We're off to Austria for a two-week skiing holiday next month but plan to stop in Salzburg to surprise our seven-year-old daughter with a tour of the places and historical buildings that feature in the film TheSound of Music. Can you suggest a few must-visit sites, and recommend a tour company?
If you want to venture out on Salzburg's Sound of Music trail on your own, start by walking through Kapitelplatz Square and climbing the steep Nonnbergasse Two to the historic Nonnberg Nunnery, one of the oldest convents in the world and where the song "Maria" was filmed. Then explore the nearby 18th-century Mirabell Castle and its gardens, immortalised by the film cast singing "Do-Re-Mi", and Hellbrunn Palace, which houses the pretty pavilion where Liesl sings "Sixteen Going on Seventeen". A short walk away is Frohnburg Castle, which provided the famous facade for the von Trapp home. Don't forget to visit the majestic Mondsee Cathedral on Lake Mondsee, about 24km east of Salzburg, where the fictional Maria and the baron were married. Once a monastery, it was founded in 748. End your tour at Felsenreitschule and the Festival Halls in Salzburg, where the von Trapp family sing "Edelweiss" before making their escape.
The Salzburg-based company Panorama Tours (www.panoramatours.com) offers a four-hour "Original Sound of Music tour" at 9.30am and 4pm every day, starting from Mirabellplatz in front of St Andra Church.
The tour begins at Mirabell Castle and takes in St Peter's District, the oldest quarter of Salzburg; Mozartsteg, the bridge over Salzach River, which connects Rudolfskai to Imbergstrasse; the now privately owned Leopoldskron Palace (Maria and the baron danced on the terrace here), which is a short walk from the old town; the 17th-century Frohnburg Castle (now home to students from the Mozarteum Music Academy); Hellbrunn Palace; the Untersberg, Salzburg's most famous Alpine peak offering sweeping panoramas of the city, as seen in the opening "hills are alive" scene; a tour of Nonnberg Abbey; a visit to the scenic town of St Gilgen and the beautiful Lake Wolfgang, about 30km from Salzburg; and Mondsee Cathedral.
Tour prices start at €110 (Dh541) for two adults and two children between four and 12 years of age. The company can arrange hotel pick-up and drop-off for an extra fee.
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