Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. I don’t know about you all, but when The Sound of Music airs on TV, we love to watch together as a family. I grew up on it, and chances are you did too. Even some of our parents did. And now I love having the chance to share it with my kids. During our summer in Europe we had the chance to visit Salzburg, Austria and I couldn’t have been more excited. I knew it was home to The Sound of Music, and it was important to me to find the best Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg. Not only is Salzburg the home of The Sound of Music, but our trip happened to fall during the 50th anniversary of the release of the movie. It was such a thrill for us to be there, visiting the places where Maria sang and the Von Trapp family children grew up. Choosing which Sound of Music Tour to take in Salzburg can be overwhelming. There are a number of tours to choose from and a bunch of Sound of Music tour reviews to read through online. I did quite a bit of research to make sure we found a reputable tour that would show us what we wanted to see. Hopefully giving you some insight into our experience on the “Original Sound of Music Tour” by Panorama Tours will make it a little easier for you when you are making your travel plans. This post contains affiliate links.
The von Trapp family is inseparably linked to Salzburg, but oddly enough, most Austrians have never even seen the Sound of Music, and certainly don’t know the songs. It’s funny to think that the international box office success drives more than 300,000 tourists to the tiny city every year, and most people that live there don’t even understand why. Tourists run around singing “Edelweiss” like it’s a cherished Austrian folk tune, when in reality it was created by the famed Rodgers and Hammerstein for Broadway. Oh, well! It’s still fun to sing!
After researching all of the Sound of Music tours in Salzburg and reading tour reviews on forums like TripAdvisor and Rick Steves, my choice was between Salzburg Sightseeing Tours “Original Sound of Music Tour” and the Panorama bus tour. Both tours of all the tours I looked at get great reviews, and I’m sure they are both wonderful, but we ultimately settled on the Panorama tour due to scheduling. Here is a look inside…
You definitely want to book your Sound of Music tour in Salzburg in advance. I booked ours about a month out, and all tours for that day sold out shortly thereafter.
SOUND OF MUSIC TOUR TIP
I learned something valuable about booking these tours that I thought I would share here. When you book your tickets you are given the option to pay extra and have the bus pick you up at certain hotels. Do this! Here is why: Directions from the tour bus company are clear as far as where to meet, but I will say that you want to get there well ahead of your slotted tour time, especially if you are hoping to sit together as a family. We were staying at the Hotel Elefant Salzburg, (you can read all about our wonderful experience with the hotel here), which was a quick walk from the tour meeting spot and bus stop. So I wasn’t worried about paying extra to have the bus pick us up. I learned the hard way that I probably should have paid for that option. My one complaint about the tour is that it seems as though they over book.
Our tour was scheduled to leave at 2pm, so we arrived 15 minutes early. Instead of assigned seats, which would make things SO much easier and less stressful, you line up in a long line of tourists, and hope you can make it on to the bus you reserved a ticket for. We did not. What we learned while standing in line, is that several of the people waiting at the front of the line had purchased tickets for, and waited in line for, an earlier tour. Their tour bus had filled up, and they had been instructed to wait for the next tour bus (ours) to arrive. When our bus arrived they loaded them up first, which left us and another family stranded without a seat on our scheduled tour. Not so fun, especially when you are traveling with kids.
Frustrated, we waited in line where they told us to wait for the next bus to arrive. When the next bus came, it was already almost full. Tour guides had already loaded up the bus with people that had scheduled the 3pm Sound of Music Tour, but had paid for pick up at their respective hotels. They almost didn’t have room, much less seats together, for the four of us and the other family. It all worked out in the end and we were able to sit together. If I were making reservations for a Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg again I would definitely pay the extra fee for the bus to pick you up at a hotel to avoid this headache. The people that pay to get picked up at a hotel get picked up first. They are able to secure seats and avoid all of the stress and frustration that we endured. In my opinion, it is well worth the extra cost after having this experience.
Once on the bus, the initial stress and frustrations were quickly forgotten. We set out for our 4+ hour tour and it was WONDERFUL! Clean, beautiful and comfortable buses, a fun tour guide, interesting facts and behind the scenes info about the making of the movie, and TONS of stops at all of your favorite locations from the movie. They show clips from The Sound of Music on TV’s in the bus, and did I mention the sing along? Yes, music from the movie is piped throughout the bus and it is SO fun to have the bus singing along! We were sitting next to a Salzburg local who had never seen the movie, and it was hilarious to see his reaction to all of us crazy tourists! See if you recognize any of these fun places that you will visit along the tour…
Maria runs along this beautiful tree lined dirt road on her way to the von Trapp family home singing “Confidence.”
Before I know it she will be sixteen going on seventeen…
I may or may not have made the kids re-enact scenes from the movie for pictures. 😉 Doe a deer…Salzburg’s Mirabell Gardens look almost identical as they did 50 years ago when the Von Trapp family played in the park in the movie.
The church where Maria and Captain von Trapp are married…
The Sound of Music tour is a long tour. Be sure to eat something before hand and bring a snack with you. None of the stops, except for the last one, give you an opportunity to purchase anything to eat, and timing is tight so you might not even have a chance to eat then. There are bathrooms at one or two of the stops along the way, but make sure to be prepared before you leave. You can bring water bottles on the bus so I would suggest you have one of those as well.
Panorama Tours offers several different options for a Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg. You can even book a private custom full day Sound of Music Tour from Vienna if you are not staying in Salzburg. Pricing for 2018 Sound of Music Tours in Salzburg starts at 45 Euro per person.
I hope these tips help make choosing the best Sound of Music Tour to take in Salzburg a little bit easier.
We were fortunate to have so many amazing experiences in Europe. If you’re planning a trip and would like to learn more about about what we did and lessons we learned, you can see our family trip to Europe itinerary here.
If you’re heading to other places in Europe, here are some more posts you don’t want to miss! You can check out our entire Europe Travel Gallery to see all of our posts and helpful info.
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