50 Years of The Sound of Music in Salzburg

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As you walk along the Danube River or in between Salzburg’s pastel buildings and domed churches framed by lush green hills, it’s hard not to feel alive with the sound of music. That’s because a small enchanting orchestra seems to be playing somewhere in town at all times, but also because everywhere you go in the city, a filming location from The Sound of Music is within arm’s reach.

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic film’s 1965 release, we encourage you to visit the city where it took place.

When it comes to The Sound of Music spots in Salzburg, these are a few of our favorite things:

1. Leopoldskron Palace

One of Austria’s most notable Rococo buildings, this lakeside castle (pictured above) was built to house Prince Archbishop Leopold Anton Firmian and his family in 1736. It was later turned into a hotel ... but, importantly, before that it housed the fictitious Von Trapp family. They didn’t actually film inside the castle but the façade facing the lake was used to represent the family’s grandiose home. If seeing the outside isn’t enough for you, stay in one of the hotel’s The Sound of Music-themed rooms and hope for a stormy night so you can sing “My Favorite Things.”

2. Mirabell Palace and Gardens

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Photo via Salzburg.info

In 1606 Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau built what would later be called Mirabell Palace as a token of his love for Salome Alt. Today the Baroque style building houses the offices of Salzburg’s mayor and the municipal council. More importantly, Fräulein Maria and the Von Trapp children traipsed through the geometric Mirabell Gardens and gathered around the Pegasus Fountain in front of the palace singing “Do Re Mi.” If you happen to be walking by on a spring or summer evening and hear music coming from the gardens, you haven’t tricked yourself into thinking Maria is back. The palace gardens frequently host free classical concerts on weekend evenings, bringing your fantasies to life with the sound of music.

3. Felsenreitschule

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Photo via Iconosquare/reina1146

Built in 1693, the Felsenreitschule was originally Archbishop Johann Ernst von Thun’s summer riding school. Now, the structure is a major concert hall and host of the Salzburg Festival, with the 96 arcades from which the audience watched the horses acting as a backdrop for the stage. You will recognize these exact arcades as the ones that loomed eerily behind the Von Trapp family while they performed their farewell song before going into hiding.

4. Stift Nonnberg

The Nonnberg Nunnery is the oldest convent in the world that has existed with no interruptions. It also happens to be the very spot where Mother Abbess and her clan sang their woes about Maria.

5. The Sound of Music Pavilion

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Photo via The Sound of Music on Facebook

Head to Hellbrunn Palace to see where the rich Prince Archbishop Markus Sittikus of Salzburg entertained guests in the 1600s. The grounds and gardens are home to wells, fountains, ponds, five artificial grottos, sculptures, statues and most importantly, the gazebo in which Liesl sang “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.”

Maggie Parker is the assistant travel editor for Paste Magazine.

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