Finding Mozart and The Sound of Music In Salzburg, Austria

By , November 13th, 2014

Salzburg has become synonymous with The Sound of Music, and while we’re not sure that the hills were alive, the town certainly was on our recent visit. The Old Town’s ancient, cobblestone streets teemed with activity in the many shops and eateries creating a spirit that just has to be experienced to be believed. Here’s how to find the Sound of Music in Salzburg.

The magic of Mozart

Mozart souvenirs Salzburg
Photo by هديل الحامد 

We began our exploration at the home where Mozart was born. As a child prodigy he was performing for royalty at age five, and by the time he was a teenager, Wolfgang was working as a court musician for the ruler of Salzburg, Count Hieronymus von Colloredo. But the prestigious position was not enough to satisfy Mozart, and in a few years he was off to Vienna in search of an audience for his operas. His mark on Salzburg remains in many ways, the most obvious being the candies bearing his likeness that we found at nearly every store–no matter what else they were selling.

A daunting climb to capture the castle

Hohensalzburg Castle Salzburg
Photo by Manolo Gomez 

No doubt, as a court performer, Mozart played many times at Hohensalzburg Castle, one of the largest and best preserved medieval castles in all of Europe. Getting to the summit of the Festungsberg looked to be quite a daunting task, but luck and modern convenience were on our side. There is an electric cable railway, or funicular, that travels up the rocky face of the mountain. The view from the top is absolutely astounding: a full panorama that includes the city, river valley and the Alps.

Just follow the wrought-iron signs

Salzburg food

By trivago magazineg out the famous wrought iron guild signs Salzburg is known for, we easily found some proper grub. Most restaurants, and every other business, announce their presence with the ornate signs, just as they have for centuries. The tradition dates back to the 1400s, when the guild system of craftsmen and tradesmen formed associations to manage business and train new apprentices. While you’re trivago magazineg out the town’s sign, be sure to call the one in front of the luxurious Goldener Hirsch home during your stay in this beautiful town.

As much as we loved the signs, we didn’t have to read many, sitting at the base of the castle we found a classic beer hall, Stieglkeller. True to its name it features the local bräu, Stiegl, but also excellent authentic Austrian dishes. Like any good beer hall, hefty wooden tables await mass quantities of food and drink, and animal heads – mostly the kind with antlers – adorn the walls.

The mesmerizing music of the Dom

Where to hear music in Salzburg
Photo by TJflex2

Off we went in search of more music. We were drawn to the main plaza, Domplatz, by a mesmerizing sound from an ancient instrument known as a Cembal d’amour. The design is much like a clavichord, except without the piano-like keys. The Cembal is played with mallets directly striking the strings. The square in front of the beautiful cathedral for the city, Domkirche St. Rupert has become a gathering place for performers.

And finally, finding the Sound of Music

Sound of Music locations Salzburg
Photo by Audrey H 

With the Sound of Music ringing in our ears, we set out to find some of the locations from the film. It wasn’t hard, the Residenzplatz is the plaza right next to Domplatz, and is where Maria sang I Have Confidence in Me. The nearby Petersfriedhof, or St. Peter’s Cemetery, is where the dramatic scenes of the von Trapp family fleeing were filmed.

Sound of Music filming locations Salzburg

Next we passed the convent, Stift Nonnberg, where the nuns sang Maria, on our way outside the city walls to the Mirabell Gardens, site of the classic Do-Re-Mi scene. Which brought us back to Do… or the beginning… or full circle, meaning Mozart, since the house that he lived in briefly before leaving Salzburg, is just across from the gardens.

Is a visit to Salzburg on your travel bucket list?