The hills will come alive as you tour Salzburg, Austria, with breathtaking landscapes, extraordinary architecture and delicious food.
A life-long dream came true when we made it to Salzburg, Austria. I have always loved “The Sound of Music” and seeing the churches, homes, bridges, statues and the beautiful mountains that surround this city has been a lifelong dream of mine. It was at the top of my bucket list once we found out we were moving to Europe.
Matt’s work was taking him to Garmisch, Germany for a dental conference. I looked at a map and realized Salzburg was close! We flew into Munich at 9 a.m. and immediately drove to Salzburg, Austria for one of my most incredible days ever!
Sound of Music
Honestly, I didn’t know where to begin when planning a quick trip. I knew I wanted to see the sights from “The Sound of Music,” but I wasn’t sure how. A friend told us that they did a bus tour and really enjoyed it, so after renting our car, as we were driving to Salzburg I booked a tour with The Original Sound of Music Tour group.
It was a 4-hour tour that took us to several of the movie locations. The guide was knowledgeable and entertaining, and Jeannie loved her! In fact, every time we got off the bus, Jeannie would run and hold her hand and stand next to her while she took us on our walking tour.
This was the perfect introduction to a city I knew I was going to love. It didn’t matter that we didn’t have much time here, it was perfect.
Our stops included:
- The Hotel Schloss – it is used as the Von Trapp home’s back patio and for the lake where the kids and Maria fall in the water.
- The pavilion where Lisel sings “16 Going on 17,” now positioned within Hellbrunn Castle’s gardens.
- Mondsee Cathedral, the church where Maria and the Captain are married.
- Mirabell Garden, where Maria and the children sing “Do, Re, Mi.”
We drove by:
- Nonnberg Abbey, the church where the real Captain and Maria were married.
- Schloss Frohnburg, portrayed as the home to the Von Trapp family (now part of the Mozart School of Music)
- The bridge they run across while singing “Do, Re, Mi”
The highlight to the whole experience was driving through the Austrian Alps while singing “Do, Re, Mi” in a bus filled with other Sound of Music fans. The beautiful fall colors, being with family and singing a beloved classic in the same location was absolutely emotional for me, and more thrilling than driving a Ferrari in Modena, Italy.
The next time we go (it is already planned – we can’t wait!), we will already be familiar with the layout of the city and the places we want to visit. We will do our own tour of the area including the stage where the Von Trapp family sang before making their escape.
The classic view of the fortress on the hill with the blued-copper church roofs in the foreground was everything I imagined it to be. It really is an incredibly beautiful city. Everywhere we turned, we saw dramatic cliffs and waterways, impressive architecture, and statues and gardens without end.
I imagine any time of year would be remarkable. I am looking forward to visiting on a warm summer day, but the fall was absolutely magical. The red and orange leaves and golden hues brought dimension and grandeur to the mountains.
Perhaps one of the best meals we had during our week-long stay in Germany was actually here in Salzburg, Austria. I don’t say this lightly (we love German food), but our minds were blown away by Barenwirt. When choosing a restaurant we usually find the one that has the most reviews with the highest rating. Barenwirt earned their stars for good reason.
Barenwirt got their name when a bear washed ashore below the restaurant, about 400 years ago. The restaurant has been serving up food in the same spot for that long!
Their special for the month was goose. Not being one to normally order goose, I wasn’t super excited, but Matt was. Since he usually does a pretty good job ordering good food, I had him order a few entrees for us to share. It was all rich, flavorful and perfect for a crisp autumn day. If you are visiting Salzburg, Barenwirt is a must!
Plan your trip:
When I began looking into trips to Salzburg, I learned that Munich is the closest major airport; the drive is just over an hour and is very pleasant.
The Salzburg Music Festival is every summer, and should not be missed. In 2020 it will be held from 20 July to 30 August. This is a great (though probably busy) time to book a trip.
You can drive yourself to the various Sound of Music destinations, but honestly, we strongly recommend booking with “The Original Sound of Music Tours.” We really enjoyed having someone drive us to different locations and tell us behind the scenes facts about each spot. Our guide’s enthusiasm was easily seen and heard. Whether you take a tour or go by yourself, make sure you have the music from the movie available so you can make the hills come alive like Julie Andrews!