Salzburg, Austria is a quaint city that lies between the Bavarian border of Germany and the Eastern Alps. Most know Salzburg as the birthplace of Mozart or where the Sound of Music movie was filmed in 1964, but our 24 hours in this charming place made me fall in love with so much more! The architecture and the stunning scenery of the nearby alps won my heart over.
Salzburg was our third stop on our European trip after visiting Prague and Vienna. At first when we were planning our European trip, the only city we were going to visit in Austria was Vienna. After I did some research and realized that there was a big Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, I knew we had to go! I watched that movie so many times as a child so it definitely holds a special place in my heart. Although the Sound of Music tour was the reason we went there initially, the city itself is so peaceful and beautiful that I want to go back and visit again!
Even though we were only there for a day, we tried to fit in as much as we could. I highly recommend staying for two or three days at least to explore the city, go on the tour (if you’re a fan of the movie), and make little day trips to the surrounding lake district. If you ever find yourself planning a trip to Salzburg here is what we did, where we stayed and where we ate!
What We Did
- The Sound of Music Tour
- If you’re going to go on the tour, I highly recommend starting your trip in Salzburg with this tour because it’s a good way to get a quick tour of the whole city and you can figure out the places you may want to go back and explore more of. First of all, the tour was really amazing! Not only did we learn lots of information about the production of the movie while touring lots of famous spots they filmed at, but we also learned quite a bit about Austria itself. They offer the tour twice a day (one at 9:15 am and 2:00 pm) and we opted to take the early morning tour since we had to head to Germany that evening and the tour lasts about 4 hours. At first, my husband was kind of reluctant to go on the tour but he agreed to it because he knew how excited I was about it. He ended up really enjoying it and says: “It’s not as bad as you think it will be. It’s a great way to see more places and learn history you would’ve otherwise missed.” I personally loved the tour and I highly recommend it to any Sound of Music fan.
- Schloss Leopoldskron – You aren’t exactly allowed on the grounds of the Palace because it’s currently a hotel, but you are able to get a view of the back side as well as the lake where they filmed the famous boat scene.
- Nonnberg Abbey – You don’t actually stop here – you only pass by it while on the bus to another location. It’s still an active women’s convent so it doesn’t allow visits within the premises, but you can walk up to the front gate after the tour on your own time.
- Gazebo/Hellbrunn Palace – Once filming on the movie wrapped, the Gazebo was gifted to the city of Salzburg and was originally kept on the grounds of Schloss Leopoldskron, but the hotel had to move it to Hellbrunn Palace because people kept sneaking onto their property to see the Gazebo. The scenes inside the Gazebo were actually filmed on a sound stage in Hollywood because the Gazebo was too small to film inside of. So this isn’t the gazebo that “16 Going On 17” was filmed inside of, but it is the gazebo that was used for exterior shots in the movie. At this stop you can also look down the road that leads to Schloss Frohnburg (the yellow building where they shot the front exterior scenes of the Von Trapp home) where Julie Andrews filmed the “I Have Confidence” scene.
- Salzburg Lake District Area/St. Gilgen – This area outside of Salzburg is where they filmed panorama shots and scenes of the picnic. The bust stops here and they give everyone a few minutes to hop out and take pictures of St. Gilgen and Lake Wolfgang. The views are so beautiful!
- Mondsee/Wedding Chapel – In the town of Mondsee is where you will see the chapel that they filmed the wedding of Maria to Captain Von Trapp. You also have a little bit of free time on this stop to wander around the town.
- Mirabell Gardens – This is where the “Do Re Mi” song was filmed and it is so beautiful! I couldn’t resist hopping up those iconic steps!
- Explore Salzburg: Old and New Town – The Old and New Town are split between the Salzach River. The Old Town is known as the historical city center or ‘altstadt’ and Taylor and I literally only had all of 10 minutes to actually spend time here so the only thing I was able to do was buy Mozart Balls (lol).
- Tour Mozart’s Birthplace – This was something we didn’t have time to do unfortunately. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the greatest composers of classical music, was born here and spent a majority of his childhood and young adult life here as well. You can tour his birthplace and residence which are both located in Old Town.
- Eat a Sacher Torte in Hotel Sacher Salzburg – The Sacher Torte is a famous Viennese dessert, but Hotel Sacher is the only place where they make it according to the original recipe. The Hotel Sacher has two locations (Vienna and Salzburg) where they produce the famous chocolate cake that’s thinly coated with apricot jam and topped with chocolate icing.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Hotel Imlauer Pitter Salzburg which is located close to Old Town. If you’re going on the Sound of Music tour, this was only a 5 minute walk away from the meeting point, so it was really close. Since we were only staying one night, the hotel upgraded us to their Salzburg Suite which was super nice. We had our own living room and dining room area with a huge walk-in style closet. Other than the Suite, my favorite thing was the view of Old Town you get when you’re eating breakfast at the top floor of the hotel which is where their Sky Bar and Restaurant is located.
Some other great places to stay are Hotel Sacher Salzburg and Schloss Leopoldskron. Hotel Sacher Salzburg is located along the Salzach River and has stunning views of Old Town. This is also the hotel Julie Andrews stayed at while filming the movie. Schloss Leopoldskron is located away from the city center of Salzburg and is where some of the scenes were filmed in Sound of Music. Leopoldskron Palace is about a 20 minute drive from the main part of Salzburg.
Where We Ate
We only had one meal out in Salzburg since we ate breakfast at our hotel. We ate at a restaurant (one of the few that was open really late at night) that served pizza and later found out it was a chain….so I don’t really recommend that. But I do have recommendations on where to eat based on my research.
- St. Peter Stiftskulinarium – The oldest documented restaurant in Europe
- Restaurant S’Nockerl – Located inside the Elefant Hotel in Old Town and is known for making the iconic Salzburg dessert, Nockerl, which is a sweet and fluffy souffle.
I so enjoyed my short time here in Salzburg and really hope to visit here for a longer period of time one day! Be sure to check out my other travel guides for our two week European trip on Prague, Vienna and Munich (Oktoberfest)!