiful and have my wanderlust sparked 💗

Oh my gosh, I love it! The picture of you jumping is so great. I’m realizing now that I don’t recognize most of these scenes, which clearly means it’s been way too long since I’ve seen Sound of Music.

The “Do-Re-Mi” moments are unforgettable, especially at the round fountain and in the park among the stand of formal trees. Pretty cool you can get married lakeside at the “Von Trapp” residence. SoM always seems to be on TV during the Christmas holidays and I may have to watch it again this year. I can’t remember those “I Have Confidence” scenes!

It was special to run around those gardens! I always see the SoM on around the holidays and Easter too. It’s a crowd fav in my family. Although my family doesn’t have the same voice as the Von Trapps. I watched a lot of YouTube videos about the movie and filming locations before we went to refresh my memory 😊

Salzburg is architecturally beautiful and nicely laid out, I regret that I only stopped by on a trip to Austria.

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‎ Austria ‎ >  Salzburg > Sound of Music Movie Tour & Film Locations

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Sound of Music Movie Tour In Salzburg - Film Locations Walking Tour Map

Sound of Music Movie Tour In Salzburg:

Tour  Style :  Do-It-Yourself Walking Tour ( Self Guided ) Time Needed :  Tour stops 1-11 half day; 1-15 full day; all sights 2 days. Important Hours : Festival Hall Tours are at 2pm ( also 9:30am & 3:30pm  in July & August ); Villa Von Trapp room tours are at Noon ( museum 10am-6pm ); Drawf Garden closed in Winter. Fun Scale :  10 out of 10

No trip to Salzburg would be complete without visiting the filming locations from the hit movie The Sound of Music.  Adapted from the story of the real-life Von Trapp family and the hit 1959 musical play by Rodger and Hammerstein, the 1965 movie became an instant blockbuster.  Touring the filming locations in Salzburg from this iconic movie will remind you that hills are still very much “alive with The Sound of Music”.  We hope you enjoy our free Sound of Music movie tour in Salzburg!

Related Guide & Video : How To Get To The Sound of Music Meadow .

How To Divide Your Time:

In 1 day you can quickly breeze through The Sound of Music movie locations in Old Town Salzburg ( stops 1-11 ) and even tour the four just South of town ( stops 12-15 ) if you start early.  With 2 full days in Salzburg, you will have time to also visit most The Sound of Music movie tour sights further outside of town or mix in the Mozart attractions and High Salzburg Fortress from our  Old Town Salzburg Walking Tour .  Having 3 full days is ideal, but to help you better divide your time, check out our  suggested itineraries for Salzburg .

Getting Between Movie Locations:

Most of the Sound of Music movie tour locations in Salzburg are close to Old Town so they can be seen on your own by foot without paying to join a guided tour.  While you can easily walk between most of the Sound of Music film sights in Salzburg, we like to rent bicycles from Avelo in Mozartplatz ( $15 a day; April-September 9:30am-5 pm; July & August 9am-7pm; [email protected] ), especially for movie tour locations 12-15 located just outside of Old Town to the South.

Turning the walking tour into a self-guided Sound of Music bike tour will make your day more magical.  There are half-day or even overnight rentals if needed and you usually only need to make a reservation if you are in a group, need a tandem, or an e-bike.  Helmets and bike locks are included.  For Sound of Music movie locations further away from Salzburg, we have included the bus/train routes on our map, and current schedules can be found online  here .

The Sound of Music Movie Tour:

1. mirabell palace & gardens :.

Salzburg Sound of Music tour Movie Film locations Tour Map - Do Ri Me Statues Mirabell Garden

About Mirabell Palace :  The entire end of the song  ‘Do Re Mi’  in the Sound of Music movie was filmed at the Mirabell Palace Gardens.  Because the grounds are open early every day, they are the perfect place to start our free Sound of Music movie tour in Salzburg.  The Mirabell Palace was completed in 1606 ( rebuilt 1693 ) as the home for Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau’s mistress and the gorgeous gardens were built out later from 1715-30.  In addition to its Sound of Music fame, the Mirabell Palace is also where Mozart would play private concerts as a child.

As you enter the Mirabell Palace Gardens from the South, you will recognize the two impressive pairs of  Greek fencing statutes  from The Sound of Music movie as the Von Trapp children had mimicked their playful poses.  The stone figures, which were inspired by the ancient Borghese Gladiator Statue from Ephesus ( displayed in the Louvre ), each leap forward with a fist triumphantly in the air.  You likely won’t be the only ones following our free Sound of Music movie tour so don’t be shy to copy the poses as you pass by the statues.

While wandering further into the Mirabell Gardens, you’ll also remember the central spouting fountain from the ‘ Do Re Mi ‘ scenes of the Sound of Music movie.  From here make sure to turn around and check out the fantastic views the Mirabell Palace Gardens provide of  High Salzburg Fortress ( Hohensalzburg )  towering over Salzburg.  You will get many unique vantage points of the High Fortress throughout this Sound of Music walking tour.

Cost :  Free.   Garden Hours :   Main Gardens are open Daily all year from Dawn to Dusk; however, the Hedge Maze and Dwarf Garden are CLOSED each Winter.   Palace Interior Hours :  Daily 8am-6pm.   Palace Marble Hall Hours :  Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 8am-4pm; Tuesday & Friday 1-4pm.   Photos :  ( Entrance  |  Garden View  |  Front of Palace  |  Palace Interior – Staircase Angels ).

Sound Of Music Movie Connection : Scenes from the end of the song “Do, Re, Mi” have the children dancing past the spouting fountain, through the garden, and mimicking the triumphant gladiator statues.

2. Pegasus Fountain & Musical Steps :

Salzburg Sound of Music Tour Movie Film locations Tour Map - Horse Fountain Do Ri Me

About The Pegasus Fountain & Musical Steps : On the Northwest corner of the Mirabell Palace grounds you’ll find another flowered garden section known as the Small Parterre, which is home to the iconic  Pegasus Statue Fountain .  The Von Trapp children skip around the circular lip of the Pegasus Fountain ( added in 1913 ) in The Sound of Music movie while singing  ‘Do Re Mi’ .

Beyond the Horse Fountain, you’ll also recognize the North Terrace steps leading up to a rose garden which Maria and the kids used as a hopping musical scale .  As Maria belts out the final notes of ‘ Do Re Mi ‘ from the top of the musical steps, she stands with her right hand high in the air like the triumphant statues from the Mirabell Palace entrance.  Before hopping up the steps yourself, make sure to check out the goat-bearded unicorn statues at the bottom.  The steps from The Sound of Music are also a great place to see the mighty High Fortress towering over Salzburg.  Reaching the top, you’ll have one of the best views on this free Sound of Music walking tour.

Cost :  Free.   Garden Hours :   Daily all year from Dawn to Dusk.

Sound Of Music Movie Connection : During “Do, Re, Mi” the children dance around the Pegasus Fountain before hopping up the steps like musical notes in the dramatic finale of the song.

3. Hedge Maze & Gnome Park :

Salzburg Sound of Music Tour Movie Film locations Tour Map - Hedge Maze Tunnel Scene

About The Hedge Maze & Gnome Park : Make sure to follow the other set of steps near the Horse Fountain ( opposite the Palace & guarded by lion statues ) across a small footbridge to the  Dwarf Gnome Park ( Zwergerlgarten ) .  Some of the sculptures were said to be modeled after real-life dwarfs in 1715, but overall the works were meant to be caricatures making fun of Salzburg’s common people who weren’t even allowed in the park ( became public in 1854) .  A total of 28 dwarf statues were carved out of local Unterberg Marble ( chalky limestone ) placed in the small eastern section of the main garden to make the upper class feel like the big people and to be the be the ugly artwork needed to balance out the ground’s large beautiful central statues in triumphant poses.

In 1815, the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig I had the dwarf statutes removed from the palace grounds and auctioned off as he was superstitious that they would be bad luck for his pregnant wife.  Their son Otto, who was born in Mirabell Palace the same year, would later go on to become the King of Greece.  Luckily many of the statutes were bought back starting in 1919 ( resorted in 1921 & 2017 ) and a new area was made for them on top of a bastion from Salzburg’s Medieval wall where 15 of the original 28 statues now sit.  All of the figures are fun, but the dwarf wearing eyeglasses is the one that all of the Von Trapp kids patted on the head during ‘ Do Re Mi’  in The Sound of Music movie.  We love inspecting each of the baroque statues, but don’t forget to check out the pair dwarfs on the wooden bridge leading to the garden playing Pallone which was a Renaissance version of baseball where you use your arm as the bat.

As you leave the dwarf garden to exit the Mirabell Palace grounds, make sure to visit the long pergola  vine tunnel and hedge maze  which are also featured in The Sound of Music movie.  You’ll have a great time pretending that you are Maria and the children as you hop through the ivy-laced tunnel.  Personally, we have had a blast taking funny photos in the hedge maze, and it is one of our favorite stops on the Sound of Music movie walking tour in Salzburg.

Cost :  Free.   Garden Hours :  Daily 6am-Dusk; Dwarf and Hedge areas are typically closed in the Winter months.

Sound Of Music Movie Connection : Scenes from the song “Do, Re, Mi” including skipping down the vine tunnel and the children patting the dwarf with glasses on the head.

4. Salzburg Marionette Theater :

Salzburg Sound of Music Movie Tour Film locations Tour Map - Marionette Puppet Theater Scene Lonely Goatherd

About The Salzburg Puppet Theater : People who love The Sound of Music will know this fantastic marionette theater ( operation since 1913 ) as the inspiration for one of the best scenes movie.  In the film, Maria and the children perform ‘ Lonely Goatherd ‘  with carved puppets on a ministage inside the Von Trapp Family’s golden ballroom.  This is one of our favorite scenes from The Sound of Music and it’s maybe the one song from the soundtrack that is the most difficult to get out of your head after hearing it.

The local Salzburg Puppet Theater was asked to perform in the scene, but because the troop was out on tour during the filming they were unable to do so.  The cast then relied on the assistance of famous American puppeteer Bil Baird  and his wife Cora Eisenberg to make the magic happen during the shoot in Hollywood.  The scene in the movie takes place in a studio recreation of the real-life golden Venetian ballroom which can be found inside Salzburg’s Leopold Palace.

There are no set tour hours for visiting the Salzburg Puppet Theater, but you can get a taste of the action in person with their great line up of live shows most days which focus on the operas of Mozart.  The marionette theater also now does a full-length puppet version of The Sound of Music Broadway play a few times a week since 2007 which is an extra treat.  Their Sound of Music show requires ten expert puppeteers working in harmony and they have 3 complete sets of marionettes dolls for each of the Von Trapp children to account for wardrobe changes.

Address :  Schwarzstraße 24.   Show Hours :  Various shows throughout the week with 4pm afternoon shows and an evening dinner show starting at 7:30pm ( dinner at 6:30pm ).   Website & Schedule :    Here .

Sound Of Music Film Connection : Maria and the children perform “Lonely Goatherd” with marionette puppets.  The local troop which inspired the scene also performs a full-length puppet version of The Sound of Music Broadway play.

5. Winkler Terrace :

free Sound of Music Movie In Salzburg Film Movie Locations Do It Yourself Guide - Winkler Terrace Do Re Mi Scene M32 Cafe

About Winkler Terrace :  The breath-taking Winkler Terrace sits high up on Monk’s Hill ( Mönchsberg ) overlooking Old Town Salzburg from a steep cliff.  It was the perfect place for Maria and the children to bring the  ‘Do Re Mi’  song into Salzburg from the meadow as they begin to mix the order of the musical notes up for practice.  Earlier in the movie, the terrace is also where Maria appears while leaving the convent for the Von Trapps the first time.

At the time of the filming, this stunning terrace was home to the historic Cafe Winkler which offers the best panoramic views of Salzburg  on this free Sound of Music movie tour.  The M32 Café ( website , horrible service ) and the Modern Art Museum ( website ) now occupy Winkler Terrace, but great views of the city along the same stone walkway filming location have been preserved.  You will see the city center and the Salzach River below you as well as the High Fortress and the red Nonnberg Abbey spire straight across Old Town Salzburg.

It’s not just the views that make Winkler Terrace amazing as it is also surrounded by a timeless section of the fortified Medieval Militia Wall ( Burgerwehr )  which was built in 1487 to protect the city.  As you work your way along the ramparts of the wall, the small Stadt Alm Cafe ( website ) is one of our favorite places to get coffee in town.  The Stadt Alm Cafe still has great views, while being both less crowded and less expensive than the M32 Cafe which is known for horrible service.  Personally, we have experience M32’s bad service a number of times and highly recommend the rustic Stadt Alm over it.

The cliff top is also home to  Schloss Mönchstein  ( website ) & Johannes Schlössl which are beautiful castles turned hotels.  If you have extra time, at least make sure to check out Schloss Mönchstein.  First documented in 1350, the castle was nicknamed the Professor’s Castle when it was run by monks.  Nearby you’ll see other defensive structures like the old Mülleggertor city gate built in 1280.

Getting Up To Winkler Terrace :  The most accessible way up is the  Mönchsberg Elevator  which sits behind the Salzburg Museum and takes you directly to Winkler Terrace.  Look for the pink row house along the cliff with a large MdM above the entrance.  Alternatively, can take a taxi to up the backside of the cliff to the cafe or the stairs at Toscaninihof ( behind the Festival Hall ) to the top of Mönchsberg and reach the terrace with a 20-minute walk.   Elevator Cost & Hours : Adults 2.30€ one way or 3.60€ round trip; kids half off.  Is covered by the Salzburg Card.   Terrace Hours :  Daily 24 Hours; elevator stops between 7-9pm depending on the season.   Photos :  ( View From Terrace  |  View From Cafe at Night  |  Schloss Mönchstein  |  Johannesschlössl ).

Sound Of Music Film Connection : Wonderful city views are had during “Do Re Mi” from the terrace as Maria has the children mix up the order of the musical notes.  The terrace is also is where Maria appears while leaving the convent on her way to the Von Trapps for the first time.

6. Horse Bath ( Pferdeschwemme ):

Salzburg Sound of Music Movie Tour Film locations Tour Map - Horse Bath Fountain

About The Horse Bath : Sitting below the cliffside of Mönchsberg Hill is the largest of Salzburg’s two surviving  Medieval horse baths  which were basically car washes for horses in the Middle Ages.  In the Sound of Music movie, this long fountain is where Maria and the Von Trapp kids stop to splash in the water during the instrumental ending to  ‘My Favorite Things’ .   Additional scenes for the movie were shot at the fountain but were later cut from the film.

The Prince-Archbishop had the mural backdrop and statue of a horse being tamed added to the sprawling fountain in 1693 ( in use since 1599 ) to match the theme of his neighboring Royal Stables ( Hofmarstall ).  We love how the cliff backdrop and bright murals add drama to any photos you take here.  We will pass by the other Medieval horse bath later on this free Sound of Music walking tour in Chapter Square ( Kapitelschwemme ) which framed by two lovely willow trees below the High Salzburg Fortress.  Both horse bath fountains in Salzburg are fed by ancient underground canals in use since Roman times and revamped in both the 700s and 1200s.

Sound Of Music Movie Connection : Maria and the children dance past the Horse Bath in the song “My Favorite Things”.  A few other shots filmed here were cut from the movie.

7. Rock Riding School & Toscaninihof :

Salzburg Sound of Music Movie Tour Film locations Tour Map - Rock Riding School Theater So Long Farewell

About The Rock Riding School :  Stretching for more than a city block tucked against the steep cliff of Monk’s Hill ( Mönchsberg ), the massive Rock Riding School was home to some of the most powerful film scenes in this Sound of Music movie tour.  It is here the in the movie Von Trapp children rehearse for the Folk Festival inside the Festival Hall Theater ( Festspielhaus ) with Max as the tensions with the Nazis being to arise.  Later this open-air theater is also where Captain performs  “Edelweiss”  with help from the audience before being joined on stage by his family for  “So Long, Farewell”  before fleeing Salzburg.  This was one of only two interiors scenes from The Sound of Music movie ( along with the wedding ) that were shot on location instead of in a Hollywood studio.

During the filming of the scenes, hundreds of local extras took part in the audience and were taught the words to Edelweiss on set so they could join in.  The use of the song Edelweiss is a uniquely powerful way to say goodbye as the song was the last words written by famed play-write Oscar Hammerstein.  Hammerstein was battling cancer while adapting Maria’s memoir into the hit 1959 Broadway play, which superseded the iconic film by six years.  It was essentially his own goodbye song sung through Captain.  While not a real folk song, the  Edelweiss flowers are important in Austrian culture  because it only grows high up on the mountains.  When a young lady would receive an Edelweiss she knew that the boy who gave it to her had just risked his life to pick it ( now illegal as they are protected ).

While the Von Trapp’s Folk Festival performance didn’t happen this way in real life, it is still one of the best scenes of the movie.  In reality, the family had performed here in 1935 and  won the Salzburg Music Festival in 1936 after officially forming their choir, but that was almost two years before the Nazis annexed Austria in early-1938.  After refusing to sing for Hitler’s birthday in April of 1938, the family escaped to Italy two months later, prior to the annual Salzburg Folk Festival depicted in the movie.

The real history of the Festival Hall Complex is also very interesting.  The cliffside was used as a quarry to build many of Salzburg’s churches before the Prince-Archbishop began to fill the void from the excavations with new Royal Horse Stable and Summer Riding School in 1693.  The well-named Rock Riding School ( Felsenreitschule ) was complete with an impressive 3-level, 96 box viewing gallery carved out of the rock wall.  The courtyard became important to Salzburg for horse training and riding competitions similar to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.  We find it fitting that the arched stone portals in the wall look like a gladiator arena since Salzburg was originally a Roman town of Luvaum ( 15BC-488AD ).   Since then, the former Rock Riding School Complex has been converted into 3 separate theaters and is fun to tour even when no shows are going on.

During the 5th annual Salzburg Festival in 1925, the Royal Horse Stable was the first of three spaces turned into performance theaters in the complex.  Known as the Small Festival Hall ( Kleines Festspielhaus )  huge frescoes were painted in the theater foyer covering almost every square inch of the lobby the following year.  In 1939, the occupying Nazis had all of the beautiful frescos in the lobby removed saying they were terrible art, but luckily they were re-added in their original positions during renovations in 1956.  Further improvements took place in 2006 in preparation for the celebration of 250 years since Mozart was born in Salzburg, and space was renamed the  House for Mozart ( Haus für Mozart ) .  Today this sleek looking theater seats over 1,500, is used mainly for productions of Mozart’s operas, and still has an awesome mural filled entrance hall.

The second performance space came in 1926 when the Summer Riding School was also converted into a theater using the carved rock wall as a natural backdrop .  Called the Festival Hall ( Festspielhaus ), this open-air theater gained a partial roof ( now fully retractable ) in the 1930s and was the space featured in The Sound of Music movie.  The theater has over 1,400 seats, a sprawling 130-foot-wide stage, a 3-story arcade rock wall backdrop, and a retractable roof.  The final theater, called  Great Festival Hall ( Grosses Festspielhaus )  is inside the former Winter Riding School and didn’t open until 1960 as it required additional excavating.  This huge space is the largest in the complex with over 2,100 seats, a massive 300-foot-wide stage, and shows a lot of productions by Richard Wagner.

The only way to see the inside of the complex where the Sound of Music was filmed in Salzburg, is to either join the official theater tour or see a live show.  Even if you aren’t going inside, make sure to swing by  Toscaninihof Square  on the Eastern end of the building which is also featured in The Sound of Music movie.  In the square, a seemingly cold-blooded Rolf gives Liesl a telegram for her dad from Berlin after the children finish rehearsing for the Folk Festival.  At Toscaninihof you will also find steps leading up to the top of Mönchsberg cliff if you are looking to explore.

Address :  Hofstallgasse 1.   Guided Tour Cost :  7€.   Guided Tour Hours : September-June 2pm; July & August 9:30am, 2pm, & 3:30pm., please see their website  here .   Photo :  ( Exterior from the West ).

Sound Of Music Film Connection : Captain performs “Edelweiss” at the Rock Riding School and is joined on stage by his family for “So Long, Farewell” before escaping.  The theater is one of only two interior scenes actually shot on location in Salzburg.  Toscaninihof Square is where newly aggressive Rolf gives Liesl a telegram for her dad Berlin after the children finish rehearsing.

8. Saint Peter’s Cemetery :

Salzburg Sound of Music Movie Film locations Tour Map - Saint Peters Church Cemetery

About Saint Peter’s Cemetery :  Near the end of the Sound of Music movie, the Von Trapps  hide from flashlight wielding Nazis  behind tombs in the cemetery of the Nonnburg Convent.  The real Nonnburg cemetery is extremely small and modest, so as the producers turned to the cemetery at Saint Peter’s Church for inspiration to build the set in Hollywood .  Ringing the edges of the flower-filled Saint Peter’s Cemetery are large crypts for local wealthy families closed with elegant wrought iron gates which were expertly reproduced for the movie.  While the real-life Von Trapps never hid in a cemetery, the scene in the movie adds great drama and a confrontation with Rolf which is different than the original Broadway play produced in 1959.

The peaceful grounds of Saint Peter’s Cemetery may just be the most serene location in all of Salzburg and it’s easy to see how it inspired the Sound of Music film scenes.  This unique cemetery goes back prior to 700 AD with cliff-side catacombs that go back even  further to 215 AD .  We love the small Saint Margaret’s Chapel in the middle of the cemetery from 1491 and the oldest headstone we have found is from 1288.  Among the graves are Mozart’s sister Maria Anna as well as Franz Wasner who was the  real-life Max Detweiler  depicted in The Sound of Music movie.  Franz Wasner served as the Von Trapp’s advisor and choir conductor.

The most unusual thing about Saint Peter’s Cemetery to American visitors is that you do not buy the plots, but instead rent them .  Relatives of the dead must pay rent for the plot every 10 years and must serve as the caretakers.  If your family doesn’t pay your rent, they toss your body out.  This method also helps ensure that almost every rod iron headstone you pass by will have an abundance of fresh flowers.

If you making good time on this free Sound of Music film locations tour, make sure to check out inside of Saint Peter’s Church which has stunning murals lining its nave.  Next door to the church is one of our favorite places to eat called Stiftskeller Restaurant ( website ) which has nightly Mozart concerts ( more info ) and is considered to be  Europe’s oldest restaurant .  Emperor Charlemagne himself even ate here back in 803 AD.

Hours :  April-September 6:30am-7pm; October-March 6:30am-6pm.   Cost :  Cemetery is Free; Catacombs 1€ Adults, 0.60€ Children.

Sound Of Music Movie Tour Connection : Saint Peter’s was the inspiration for the cemetery the Von Trapps used to hide from the Nazis at the end of the movie, although the scene was filmed in Hollywood.  The cemetery is home to the grave of Franz Wasner who was the real-life Max Detweiler.

9. Residenz Square & Fountain :

Salzburg Sound of Music Movie Film locations Tour Map - Residenz Square Horse Fountain

About Residenz Square & Fountain :  Sitting on the site of a former ancient Roman Forum , Residenzplatz Square still shows off Salzburg’s early Italian ambitions.  The massive Horse Fountain in the middle of the square was one of the main filming locations where Maria family gleefully splashes while performing  ‘I Have Confidence in Me’  in The Sound of Music.  Later in the movie, Nazi soldiers march through the large square while their flag hangs above the entrance to the Old Residenz Palace.  The dreary scene of the soldiers entering town symbolizes German annexing Austria in March of 1938 in what was called the Anschluss.

The focal point of the busy Residenz Square is the centrally located 45-foot-tall  Horse Fountain ( Residenzbrunnen ) .  Four horses leap out of the base while the Greek God Trion spouts water from a seashell at the top of the fountain.  Completed in 1661, the upper section is a replica Bernini’s famous Triton Fountain in Rome and it is the largest Baroque fountain located outside of Italy .  People watching near the Horse Fountain is incredible as the Residenz Square is the center of everything Salzburg.

On the Westside of the square is  Old Residenz Palace ( Alte Residenz )  which had a Nazi flag draped over it in The Sound of Music movie.  Because of the disdain for the Nazi symbols in Salzburg, it took a lot of work to film this scene which also included soldiers marching through Residenz Square symbolizing the day Germany annexed Austria ( the Anschluss ).   The palace was built as a mansion for Salzburg’s Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau in 1596.  Today the Old Residenz Palace has elegant staterooms, which are lavishly decorated, plus a prestigious art gallery that has Rembrandts and Rubens.

In 1602 the Archbishop built the  New Residenz ( Neugebäude )  on the Eastside of the square to serve as his guest house.  Today the New Residenz is home to the Glockenspiel Bell Tower, Heimatwerk Shop, and the  Salzburg Panorama 1929  painted by Johann Michael Sattler.  The Panorama 1929 boasts a series of stunning 360-degree panoramic paintings of many European cities made during the early 1800s.

As part of the construction to create the new open square and surrounding buildings, the Prince-Archbishop had to level many Medieval homes and a cemetery that sat here built above an ancient Roman Forum.  The Forum was from Salzburg’s early days as the settlement of Luvaum ( 15BC-488AD, pronounced U-Va-Voom ) and was partially excavated in 2008 which revealed artifacts and walls from the time of Emperor Septimius Severus ( 193-211 ).

Sound Of Music Film Tour Connection : During the song “I Have Confidence in Me”, Maria splashes in the horse fountain.  The Old Residenz also has a giant Nazi flag on its facade in the movie as soldiers march into the square marking the German annexation of Austria ( the Anschluss ).

10. Mozart Footbridge :

Salzburg Sound of Music Movie Tour Film locations Tour Map - Mozartsteg Mozart Footbridge

About Mozart Footbridge : This art deco pedestrian footbridge named after Salzburg’s most famous resident, Mozart, opened in 1903.  In the Sound of Music, the Mozart Footbridge ( Mozartsteg ) is the where Maria and the kids cross the river while pointing at the sights during the instrumental end to the song  ‘My Favorite Things’ .   The children then also cheerfully skip along the grassy riverbank during the scene.  The Mozart Bridge is a must visit for any Sound of Music movie tour in Salzburg.

Even though Salzburg dates back to 15BC as a Roman settlement of Juvavum, the Mozart Footbridge was only the third to span the river directly into the heart of Old Town.  An old Roman Bridge ( römische brücke ) was the only one over the Salzach River from 15BC-1599AD before it was replaced by the State Bridge ( staatbrücke ) and a second one wasn’t opened until 1859AD when the first Caroline Bridge ( Karolinenbrücke ) was completed.  All of the bridges had to be repaired or rebuilt following WW2.

If you do feel adventurous, the historic  Steingasse  &  Kapuzinerberg Monastery , which are featured in our  Old Town Salzburg Walking Tour , are only a short walk across the river.  Until the Mozart Footbridge was bought by the city in 1921, it actually required a toll to cross between Old Town and Stone Lane ( Steingasse ).

Sound Of Music Movie Tour Connection : Maria and the kids across the river while pointing during the instrumental end of “My Favorite Things” then skip along the grassy riverbank.

11. Nonnberg Abbey Convent :

Salzburg Sound of Music Movie Tour Film locations Tour Map - Nonnberg Abbey Convent Maria

About The Nonnberg Convent :  Sitting above the East side of Salzburg, the historic Nonnberg Abbey ( Stift Nonnberg ) was where the real-life Maria lived and the convent was depicted in many powerful scenes in the Sound of Music movie.  Founded between 712-715 by Saint Erentrudis, the niece of Saint Rupert ( Bishop of Worms ), Nonnberg is the  oldest convent located North of the Alps  which made it an excellent filming location.

Prior to being a convent, the perched location had been home to an ancient fortification dating back to when the town was the Roman settlement of Luvaum ( 15BC-488AD, u-va-voom ).  The small fortification is why Bishop Virgil later renamed the town Salzburg ( Salt Fortress ) in the late 700s.  The Nonnberg Convent has been rebuilt a couple of times since its founding with the current Gothic buildings dating back to 1464-1506.  The red onion dome  on the abbey’s belltower is one of the most iconic architectural features in Salzburg.

There were 4 great scenes filmed on the grounds of the Nonnberg Convent in the Sound of Music movie  near the abbey gates .  These iconic gate scenes include Maria leaving the abbey while wondering “What will this day be like?”, the nuns talking about Maria, the children coming to visit, and the Nazis on the hunt for the Von Trapps during the escape as the nuns disable their car.  Fans of The Sound of Music movie will also remember the nuns singing the song  ‘Maria’  in the courtyard at Nonnberg Abbey.  Permission to film inside the convent courtyard  was not allowed , so they had filmed the scenes at much larger re-created sets in both Hollywood and at a small studio in Salzburg.

Nonnberg Abbey happens to be the same convent that  the real-life Maria  ( Maria Augusta Kutschera ) moved to from Vienna at age 19 where she lived in as a postulant ( nun apprentice ) for 2 years starting in 1924.  Maria ( orphaned at age 6 ) also taught at the Benedictine Convent which led her to become an in-home tutor for one of the widowed Captain Von Trapp’s sick children.  She gave up her path toward becoming a nun and  married Georg Von Trapp here in the chapel of the Nonnberg Abbey on November 26th, 1927.  The filming of Maria and Captain’s wedding scene for the movie, however, was at Collegiate Church in Mondsee Austria which is listed later on this Sound of Music movie locations tour.  It is interesting to note that the real wedding actually took place 11 years before the Nazis came to Salzburg ( 1927 vs 1938 ) and that Maria was 25 years younger ( 22 vs 47 ) than Georg at the time.

Many visitors skip the trek up to the abbey, but we think it is worth the effort and a highlight of our Sound of Music walking tour.  Every morning at 6:45am you can hear the resident nuns sing Gregorian chants in Latin which is a real treat.  Down to 14 nuns in 2017, there were 50 nuns living here during the filming of the Sound of Music.  The interior of the Gothic abbey where they sing is beautiful with a painted wooden altar from 1515 and a carved Pieta statue from 1415.  If you want to cheat a little on your hike up, you can actually walk downhill to the Nonnberg Convent after visiting the Salzburg High Fortress.

Singing Nuns :  Every morning at 6:45am you can hear the nuns sing in the convent church.  Other Music :  Most days March-November at 4:30pm the abbey also hosts 30 minutes of live music ( mainly classical or chorus ) by local artists.  Church Service :  In addition to the major Catholic holidays, weekly church service is open to the public every Sunday at 9:30pm.   Place of Worship :  Remember to be respectful while visiting and don’t be a loud tourist.   Church & Cemetery Hours :  Daily 6:45am-Dusk (6pm in Summer ); the Convent living quarters are not open to the public.   Abbey Website :   Here .

Sound Of Music Film Tour Connection : There are 4 scenes shot at the Abbey gates, and the nuns sing “Maria” inside, although the interior scenes were shot in a studio.  The real-life Maria lived here for 2 years, she taught in the convent, and was married here in 1927, which was actually 11 years before the Nazis arrived in Salzburg.  The real nuns sing here every morning at 6:45am.

Sights Just South Of Salzburg:

12. hotel schloss leopoldskron :.

Salzburg Sound of Music Movie Tour Film locations Tour Map - Palace Leopold Von Trapp Mansion

About Palace Leopold :  Beautifully reflecting over a small lake, Palace Leopold ( Schloss Leopoldskron ) served as the primary filming location in Salzburg for all of the lake terrace scenes at the Von Trapp family home in The Sound of Music movie.  The most iconic outdoor scenes filmed on the property include drinking pink lemonade on the terrace, Captain hearing his kids sing for the first time, the children and Maria falling off the boat into the lake, and numerous shots of the lakeside horse statues framing up Untersberg Mountain.

The Leopold Palace was also the original home to the Sound of Music Gazebo from the movie which was later moved to nearby to the more tourist-friendly Hellbrunn Palace Gardens after fans started climbing the palace gates to see it.  We will see the pavilion in person later on this Sound of Music movie tour in Salzburg.  You can see the gazebo on the ground of Palace Leopold being used as a background prop in many of the lakeside scenes of the movie.  A second, much larger gazebo was built at Fox Studios’ Hollywood set for all of the scenes shot inside it including dancing throughout the song “16 Going on 17”.

The Baroque Leopold Palace was built in 1736 by Salzburg’s Archbishop Leopold Firmian, was later owned by King Ludwig I, and offered the perfect backdrop to represent the Von Trapp’s stately manor.  In 1918, theater director and palace owner, Max Reinhardt renovated the famous gold Venetian ballroom in the mansion to entertain his friends.  Max went on to co-found the Salzburg Music Festival in 1920 ( official in 1925 ) which the real Von Trapp Choir won the competition in 1936 and were depicted performing at in 1938 in the movie.

It is said Max Reinhardt was the inspiration for the renaming the Von Trapp Choir’s real-life manager Franz Wasner in the screen adaptation of the family’s story.  It’s not a surprising name change as Max’s son, Wolfgang Reinhardt, bought the film rights to Maria’s 1948 memoir in 1956 and produced two popular movies about the family in German prior to the Broadway musical production ( 1959 ) and hit American film ( 1965 ) based off of the play.  Remember that like Max, all of the children’s names in The Sound of Music Movie were also changed for the film.

While the facade of Leopold Palace never appears in the movie, the inside of the elegant Venetian ballroom and grand foyer were re-created on a studio set in California for many iconic scenes in the movie.  These re-created spaces are featured when Maria is introduced to children, where the children sing at the party, and when they perform ‘Lonely Goatherd‘ with carved puppets.   The outdoor scenes showing the gates, front door, and facade of the Von Trapp home in the movie were shot at Frohnburg Mansion which is the next stop on our Sound of Music walking tour.  The  real-life Von Trapp Villa  is also listed below and is located only 1 mile away although it doesn’t appear in the film.

Today the Schloss Leopoldskron is privately owned and operates as a boutique hotel.  Staying here as a hotel guest is the only way to visit the lake terrace up close and you’ll also be able to peek inside the Venetian ballroom.  When you stay here you will notice how there aren’t trees right next to the lakeside horse statues like in the film, as a replica path and alternate set of statues were actually built 300 feet away during filming to create the perfect look.  If you don’t have a reservation at the hotel you will be limited to the free viewpoint across the Westside of the lake looking back at the Palace beautifully reflecting in the water.

If you are able to book ahead, you should really consider staying overnight here just to say you did it.  You may very well get a stay in a room where the previous owners Archbishop Leopold or King Ludwig I once slept.  Since the mansion is just South of town, it is the first filming location on our free Sound of Music movie tour in Salzburg where you should consider turning your self-guided walking tour into a do-it-yourself bike tour.

Getting To Palace Leopold :  Unless you are staying overnight at the Palace you can’t visit the lakeside terrace, but you can see it from a popular viewpoint across the water.  You can walk here in about 25 minutes from either Nonnberg Abbey or from the heart of Old Town by taking the steps over Mönchsberg Hille from Toscaninihof Square.  You can also take Bus 25 to the Seniorenheim Nonntal Bus Stop and walk a quarter mile to the West of the Palace near Han-Donnenberg Park.  Biking here is also a great option which we prefer and a taxi ride is a good backup.

Staying Overnight :  You can book a room through the Palace’s booking  website  for around 150-200€ a night in the Meierhof guesthouse or 400-600€ a night for a suite in the main building.   Tours :  Outside of a few special events, you have to be a guest of the hotel to get a tour or access to the terrace, however, you can stroll along most of the small lake and take photos of the exterior from a distance.   Hotel Website :   Here .

Sound Of Music Movie Tour Connection : All of the lake terrace scenes at the Von Trapp home were filmed here.  These include Maria falling off the boat into the lake with the children, Captain hearing the children sing, drinking pink lemonade, and the lakeside horse statues framing up Untersberg Mountain.  Leopold Palace was the original home of the Gazebo during filming.  The main foyer and staircase along with the golden ballroom from this mansion were re-created and filmed in a Hollywood studio.

13. Frohnburg Palace :

Salzburg Sound of Music Movie Tour Guide Film locations Tour Map - Frohnburg Palace

About Frohnburg Palace :  The Frohnburg Palace ( built in 1660 as Grafenau Palace ) by Prince-Archbishop Max Gandolf was used as the backdrop for the Von Trapp family home in every scene that does not involve the lake.  The most iconic feature you’ll recognize is the  Von Trapp Mansion Gates  where Maria arrives to meet the family while singing  ‘I have Confidence’ .  Frohnburg Palace is also where the kids tried to quietly push the family car past the Nazis and where the Captain pulls down the Nazi flag from the gate after the couple’s honeymoon.  They went to such extremes during the filming that even inside one scene, one angle may look onto the lake at Leopold Palace then the next angle of the same scene would be at Frohnburg Palace.  Front and Back

Although the couple’s real wedding took place in 1927 ( 11 year before the Nazis arrived ), Captain really did refuse to fly a Nazi flag at their home.  The family even refused to sign at Hitler’s birthday party on April 20th, 1938 and fled Salzburg just two months after.

The grounds of the mansion have been part of the Mozarteum Music Academy since 1950, but the gates and wall from the movie are both accessible right next to the road.  If you are visiting Salzburg in July or August, you can stay here in the dorms here as the school is not in session for as cheap as 38 euros a night with a 3-night minimum.

Getting Here :  Take the Bus 25 route to the Kleingmain Hacksteinerweg Bus Stop and walk one long block East to Hellenbrunner Allee.  Walking it is 35 minutes from both Palace Leopold and Old Town Salzburg or 20 minutes to the Sound of Music Pavillion at Hellbrunn Palace.   Nearby :  Schloss Herrnau is located just a short walk to the east and is one of our favorite private homes to photograph.   Palace Website :   Here .   Summer Hotel Website :   Here .

Sound Of Music Film Locations Tour Connection : Used to depict the gates of the Von Trapp estate where Maria arrives to meet the children singing the song “I have Confidence”, the kids try to quietly push the family car through the gates, and where Captain tears down a Nazi flag after their honeymoon.  A total of 5 scenes were shot here.

14. The Sound of Music Pavilion :

Salzburg Sound of Music Movie Film locations Tour Map - Gazebo Pavilion 16 going on 17 Song

About The Sound of Music Pavilion :  One of the most famous and romantic scenes of The Sound of Music was filmed in this timeless gazebo when Liesl sings  ’16 going on 17′ .  Liesl badly twisted her ankle filming these scenes but was luckily able to tough it out.  Later in the movie, Maria and Captain fall further in love while singing ‘ Something Good ‘ in the gazebo.  It is still one of the most romantic stops today on our Sound of Music movie tour.

During the filming of the movie, the Sound of Music Gazebo was constructed on the edge of Leopold Palace more as a background prop for the lake scenes .  There was a second, much larger version of the gazebo built at the film studio in Hollywood which offered oversized space needed to shoot the scenes inside the pavilion.  After filming wrapped up the local gazebo was given to the city of Salzburg as a gift and initially remained on the grounds of the Leopold Palace.  After rapid fans started climbing the walls of the private estate to get to the gazebo, it was restored and moved to the more tourist-friendly grounds of Hellbrunn Palace.

The pavilion today is outside the walls the near the Eastern entrance to the Hellbrunn Palace and you  don’t even need to pay  the Hellbrunn entry fee to see it.  The public is not allowed inside the Gazebo, but you can still walk up to and dance around it.  Near the Gazebo is a large park filled with tons of flowers that locals like to visit to get out of Salzburg for a few hours.

If you are making pretty good time on this Sound of Music walking tour you should consider visiting the  Trick Fountains  at Hellbrunn Palace.  The fountains are only available as part of a guided tour but is a very memorable time.  The tours last about an hour and take you through grottoes, ponds, and walkways all filled with trick fountains that are out to get you.  If you have kids with you, the Hellbrunn Fountains will be the most fun thing they do in Salzburg.  Your ticket for the Trick Fountains tour also lets you tour the inside of the Hellbrunn Palace itself which is pretty fancy and has some amazing ceilings.

Meaning Mouth of The Spring , Hellbrunn Palace and gardens were built by Prince-Archbishop Markus Sittikus from 1612-19 as a daytime retreat on the site of an old hunting lodge from the 1400s.  It’s said that during the construction the Palace was home to the first opera performance North of the Alps in 1616.  Like the trick fountains, the Hellbrunn Palace was really made for fun and was built with  ZERO bedrooms .  The vast wooded grounds of the estate were settled as early as 500BC and have had a large villa since Roman times.

Getting To Hellbrunn Palace :  Bus 25 from Old Town Salzburg stops right here ( Fürstenweg ) and it’s a 15-minute ride from Salzburg.  Alternatively a 50-minute walk with limited sidewalks from both Old Town and Palace Leopold or 20 minutes from Frohnburg Palace.  Bike rental is also a great option to see it all.   Gazebo Hours :  Daily Dawn-Dusk all year.   Palace Hours :  April, October, & November 9am-4:30pm; May, June, September 9am-5:30pm; July & August 9am-6pm.   Trick Fountain Hours :  The Trick Fountains have tours from 9am-9pm in the peak season but are closed for Winter from November-March.   Cost :  You can see the Gazebo for Free near the Eastern entrance to the Palace.  Tours of the grounds included both the Palace interior and Trick Fountains of 10.50€ for Adults, 5€ for kids.   Palace Website :   Here .

Sound Of Music Movie Tour Connection : Where Liesl and Rolf sing “16 going on 17” while dancing around.  Maria and Captain also later sing “Something Good” in the Gazebo.  Most interior scenes had to be filmed in a studio as the inside of the real Gazebo was too small.

15. The Von Trapp Villa :

Salzburg Sound of Music Tour Movie Film locations Tour Map - Von Trapp Villa Mansion Real Family Home Maria's Room

About The Von Trapp Villa :  While not used as a filming location in the Sound of Music movie, this beautiful yellow 22-room mansion ( built in 1863 ) was where the  real Von Trapp family lived  in from 1923 to 1938.  The widowed George Von Trapp was able to acquire the mansion for himself and his 7 children after being granted baron status for his valor in as a Captain in the Imperial Navy in WW1.

In 1926, Maria Kutschera was sent to the Von Trapp family home by the Nonnberg Convent to tutor Captain’s ill daughter Maria ( children’s names in the movie were all different ).  One year later the couple married which was actually 11 years before the Nazis arrived in Austria in early-1938.  Georg Was 47 at the time they married and Maria was only 22.  Maria and Captain had another 2 children of their own ( of 3 ) while living in the Von Trapp Villa.

In 1936 the Von Trapps lost a lot of money in a bank crash, had to start renting out rooms in the lower level of their home, and started to perform professionally as the  Chamber Choir Trapp  to make money.  Sent by the local Archbishop, priest Franz Wasner came to live with the Von Trapps during this time and ended up becoming the family’s choir director depicted in the Sound of Music film as the character Max Reinhardt.

By early-1938 the Nazis arrived into the newly annexed Salzburg and the family began to plan their departure.  In June of 1938, the Von Trapps used the Salzburg Aigen Station in front of their mansion to escape by train to Italy ( not Switzerland and no hiking ), just 1 day before Hitler closed the Austrian borders.  Untersberg Mountain which they were depicting hiking over for freedom in the movie actually led right to Hitler’s backup command center in Berchtesgaden and Switzerland is a 250 mile ( 400 km ) hike away over some of the Alps most rugged mountains.

At the time the family fled Salzburg, Maria was pregnant with the couples 3rd child ( Captain’s 10th ), who was later born a few months after the family reached America by boat from London.  The family’s estate was the seized as the private home for SS Chief Heinrich Himmler during the war before being returned to the Von Trapps who sold it to a local Catholic mission.

From 1936-1956 the Von Trapp family performed in over 2000 shows in 30 countries before settling on an American farm estate they turned into a hotel.  Georg Von Trapp died of lung cancer in Vermont in 1947, but Maria lived until 1987 and even had a brief cameo in the Sound of Music movie.

In 2008, the Von Trapp Villa was  renovated into a hotel  which you can tour or stay in today.  While you’ll probably want to use a bike or taxi to visit the Villa, it is worth a stop to work some real-life history into our Sound of Music movie tour in Salzburg.  Opened in the lower floor of the mansion is the educational Sound of Music Museum which has behind the scenes info dedicated to the filming of the movie.  They have audio guides available and the visiting hours are open every day.

Getting To The Von Trapp Villa :  The Villa is located directly next to the Salzburg Aigen train station creating easy access just a 10-minute ride from Salzburg Station on the way to Werfen.  By Bike, it will take about 10-15 minutes from Old Town Salzburg ( 30 on foot ) and about 15 minutes by bike from either Leopold Place or Mirabell Palace.  Taxi from Old Town only takes 5 minutes.   Arrive By Train :  From Salzburg Central Station the S3 line leaves around every 30 minutes and after 4 stops gets directly to Villa Von Trapp at the Salzburg Aigen Station which the real family had used to escape.

Sound of Music Museum Hours :   Open daily from 10am-6pm.  Museum Cost :  Adults 8€; Kids 6-12 are 4€; under 6 are free.   Villa Tours : Tours of the bedrooms are available daily at Noon with a reservation only for 15€.   Hotel Website :   Here .

Sound Of Music Film Locations Tour Connection : Was the real-life Von Trapp family mansion and across the road is the train stop they used to escape to Italy just one day before the borders were closed.

Locations Further Away From Salzburg:

16. werfen picnic meadow ( werfen, austria ):.

Salzburg Sound of Music Movie Film locations Tour Map - Werfen Meadow Picnic Scene Do Re Mi Song

About The Werfen Picnic Meadow :  Perched just above the village of Werfen is the Gschwandtanger Meadow where Maria and children have their  picnic scene  during the start of the song “Do Re Mi”.  While you needed permission in the past to visit the farm meadow, the city of Werfen created an  official Sound of Music Trail  in 2015 to open it up to visitors.  A short 1.4km hike brings you above the village where you can re-create the picnic scene for yourself.

Make sure to take in the views of the valley and  Hohenwerfen Castle  below which dates back to 1077.  The Fortress is the sister of Old Town Salzburg’s Hohensalzburg Castle and is highly visible in the Sound of Music picnic meadow scene.  If you are looking to make your visit to Werfen a full day affair, make sure to tour the castle and also visit the World’s Largest Ice Cave sitting high above the city.  You’ll have to start early to do both.

Getting To Werfen :  Trains run every 30 minutes between Salzburg and Werfen and the journey lasts just 45 minutes. A hiking path leads from the train station to the castle and another up the hill to the meadow.  The ÖBB offers practical combo-tickets ‘With the train to Hohenwerfen Fortress’.  More information is available  here .  Visiting In Winter : Bother the Sound of Music Meadow trail and the Werfen Ice Caves will be closed during the Winter months due to snow, but the Fortress is open all year.

Sound Of Music Film Locations Tour Connection : The famous picnic scene where Maria and the kids first start the song “Do, Re, Mi”.

17. Sound Of Music Meadow ( Marktschellenberg, Germany ):

Salzburg Sound of Music Movie Tour Film locations Tour Map - Julie Andrews Meadow Opening Scene Hills Are Alive With Music Song

About The Sound of Music Meadow :  Made famous in the opening scene of The Sound of Music movie with a twirling Julie Andrews, this timeless meadow is where we learned that the  ‘Hills are alive with the Sound of  Music’ .  Officially called Mehlweg, the Julie Andrews meadow is only 12.5 miles south of Salzburg in Marktschellenberg, Germany.  Although previously connected to a guesthouse, the property has been a  private farm  since 2010 and is no longer regularly accessible to visitors.  You can, however, visit the Picnic Meadow in Werfen which is also on this do-it-yourself Sound of Music tour.

During the filming of the opening scene here, Julie Andrews had to be transported up the hillside each day in an ox cart to reach the meadow.  Even though it was in the Summertime ( early June of 1964 ), it took them 5 days to finally get enough sunshine in the meadow for the perfect shot.  When the conditions were finally right, the strong force of the wind from the helicopter knocked Julie down 4 out of 9 tries before they finally got the famous shot of her twirling.  Because of how loud the tiny helicopter was, they had to do a voice over for part of Julie Andrews singing ‘ The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Music’ .

A month after shooting the twirling portion with the helicopter, they returned to Mehlweg Meadow to finish the rest of the opening scene of the movie before leaving Salzburg.  The birch trees Julie Andrews walks by were actually fake ( notice how you can’t see the tops or bottoms? ) and other dressings like the stream were added artificially for the filming of the movie, but even stripped down the meadow is amazing.

Getting To The Sound Of Music Meadow :  Although the Sound of Music Meadow is near the top of the Marktschellenbergiking trail and accessible by car/taxi it is now part of a private farm and not open to the public.  You can thank visitors who repeated walked through the owner’s family garden and irritated their sheep for the lack of access.  Respect their privacy and visit the Picnic Meadow in Werfen or the nearby hills in Berchtesgaden for the full Sound of Music Meadow experience.

Sound Of Music Film Locations Tour Connection : Julie Andrews twirls around in circles during the opening scenes of the Sound of Music while singing “The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Music”.

18. Roßfeld Mountain ( Berchtesgaden, Germany ):

Salzburg Sound of Music Movie Tour Film locations Tour Map - Climb Every Mountain Closing Scene Rossfeld

About Roßfeld Mountain :  The Alpine toll road that loops around Roßfeld Mountain East of  Berchtesgaden  Germany was used to depict the family’s climb to safety over nearby Untersberg Mountain at the end of The Sound of Music movie.  With a total of 12 takes they only used two clips with one from the South and one from the North with the Purtschellerhaus Alpine hut visible in the background.  While we love this iconic closing scene from The Sound of Music movie with the family singing  ‘Climb Every Mountain’,  it wasn’t very accurate.

For starters, the real-life Von Trapp family  escaped by train  and not by climbing over nearby Untersberg Mountain in real life.  The family lived right next to a train station and were quite lucky as the day after their train left for Italy in June of 1938, Hitler shut down the borders of Austria.  Even if the family had tried to hike over Untersberg, it would have been 175 miles across the rugged Alps to Switzerland for safety.  It also would have been hard to start the hike here as Hitler’s backup command center in Berchtesgaden was nearby.  The command center of Obersalzburg was home to the famous Eagles Nest and the Berghof mansion where Hitler spent more time than anywhere else during the war.

All of that being said about the film’s inaccuracies, this stretch of the Rossfeldstraße is still amazing to visit for drivers and the mountain is popular with skiers in the Winter.  If you wish to visit the summit of the real Untersberg Mountain you can bus there easily from Salzburg and Berchtesgaden followed by a quick cable car ride.  More adventurous visitors can also hike 2 hours from the summit to the Untersberg Mountain Ice Caves ( Eishöehle ) which is only ice cave in Germany.  Keep in mind that there are other ice caves in Werfen and Hallstatt Austria that are way easier to get to.

Getting To Roßfeld :  The Alpine loop toll road around Roßfeld is best accessed by rental car or motorcycle.   Getting From Here To Untersberg :  Take bus 840, 25, or 28 to the village of Saint Leopold then ride on the Untersbergbahn Alpine Lift Route to the top of the mountain if desired.  The Ice Cave is a 2-4 hour hike out of the way from the Alpine Lift.

Sound Of Music Movie Tour Connection : Roßfeld was used to depict the family’s escape over nearby Untersberg Mountain during the closing scenes with “Climb Every Mountain”.  In real life they took a train to Italy and climbing this mountain would have put them right at Hitler’s backup command center in Berchtesgaden.

19. Collegiate Wedding Church ( Mondsee, Austria ):

Salzburg Sound of Music Movie Tour Film locations Tour Map - Mondsee Collegiate Church Wedding Processional

About The Wedding Church :  Located 16 miles East of Salzburg, the Collegiate Church ( Kollegienkirche ) of Saint Micheal in Mondsee ( Moon Lake ) was the film location for  Maria and Captain’s wedding  in The Sound of Music movie.  Often called the Wedding Church or Mondsee Cathedral, this bright yellow church was the perfect fallback setting for the wedding after filming was not allowed inside Nonnberg Abbey .

It is surprising to know that the timeless wedding scene was actually the first thing the crew filmed when they arrived in April of 1964 for their just over 3 months of shooting around Salzburg.  The filming of the wedding processional inside of the Collegiate Church was one of only two major indoor scenes ( along with the singing contest ) of the movie that was shot on location instead of in a studio.  The wedding was all filmed in one day ( April 23rd ) with the help of 600 local extras, and the crew attended other weddings here the week beforehand for scouting.  In the busy season, the Mondsee Church from the Sound of Music movies hosts up to 8 weddings a day .

The 170-foot tall twin towers and lavish pink interior are both awesome, but the Collegiate Church has a history also.  The first Mondsee Abbey was established in 748AD ( rebuilt in 1500 ) making it one of the oldest in Austria and like Salzburg, the village itself goes back to Roman times.  In addition to the bright pink interior seen in the Sound of Music’s wedding processional, the Church is renown for its 7 side altars and the main Baroque altar which the statue of Saint Micheal from 1626.

In 2005,  Pope John Paul II  upgraded the spacious Collegiate Church Saint Michael from a Cathedral to a Basilica.  Mondsee is a pretty small village but the quaint square in the center of town near the Church is very rewarding and offers easy access to take a nice lakefront stroll.  As you head toward the lake, you’ll see the trees the children are hanging out of as Captain drives by with the Baroness and Max.

Getting To Mondsee From Salzburg :  Quickest way to get here is bus 140 which leaves every 40 minutes and only takes 50 minutes for the journey.  If you have a car it is only 20-22 minutes away.  Consider checking out the nearby cities of Saint Gilgen or Hallstatt if you are going this direction.   Visiting Hours :  Most days 9am-7am, optional donation suggested.   Church Website :   Here .

Sound Of Music Film Locations Tour Connection : The Collegiate Church served as the film location of Maria and Captain’s wedding processional.  It was one of only two major interior scenes of the movie shot on location instead of a movie set.

20. Mondsee Lake ( Mondsee, Austria ):

About Mondsee Lake :  Mondsee is one of the many amazing lakes you can easily visit near Salzburg.  Other favorite lakes of ours include Kings Lake in Berchtesgaden, Wolfgang See near Saint Gilgen, and Hallstatt See.  Kings Lake, Obersee, & Fuschlsee are all seen  in aerial shots  in the opening scenes of the Sound of Music.  As you head toward Mondsee Lake from the church you’ll see another spot from the movie, the trees the children are hanging out of as Captain drives by with the Baroness and Max.

Further along the Eastern edge of Mondsee, you’ll find one of best Sound of Music film locations where the Maria and  the kids ride bikes  during “Do, Re, Mi”.  As the children bike around Lake Mondsee, you can see the Zwölferhorn Mountain visible across the water.  When you picture a Sound of Music bike tour, the path around Mondsee is by far the most iconic route to pedal.

Getting To The Mondsee Lake Bike Scene Location :  From Mondsee, you can either bike to the other side of the lake in 6 miles or take Bus 596 from the bus station to the Innerschwand/Mondsee Niedersee Stop in about 20 minutes, but the bus only leaves every 2 hours.

Sound Of Music Film Locations Tour Connection : Where the kids hang from the row of trees as Captian’s car drives by and where they ride bikes with Maria along the water during the song “Do, Re, Mi”.

Local Sound of Music Tour Guides:

1. Bob’s Tours : Bob’s Tours offer both a half day and full day Sound of Music Tours in intimately sized groups with 8 person vans.   The 4 Hour Tour covers all the main Sound of Music sights right in Salzburg including Hellbrunn Palace but also goes to the Leopold Palace, the Salzkammergut Lake District, village of St. Gilgen, and the Church of Mondsee.  The 8 Hour Tour takes the experience a step further by taking visitors to the unforgettable lakeside town of Hallstatt.  Hours : 4 Hour Tour leaves at 9am & 2pm; 8 Hour Tour leaves at 9am only.  Cost:   4 Hour Tour is €45 for adults and €35 for children; 8 Hour Tour is €90 for adults and €70 for children.

2. Panorama Tours : Panorama Tours is more of the traditional larger tour bus style tours with a commercial feel.  This tour covers pretty much the same sights as Bob’s Tours 4 Hour Tour, and although it’s not as personal, it is a great sure fire tour.  Hours: Leaves at 9:30am & 2pm.  Cost: Adults are €40 and children are €40.  Has a hotel package deals that include a room, breakfast and 4 Hour Tour which ranges in price from €135 to €200 per person.

3. Maria’s Bike Tours : We love Maria’s Bike Tours!  Their 3.5-hour-long tours do the best job of letting you experience the Sound of Music instead of just seeing it through a window of a van or bus.  People of all ages like this tour because although it is a bike tour, it doesn’t require you to be super in shape.  The biggest advantage is that it has an afternoon tour in peak season while most of the SOM tours only depart at 9am.  Did we mention, they provide the bikes and helmets?  Meeting Point:  Mirabell Palace Entrance.  Hours: Leaves daily at 930am and runs from May 1st-Sept 31st; 430pm tour starts in June; reservations required June & August.  Cost: Adults €24, Ages 10-15 €15, Children 10 and under €10; bike is included for free and you can rent it for the duration of the day for €8.  Alternative :  You can rent a bike without a guide from Mozartplatz and follow our full Sound of Music movie tour on your own.

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The Sound of Music Tour

Sound of Music bus from Panoramatours | © Tourismus Salzburg GmbH / Johanna Röck

Explore original shooting locations on the Sound of Music Tour in all kinds of different ways: by bus, on foot or by bicycle. Whatever you choose, it’s bound to be a one-of-a-kind experience.

The life of the von Trapp family is intertwined with that of Salzburg itself. Every year, some 300,000 people visit important landmarks in the life of the von Trapp family and the story told by the movie. The fascinating life of former novice Maria von Trapp and her singing family became a world-wide success when the film was released in 1965, with Julie Andrews starring as Maria. The songs from " The Sound of Music " are famous around the globe.

Original shooting locations from the Sound of Music movie include:

Mirabell Gardens and the Pegasus Fountain (the dance scene with Maria and the children)

Schloss Leopoldskron (in the film, the house where the family lived)

Hellbrunn palace (singing scenes)

Nonnberg Convent (where the young Maria was a novice)

St. Gilgen / Wolfgangsee (opening scene of the movie)

Mondsee Basilica (wedding scene)

"The Sound of Music" tour can be booked online through...

Sound of Music Tour-Bus | © Panorama Tours / Heiko Mandl

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tour with Bob's Special Tours | © Bob´s Special Tours

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sound of music tour diy

Sound of Music tour

Step into the world of The Sound of Music with this guided driving tour that lets you visit filming locations from the classic movie, including the gardens where Maria and the children performed Do Re Mi, and the church where Maria and the Captain were married.

You’ll also see the Nonnberg Convent, the Benedictine monastery built high into the Festungsberg hillside where Maria was a postulant before moving in with the Trapp family. Head to Hellbrunn Palace and walk the crushed-stone paths to the glass gazebo where Liesl and Rolfe sang their duet and Maria and the Captain shared their first kiss.

You will also get to see Schloss Leopoldskron, the stately rococo palace that was used for the Trapp family’s lakeside garden and terrace. Then your driver will bring you to the lake district, where the opening song of the movie was filmed among the green pastures, trickling streams, sheer cliffs and sparkling blue-green lakes.

Your private driver will pick you up at the hotel before heading off on your half-day tour through Salzburg and the surrounding areas to see some of the most familiar places from The Sound of Music.

The Mirabell Palace and its gardens can be seen as Maria and the Trapp children run, dance and sing to Do Re Mi in the film. The gardens themselves boast manicured lawns with low-lying flowers planted in swirling designs throughout. You’ll also see the Pegasus fountain that appears in the movie. The winged-horse statue sits high above the water, which reflects the green from the surrounding shrubbery.

Hellbrunn Palace is home to the glass gazebo where Liesl and Rolfe sing Sixteen Going on Seventeen , and where Maria and the Captain share their first kiss. It sits within an expansive garden, where you can stroll along the crushed-stone paths to admire the statues and greenery.

The real-life Maria, as well as the movie version, were both young postulants at Nonnberg Convent, the abbey used in the film. Take in the big copper dome of the Benedictine monastery, which sits elevated above the square, built into the Festungsberg hill. It was founded by Saint Rupert, one of the patron saints of Salzberg, and is a protected monument.

You’ll head to Schloss Leopoldskron, which was used for all the scenes of the Trapp family’s lakeside garden and terrace. The rococo palace was commissioned in 1736 as a personal home for a noble, and has now found a second life as a hotel. Here, you’ll get an up-close look at the water Maria and the children went tumbling into out of a row boat.

Your driver will also bring you to the lake district, where the grassy hills, snow-flanked mountain peaks and glassy lakes are immediately familiar from the opening song. In the lake district is Mondsee Abbey — the former Gothic monastery that hosted the wedding of Maria and the Captain. Head inside to see its white-and-pink arches contrasting with harsh dark wood and glimmering gold accents.

After your tour, your driver will bring you back to your hotel.

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Mirabell Palace, Salzburg

Other experiences in Salzburg

These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities that will introduce you to the local ways of life.

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Immerse yourself in the music and food of the Baroque era with this intimate dinner and concert at one of the oldest restaurants in Europe. Enjoy a performance of Mozart’s works by costumed performers between courses of a traditional Austrian meal.

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Mozart walking tour

See Mozart’s hometown of Salzburg and the places that were important to him on this walking tour. Visit the Salzburg Cathedral, see Saint Peter’s Abbey and explore Mozart’s Birthplace and Residence, where he lived during his childhood and adolescent years.

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You can enjoy this activity as part of the suggested tours below, or we can weave it into a trip shaped entirely around you.

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' class=

Hello Jeni10

Have fun.....we did.

sound of music tour diy

Hi,,I bringing my early mother to saltzburg ,I'd like to do the sound of music tour can I book it when we get there,also any tips as it will be the first time anywhere with a wheelchair please help !

' class=

I am not sure when you are going, but I would suggest that you contact bobs tours to see if they can facilitate you. enjoy!

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity.

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All Posts / Europe / The Sound of Music tour

The Sound of Music tour

sound of music tour diy

By Brittany

sound of music tour diy

Was it worth it, you ask? Definitely. Would I recommend it? YUP! Again, the reviews on Yelp were so mixed up that I can imagine a bad tour guide could happen, but who cares?! You’re in Salzburg with the Von Trapps? You’ll get caught up. Oh, and did I mention at the end of the tour while you’re cruising back to Salzburg, the guide puts on the soundtrack and you sing. I mean, I sang, I couldn’t really hear anyone else. But the girl from China came up afterwards and congratulated me on my voice. All I could say was, “I know it quite well”. This was only a day trip from Vienna, a lovely 3 hour train ride, and if I were to go back I might spend the night and do more Mozart stuff, because I also love him.

The End. 


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Sound of Music

The Sound of Music

The original tour.

Let us start with the beginning of this really extraordinary story. In 1963 Twentieth Century Fox sent scouts to  Salzburg  to plan filming the the Von Trapp Family story on location. The filming in  Salzburg  started in 1964. As flights and housing for over 250 crew members, technicians, camera men, stage hands as well as the actors were extremely expensive, the time-frame was limited to six weeks, but due to bad weather conditions, the  filming  took around 11 weeks after all. During this time nobody dreamt that THIS  special movie  would one day become one of the  most famous and successful films  ever. After the premiere in 1965, the first fans from the US started coming to  Salzburg , to visit the  locations where the movie had been shot . As the  Panorama Tours  drivers had been involved in escorting the actors as well as the staff to the  various places , they not only know the exact locations, but also lots of stories behind the making of this movie. At this time our sightseeing tour  ORIGINAL SOUND OF MUSIC TOUR  was born so we could share all this with you! With us you can get all the inside information! Our company,  Salzburg Panorama Tours , is also really proud of the special friendship with the Trapp Family in Vermont and also with  Rodgers & Hammerstein . Our  tour  is the officially presented tour on the official DVD and Blu-ray as well as on many other productions like "On Location" with Charmian Carr which was filmed in 2004, on occasion of the 40th anniversary of the  movie .

The bus during the shooting takes the crew to the locations

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Experience sound of music.

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Check out our tours for fans of "The Sound of Music" in Salzburg: Original Sound of Music Tour, Sound of Music Tour with Schnitzel & Noodles, Sound of Music Private Tours, Sound of Music Special Package, Sound of Music at Schloss Leopoldskron Package and many more.

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The Sound of Music : Which Tour is the best in Salzburg? An Inside look at the Panorama Sound of Music Tours

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.  I don’t know about you all, but when The Sound of Music airs on TV, we love to watch together as a family.  I grew up on it, and chances are you did too.  Even some of our parents did.  And now I love having the chance to share it with my kids.  During our summer in Europe we had the chance to visit Salzburg, Austria and I couldn’t have been more excited.  I knew it was home to The Sound of Music, and it was important to me to find the best Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg.  Not only is Salzburg the home of The Sound of Music, but our trip happened to fall during the 50th anniversary of the release of the movie.  It was such a thrill for us to be there, visiting the places where Maria sang and the Von Trapp family children grew up.  Choosing which Sound of Music Tour to take in Salzburg can be overwhelming.  There are a number of tours to choose from and a bunch of Sound of Music tour reviews to read through online.  I did quite a bit of research to make sure we found a reputable tour that would show us what we wanted to see.  Hopefully giving you some insight into our experience on the “Original Sound of Music Tour” by Panorama Tours will make it a little easier for you when you are making your travel plans. This post contains affiliate links.

the best sound of music tour in Salzburg

The von Trapp family is inseparably linked to Salzburg, but oddly enough, most Austrians have never even seen the Sound of Music, and certainly don’t know the songs.  It’s funny to think that the international box office success drives more than 300,000 tourists to the tiny city every year, and most people that live there don’t even understand why.  Tourists run around singing “Edelweiss” like it’s a cherished Austrian folk tune, when in reality it was created by the famed Rodgers and Hammerstein for Broadway.  Oh, well!  It’s still fun to sing!


After researching all of the Sound of Music tours in Salzburg and reading tour reviews on forums like TripAdvisor and Rick Steves, my choice was between Salzburg Sightseeing Tours “Original Sound of Music Tour” and the  Panorama bus tour .   Both tours of all the tours I looked at get great reviews, and I’m sure they are both wonderful, but we ultimately settled on the Panorama tour due to scheduling.  Here is a look inside…

Sound of Music Tour Salzburg TripAdvisor

You definitely want to book your Sound of Music tour in Salzburg in advance.  I booked ours about a month out, and all tours for that day sold out shortly thereafter.


I learned something valuable about booking these tours that I thought I would share here.  When you book your tickets you are given the option to pay extra and have the bus pick you up at certain hotels.  Do this! Here is why: Directions from the tour bus company are clear as far as where to meet, but I will say that you want to get there well ahead of your slotted tour time, especially if you are hoping to sit together as a family.  We were staying at the Hotel Elefant Salzburg , ( you can read all about our wonderful experience with the hotel here ), which was a quick walk from the tour meeting spot and bus stop.  So I wasn’t worried about paying extra to have the bus pick us up.  I learned the hard way that I probably should have paid for that option. My one complaint about the tour is that it seems as though they over book.

Our tour was scheduled to leave at 2pm, so we arrived 15 minutes early.  Instead of assigned seats, which would make things SO much easier and less stressful, you line up in a long line of tourists, and hope you can make it on to the bus you reserved a ticket for.  We did not.  What we learned while standing in line, is that several of the people waiting at the front of the line had purchased tickets for, and waited in line for, an earlier tour.  Their tour bus had filled up, and they had been instructed to wait for the next tour bus (ours) to arrive.  When our bus arrived they loaded them up first, which left us and another family stranded without a seat on our scheduled tour.  Not so fun, especially when you are traveling with kids.

Frustrated, we waited in line where they told us to wait for the next bus to arrive.  When the next bus came, it was already almost full.  Tour guides had already loaded up the bus with people that had scheduled the 3pm Sound of Music Tour, but had paid for pick up at their respective hotels.  They almost didn’t have room, much less seats together, for the four of us and the other family.  It all worked out in the end and we were able to sit together.  If I were making reservations for a Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg again I would definitely pay the extra fee for the bus to pick you up at a hotel to avoid this headache.  The people that pay to get picked up at a hotel get picked up first.  They are able to secure seats and avoid all of the stress and frustration that we endured.  In my opinion, it is well worth the extra cost after having this experience.

Which Sound of Music Tour to Take in Salzburg

Once on the bus, the initial stress and frustrations were quickly forgotten.  We set out for our 4+ hour tour and it was WONDERFUL!  Clean, beautiful and comfortable buses, a fun tour guide, interesting facts and behind the scenes info about the making of the movie, and TONS of stops at all of your favorite locations from the movie.  They show clips from The Sound of Music on TV’s in the bus, and did I mention the sing along?  Yes, music from the movie is piped throughout the bus and it is SO fun to have the bus singing along!   We were sitting next to a Salzburg local who had never seen the movie, and it was hilarious to see his reaction to all of us crazy tourists!  See if you recognize any of these fun places that you will visit along the tour…

Maria runs along this beautiful tree lined dirt road on her way to the von Trapp family home singing “Confidence.”

Which Sound of Music Tour to Take in Salzburg

Before I know it she will be sixteen going on seventeen…

Sound of Music Tour Reviews

I may or may not have made the kids re-enact scenes from the movie for pictures. 😉 Doe a deer…Salzburg’s Mirabell Gardens look almost identical as they did 50 years ago when the Von Trapp family played in the park in the movie.

Sound of Music Tour Salzburg Rick Steves

The church where Maria and Captain von Trapp are married…

Which Sound of Music Tour to Take in Salzburg

The Sound of Music tour is a long tour.  Be sure to eat something before hand and bring a snack with you.  None of the stops, except for the last one, give you an opportunity to purchase anything to eat, and timing is tight so you might not even have a chance to eat then.  There are bathrooms at one or two of the stops along the way, but make sure to be prepared before you leave.  You can bring water bottles on the bus so I would suggest you have one of those as well.

Panorama Tours offers several different options for a Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg.  You can even book a private custom full day Sound of Music Tour from Vienna if you are not staying in Salzburg.  Pricing for 2018 Sound of Music Tours in Salzburg starts at 45 Euro per person.

I hope these tips help make choosing the best Sound of Music Tour to take in Salzburg a little bit easier.

We were fortunate to have so many amazing experiences in Europe.  If you’re planning a trip and would like to learn more about about what we did and lessons we learned, you can see our family trip to Europe itinerary here.

If you’re heading to other places in Europe, here are some more posts you don’t want to miss!  You can check out our entire Europe Travel Gallery to see all of our posts and helpful info.

Things to See in Europe

Tea at the Orangery | Riding Trains in Europe | Dublin Travel Guide | Paris Museum Pass | Best Family Hotel in Rome

Things to do in Europe

Visiting Bruges | Staying Connected in Europe | Best View in Paris | Amsterdam Canal House  | Borough Market

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which sound of music tour is the best in Salzburg?

2 thoughts on “The Sound of Music : Which Tour is the best in Salzburg? An Inside look at the Panorama Sound of Music Tours”

Were you able to enter Schloss Leopoldskron? I have been reading reviews that during the ride some locations were only “pointed out from afar” but not really get off?

Hi April! So on this tour you don’t go into Schloss Leopoldskron. They do their own private tours inside that you can schedule separately. We walked along a trail that was on the opposite side of the lake to view the back of the property. The actual hotel was not used in the filming, the rear of the property is the only thing you actually see in the movie, so for us it was fine to see just that. I hope that helps and that you have a WONDERFUL trip! Salzburg is so gorgeous!! Tammy

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The Sound of Music film - Maria on the hill © 20th Century Fox

Original Sound of Music Tour® - Tour 1A

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Panorama Tours Bus Terminal , Mirabellplatz / Hubert-Sattler-Gasse 1, 5020 Salzburg Arrival information

Join us on a wonderful ride through Salzburg on the Original Sound of Music Tour®

Tour the picturesque World Heritage City of  Salzburg  as well as the beautiful  landscapes where the opening scenes of the movie   The Sound of Music  were filmed with our live guide!

The Sound of Music Tour Salzburg includes original shooting locations from "The Sound of Music" movie:

  • Mirabell Garden and Pegasus Fountain , where Maria and the children danced in the movie
  • Nonnberg Convent , where Maria was a novice
  • Schloss Leopoldskron ,  the house, where the Trapp Family lived in the movie which is now a luxury hotel
  • Hellbrunn Palace (singing scenes in the movie)
  • Gazebo (now placed in Hellbrunn), where the Baron von Trapp kissed Maria for the first time
  • Church Mondsee , where Maria and the Baron get married

Leopoldskron Palace with Fortress in the back © Panorama Tours

The Sound of Music in Salzburg

The enormous success of  The Sound of Music  Broadway Musical by  Rodgers & Hammerstein  premiering in 1959 made film director Robert Wise and 250 crew members turn  Salzburg  and its surroundings into the  Sound of Music filming location  in 1964. And it was  Salzburg Panorama Tours  who took the  Sound of Music  film crew to the  various locations  where the  famous movie  was filmed.

Shortly after its release, the film became a tremendous success, receiving five Academy Awards, becoming the highest grossing movie ever and reaching cult status over the years. Both musical and film are based on the "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" written by  Maria von Trapp  in 1949.

Get to know Salzburg

Follow the traces of the  Trapp family  and take a tour through Salzburg and its surroundings. See the  original film settings  and just imagine being  Julie Andrews , the main character in the film, playing  Maria von Trapp . Learn about the historical and architectural landmarks of Salzburg as well as the Lake District while enjoying the highlights of the movie. Relax and listen to the  Original Sound of Music  soundtrack and of course feel free to sing-along  Edelweiss  and many more... Our live guide will tell you everything you need to know about The Sound of Music, the Trapp Familiy, the film locations and about the shooting.

Leopoldskron Palace with Fortress in the back © Panorama Tours

  • Please make your own way to meeting point, 15 min. prior departure
  • free cancellation up to 24 hours prior to tour departure
  • We are not able to offer a pick-up service from the hotel
  • Infants up to 4 years are not entitled to their own seat
  • Pets are not allowed in the tour

FAQs Original Sound of Music Tour®

Where does sound of music take place.

The true story, that The Sound of Music is based, on took place in the Austrian city of Salzburg. Large parts of the movie were filmed in and around Salzburg, some scenes even in the original locations. Featured in the  Original Sound of Music Tour® are among many others Leopoldskron Palace and the gazebo at Hellbrunn Palace . 

When did the true story of Sound of Music take place?

Maria was asked to teach Georg von Trapp's children in 1926 and their wedding took place in 1927. In 1938, the Trapp family moved to the US to escape the Nazi regime in Germany and Austria. Their move was however far less dramatic than it is portrayed in the film. The 1965 film is an adaptation of the 1959 stage musical and based on Maria von Trapps 1949 memoir "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers".

Where is the Sound of Music house?

There are three locations associated closely with the Trapp family in Salzburg. The original Trapp family home Villa Trapp is located in Aigen to the southeast of Salzburg and not seen in the movie. Two other estates were used to portray the Trapps' home in the movie: Leopoldskron Palace and Frohnburg Palace .

Where is the Sound of Music gazebo?

The gazebo featured in the "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" scene was located in the gardens of Leopoldskron Palace during filming. It was later moved to the gardens at Hellbrunn Palace to make it accessible to interested visitor. The Original Sound of Music Tour® stops at the gazebo to give you the opportunity for unforgettable moments and souvenir photos.

Which church was used in Sound of Music?

While many other scenes were filmed in the city of Salzburg, the romantic wedding scene in the movie The Sound of Music was shot at the church in Mondsee. A stop at this church is part of the Original Sound of Music Tour® by Salzburg Panorama Tours  and gives you the opportunity to explore this beautiful filming location.

When is the Original Sound of Music Tour® operated?

This tour is operated daily with two start times at 9.15 am and 2.00 pm.

Please notice:

We are not able to offer a pick-up service from the hotel. Please make your own way to meeting point, 15 min. prior departure.

Only Salzburg Panorama Tours is responsible to schedule the tour vehicles.

Infants up to 4 years are not entitled to their own seat.

Pets are not allowed in the tour.

sound of music tour diy

Stefan Herzl

Hello, my name is Stefan Herzl and I’m really looking forward to show you my beautiful hometown Salzburg. I am a native Salzburg offering since 1976 various sightseeing tours in Salzburg & surroundings.

This tour is included in other products - get more for your money!

Anlegen neue Tour "Sound of Music - Private Half-Day Tour & Cooking Class" - Teil 1

Sound of Music - Private Half-Day Tour & Cooking Class

Hallstatt - Couple in front of Hallstatt scenery with Hallstatt lake and mountains - Hallstatt Tour with Salzburg Panorama Tours

Sound of Music & Hallstatt - Private Full-Day Tour

Hotel Goldener Hirsch - Restaurant s'Herzl - Schnitzel with noodles © Hotel Goldener Hirsch

Sound of Music Tour with Schnitzel & Noodles

The Sound of Music film - Maria on the hill © 20th Century Fox

Sound of Music Special

Schloss Leopoldskron with lake © Panorama Tours

Sound of Music at Schloss Leopoldskron

Salzburg Marionette Theatre - The Sound of Music © Marionettentheater & TSG

The Hills are Alive in Salzburg

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The Sound of Music film - Maria on the hill © 20th Century Fox

Get the best deal for your stay in Salzburg with this Sound of Music package! Discover the city of Salzburg and its surroudings on the Sound of Music Tour and find out more about the movie, its filming locations and the Trapp family's true story.

Mozart Dinner Concert Salzburg - Ensemble © Mozart Dinner Concert GmbH

Mozart Dinner Concert

Attend this performens and be taken back to Mozart’s time! Enjoy an evening likely to have taken place in 1790 - in the baroquehall - lit by candles, having a dinner based on historical recipes, listening to a concert with musicians in authentic costumes and the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. 

Salzburg Marionette Theatre - The Sound of Music © Salzburger Marionettentheater

The Sound of Music | Salzburg Marionette Theatre

"A delightful surprise from start to finish" (NY Times)

Sound of Music Trail - singing kids © TVB Werfen

Sound of Music Tour with Schloss Leopoldskron & Trail - Private Full-Day Tour

Enjoy a perfect full-day Sound of Music experience including Leopoldskron Palace & Hiking Trail

How to Book Your Own Tour: Tips for the DIY Musician

Planning a successful music tour from start to finish.

[ This article was written by guest contributor Kristine St-Pierre . ]

Do it yourself (DIY): the act of doing or creating something without the aid of experts or professionals.

Going on tour can often seem daunting, especially when you’re trying to plan the whole thing on your own. Where do you start? And how do you go about it? When I decided to do my first solo tour in 2010, I remember feeling scared, but also extremely excited for what was to come. While every day had its ups and downs, I came home not only feeling proud of what I had accomplished, but with a bunch of new songs and stories!

Having only done two tours, my experience cannot be compared to that of a seasoned touring artist. However, I’ve had many people ask me about my experience and about setting up their own DIY tour, so I thought I could share my own experience. So here are a few tips for conducting a successful tour on your own. No booker, no PR, no marketing agent. Just you.

In addition to my perspective, I’ve asked a few artist friends to share their own DIY touring tips. Hopefully these tips will prove useful when planning your own tour.

1. Map out your itinerary

Where do you want to go? Will you be driving, flying, or taking the train? L ook at a map and start identifying a possible itinerary and write down the cities/towns along the way and the distance between them . Are there specific areas where you absolutely want to go? Do you have family, friends or acquaintances with whom you could stay?

If you plan on taking the train, pick the specific route you’d like to take and identify the arrival and departure times, as these will be crucial when booking gigs and making sure you have enough time from one town to the next. For me, the choice of itinerary was based on the desire to go somewhere I had never been before and take the opportunity to visit a bit of the country.

2. Identify venues & local performers

Once I had an itinerary in mind, I looked up similar artists whom I knew had previously toured the area and made a list of all the venues on their tour . In addition, I searched for live music venues, which I thought would suit my style, and looked for open mic nights.

Another way of going about this is to find a local artist to open for or with whom to play, a tactic used by both Heather Hill and Jessica Speziale on their respective tours. Heather found it extremely valuable to open for someone who can draw, especially in a city where she didn’t have an established fan base. Jessica, for her part, found that getting in touch with local artists directly and contacted the venues with a full bill of familiar names was a great way to address the lack of a fan base.

Randy Young of the band Cherry Suede has a slightly different approach, given their already thriving fan base, but one worth mentioning. They use a  rough rule of thumb: a 10:1 ratio of their known and active fans vs. their expected draw. If they have a 1000 fans in a region, they estimate a draw of 100. Randy also warns artists to choose their venue carefully: “Your venue needs to be the type of place that YOUR fans will enjoy. Don’t set up a show in a grungy bar if your fans are the type to prefer a theatre. EVERYTHING matters. And most importantly, play only a venue you can fill. If you expect only 20 people, then play a venue that holds 18. So many bands book a large venue based on ego and not data. 100 people in a room meant for 400 is empty. 100 people in a room meant for 90 is a sellout.”

3. Contact venues

Start early! I usually start thinking about a tour 6 months in advance and start contacting places 3 months ahead of the tour. However, even that is a little last minute! Justin Lacroix who has toured across Canada multiple times suggests starting 6 to 12 months in advance. “Start planning 6-12 months ahead of time. Lock in your key shows, find other musicians to share the stage. There is a lot of organization needed to book an efficient tour. For me, I often get caught up in the booking. More specifically, waiting for venues to get back to me… or not get back to me. So the greater challenge for me is in the prep – timing it right so that more dates can be booked well ahead of time and so that I can send out posters and press releases 1-2 months ahead of time instead of 2 weeks before the show or worse or not at all.”

In addition to timing, there is the challenge of credibility. Award-winning singer-songwriter John Allaire explains that his main challenge when booking himself is just that. “There seems to be a lack of credibility when you book yourself, as opposed to an agent doing it. It’s still a struggle to get venue owners to believe in you.” I find this extremely unfortunate, especially as more and more artists, both emerging and established, are trying to go at it on their own.

4. Save/Raise $$$

While the ultimate goal would be to make a profit, or at least break even, the reality is much different. That said, there are many ways of ensuring that you do at least cover your costs so that the money from your CDs and other merchandise goes to you directly.

* Apply for funding.  There are numerous organizations (in Canada) that give out funding for national and international tours, including the Ontario Arts Council and Canadian Council for the Arts.

* Raise money. Crowdfunding is becoming increasingly popular as a means of financing the production of a cd or a tour. Look into it and talk to artists who have done it.

* Be creative! Check out Amanda Rheaume’s “Loons for Tunes” campaign , which she launched in 2010 to help her pay for gas during her 8-week tour across Canada!

5. Don’t be afraid to do this on your own! 

Sure, doing things on your own can be scary. How many of us are scared of going for dinner on our own, let alone going on a road trip for two weeks or even a month. It’s not easy, but you can do it! Plus, you’re never really alone if you’ve got your music, right?!

I like doing these trips alone, because for me it’s a time to explore and reflect. It’s also a way to prove to myself that I can do this. That said, you can also take this opportunity to travel with your friends, partner, or family! Heather is a perfect example. As a mother of two, she used her tour as an opportunity to travel with her husband and kids!

“Travelling with my family was very fun. While it was tiring, it was so great to wake up each day and know I could explore a new place through their eyes. I used to travel with work in my past and I never liked going to new places and living in different hotels. With kids, it was fun doing things they would like – having breakfast in bed and trying out all of the pools were highlights. It was nice having them at a few gigs and watching me set up my equipment and cheer me on!”

6. Don’t give up, be persistent, and have fun! Seriously 🙂

To finish off, I asked each artist to share a final thought or one of their favourite venues (I’ve played at all three mentioned here and completely agree with the selection!).

John: “ The key to touring is persistence and not getting discouraged by a few poor turn-outs here and there . Use it as an adventure. Go play somewhere out of your comfort zone. Work for your money. Win people over. It’s the only way to improve. I was playing Ottawa to 100 people per solo show… getting complacent until I booked a show in Manhattan. I had to make people like me there. To them, I was just the next guy on the bill. Push them hard enough…make them like you. When you come home, your audience will see how you’ve matured and will appreciate your shows even more.”

Heather: “ LopLops in Sault Ste. Maire . Steve the owner worked so hard to make the night successful. He put up lots of posters helped contact the media, etc.”

Justin: “ Networking, pooling resources, staying flexible, sustained efforts and perseverance are key. Oh, and once you get to the gig, it’s all about the musical sharing experience…give it all you got and it always comes back tenfold. The Apollo in Thunder Bay. Why? Character, caring owners who do their share of promoting. You charge what you like at the door and keep the earnings. There’s a great sound system and a good sound guy. They also put you up in their “hostel-esque” abode above the venue.”

Jessica: “The Griffin Gastropub in Bracebridge, ON . It’s a full night, it pays well, and the people LOVE music!!”

Randy: “ Be a master of your hometown first. If you can’t sellout a venue in your hometown – you will have an even tougher time on the road. Touring is a lot of work and a lot of detail – and it takes a team. I’m not talking about an artist needing an “agent” or a “manager” – if you are a band, you have a team built in. Assign tasks, deadlines and accountability. I would book ONE show every 8-12 weeks in your hometown until you sell out the venue. This will reveal any strengths and weaknesses at EVERY level of your show – from performance to promotion. And only then – try a town nearby and do it again – until you build a few markets within a radius that you can re-visit.”

*I’d like to thank the following artists who contributed to this article: John Allaire ( ); Heather Hill ( ); Justin Lacroix ( ); Jessica Speziale ( ); and Randy Young ( ).

For more information about booking your own tour, download our free guide:

[hana-code-insert name=’touring-dont-miss’ /]

[ Picture of North America from Shutterstock . ]

Tips & Tricks For Getting Started On Your DIY Home Theater Project

fancy/expensive home theater room

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It's never been easier or more inexpensive to build a home theater with a real sense of scale and oomph. On the display side, TCL and Hisense have become players to the point that, as we've noted in the past , you can get well-reviewed, feature-rich TVs at massive sizes like 75-inch and 85-inch for under $1,000 or even TCL's 98-inch TV for roughly $2,000. That's a TV with about the same footprint as a queen-sized mattress. On the audio side, there are plenty of surround sound options at different price points, some of which are wireless beyond a singular HDMI connection to your TV. Even at a time when inflation is hitting Americans hard, building a high-quality, immersive home theater is more accessible than ever.

However, with so many options, you'll need to educate yourself as a consumer. Not every model TV from every brand is made equal, with some missing features you'd expect. All-in-one surround sound options aren't as plentiful at lower price points, at least from name brands, and even if you want to couple a receiver with a set of speakers, you need to know what exactly you want to do with them to pick out the best fit for you. How much of a priority is music or integrating the "height" effects from the newer Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround sound standards ? That just scratches the surface, so let's look at some things you need to consider before building your dream home theater.

Figure out what exactly can fit neatly into your space

The first step you need to take when designing your home theater system is to consider what the room that the system will live in can comfortably support with regard to surround sound. If you have end tables or bookshelves on both sides of the viewing/listening area, those are great spots for satellite surround speakers and eliminate the need for stands or wall mounts. From there, it becomes a matter of whether or not you think you can manage routing speaker wire around the room.

There are a few options. You can do a regular wired system, which would necessitate using plastic tubing to route the wires around your walls and ceilings to get to the surround speakers if you don't want them running across your floor. You can get a semi-wireless system where the surrounds are wired to something — an included wireless subwoofer, an included wireless adapter, or an aftermarket wireless speaker kit — so that the only wires for the surrounds run behind your couch. Or you can get a fully wireless surround system, where prices vary wildly depending on whether you're willing to try an unknown off-brand or feel the need to go with a proven name brand.

Figure out how much audio fidelity and music playback matter to you

Something else to consider in the initial planning stages: Are you envisioning this as something that can double as a Hi-Fi music playback system or are you mainly setting up a home theater to improve on your TV's speakers with higher volume levels and surround sound effects? If the latter, would you be satisfied with a system where the primary gains were in the form of surround and/or spatial effects?

If you don't see yourself doing music and just want to experience sound effects coming at you from all sides, then you have a lot of options on a smaller budget. Soundbars with wireless or semi-wireless surround speakers are an option, and you can easily find a good option for $200 to $500. If you're looking for something that can be a high-end music system, one that would justify including a quality turntable and/or playback hardware for high-resolution digital audio, then it gets more complicated.

At that point, you need to more strongly consider buying an AV receiver to power and feed a set of passive speakers. If you have enough space and a big enough budget, finding quality tower/floor-standing speakers for the front stereo speakers that have matching bookshelf/satellite speakers is the best choice for a split music/movies system. If you have less of a budget, then you're best off scrutinizing reviews of the music performance of self-contained "home theater in a box" systems.

Determine what size and type of display works best in your space

Your display is just as big a piece of your home theater as the speakers are, regardless of whether you're using a TV or a projector/screen combo. Screen size is a major consideration here that, in turn, dictates many other factors. The best place to start is the viewing distance from the TV; venerable high-end/specialty electronics reseller Crutchfield , for example, has a good guide to screen size vs. viewing distance for 4K displays.

If you're getting a TV and not a projector/screen combo, then you need to figure out how it's going to be placed. Are you planning on wall-mounting it or using a TV stand? If there are studs in the wall, then a wall mount could easily be anchored to those and mounting is a great option. If there are no studs, then you could have a type of wall, like cement board, that is ill-suited for wall-mounting a large TV. especially if you'd like to use a swivel mount. At that point, you need to decide between a TV/stand combo or a projector and a screen.

Make sure your components are well-ventilated

This one is, to a degree, a consequence of your display choices. If you elected to get a TV stand, whether by necessity due to inadequate walls for mounting or by choice, then you have shelves that are specifically designed for A/V components that can house a receiver, game consoles, Blu-Ray players, and more. If you wall-mounted your TV or are using a projector, then you'll probably need an equipment rack. Either way, though, when you figure out how where everything is going to go, you need to make sure that the various components have enough room for good airflow around them.

The component where this is most important is your A/V receiver if you elected to get one. Receivers tend to be the biggest component in the average home theater stack. They produce a lot of heat and have plenty of vents, but they need space for the air to move. Denon and Marantz , for example, recommend on their websites  that, wherever you put your receiver, you make sure there's enough room for at least six inches of clearance for ventilation above the receiver and two inches on the left and ride sides. "This will reduce the risk of the unit overheating when playing at a high volume output level," notes the Denon support page, also adding that a cooling fan module can provide some extra ventilation assistance.

Are you a physical media person?

Something else to think about, both in terms of figuring out the necessary playback devices and figuring out how much space you'll need, is what you're going to use to play content on this system. If there's a physical media element at all, how much storage will you need for it? When it comes to movies and TV shows, a cheaper, more self-contained system will probably do just fine, with the more compressed options available on streaming services. 

If you're looking for the absolute best in audio and visual fidelity, then you need to opt for watching on Blu-Ray discs, whether the older HD version or the newer 4K/UltraHD format. If your speaker system exposes some of the artifacts of lossy audio compression formats, then Blu-Ray is the better choice because it's the only video format that includes losslessly compressed soundtracks.

For music, if you're using a low to mid-range soundbar for your front speakers, then you'd probably be fine with high-bitrate MP3 files or better. If you're getting some floor standers or high-end bookshelf speakers, then you're best off feeding them high-quality digital  — where physical media is optional — and vinyl records. Don't forget to calculate how much space you'll need for records. For packing the most vinyl into the smallest space, LP Bin probably makes the best storage products, which are comparable to record store displays.

If you want DTS:X or Dolby Atmos height channels, it's more confusing than it should be

In the last decade or so, surround sound has undergone an evolution. The previous common layouts of 5.1 channels (front stereo speakers, a center speaker for dialogue, two rear surrounds, and a subwoofer) and 7.1 (basically 5.1 with the rear channels split into "side" and "rear") were updated to also include "height" channels that are represented by a third number. These use ceiling-mounted speakers or more conventional speakers with additional, upward-firing drivers to provide spatial effects that turn surround sound into even more of a three-dimensional experience than it already was. There are two competing spatial audio formats from Dolby and DTS for delivering those audio tracks, which are branded as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, respectively.

If you want spatial audio, the simplest way would be to get a self-contained audio system — usually 5.1.2 channels — that includes upward-firing drivers. Bose has a fully wireless option with an upward-firing soundbar for about $1,400 , but LG and Vizio have much less expensive options that are semi-wireless. (The surrounds are wired to a wireless subwoofer or dedicated transmitter.) If you want to assemble your own system with a receiver and passive speakers, that's where it gets confusing. You won't find receivers using the three-digit numbering convention like 5.1.4. Instead, they lump all of the discrete channels into the first number. So if you wanted to feed everything in a 5.1.4 speaker setup, you'd need at least a 9.1 channel receiver, which costs more money.

Consider acoustic panels on your walls

If you're willing to go all-out in tricking out the space housing your home theater to make it as luxurious as possible, then one additional way to get there is to put acoustic panels on the walls. Acoustic panels are generally made of foam or wood wool and help dampen excessive echoes/reverberations to help produce a cleaner, less cluttered sound. Acoustic panels have to be placed strategically, both in terms of numbers and position; a smaller number can be used in a more focused way, while a larger number can be used to outright soundproof the room and prevent the sound from leaking elsewhere.

The acoustic panels that you can purchase will all have their Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC for short) ratings listed on the packaging/in the item description. The NRC rating indicates how much sound a panel absorbs, with a rating of .65, for instance, absorbing 65 percent and reflecting or diffusing the other 35 percent into the space where the panel has been mounted. That diffusion is necessary for good results, as absorbing all of the sound would muffle it.

In reducing excess reverb, acoustic panels don't just improve the clarity of the sound, but also help the viewer/listener perceive the directionality of sound better. This, in turn, makes for a better surround sound experience. The best results, though, come from the strategic placement of different types of panels depending on location, a mix of absorbent panels, diffusing panels, and bass traps, which are specially designed to control low-end frequencies.

Fontaines DC, with Carlos O’Connell and Grian Chatten at the front.

Fontaines DC: ‘We can generate ideas that sound like they’ve been carved in stone for a thousand years’

Influenced by Korn and moving beyond their native Ireland, the band are ready to be one of the biggest in the world. They explain how panic attacks and parenthood came to bear on a bold new LP

C arlos O’Connell isn’t merely excited about the release of Fontaines DC’s new single. He’s “giddy for it. I’m giddy ,” he emphasises, reclining in his dressing gown in a sunlit corner of his north London home. His attire is far from rock star loucheness: it’s 9am and the guitarist has already been up for hours with his one-year-old daughter. “There’s no time to get ready!” His effusiveness doesn’t feel like a stretch: the prospect of any new material from the celebrated Dublin band is thrilling enough; the fact that Starburster marks a wholly unexpected sidestep into antic, irreverent, Korn-inspired nu-metal is enough to make any interested parties come over slightly light-headed.

Yet later that afternoon, Fontaines frontman Grian Chatten is finding it difficult to muster the same enthusiasm. Perhaps because he can’t quite bring himself to listen to the thing – or, in fact, any of the band’s forthcoming fourth album, Romance. He tells me this from a more stereotypical hot seat, a characterfully cluttered old-school pub in Camden Town, although he’s not cleaving to rock cliche, either. We are on the Diet Cokes and the only pharmaceuticals around are his ADHD medication, which he remembers to take halfway through the interview. “Want one?” he offers, snapping the blister pack.

There are four whole months until Romance is released in August: is there a chance Chatten may give it a spin in the meantime? “I’m considering it,” he says, seriously. “Which is more than I could have said for any album we’ve done before.”

Those previous albums were raging successes, winning the band a Brit award, Grammy and Mercury prize nominations and, in the case of 2022’s Skinty Fia, a place at the top of the UK charts (its predecessor, A Hero’s Death, narrowly lost a well-publicised chart battle with Taylor Swift). They also put the five-piece in the running for best rock band in the world, though they have little competition for the title.

Yet you can understand why Chatten finds it hard to revisit them. Fontaines’ 2019 debut Dogrel – a blast of penetrating post-punk teeming with pickaxe-like hooks – spotlit Chatten, who might as well have been shouting his jagged evocations of small-town malaise down the phone at you. A Hero’s Death and Skinty Fia gilded the clattering bones of their original sound with simmering atmosphere, baggy swagger, and clever but memorable melodies. Yet they were still essentially vehicles for Chatten’s vocals: guileless, strident, uninhibited. “I’ve put a lot of myself out there the past few years,” he says.

Chatten’s solution to this overexposure is – somewhat counterintuitively – to go bigger. In the autumn, Fontaines supported Arctic Monkeys on their US tour; before that, Chatten saw Blur at Wembley. Both showcased what he saw as the appealing “universality” and reciprocity of the stadium experience; ocean-like crowds chanting lyrics about big emotions seemed like a way of sharing the burden of self-expression, a kind of “armour” for the artist. Chatten decided a potentially arena-filling “grandiosity” would be Romance’s animating principle. “I didn’t want to write, like, a Champagne Supernova, but I did want to do something that felt like it was deep within and far without,” he says, with his own trademark grandiosity, one that jars in the best way coming from this slightly uneasy 29-year-old in a pair of poppered 90s trackies.

The sweeping singalong strategy is also a way of transcending the theme the band has become synonymous with: Romance is Fontaines’ “least Irish” album, says Chatten. Until now, the country has been setting, subject and spectre, rendered through densely referential lyrics (the DC in their name stands for Dublin City; the rest refers to singer Johnny Fontane from The Godfather). Dogrel opens with the line: “Dublin in the rain is mine / A pregnant city with a Catholic mind”, while penultimate track Boys in the Better Land caricatures an Anglophobic cabby: “He spits out ‘Brits out!’, only smokes Carrolls”. Jackie Down the Line, from Skinty Fia – an album which reckons with the internal conflict of leaving Ireland for London – initially seems to be about an abusive relationship, but that warps like a stereogram when you hear Chatten’s belief that it’s really about “Irishness surviving in England”.

O’Connell thinks the band’s focus on Ireland was always about something broader; he says the songs were ultimately “meditations on identity and belonging, understanding your own place in the world”. For Chatten, it’s just “a colour I didn’t really feel like painting with at the moment, especially with the intensity with which we did. I don’t want to write something that feels like a sequel.”

The band members of Fontaines DC, Tom Coll, Conor Deegan, Grian Chatten, Conor Curley and Carlos O'Connell

Hence: Korn. In a break with their signature style, Starburster sees the band channel the forbidding nu-metal pioneers in a “tongue-in-cheek” trip down memory lane, says Chatten. For O’Connell, it was an exercise in post-ironic nostalgia towards “this thing I loved when I was 14 and stopped listening to for years and now I love again”. He also cites the Californian band’s contemporaries Deftones and Alice in Chains as influences. But for Chatten it’s Korn – a band that “scared the shit out of me as a kid” – and Korn alone (“I fucking hate Limp Bizkit and don’t even really like Rage Against the Machine”).

Most nu-metal sounds like a panic attack in sonic form; Starburster literally is. In January, Chatten was travelling to the studio to record some “shite lyrics” for the track when he had a panic attack. He sat down in London’s St Pancras station, completely “stultified”, he says. “I couldn’t talk to anyone. I couldn’t leave the table, because I wouldn’t be able to pick up the right things.” The only thing he could do, he found, was rewrite the words of the song. The result is a dark, funny maelstrom of wild, flailing desire, Chatten’s way of airing his frustration with his actual physical “inertia; not being able to get the motor going inside me”. Panting punctuates the ranting, echoing the hyperventilation he tends to experience with a panic attack.

Chatten used to get panic attacks a lot before he started medication for ADHD; he received his diagnosis three weeks after the St Pancras incident. Previously, he would have them attempting to leave the house, running “up and down the stairs 12 times” to ensure he had everything. “With each trip, I’d be chipping away at my self-confidence, feeling like I’m incapable of looking after myself.”

He says things have improved on that front, but it’s clear he still gets anxious – especially in public. Rock stardom may not have the attendant fame it once did, but phones have made Chatten feel “doubly exposed for half the celebrity I am”. He is perturbed by people filming him and strangers Googling him in plain view. Recently, in a cafe, he ended up cancelling his order and leaving because all “these people were staring at me”.

The bad news is that Chatten is destined to become even more recognisable; I would be very surprised if Romance, a new creative peak, doesn’t fast-track Fontaines to those prospective arenas. Does their trajectory frighten him? “Yes, but I’m up to the challenge of getting better.”

That trajectory has been a remarkably old-fashioned, reassuringly meritocratic one: no viral hits, no big label leg-up – Romance marks their signing to XL – no starry co-signs. The band – which also features Tom Coll on drums, Conor Curley on guitar and Conor Deegan III on bass – formed in Dublin in 2014, having met as students at the city’s Bimm music institute; Chatten was born in Cumbria but they all grew up in Ireland, bar O’Connell, who spent his childhood in Madrid, although his mother is from Dublin. (I’m speaking solely to Chatten and O’Connell, as Fontaines prefer not to be interviewed as a group.) Then, they just “gigged and gigged and gigged” their way to recognition, says Chatten. They paid their dues – extortionate Dublin rents meant in the early years they dossed down in a disused business centre full of beds (“Curly shared mine. It was awful”) – but Chatten can’t say there were years of frustration; broadly speaking, Fontaines have had a seamless rise.

Ultimately, the only way to be a successful young rock band today is to genuinely rival the greats – and Fontaines do. That’s partly because all their songs feel like undiscovered classics, to the extent that I wonder how often O’Connell worries they actually are forgotten favourites as he writes. “All the time!” he replies breezily, face haloed by prongs of faded pink hair. “Sometimes you’re like: fuck, that’s that other Beatles song.” Especially strong melodies stop him in his tracks. “But if you can’t place it then you just hope it’s not a rip-off,” he says, very much the nonchalant foil to Chatten’s brow-furrowed overthinker.

All that thinking is the other key to Fontaines’ success: it’s helped Chatten write lyrics so scintillating they make you yearn for the days of album liner notes to pore over. As a child, Chatten’s father bribed him with packets of football stickers to memorise poems; he also alerted him to the poetry of pop songs. Soon he was listening to Bob Dylan and the Cure, copying out the words to Just Like Heaven and having a go himself. In retrospect, he thinks, he was trying to reach beyond the banality of everyday life. “Robert Smith isn’t going out on the pints and saying words like that to people, but in the current day we can generate ideas that sound like they’ve been carved in stone for a thousand years.”

Chatten does do a great line in plausibly ancient truisms. “They say they love the land but they don’t feel it go to waste / Hold a mirror to the youth and they will only see their face,” he sings on I Love You, Skinty Fia’s dismayed ode to an Ireland left behind. That song also showcases the musician’s piercing specificity (“Now the morning’s filled with cokeys tryna talk you through it all / Is their mammy Fine Gael and is their daddy Fianna Fáil?”). It’s all deeply considered, brilliantly rendered and very deliberate.

Despite relinquishing their focus on Ireland, Romance’s moreishly gorgeous finale, Favourite – a jangling whirl of circularly melodic, rainbow-lit melancholy reminiscent of Morrissey’s Why Don’t You Find Out for Yourself – does sound like a love letter to their home town. O’Connell isn’t sure: “It’s hard to know when Grian writes the love songs if it’s about his fiancee or if it’s about Dublin.” Chatten says he was trying to capture the feeling of “George’s Street, Camden Street in Dublin in the rain, outside the pubs there”, although his main subject was “booze and drugs, and depression … darkness as a warm bath to slip into”.

Chatten on stage in Denmark, 2019

In person, Chatten comes across as friendly and self-effacing rather than downbeat or tortured, but his answers do read rather bleakly on the page. At one point he suddenly starts fretting about his ability to parent his future children if he gets writer’s block. “This relationship I have with creativity is what will keep me stable enough to raise kids. If that thing I have with the songwriting goes, I’m worried I’ll be a hard person to be around.” I try to reassure him that once he has children it’s unlikely he’ll have the mental space to even think in those terms. “Anyway, Carlos has a kid and he’s really creative and it’s all good,” he nods.

For O’Connell, having a child has made the band’s jam-packed touring schedule for 2024 – a string of festivals leading up to a European and US tour – a positively relaxing prospect: “You get more sleep on the road than you do at home.” Last year, he took paternity leave from the band’s Australian tour for the birth of his daughter with his partner, French actor Joséphine de La Baume. It was a “super easy” decision: “I wanted to do everything perfect for her.”

O’Connell isn’t sure how much of Romance the band will be “allowed” to play at summer festivals before its release, but can’t wait to showcase their enjoyably brash new look, an amalgam of shiny sportswear, nu-metal jean chains, Keith Flint-style cyberpunk and grungy androgyny. O’Connell spearheaded the style; Romance’s songs made him see “neon green everywhere”.

It’s the first time the band have had a considered, holistic aesthetic. Initially, says their frontman, “we had a vague idea of ourselves under-dressing. I loved wearing the same shirt every day for two weeks and shit like that.” This being Chatten, however, it is no surprise to discover that his grubby top was actually doing double duty as a profound metaphor for his conflicted views on fame, success and the blossoming legacy of Fontaines DC.

“It was almost a way of counteracting the sense of upward trajectory of the band at the time,” he says wistfully. “It just made me feel like nothing’s changing.”

Romance is released by XL Recordings on 23 August. Starburster is out now. A European tour begins 12 June including dates at Glastonbury and Reading & Leeds festivals .

  • Fontaines DC
  • Pop and rock

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