The hills are live with the sound of music in the stunning Austrian city of Salzburg. The Sound of Music when it came out in 1965 took the world by storm. It stunned the world with its beautiful soundtrack, majestic Alpine settings, gripping plot, and the romanticized take on Austria incorporation into the German Third Reich. The movie swept the world and won an incredible five Oscars.

Today you can visit the Austrian city of Salzburg and see the breathtaking scenery that formed the backdrop of the movie. When you visit this picturesque part of the world you can visit the Abbey, the residence of the von Trapp family, the old city of Salzburg, the hills filled with music (at least if one sings while hiking through them).


Background To The Plot

For hundreds of years the German world had sought to unite, and when Germany did unite Austria was excluded. After the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed in the wake of World War 1, Austria found itself as a rump German state. Most wanted to unite with Germany, but the Allies forbade it. By the time of the setting of the movie, Austria had been independent for around 20 years and many in Austria were warming to the idea of being independent but Hitler wanted unification. The backdrop of the movie is the "Anschluss" or unification of Austria and Germany.

Some of the key locations of the filming were:

  • City Of Salzburg: Austria's Fourth-Largest City And Is On The Border With Germany
  • Mirabell Gardens And The Pegasus Fountain: The Location Where Maria And The Children Danced In The Movie
  • Schloss Leopoldskron: The Residence Of The Trapp Family (Now It Is A Luxury Hotel)
  • Nonnberg Convent: The Convent Where Maria Was A Young Novice Wishing To Be A Nun
  • Hellbrunn Palace: Site Of Various Singing Scenes
  • Gazebo: The Gazebo Has Since Been Moved To Hellbrunn And Where Trapp Kissed Maria For The First Time
  • Mondsee Abbey: The Scene Of The Magnificient Wedding

Related: 10 Reasons Why People Love Traveling To Austria

Mondsee Abbey

The wedding scenes were filmed in Mondsee Abbey in Mondsee in Austria. This abbey was once a Benedictine monastery and has a very old history having been founded in 748 AD by Odilo the Duke of Bavaria. Over that time a lot happened here and for a period during the Napoleonic Wars, it reverted back to Bavarian control having been part of Austria for many years. At the time of the filming of the movie it was owned by the Counts Almeida but they sold it in 1985.

  • Fun Fact: Sound Of Music Was Enormously Successful Grossing $286 Million On A $8.2 Million Budget
  • Location Of Filming: Salzburg, Austria (Stage Sets Were Filmed In Los Angeles)

Schloss Leopoldskron

It is a rococo palace and is now a national Austrian historic monument in the southern district of Salzburg. The palace has seven hectares of parks and is the home of the Salzburg Global Seminar. While this is the home of the von Trapp family, none of the movie's scenes were actually filmed in it. Instead, 10 outdoor scenes of the movie were filmed with the exterior of the palace as the home. Some of the scenes like the family drinking pink lemonade (with the line "not too sweet, not too sour, just too... pink!") were filmed in the adjacent property.

It was the setting of the movie's two greatest love scenes. That of Rolf and Liesl with the catchy song "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" and with Maria and the Baron with the arguably more forgettable "Something Good" song.

  • Side note: The close-up scenes with the gazebo are actually a Hollywood sound stage set and so were in Los Angeles.

Related: Live Like A Local: 10 Most Authentic Austrian Cafes in Vienna

Schloss Leopoldskron itself was first built in 1736 by the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. One of the darker sides of this palace is that it was funded with the money he acquired from expelling some 22,000 Protestants from the city.

Tours Of The Sights

Today there are a number of tours you can take to retrace the filming of this beloved movie. Some of these tours start as low as 50 Euros, one example of such a tour by Panorama Tours is:

  • Where: All The Important Locations In Salzburg (Including All Those Mentioned Above)
  • Language Of Tour: English
  • Starting Time: 9.15 am and 2.00 pm Every Day
  • Duration: 4 Hours
  • Cost: 50 Euros ($60)

Another example of a Sound of Music Tour:

  • Duration: Two Overnights In 3 Or 4 Star Hotels
  • Tour: Full Tours Of Filming Locations In And Around Salzburg
  • Bonus: Sound Of Music CD (If One Still Has CD Capable Devices!)
  • Cost: 158.00-311.00 Euros ($190-370) Depending On Time Of Year And Hotel And Room Selected

Salzburg has long been known as one of Austria's most stunning cities and the Sound Of Music just brought it all to life!

Next: A Guide For What To See In Salzburg If You Only Have A Weekend