The Sound of Music movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was The Sound of Music filmed?

1965

About The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music was released in 1965, and the film won five Oscars. The musical was extremely popular, and it is still a relevant piece of popular culture nearly fifty years later. The film is based on the 1949 memoir titled The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, which was made into a stage musical in 1959.

The memoir is the true story of the von Trapp family. The story begins when a spirited young lady, Maria, is studying to become a nun at Nonnberg Abbey. Maria’s quirky personality causes a stir at the abbey, so Mother Abbess decides to send Maria to work for the von Trapp family as a governess.

Captain Georg von Trapp, retired from the Navy, is a widower with seven children to raise alone. His strict, military style of discipline isn’t working, but Maria’s bubbly, kind personality strikes a positive note with the children. At first, the children resist and sometimes defy Maria, but she eventually wins them over.

When Captain von Trapp is away in Vienna, Maria takes the children around the city of Salzburg, where she teaches them to sing. Problems arise when Maria and the Captain butt heads over her methods of entertaining the children, but when he learns of Maria’s teaching them to sing, the Captain changes his mind.

Maria’s teaching the children to sing not only liberates the little ones, but Captain von Trapp also remembers his love of music. He also realizes that he has feelings for Maria. A jealous socialite with designs on the Captain provides an antagonist, but love wins, and the Captain and Maria wed.

Set in 1938, the Captain will eventually be ordered to join the German Navy after the annexation of Austria. The climax involves the von Trapp family attending the Salzburg Festival in order to get away from the Brownshirts. The family is eventually assisted by the nuns at the Abbey in escaping the Brownshirts who would force the Captain to accept his commission from the Reich and Hitler. The von Trapp family eventually heads to Switzerland for safety and freedom.

City Locations

Salzburg, Austria, particularly - Leopoldskron Palace, Nonnberg Abbey, Mirabell Gardens, St. Peter’s Cemetery and Catacombs, Residence Square and Fountain, Hellbrunn Palace

Location Types

Architectural, Mansions

Location Styles

Castle/Chateau, Foreign

The Sound of Music Locations

The Sound of Music was filmed in multiple locations around Salzburg, Austria. Most of the Sound of Music locations are real-life locations, and they are considered tourist attractions both for their individual beauty as well as their significance in the musical.

Nonnberg Abbey is the home of the nuns who assisted the von Trapp family in escaping from the Brownshirts, but the Mother Abbess plays an integral role in Maria’s life. Without the Mother’s decision to send Maria to work as a governess, Maria might not have met the Captain. When Maria returns to the abbey thinking the Captain will marry the Baroness, it is the Mother Abbess who sends Maria back to the von Trapp home. Tourists should remember that the interior of the real abbey looks different from the movie’s version. Filming of these scenes took place in a Hollywood studio.

The Mirabell Palace and Gardens is home to a beautiful garden and the iconic Pegasus Fountain. Another iconic fountain in The Sound of Music is located outside the old Residence Palace. The Frohnberg Palace, once a private residence, is now a music academy; the Palace is in the scene where Maria first lays eyes on the von Trapp home.

The Gazebo scene in The Sound of Music

The gazebo of Hellbrunn Castle, Fürstenweg 37, 5020 Salzburg, Austria

The gazebo is the place where the Captain and Maria finally declare their love for one another. Maria is sitting in the Gazebo looking forlorn when the Captain finds her. He questions her about why she left the villa only to return. A discussion about the Baroness and the Captain’s engagement to her ensue. The Captain tells Maria, “There is no Baroness.” He continues and reveals to Maria that he loves her.

This scene had to be shot as a silhouette because Christopher Plummer (the Captain) and Julie Andrews (Maria) kept giggling.

During the gazebo scene, both Maria and the Captain sing I Must Have Done Something Good, a song in which Maria reflects that her good fortune - finding love in the Captain as well as her newfound family - must be due to her having done something good in her life.

I Must Have Done Something Good wasn’t originally in the play; it was written strictly for the 1965 film. The Captain and Maria discuss whom he should ask regarding permission to marry Maria. The couple decide he must ask the children.

This is one of the best scenes in the Sound of Music and can be found on the grounds of the Schloss Hellbrunn Palace at Fürstenweg 37, 5020 Salzburg, Austria. This is a tourist attraction now and is easy to reach whether you are driving a vehicle or taking public transportation. There are several routes including the Munchen Hbf train or the Flix Bus, Arda Tur Bus, Bus 3, or Bus 25.

The Edelweiss scene in The Sound of Music

The von Trapp home (Scloss Leopoldskron Hotel), Leopoldskronstraße 56-58, 5020 Salzburg, Austria

The Edelweiss scene is one in which the Captain finally begins to let his hair down somewhat and show a softer side of himself. While Captain von Trapp has been against his family singing publicly, the Edelweiss scene offers the Captain a chance to show a more tender, loving side rather than the strict, military-style, regimented lifestyle he so often presents.

Many have mistaken the Edelweiss song as the Austrian national anthem; it is not. In fact, President Ronald Reagan allegedly quoted lyrics from the song when meeting Austrian President Rudolf Kirchschlager at the White House. At the end of a toast, President Reagan quoted from the song: ``Blossom of snow, may you bloom and grow -- and bless your homeland forever.''

The song Edelweiss is not the Austrian national anthem; it was written specifically by Rogers and Hammerstein for the musical. During the scene, Captain von Trapp plays the guitar while singing. Maria and the children join in. It is during this scene that the Captain sees Maria as more than an employee. He also begins to realize that Maria has feelings for him.

This scene is set in the von Trapp home. The chief place for filming these scenes was the Schloss Leopoldskron Hotel, which is still a functioning luxury hotel located in Salzburg, Austria. This is another tourist attraction and can be reached by a number of different public transport options.

The Climb Every Mountain scene in The Sound of Music

Nonnberg Abbey, Nonnberggasse 2, 5020 Salzburg, Austria

At the end of Act I in the play, but building the climax of the film, is the scene in which Maria has returned to the abbey upon learning of the Captain’s engagement to the Baroness. Maria is confused, and she goes to Mother Abbess for guidance. It is during this scene that the Mother sings Climb Every Mountain. One of its inspirational lyrics is “Climb ev'ry mountain/ Ford ev'ry stream/ Follow ev'ry rainbow/ 'Till you find your dream.”

Oscar Hammerstein wrote the lyrics to this timeless song about finding one’s purpose and direction, and he said that he was inspired by Sister Gregory, who wrote a letter to Hammerstein that would give him a distinct viewpoint about one’s life choices. Sister Gregory compared her personal choice for religious life to the choices that individuals must make in order to find their purpose and direction in life.

This scene in The Sound of Music is particularly touching, not simply because of the song, but also because of the insight the audience gets regarding Mother Abbess. Usually quite stern, the Mother becomes soft and compassionate with Maria. She not only recognizes Maria’s joy in life, but she also knows that Maria’s place isn’t within the abbey if she truly loves the Captain.

This Sound of Music filming location is at Nonnberg Abbey (Stift Nonnberg) on Nonnberggasse in Salzburg, Austria. This is a convent church that was founded in 713 AD. It is the oldest nunnery in Germany and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although you cannot go inside, just seeing the outside is worth the trip though. To get there, you can jump on several buses including Bus 1 or 3-6, or Buses 21 and 22.

The Do Re Mi scene in The Sound of Music

Mirabell Gardens, Mirabell Palace, Mirabellplatz, 5020 Salzburg, Austria

The Do Re Mi scene in The Sound of Music is one of the most recognizable scenes in the film. The scene recounts Maria teaching the children the musical scales.

Many music teachers today use the Do Re Mi scene to teach the same musical basics to students. The Do Re Mi song is one that is hugely recognizable in pop culture, even if individuals aren’t fans of the musical itself. The song has been utilized on modern American television shows and movies in addition to the iconic scene from The Sound of Music film. In fact, most people remember the lyrics, “Doe/ a deer/ a female deer, Ray/ a drop of golden sun.”

The Do Re Mi scene is set outside on a hill. Maria grabs a guitar and improvises a song that will hopefully help the children to catch on to the musical scales more quickly. This scene was actually quite difficult to film. The hillside was often wet and chilly during the spring when the film shoot was done. The scene actually took two months to complete, even though the scene in the film is only about nine minutes.

To visit this filming location at the Mirabell Palace, you can take one of about a dozen different buses. Some of these include Bus N965, N981, NB67, or 1929. You can also take one of several trains including the Deutsche Bahn Intercity Express Train or the Transdev Train.

The twirling and singing scene in The Sound of Music

Wolfgagnsee Lake, Salzburg, Austria

Best known for Julie Andrews’ twirling while singing The Sound of Music (who could forget ‘The hills are alive/ With the sound of music’), the opening scene was another of the most difficult to shoot. This scene is recognizable all over the world, and it is a part of international pop culture as well as American pop culture.

The camera pans over what the audience believes is the Austrian Alps, but this scene is filmed on a private piece of land in Germany. The camera crew had roughly twenty minutes to get the right shot in regard to the position of the sun when the scene was filmed.

Julie Andrews has said in later interviews that the place was accessible only by riding in a cart pulled by oxen up to the location. Andrews had to be hoisted up the hill along with the camera equipment, something she and the crew did for one week in order to complete the scene. In addition, Andrews nearly fell during the infamous twirl she does while the camera pans around her.

Fans who want to visit the village of St. Gilgen and the Wolfgagnsee Lake can drive themselves, take a taxi, or use a rideshare service. There are also several ways to get to the town nearby including the train or bus. However, you will have to walk the last mile to the lake.

FUN FACT: The brook in the scene was plastic filled with water, and the crew had to bring that in with the other equipment. The farmer who owned the land eventually removed the manmade brook.

The festival scene in The Sound of Music

Schloss Fronburg, Hellbrunner Allee 53, 5020 Salzburg, Austria

The Festival Scene in The Sound of Music is one of the most politically charged scenes, offering a glimpse into the historic happenings in 1938 when Germany annexed Austria. The festival is used as an excuse for the family to leave the villa, and they’ll eventually leave the festival site to escape with the help of the nuns at the abbey.

On the night of the festival, Captain von Trapp is approached by a member of the Brownshirts. They inform him that he is to report to Bremerhaven, where he will accept a commission in the German Navy.

Fans of the hit musical may wish to visit the Frohnburg Palace, where during the festival scene the von Trapp family is filmed pushing the car silently out of the gate. Prior to heading to the festival, Captain von Trapp rips down a Nazi flag that was hung outside the villa. To get here, you can take one of many public transport options including several buses and trains.

Conclusion

The Sound of Music is a musical that is recognized worldwide and influences cultures internationally. The ‘Do/Re/Mi’ song alone has been featured in television shows such as Full House, but it’s also been featured in a number of films. Music teachers even use the catchy tune to teach the musical scales.

The Sound of Music also gives a poignant look into Eastern Europe during the rise of the Third Reich.

Stars such as Lady Gaga have sung tunes from the musical at the Oscars. The musical has been on Broadway a number of times. Visiting Salzburg is not only easy but welcomed by the public. Most filming locations can be easily accessed by train or bus, and the bulk of the Sound of Music locations mentioned are open to the public for tours.