Austria — Custom Sound of Music Tour & More
It was 12:45am as I was talking with my parents while they were starting to wrap up their day and sit down for dinner back home in the United States. When all of a sudden two of my friends rush into the lounge and say “We found bus tickets for €54 round trip this weekend to visit where The Sound of Music was filmed!” After hearing that I knew this meant that I was about to head to Salzburg, Austria.
Immediately my reaction was “Yes!!” and then the planning began. Of course, we started by watching the sound of music to gain inspiration for filming locations that we could visit. Knowing we wanted to see filming locations I did some research online. Something I encourage everyone to look for when traveling is walking tours that can be downloaded to your google maps application. I was able to find a Sound of Music walking tour that included filming locations for FREE. Yes, of course, you can pay for a guided tour through the city and get interesting facts and tidbits of history, but for me, I prefer exploring on my own and finding the locations and historic places that were most intriguing to me. This way I was able to personalize my trip to exactly what my group and I wanted to see. Find the link to this tour at the end of the post!
Finding a hostel/Airbnb is never a big issue because there are tons of them in most cities across Europe. In Salzburg, I found a hostel (booked through Airbnb) that gave us a private room with 6 beds, a shared kitchen, living room, bathroom, and showers.
CEPA had planned a trip to Frankfurt Friday morning which gave us an opportunity to get cheap Flixbus tickets into Austria. Our program visited the Money Museum and spent a few hours exploring the city. Since seven of us weren’t leaving Frankfurt until 9:50 pm we found an amazing cafe and spent the evening at an observation tower in the city center. Afterward, we went to catch our bus from the train station. I can say based on experience, arrive extra early to your bus. When we arrived at the departure point there was no sight of our bus which made us really nervous, but after running up and down the street my friend and I caught a glimpse of a Flixbus a few blocks away. After making it to the bus we found out that the bus now picks up at a new location. Always be sure to double-check your departure information and verify it with a second source when possible!
After spending the night on a bus, we arrived in Salzburg at 7:10 am. Check-in at the hostel wasn’t for a couple of hours, so we found a cafe until the time came. The location of our hostel couldn’t have been better, the cafes were close by, accompanied by tall hedges and walls covered in vines. The surrounding area felt very historic and gave off the small mountain town vibes.
The first thing on our list was to head into the mountains and explore where the filming locations were. This is number 17 on the tour that I mentioned earlier. It was a little bit far out to take public transportation, naturally Uber was our second option. The cost to get to the locations was adequate for the distances traveled, the drivers were very nice and even asked if we wanted to stop for photos along the ride. Once we reached our destination, I was a bit taken back. I was anticipating a plaque of some sort, maybe a sign talking about the area, but instead, we were at a dead-end road in what appeared to someone’s farmland. There were cows roaming the hills, fresh air, and breathtaking views. After looking around the area we found an information sign with hiking trails. I noticed that these trails did indeed pass through private farmland which sometimes is common in countries around Europe. There are a few more intensive hikes around the area if you have some time to spare I recommend using the AllTrails application to get a good idea of where to hike in the area. To say the least, I got more out of this location than anticipated, we reenacted a scene from the film, explored the mountains, and had a picnic in the meadow.
Once the day was winding down we had dinner and went to Austria’s largest tavern which was located within a 5-minute walk from the hostel. A few Austrian’s invited us to sit with them and sparked a conversation about culture, language, and common traditions within Austria. This tavern was something like I had never seen before, you walk in and grab whichever size mug you’d like, walk over to two workers standing next to barrels of beer, and they fill it to the top and smack it on the counter. After purchasing your mug, you head over to a huge hall where you hear cheering, laughter and many languages. This great hall resembled a mix between Harry Potter and Game of Thrones atmosphere. If you are looking for a place to relax and have a good laugh, this place will do the trick.
Sunday morning we found a spot for brunch, which is now close to the top of my list for best breakfast meals. It’s called “Genuss Projekt” located near the river and provided great service, coffee, and food. Afterward, we went to the Hohensalzburg Fortress and purchased tickets for €10 which included access to 3 of the 4 buildings and a self-guided audio tour. This was something I highly recommend doing if you have a half-day or a few hours to spend learning about the history of Salzburg. This fortress has never been breached throughout history, giving it a unique historical tour to learn about their defenses against attacks throughout history. I also pulled up my geocaching app to see if there was anything nearby, to my surprise, there was one located within the fortress walls! If you don’t know what geocaching is, the best way to explain it is a scavenger hunt around the world. It provides a great way to pass time, or if you like to go on adventures I find myself in some really cool places. We also were able to find more filming locations as we walked back towards our bus station.
Overall, my impression of Austria is phenomenal. The people are some of the nicest I’ve ever met, the mountains offer endless views, and you won’t be disappointed with the food! The google maps Sound of Music tour is linked here if you wish to follow along with some of the locations I mentioned in this post.
Brandan lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A junior at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, he studies Information Science Technology & Business Administration. Brandan enjoys hiking, cycling, and any kind of adventure. He also spends time working in graphic design and coding websites. Seeking a new challenge Brandan was interested in learning a third language, French. His goal is to become trilingual before graduating spring of 2021. Brandan has a passion for learning languages, new cultures, and about European institutions. He serves as an ambassador in order to share his story and experiences with others.