Few people from Salzburg would admit to it publicly, but the Sound of Music and the trials and life of the von Trapp family has become a huge international draw for the city. The year after the release of the movie, international tourism to Salzburg jumed 20% and soon the Sound of Music was a Salzburg attraction.
We saw a leaflet in the lobby of our hotel advertising the Sound of Salzburg dinner show and decided to try this out. It was in a room in the Stern beerhouse, just off the Getreidegasse. We booked the show that morning, paid a 16 Euro deposit and paid the remainder on arrival that evening.
We arrived at 7:00pm and they showed us to our table. There were about 20 tables all set for dinner. We got 1 drink, a bowl of soup, a choice of chicken or pork for the main course and apple strudel - this was included in the price. You could order further drinks and they had a children's menu. Our 6 year old got free entry to the show, we just had to pay for his meal.
Dinner was served at 7:30 and the show started at 8:30. It was finished by 10:00 and included a 15 minute interval. They showed a film interview with the real Maria von Trapp and then 2 ladies and 2 men performed songs from the film, a selection of Austrian folksongs and some light Mozart operetta. The show was very enjoyable - extremely touristy, but fun nonetheless.
Perhaps the most important Sound of Music spin offs are the tours offered by several companies, including Salzburg Panorama Tours. Besides showing you some of the film's locations (very briefly though), these 4 hour tours also give you a concise tour of the city.
The buses leave from Mirabellplatz. First official stop to stretch your legs is the gazebo in the park of Schloss Hellbrunn. Originally built in the gardens of Leopoldskron Palace, it was brought here to give the public the chance to take pictures. This is where Liesl sings "I Am Sixteen Going on Seventeen." The simple structure is a coveted prize of photographers.
The bus then drives past other private palaces with limited visiting rights - Schloss Frohnburg and Schloss Leopoldskron - and you have to be content with seeing these from the coach window. Schloss Leopoldskron was the site of many of the scenes by the big lake in the movie.
The bus continued past Nonnberg convent at the foot of the Hohensalzburg fortress, then left the city limits for the lovely countryside of the Salzkammergut. We had a 5 minute stop on the shores of Wolfgangssee in St Gilgen, then headed for the village of Mondsee, where, in the movie, Maria and Georg were married in the church.
We did the tour on a Monday morning - this is the day when everything in Mondsee, except one little cafe is closed. We had a walk around the church, then as it was freezing cold and pouring with rain, queued to get into this one cafe for a drink. We had an hour's stop in Mondsee and on a Monday, when the weather is inclement, there is precious little to do.
Our tour guide had a very dry and funny sense of humour. She was very good and told us lots of interesting facts and debunked myths about the movie.
We drove back past Mirabellplatz where they sang Do Reh Mi on the staircase and that was the end of the tour.
We did enjoy it, but spent a lot of time on the bus and you really only catch glimpses of most of the buildings and palaces. All the interior scenes were shot in Hollywood. You could actually visit the pavillion at Hellbrunn yourself. We did though enjoy the commentary, but I would not do this tour again.