Greetings, Internet Stranger! I have a strange confession to make. At first I was reluctant to try this Sound of Music Salzburg itinerary. I have always been a huge fan of classic Broadway musicals. Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, Frank Loesser…I love them all. Basically anything made in between Oklahoma and Fiddler on the Roof I go nuts for.
The one exception has always been The Sound of Music. For some reason, I’ve never loved the movie. The main reason I think Christopher Plummer looks like he’s smelling a fart the entire film. You can tell that he didn’t enjoy the movie. He even called it The Sound of Mucus.
So I think it’s funny that I ended up taking in a Sound of Music Salzburg itinerary by taking the Panorama Tours tour of the famous sights used in a film I don’t enjoy. To my surprise, I ended up having an absolutely marvelous time. Even if you think musicals are more mucus than music, if you like lakes, mountains, strudel, flowers, and secret underground mirror caves, I guarantee you’ll enjoy this itinerary too.
Sound of Music Salzburg Itinerary
Where to Stay?
Like many adorable cities, Salzburg can be pricey. We’re not the Hapsburgs (at least, I’m not), so we might want to save a little money. But we want to save money in style! That’s why I recommend the Pension Jahn B&B. The location is good, the price is affordable, and a solid breakfast is included every morning. We can save our money for fine Austrian wines and elaborate powdered wigs!
Sound of Music Salzburg Itinerary
What to Pack?
The weather in Salzburg is unpredictable. You could get raindrops on roses one day and snowflakes that stay on your nose and eyelashes another. So the two most important things you’ll need to bring are an umbrella and some rain boots. My favorite travel umbrella is the Repel Teflon Waterproof Umbrella. It is strong enough to stand up to the sometimes-quite-strong winds of Austria.
For rain boots, I recommend the Asgard Rain Boots. They are comfy/cozy and keep my feet dry all day. Plus they’re cute enough that I can wear them about a classy city like Salzburg without feeling like some gauche American with gross feet.
Finally, if you’re not from Europe, you need a universal adapter if you’re going to plug in electronics. European electrical outlets don’t work with either American or British plugs. I suggest the NEWVANGA travel adapter. It’s usable with any electrical outlet in the world, so you won’t need to keep buying new adapters. I always carry two with me, just in case something happens to one.
Sound of Music Salzburg Itinerary
Morning: Bavarian Salt Mine
The first person I ever spoke to who went to Salzburg was my father. He was writing for the show One Life to Live and he went on location there because they were using Salzburg as a stand-in for the fictional kingdom of Mendorra.
(One of the characters, Megan, fell in love with a man who was revealed to be the Crown Prince of Mendorra. His younger brother had concocted an evil scheme to take the throne by forcing the Crown Prince to marry Megan’s sister. But Sarah’s boyfriend disguised himself as the Crown Prince and marries her instead. Then there’s a big chase down a mountain on skis and the Crown Prince kills the bad prince. I’m not making any of this up.)
Anyway, my dad and everyone else I have ever spoken to who went to Salzburg said that I had to see some of the countryside. The best option to me for finding a Sound of Music Salzburg Itinerary was a package tour through Panorama Tours. I’d spend the morning exploring the salt mines of Bavaria (actually back in Germany) and the afternoon seeing the gorgeous scenery from The Sound of Music. What could possibly go wrong?
24 hour tip
DO NOT wear a skirt to the salt mines. You have to put this giant overall thing over your clothes to descend into the salt mine and it’s impossible to do it in a skirt without flashing your butt to the world. I sneaked into the bathroom but it was super annoying. Just wear pants.
Now that my anti-flashing tips are out of the way, it’s time for
Three fun facts about the berchtesgaden salt mine
a) How do you get around?
The Berchtesgaden salt mine was originally created by a salt lake erupting and the Alps forming around it. I don’t have an exact date on when that happened, but I’m going guess it was before the birth of Wilford Brimley. It is a profoundly deep mine. We had to take a train, two slides, a boat, and a funicular to reach the end of the tour. When I say slides, I mean that your guide sets you up and you literally slide on your back all the way down to the bottom in the dark. It’s better than Space Mountain!
b) how fast can you dig?
I feel like this fun fact should really be ‘It is hard to take photos in a pitch-black salt mine”. Anyway, our guide was very proud of the advances in salt mining technology. Before 1900, miners could only mine 6 cm deep per day. Between 1900 and 2000 it was 2 meters a day. But since 2000, the new drills have enabled miners to dig 6 meters a day! That’s almost as impressive as my iPhone! And I guess the moral of this story is: Be glad you are not born a salt miner before 1900.
c) how did we get to the moon?
Just kidding, this isn’t really the moon. It sure looks like it, though! It’s actually an underground lake that is so full of salt it actually can show you your reflection. We took a boat over it. Jealous?
While we rode across the water, the guide explained why salt water is so important to the mine. The miners don’t actually dig salt directly out of the mine. They dig salt deposits and fill them with water and let the water turn to brine. Then they send the brine to the saltworks where it is processed into the table salt that gives us great-tasting food and high blood pressure.
The fun facts were most entertaining, but taking a boat across Mirror Lake was the best part. It was even worth having to jump into and out of olde-timey miner pants while stuck in an itsy-bitsy Bavarian toilet stall.
24 hour treasure: lunch in berchtesgaden
I was a bit apprehensive when I heard we’d be stopping for lunch in the town of Berchtesgaden. It is famously where Hitler had one of his residences, The Eagle’s Nest. (I already knew this because I’ve seen the movie The Producers. The play within a play, Springtime for Hitler, is subtitled “A Gay Romp With Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden”.)
Fortunately, there was nothing even remotely affiliated with the National Socialist Party in modern Berchtesgaden. It’s just a pastel town that welcomes many tourists looking to explore the Bavarian countryside. It even has this adorable donkey fountain.
At least, it could be a donkey. I’m not really an expert at identifying the species of metal animals on fountains.
24 Hour Treat: Weisswurst at Gasthof Neuhaus
If you’re looking for a traditional Bavarian lunch, settle down with a couple of veal and pork sausages and a nice Weissbier and enjoy the sunshine. A traditional Weisswurst tastes a little bit on the sweet side and is made fresh every morning, so it’s a real treat.
Your lunch will be even accompanied by a pretzel and mustard. What could be more German than this? I’ve already almost forgotten about The Eagle’s Nest.
Sound of Music Salzburg Itinerary
Afternoon: Sound of Music Tour
You’ll head back to Salzburg and meet the bus for the second half of your 24 hours around Salzburg, to Sound of Music land. We switched guides to an American expat who obviously loved his job. Well, I shouldn’t say that. He could be a sociopath or a master of disguise. But he certainly gave off the appearance of loving his job, and that’s all I really care about. His favorite part of the tour seemed to be leading us in Sound of Music singalongs as he shared with us…
Approximately top 5: sound of music edition
1) Von Trapp Lake
I don’t think that’s the actual name of this lake. As best as I can make out, the official name of the lake is Leopoldskroner Weiher, but neither you nor I is ever going to learn how to pronounce that. Our guide explained that the actress who played little Gretl didn’t know how to swim. She almost drowned during the filming of the scene in which Maria and the von Trapp kids fall in the lake. So every time you watch that movie, just think to yourself, “A child almost died here.”
Yes, this is the notorious gazebo around which Rolf and Liesl dance before he ends up becoming a Teenage Nazi. Sometimes I feel regrets about the first boy I had a crush on, but he only ended up hosting Catfish on MTV and not becoming a Nazi, so it’s definitely way better.
Our guide (I’m going to call him The Captain) told us that in fact three gazebos were made, but this is the only one you can go visit. If you’re looking to visit on your own, the gazebo is located on the grounds of Schloss Hellbrunn.
3) Lake and Mountain District
Sometimes The Captain would stop the bus and just let us get out and take photos of the stunning lakes and mountains. I know it’s a cliche because the von Trapps ended up relocating to Vermont, but the green mountains of Austria really do remind me of the Green Mountain State. See what I mean:
Is it Vermont or Austria? I’ll never tell!
4) Mondsee Church
The big stop on the tour is Mondsee, Austria. This little village is where the church where Cpt. Von Trapp and Maria got married is located. (The church in the movie, not in real life.) The Captain told us that they needed to use movie tricks to make the church seem grand in size. In reality, the interior is lovely, but on the small side.
Never fear though! What it lacks in size, it makes up for in pinkness. They have a nice gift shop at the church to give all the tourists who visit something useful to spend their money on. I got a pair of edelweiss earrings. Now every morning I sing to them and feel very Austrian.
5) Apple Strudel at konditorei braun
We had some time on our own to explore Mondsee, and The Captain suggested if we were hungry, we could get a strudel at Konditorei Braun. He said they were familiar with the tour company, so they’d be sure to get our order out quickly.
It’s probable the tour company has an affiliation with the cafe, but it was nice to be able to have a quick pastry! The pastry itself wasn’t as crispy as I’d like, but the apples were good, and the custard sauce was as thick as Julie Andrews’s English accent. It’s cash only, so be warned. But that just makes paying the bill faster.
6) Mirabell Gardens
The final stop on the tour is Mirabell Gardens back in Salzburg. It’s perfect for the final stop because after The Captain pointed out the main attractions in the gardens from the film, you could stay and explore on your own.
You can make friends with the weird little gnomes. You can give the gnome a name. I called this one Nearly Drowned Gretl.
You can also run through the Hedge Tunnel, like the children did. Bonus points if you run smack into a sour-faced old Austrian man. Maximum bonus points if you run into a nun and she starts singing “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” to you.
But if you’re all Sound of Musicked out, just grab a book and relax in the serene gardens.
24 Hours: Sound of Music Salzburg Itinerary
Early Evening: Dinner at Gasthaus Zwettlers
After spending all day thinking about The Sound of Music, I thought it would be a great idea to finish the evening with a concert. In order to make our concert on time, we need to have an early dinner. Compared to the 1200 year old restaurant we dined at last night, the Gasthaus Zwettlers restaurant is relatively new. It’s only 160 years ago. You’re not going here for fine dining, but rather classic Austrian tavern food.
Of course, any casual Austrian dinner should start with a beer. Fortunately, Zwettler makes its own beer called Kaiser Karl. Kaiser Karl is the Austrian name for Charlemagne. Local legend has it that Kaiser Karl isn’t dead, just sleeping under a nearby mountain. I guess they want to have a nice beer ready for him when he wakes up.
This beer is a weissbier, which is perfect on a muggy July day. Sidenote: is it pretentious for me to call it a weissbier? Should I call it a white beer? But that doesn’t seem like it means anything.
24 hour treat: goulash and dumplings
I was surprised to see goulash on the menu in Austria because I think of goulash as a Hungarian dish. But then I remembered that Austria and Hungary used to be part of the same nation, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, so suddenly it all made sense. The goulash was as hearty and powerful as a mountain containing the sleeping body of Charlemagne. The waitress gave me the “small goulash” and if this was small, I shudder to think what the large would look like.
I wasn’t sure I had room for dessert after such a heavy goulash, but then I thought of you, Internet Stranger, and how much you need my suggestions. So I decided to order a strudel, just for science. This strudel was better than the one I had in Mondsee because the pastry was flakier and fresher. I did miss the vanilla cream sauce, though! And this officially became the first Two Strudel Day I’ve ever had in my life. Wunderbar!
24 Hours: Sound of Music Salzburg Itinerary
If you’re anywhere near Salzburg in the end of July or August, stop, drop, and roll yourself to the city to partake in the annual Salzburg Festival of classical music. If you are even slightly a music lover, what could be better than hearing the toots, thrums, and twinklings of classical music in the city of Mozart’s birth? All of the venues are historic buildings. The concert I attended was in the 18th century Collegiate Church pictured above.
My concert wasn’t Mozart but a concert of Italian music performed by musicians flown all the way from Italy. I mean, Italy is really close to Austria, but for me, Italy is usually pretty far away. They sang a mixture of court music, religious music, and opera. My favorite piece was a duet sung between Jesus and “The Soul”. Whose soul was it, I wondered? Was it my soul? I can’t believe my soul is that fine a singer. It never sounds that good in the shower. But anything is possible in Salzburg.
That’s 24 Hours: Sound of Music Salzburg Itinerary
What would you do with 24 hours on the Sound of Music Salzburg itinerary? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Salzburg? Will you ever be able to watch Sound of Music again without thinking of drowned children? And was the moon landing faked and actually staged in the salt mines of Bavaria? Have I cracked the greatest conspiracy of all time???? Please leave your thoughts below.
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have one day in Salzburg with the Sound of Music Salzburg Itinerary. If you have another 24 hours in Salzburg after the Sound of Music Salzburg Itinerary, try this itinerary!