Destination Close-Up: Austria

Goodbye Germany, “hallo” Austria!

Our Austrian home for the next several days is Bad Hofgastein, a resort village nestled in the Gastein Valley of the Central Eastern Alps. In the winter, this area is a skier’s paradise, but your visit will be marked by lush, green hills, outdoor cafes and a relaxed summer vibe. From this home base, we’ll venture to Salzburg for a few days of history, music, architecture and more.

Let’s explore, shall we?

Welcome to Salzburg

We’ll cross the border into Austria, stopping for lunch along the way before we reach the village of Bad Hofgastein for dinner and some rest before our Salzburg adventures tomorrow. 

You’ll wake to a beautiful morning in Austria, enjoy breakfast at your hotel and then you’ll be whisked to Salzburg’s city center for a morning of exploring, shopping and a delicious snack or two. The Mirabellgarten is a stop in our travels today – if the gorgeous landscape looks familiar, just picture Maria and the von Trapp children singing “Do-Re-Mi” along the paths and walkways.  

Stop for a delicious lunch at one of the traditional Austrian restaurants in the city, such as the famous Stieglkeller, with its beautiful view and incredible schnitzel. As you explore the city center, take in the stunning architecture all around you – and don’t miss Mozart’s house and the iconic dome of the Salzburg Cathedral. After a full day of exploring, you’ll head back to Bad Hofgastein for some free time in the village and dinner with your group. 

Our second day in Salzburg begins on the grounds of Hellbrunn Palace – an enchanting Renaissance-era villa that was built as a summer residence for Austrian royalty. You’ll encounter the famous Trick Fountains, a mischievous series of hidden water jets, grottos and fountains commissioned by Prince-Archbishop Markus Sittikus to entertain his guests. Don’t miss the glass pavilion from The Sound of Music’s famous “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” number. You may be inspired to hum a bar or two!

But the gazebo isn’t the only film location we’ll visit; from Hellbrunn Palace, you’ll board a Sound of Music tour that will showcase highlights of the film, but also give us time to take in the historical and architectural landmarks across the area. You’ll even see the gorgeous meadow where Maria sang and twirled in the opening scenes! Our tour will end in the town of Mondsee, home of the medieval Mondsee Abbey where Maria and Captain von Trapp were married in the film. 

Our day (and our tour) ends back in Bad Hofgastein with a farewell dinner at the famous great hall of the Gastein Alm, where you’ll enjoy a fantastic meal and local music to celebrate our time together. 

As you fly home, thinking back on all that you’ve seen and done, how will you commit those experiences to memory? Will you journal about your time? Share photos with new (and now lifelong) friends? Tuck keepsakes and souvenirs into the corners of your life? However you choose to take this experience with you, we know you’ll come home with more than you left with – more joy, more perspective, more excitement. And we can’t wait to see where those memories take you.

A note – every group’s itinerary varies slightly, so this daydream may be a bit different than your on-the-ground adventure when it comes to the order of destinations, attractions you’ll visit, etc.

About Ambassadors
of Music

The Ambassadors of Music tour offers talented student musicians an unparalleled opportunity to explore the best of Europe, including the birthplace of classical music itself. This fifteen-day tour takes students and directors on an adventure through five countries, with once-in-a-lifetime cultural experiences throughout our journey, including performances in historic venues.