The Hills Are Alive – The Sound Of Music Tour

Driving through the Austrian Countryside and singing along to ‘the hills are alive with the Sound of Music’, with a bunch of fellow nerds, really I couldn’t be any happier. Song of Music is one of those golden classic which I don’t think I can ever get enough off. It is one of my all time favorite movies. Personally I have always wanted to go to the Gazebo and Sing, ‘I am sixteen going on seventeen.’

We took the Panorama Tours which pioneered ‘the Sound of Music’ tour. The tour happens twice a day, leaving at 9:15 am and 2pm. The tour shows you the Von Trapp family houses (yes houses, not one but two because the front and back of the house were shot at two different locations), the gazebo, the church where the Captain von Trapp and Maria get married, the fountain where they sing ‘Do Ri Me’ and many other places bringing memories back from the movie.
Drove by the Red Bull HQ on our way to Mondsee
Drove by the Red Bull HQ on our way to Mondsee

The tour takes you around Salzburg and its beautiful countryside to enjoy the sights and hear stories about the highest grossing musical film ever . The tour usually consists of only foreigners, since the movie was not shown in Austria until and few years ago and most Austrians have never heard of it. But it does bring millions of people from all over the world to Salzburg each year.

The tour involved a lot of driving, but the tour guide sure made the travelling fun with all the singing and anecdot about the movie. They even give you a break to enjoy some lip-smacking apple strudels. What more could one ask for!

Our first stop was in the town of Mondsee, with its beautiful St. Michaels Cathedral, where the Captain and Maria tied the knot in the movie. In reality, the von Trapp couple got married at Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg. The cathedral is smaller than how it appears in the movie, thanks to some Hollywood magic to make it appear bigger. But that doesn’t make the Cathedral any less glorious. It’s just as beautiful as it is seen in the movie.


 Inside the Cathedral

Outside the Cathedral there are numerous of little cafes which serve some really good apple strudel and other various pastries. The street sure is as cute as there ever was.

Our next stop was the Leopoldskron Lake for a view of the Leopoldskron Palace. This is the lake where the children took an accidental swim as they fell off the boat while waving at the captain. The back of the palace was used in some of the exterior shots of the von Trapp family home.

The Famous Gazebo

The famous gazebo was once on these grounds, but too many people were jumping the walls to get to it, so they moved it away. It now stands on the grounds of the Schloss Hellbrunn. Unfortunately, it’s
all locked up so we couldn’t go in and leap from bench to bench like Liesl did in the ‘Sixteen Going On Seventeen’ number. This gazebo is much too small to be the one from that scene and hence it was actually shot on a film set at 20th Century-Fox Studios.

The Schloss Frohnburg Palace was the main building used for the exterior shots of the Von Trapp villa – it is now a music university. Along the front of the Castle is an alley lined with shady trees on both sides. This was where the von Trapp children hung from the trees on their fun day out with Maria.

The tour ended as the bus dropped us off back in Salzburg right next to the Mirabell Gardens. This was where many of the scenes from the song Do-Re-Mi were filmed.

IMG_2868 IMG_2817

The True Story. Like for Real.
Our guide did give us a few facts about the movie and the actual family.
The Sound of Music movie is based on the unusual and exciting story of Baron Georg von Trapp, an Austrian aristocrat who married his governess in 1927 – their age gap was of 25years. Untold in the film, they actually went on to have 3 children of their own, to raise a total of 10 children in the family.
It was a priest (not Uncle Max) who entered their lives in 1935 and began to give the family music lessons. They went on to win the first place in a choir contest during the Salzburg Festival and subsequent contests become their financial rescue.
When Hitler annexed Austria in 1938, the family immigrated to the US, and not crossed the Alps to reach Switzerland.

In 1941, the von Trapps built a Salzburg-inspired chalet in Vermont, USA and have lived there ever since. It now is a luxury hotel and apartments.


The tour is a must go to if you like the movie as much as I do, or even if you just want to just see some of the beautiful sights of Salzburg. I finally did get to see where most of the movie magic took place and got to enjoy all the wonderful sights that Salzburg had to offer. It is definitely a tour worth doing and shouldn’t be missed.

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