From Zagreb, we rode a bus and crossed the border to visit the Lakeside Town of Hallstatt and proceeded to The Sound of Music film location in Salzburg, Austria. It was frosty outside (temperature ranged from 1-2 degrees Celsius) and breathing in cold air was painful, but we had to endure. 🙂 There was nothing more exciting in the world than experiencing snow in actual for the first time! Clad in full winter attire, we didn’t allow bitter cold wind and snow to spoil our travel adventure. This private tour exploring Salzburg as well as the breathtaking landscape of the Lakes and Mountain area was booked through Mulan Travel.
Touring Austria: Lakeside Town of Hallstatt and The Sound of Music in Salzburg
Lakeside Town of Hallstatt
When visiting Austria, Hallstatt is not to be missed. It is considered as the oldest inhabited village in Europe. Hallstatt is known for its production of salt, dating back to prehistoric times. Located at the foot of the salt mountain with a nice view of a peaceful lake, it’s one of the most photogenic places we’ve ever seen. Every house and souvenir shop we passed by looked old-school but charming. The scenery looked almost unreal, so amazing like the ones we usually see in the post cards.
Our tour guide said that Hallstatt is almost always packed with tourists all year long. We were just lucky since there weren’t many of us during our visit. This old town is such a unique gem in the deep Austrian valley of the Alps that for all it’s worth, the Chinese have recreated their own Hallstatt (an exact replica) in China. Shocking! :O The “made in China” version of the town costs an estimated $940 million to build, according to Reuters. The project was conceived by a Chinese mining tycoon and backed by Minmetals Land Inc.
The Sound of Music Film Location in Salzburg
The Sound Of Music Tour is recommended for those who are fans of the movie. Every year, more than 300,000 people visit important landmarks in the life of the von Trapp family. Walking around the place will make tourists re-live the love story of Maria (played by Julie Andrews) and Baron.
To easily recognize the shooting locations, we watched the movie in the bus en route to our destination as a refresher. We learned that the life of the von Trapp family is intertwined with that of Salzburg itself. Places we visited include the stunning Mirabell Gardens and the Pegasus Statues Fountain (the dance scene with Maria and the children), Mondsee Basilica (wedding scene), cemetery of Saint Peter’s Church, Nonnberg Convent (where the young Maria was a novice), and the Leopoldskron Castle (in the film, the house where the family lived). Everything here looked so beautiful beyond words to describe!
The grounds of the Mirabell Gardens are open early every day, and the good news is that there’s no entrance fee. The royal palace building was completed in 1606 (rebuilt in 1693), and the gardens came later in 1730. Two pairs of large Greek fencing statutes at the entrance from The Sound of Music can immediately be seen from afar. The statues were based off of the ancient Borghese gladiator statues and they each leap forward with a fist triumphantly in the air.
On the Northwest corner of the Mirabell Palace grounds, there’s another garden called the Small Parterre, which is home to the iconic Pegasus Statue Fountain. In the Sound of Music movie, the von Trapp children danced around the the lip of the Pegasus Fountain while singing “Do Re Mi.” The terrace steps lead to a rose garden North of the Fountain which Maria and the kids used as a hopping musical scale. We also breezed through the Hedge Maze and Gnome Park. It’s interesting to note that each statue was modeled after real life dwarfs when they were carved in 1715.
The beautiful flower-filled cemetery of Saint Peter’s Church was where the von Trapps hid from Nazis in The Sound of Music, although the actual scene was filmed in Hollywood. It is also where Mozart’s sister Maria Anna was buried. The atmosphere was peaceful and not grim or scary at all. It goes back to 700 AD with underground catacombs that go back even further to 215 AD. The oldest headstone at the cemetery is from 1288 AD.
Sitting at site of a former ancient Roman Forum, Residenzplatz Square still shows off Salzburg’s early Italian ambitions. This large square is the filming location where the von Trapp family performed “I Have Confidence in Me.” If you can remember, Maria entered through the Domplatz arches on the Southwest corner of the Square and splashes in the 45 foot tall Horse Fountain (Residenzbrunnen). The Horse Fountain was the focal point of the busy Square and is complete with a Triton which matches Bernini’s famous Triton Fountain in Rome. Completed in 1661, the fountain is considered the the largest baroque fountains located outside of Italy.
Salzburg was our last stop before we went shopping to Parndorf Fashion Outlet, which is located directly off the A4 motorway and is accessible via the Neusiedl am See – Gewerbepark (industrial park) junction (Exit 45). The outlet center is merely 30 minutes away from Vienna, 20 minutes from Bratislava and 50 minutes from Györ. It’s an open center with roofed outlet stores that offer discounts up to 70% off. The items range from casual fashion, sport, outdoor and shoes, up to accessories and lifestyle products. People who love shopping for international and designer brands will see it as a paradise. 🙂
All photos were taken using Fujifilm XT2 + 14mm lens.