The Sound of Music Tour, Salzburg
I did a Panorama Sound of Music tour not because of any interest in the film (I've never even seen it, though I've heard the songs, of course), but because I was in Salzburg for less than a day and it seemed a convenient way of seeing some of the sights of the city and the surrounding countryside.
It worked well. Someone came to the hotel as promised, we got in a car, picked up somebody else from a different hotel, and drove to the place where our minibus was waiting. (This was February - there were only seven of us.) The tour went as other people have said (the same stops, the same hour's break for coffee or whatever in the mountains...), and we got back to Salzburg in good time for supper.
In general, the Sound of Music tour is a tourist scam mostly because the limitations huge buses face due to municipal regulations: therefore we were unable to get up close to certain locations. Rather than delivering on the promise of helping tourists relive and experience the Sound of Music, it allowed tourists to only witness the movie from a distance (and through a 40th Anniversary DVD on the bus ride back, if you’re lucky).
1. If this was an actual 4 hour tour as advertised, then I would have given it a better score. This tour probably lasted only 2 hours long, making stops to literally only 4-5 places. One of the destinations we went to was a spot where we could view the mountain (from a distance) where Maria taught the children to sing Do Rei Me.
2. The guide pointed out the road along which Maria danced (up to the house), the trees where the children hung off of, and the Abbey with the Red Dome. I would have appreciated getting out and going to those locations, but the bus driver chose to only drive by.
3. On our last stop, we arrived in Mondsee where they held the wedding at the church. There, our guide Peter left us for an hour. The church was nice, but only 10 minutes was needed in the town. This is hardly a good use of tourists’ time as we paid Peter to be an actual tour guide, not to let us free for a one hour recess.
4. Transportation back took another 30 - 45 minutes. On our way back, we watched the 40th anniversary DVD which was more informative than our guide.
5. Our tour guide Peter made many corny jokes, tried to be funny by making our bus driver only say “yah,” playing off the stereotype that German-speaking people are only competent with one word in English, and flirted with the tourists. For my girlfriend, he told her that she should marry an Austrian, at another point, said that we would make beautiful babies. For another girl, he told her that she should be a model, to which she responded, “Harrass my friend instead.” As funny as some people think he may be, he takes his comedy act a little too far and too personal, and made our bus ride uncomfortable.
6. Tried to be funny again by asking tourists at the end of the trip to “invest” in his trip to the beer hall by asking us for tips.
Firstly, if I was very generous, I would give this tour 5 out of 10: that’s literally giving FULL MARKS for a tour that lasted 2 hours (what was supposed to be 4). However, I am brutally honest and want to prevent future tourists from buying into a tourist scam: so I would give it 2 out of 10.
Upon our return, we demanded a refund and only received half. But for 37 euros, that's a steep price for a guide to POINT things out, and a bus ride around. Save yourselves the hassle of demanding a refund and do it yourselves.
If you want to get up close and personal to these sites, I would recommend doing a combination of renting a bike / public transportation to get around. A fellow hosteller recommended this link after we had done the tour: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g190441-d798497-r38022258-Panorama_Tours_Original_Sound_of_Music_Tour-Salzburg_Austrian_Alps.html#REVIEWS
Unique Suggestions: Like I said, do it yourselves. http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g190441-d798497-r38022258-Panorama_Tours_Original_Sound_of_Music_Tour-Salzburg_Austrian_Alps.html#REVIEWS
For your convenience, I'll post instructions here:
The sights we saw were:
*Leopoldskron Palace - seen from across the lake. Lovely. It seems also to be accessible by public bus 21, 22: Firmianstrasse. It is privately owned, so cannot be visited.
*Nonnberg Abbey - we halted briefly on a roundabout to take photos from the coach... You will also see the Abbey (but not on this trip) from elsewhere in Salzburg; for example from Hohensalzburg fortress. If you take the funicular up to the fortress, the walk down is interesting and you can take a short detour and actually visit the Abbey church - while we were inside the nuns were singing their devotions, hidden behind a screen - magic. The real Maria was married here, apparently.
*Glass pavilion - at Hellbrunn Castle (it was originally at Leopoldskron Palace). We only saw the pavilion - nothing of the castle or its fabulous water gardens. Hellbrunn itself is accessible on public bus 25, and is a must-see, so you could see the pavilion at the same time.
*Lovely scenery - for example Untersberg (also accessible on public bus 25), and some lakes and other mountains.
*Mondsee - where the wedding scene was filmed. The inside of the church is stunning. The guide helpfully said that the organ music used in the film was improvised by the organist to get the ‘congregation’ in the mood for filming - the only music not written by Rodgers/Hammerstein.
Fun Alternatives: Do the Salt Mine tour. Purchase the Salz elbrins ticket at the local train station and take the train to hallein. It's approx 23.5 euros that includes a round trip, as well as guided tour through the Salt mine where you will also cross the German border.
I am not a sound of music addict, but somebody suggested that it takes you for a drive around the countryside, which is true. It was definitely a nice drive. Is it worth 30euros? May be or may be not. But what else could I have done when it is raining?
That movie 'The Sound of Music' was filmed here. I haven't seen it myself but it's Ciara's favourite movie. A lot of girls really like it. Anyways, there are a LOT of ads around Salzburg for Sound of Music Tours. Now, maybe if you're really into it you might want to check one out. However, just wandering around with a local friend was enough to discover many of the places from the movie. Maybe the official tours give you a more in-depth look (inside buildings etc?), but you can wander around for FREE.
Fun Alternatives: Perhaps you would like a Sound of Music Tour more than I. In that case, go ahead. However, you can probably wander around and soak up some local lore/ambience on your own, for the low low price of $$FREE$$.
Yes, it is on the sound of Music tour, but to go in and out of the gardens is free! And, at the fountain there is a great view of the fortress. In the summer it is excellent to walk through or sit and have lunch.
Unique Suggestions: The Gardens are free, take a few mintues and walk the gardens.
Fun Alternatives: Go to the Gardens, and then to the palace. The gardens are NOT a tourist trap.
Only tourists go on this tour. You can also do the tour yourself, for free with a map. The bus plays the soundtrack and drives you to locations used in the movie. All of these places are either free to see, or cost next to nothing to go into. Save your time and money and buy a good map. There is more to the city than the sound of music.
Unique Suggestions: If you get dragged along with someone on this tour (make sure they are paying the 40 some Euro), buy a paper bag (70 cent at Billa) put it over your head so you aren't seen, and wear ear plugs.
Fun Alternatives: Buy a map and visit the sights yourself. While you're at it, go inside the Mirabell Palace, hike up to the fortress, tour Hellbrun, or go for a river cruise.
The Sound Of Music Tour, I would say, is only for big SOM fans. And, okay, I'll admit, I'm a fan. It's cheesy and silly but it can be fun with the right group. Unfortunately our group was filled with people who had been dragged along by other fans. The bus takes you to the Von Trapp estate. You are filled with little needless factoids about the movie and all the while the soundtrack plays in the background. The tour also takes you to the gazebo and shows you a bit of the countryside where portions of the movie were filmed.
Unique Suggestions: If you are being dragged along against your will at least you'll get a great view of the Austrian countryside. It is beautiful and you do make various stops. But I really would only recommend this trip for true fans of the movie. Be prepared for a sing-along on the bus and some major cheese factor!
Not necessary. I've seen the small vans giving this tour and they just speed right by the sites. I'd do your own research before going to Salzburg and then walk or take the bus to the sites. Schloss Leopoldskron is within walking distance from oldtown. Schloss Hellbrun is a short bus ride away.
IMHO, the Sound of Music Tour is a Tourist Trap.
You can get to most of the places easily on your own by public busses.
Unique Suggestions: Mirabell Garden, Hellbrunn, Leopoldskron and Nonnberg Abbey can be done with a one-day ticket of the public city busses.
Sankt Gilgen and Mondsee are really beautiful places as well, but this should be combined e.g. with swimming in one of the many lakes in this area and not be just a part of a 4 hours tour.
Fun Alternatives: You can rent a car for already 40EUR/day inkl. 150km. This could be an alternative to go to these places by your own. Well, at the end it's a matter of taste, which option you prefer.
The Panoroma boasts of their Sound of Music Tour,Which I think is not worth it.Its expensive and do not spend time at important places and do nothing but drive around.
Unique Suggestions: Do the tour on your own, the visit to all the places where the film was shot are must see but its best when done on your own.
Well, I am not a friend of 'the Sound Of Music', and I didn't go on the tour, but for those friends who did they said it was super pricy, and the tour was ok? You have to ask yourself...'If the musical was a flop in Austria, why is it a hit in North America?'
Being an independent traveler, I would recommend you don't bother with 'The Sound of Music Tour' on the tour bus. If you spend the time, you can find many of the filming sites yourself, which is an enjoyable serendipity! For example, the picture is taken from the steps where Julie Andrews sang 'Do-Re-Mi', at the Mirabell gardens, another must-see!
The Sound of Music tour. For $50Aus to drive around and hear the arrogant tour guide say what was wrong about the movie wasn't my idea of fun.