Salzburg is a wonderful destination for a short break for just about anyone but for fans of the Sound of Music it is Nirvana! The city’s wonderful architecture is showcased by the stunning mountain backdrop and with plenty to do to suit all tastes even Sound of Music widowers should enjoy their stay. The fans of the movie, meanwhile, will be delighted to discover that most of the significant filming locations are within walking distance of each other in the city.
Salzburg is one of those places that simply enchants you as soon as you arrive. Everything looks impossibly pretty and there is a peaceful feel to the place that belies its city status. Sound of Music fans should head first for the Residenz Fountain in the centre of town where they can follow in the footsteps of Maria and joyously flick the water. I remember doing this on my first visit whilst a group of curious locals looked on bemused! Apparently many Austrians have not seen the film which seems ridiculous to me.
Your frolic with the fountain should be followed by a visit to the Benedictine convent nestled beneath the castle. This is not only a location in the movie but also the convent where the real Maria Von Trapp was a novice. The castle itself is well worth a visit too and there are some spectacular views across the city from the terraces here.
Visiting St Peter’s Cemetery is an absolute must. This is where the memorable escape scenes were filmed with the family crouching behind the gravestones. Today you still get a sense of the drama that unfolded but this is also a beautiful and serene location in its own right. A short walk from here you will find the Felsenreitschule where the Von Trapp Family’s valedictory performance at the festival was filmed.
One of my favourite scenes in the movie is the Do-Ray-Me routine which was filmed at the Mirabell Gardens. This is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit and you should be able to grab a moment on the famous steps to get a good picture. You may not, however, wish to follow my lead in delivering the entire routine on the steps for the benefit of the passers-by! My double act with my cousin did not prove to be that popular but I felt all the better for it!
The family Seat
A short and pleasant walk from Salzburg Old Town it is possible to see the majestic façade of Schloss Leopoldskron which featured in the Sound of Music as the Von Trapp family home. Sadly it is not possible to view the interior as the mansion is not open to the public but its magnificent lakeside location makes the exterior view worth the walk.
Out of Town
If you have access to a car or book yourself onto one of the organised tours you can also visit many of the other filming locations which lay outside the city. The cathedral at Mondsee is a gorgeous place to visit and was where Marias wedding was filmed and in the mountains a few miles south of the city you can take a picnic on the hillside like Maria and the Children in the film. I actually found that location by accident on another visit to Austria when I was exploring the area and had a moment of déjà Vu. I looked up to see a view that I was convinced I had seen before. Knowing I had never visited the area before, this feeling puzzled me until I watched the Sound of Music one evening and realised what I had found. It was Schloss Werfen, the castle further down the valley appearing in the background that gave me my eureka moment. For film buffs this was also the castle in Where Eagles Dare.
As you explore the filming locations you can take in the rest of the city as you move around. Getreidstrasse should not be missed on your way through. This beautiful street is lined with interesting shops all of which boast stunning wrought iron signs. Even the McDonalds has one! Ironically it was in this very street that as a child I was with my mother when she purchased a beautiful Hand crafted toy as a gift for the same cousin that accompanied me on the steps of the Mirabell gardens some 30 years later. There is something about Salzburg that calls you back again and again.
Article by Sally Stacey