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Planning a visit to Salzburg, Austria and want to check out the top Mirabell Gardens Sound of Music sites? We highlight all the things to see and do in Mirabell Gardens and detail all the locations in the gardens where Sound of Music was filmed.
Mirabell Palace and the surrounding Mirabell Gardens are two of the most significant and notable places in Salzburg, Austria. Built in 1606, the palace complex located in the historic center of Salzburg is part of the Old Town area of Salzburg deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, Mirabell Palace houses municipal offices, so only a small portion of the building – the Marble Hall and Angel Staircase – are open to the public for viewing.
But it isn’t the palace’s interior that draws hundreds of thousands of people each year. Instead, it is the beautiful Baroque gardens outside the palace, that attract thousands of tourists and locals alike. Made famous from Hollywood’s iconic Sound of Music, Mirabell Gardens is one of the best known filming locations for the classic movie.
About Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg, Austria
There are a lot to things to see and do in Salzburg, Austria, and if you’re visiting Salzburg with kids, Mirabell Gardens is one of the best places to spend an afternoon. It is a great place to let little ones roam and explore freely.
Widely known as one of the most beautiful Baroque gardens in Europe, Mirabell Gardens has six distinct areas of interest:
- Pegasus Fountain
- Grand Fountain
- Hedge Theater
- Dwarf Garden
- Rose Garden
Many of these areas were used as the backdrop for some of the most memorable scenes from Sound of Music, partially filmed in Salzburg in the 1960s.
Although built in the 1600s by prince-archbishop Wolf Dietrich, it remained a private garden for nearly 200 years. Mirabell Gardens was first opened to the public in 1854, and is free to visit. From its north entrance, the garden boasts a fabulous view of Hohensalzburg Fortress, perched high above Salzburg. Although it has been redesigned and additions, like the orangery have been added throughout the years, the famous sites shown in Sound of Music remain unchanged for the last 80 years since the film’s release.
Mirabell Gardens Sound of Music sites
Whether or not you are a fan of the film Sound of Music, Mirabell Gardens is a Salzburg must-see attraction! More than 300,000 movie fans flock to the gardens each year to walk in the footsteps of the Von Trapp family.
One of the most popular scenes in the movie, when Fraulein Maria teaches the Von Trapp children the song “Do-Re-Mi”, was mostly filmed in Mirabell Gardens. In the film, Maria and the Von Trapp children run, dance and skip around Mirabell Gardens, happily singing the catchy, now famous tune.
If you want to pay homage to the film, here are some of the most notable areas of Mirabell Gardens featured in Sound of Music.
The scene where Maria teaches the Von Trapp children the song Do-Re-Mi starts out in a pasture surrounded by beautiful mountains, but they don’t stay there long before taking a cycling journey into town, ending up at Mirabell Gardens.
The first site in Mirabell Gardens featured in the movie is the Pegasus Fountain. The kids and Maria walk along the edge of the fountain before jumping off in cinematic choreography. Pegasus Fountain is located directly at the bottom of the Musical Steps at the north end of Mirabell Garden.
The Hedge Tunnel
The next portion of the song takes you through a tunnel of hedges in Mirabell Garden, Sound of Music’s next site in the gardens.
The kids leap and skip as they sing gleefully along with Maria. To get to the hedge tunnel from Pegasus Fountain head south toward the south entrance to the garden. Just to the side of the tree-lined path, you’ll find the famous tunnel where the Von Trapps ran through carefree.
It was much less dramatic when we went through the tunnel, although we did have it all to ourselves.
South Entrance Statues
The south entrance is the next Mirabell Gardens Sound of Music film location featured in the Do-Re-Mi song sequence. Flanked by two statues of Greek warriors leaping toward each other with their arms extended and fists in the air, this entrance is directly south from Grand Fountain. If you take a Sound of Music tour, or a hop-on-hop-off bus, this is the entrance at which you will likely be dropped off.
Shown briefly in the Sound of Music, the Grand Fountain is in the center of Mirabell Gardens. The kids and Maria march in two inter-crossing lines along the path directly in front of the fountain as water shoots into the air behind them. It is a transition in the sequence from the floral gardens to the next area depicted in the movie, the Dwarf Garden, which is a more wooded area of Mirabell Gardens, and our personal favorite.
The Dwarf Garden is a great place to relax under the trees and let your children explore.
The majority of Mirabell Gardens is full of colorful flowers, statues, fountains and perfectly manicured hedges. But the Dwarf Garden is in a more natural wooded area. This area of the garden gets its name from the 15 Dwarf statues lining the walking path.
In Sound of Music, the kids and Maria march in front of one of the Dwarf statues, each tapping it on the head as they pass while singing Do-Re-Mi.
The Dwarf Garden is located up a set of steps near Pegasus Fountain guarded by Lions. It offers a fair amount of green space where you can lounge or have a family picnic under the large trees.
The North Steps
The final Mirabell Gardens Sound of Music filming location featured in the song sequence for “Do-Re-Mi” is the grand steps at the north entrance to the gardens. This entrance gives you the iconic and stunning view of Hohensalzburg Fortress, as it towers above Salzburg.
In the movie, the children hop up and down the steps using them as a musical scale in what is one of the most famous scenes in the movie.
How to view Mirabell Gardens
There are two ways to view Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg. You can take a self-guided tour and simply walk the gardens at your own leisure. The gardens and the palace are free to enter. Although the palace is closed on weekends and during special events, like weddings, which often take place inside the palace’s Marble Hall.
Mirabell Gardens is open each day from 6am to dusk, although the Dwarf Garden is closed during winter months.
The other way to see Mirabell Gardens is to join a Sound of Music tour. The most popular guided experience in all of Salzburg, the Sound of Music tour takes you to a variety of stops featured in the movie, like Mirabell Gardens, Nonnberg Abbey, Lake Fuschl and the charming town of Mondsee, Austria. Salzburg is roughly a three hour drive to Vienna, Austria, and an hour and a half by car to Munich, Germany.
Final thoughts on Mirabell Gardens Sound of Music sites
Every Salzburg itinerary should include a visit to Mirabell Gardens. Growing up, Sound of Music was a favorite in our household. It is still a holiday tradition for us to watch the movie around Christmas time each year. Having loved the movie for many years, it was nice to see some familiar sights while we were in Salzburg. Walking into the garden, it is amazing to see so much remains the same, despite the fact that eight decades have passed since the classic film’s release.
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This post about Mirabell Gardens Sound of Music sites was originally published in October 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and current information.