The Sound of Music Meadow:
Location: South of Salzburg in Werfen Austria.
Official Name: Gschwandtanger Wiesn (Schwant-on-ga Ve-sin) meaning Meadow of Cleared Land. Also known as The Picnic Meadow or the Do Ri Me Meadow.
Movie Connection: Featured in the picnic scene of The Sound of Music and where the song Do Ri Me begins.
Total Time Required: 45-60 minutes to hike up from central Werfen and 30-45 minutes to get down.
Fun Scale: 10 out of 10
Overview of the Meadow:
The majestic Sound of Music Meadow in Werfen Austria is one of the most beautiful places we have visited near Salzburg. The luscious meadow, known locally as Gschwandtanger Wiesn, was featured in the hit 1965 movie The Sound of Music thanks to its breathtaking backdrop of the High Werfen Castle and sheer alpine peaks. In the film, Maria and the Von Trapp children have a picnic here and she begins to teach them how to sign with the iconic song Do Ri Me. This is one of the best scenes from the entire movie which make the meadow a must visit for any Sound of Music fan.
In 2015, a special area of this active farming meadow was opened to the public with themed installations in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Sound of Music. The city of Werfen also renovated the path to hike up the mountain to the meadow, helping to make it much more accessible. This is one of two meadows used in the filming of the Sound of Music but the only one you can visit. The other meadow (Mehlweg) which was used in the opening scenes of the film is in nearby Marktschellenberg, Germany but was closed to the public in 2010. We are so happy the meadow in Werfen is open to the public and it makes a great day trip from Salzburg especially when paired with the High Werfen Castle or the world’s largest ice cave also located here.
How To Get To The Sound of Music Meadow:
1. Train From Salzburg (40 Minutes): It is an easy 40-minute direct train South from Salzburg to Werfen Austria. Trains to Werfen Station (Werfen Bahnhof) leave multiple times an hour and tickets each way cost around 10 euros. We like to buy our tickets and check the schedule ahead of time on the ÖBB Austrian National Train website (HERE). When looking at the schedule either online or on the boards at the station, make sure to look at not just the platform number, but also the lettered bin that your train departs from.
2. Walk From Werfen Station (10 Minutes): From the tiny Werfen Station, it is only a 10-minute walk to the Tourist Office in the heart of the village where the Sound of Music Trail up to the meadow begins. After crossing the river there is easy to use underground passage to go under the busy road which comes out right in the middle of Werfen a short distance from the Tourism Office. As an alternative, you can follow the footpath along the river to either the High Werfen Castle or the bus stop to reach the Ice Cave within a few minutes of the station. We like to visit either of these two attractions in the morning followed by the Sound of Music Meadow in the afternoon.
3. Hike The Sound of Music Trail (45-60 Minutes): Next to the Werfen Tourism Office (across from the City Museum) you’ll find the start of the Sound of Music Trail. This 1-mile-long trail was enhanced in 2015 in honor of the movie’s 50th anniversary and it marked with very easy to follow path signs as you hike up. You’ll want to have snacks, a bottle of water, and appropriate shoes for hiking for the trail. The hiking is only at a moderate difficulty and easy to manage if you take your time. The city also installed a number of themed landmarks, interactive stations, a lookout points with benches to relax on during your hike up.
There is also a private farming road that leads up to the meadow which the trail follows for the last 5-minute section up to the meadow. It is appropriate for mountain bikers to take this road up to the meadow, but is it not viable for pedestrians or rental cars. The reason is that the lower part of the road has some blind corners and steeps dropoffs with no shoulder for pedestrians to safely walk on and the top of the road has no place where you are allowed to park a car as it is an active farm.
Tips For Visiting The Sound of Music Meadow:
1. Watch The Movie: This may seem obvious, but many visitors get excited to go see The Sound of Music Meadow but haven’t watched the movie in years. Having freshly watched the movie and picnic scene before you arrive will have you singing Do Ri Me the entire journey up to the meadow.
2. Combine The Meadow With Other Sites: Especially if you are visiting as a day trip from Salzburg, you really should combine a visit to the meadow with the other sights in Werfen.
3. Be Prepared For Hiking: The hike from the middle of Werfen up to the meadow is very enjoyable and not difficult if you take your time, but you should still be prepared for hiking. This means you need to bring some snacks, a bottle of water, appropriate shoes for hiking, but metal walking sticks are not required. The trail is dog-friendly, but make sure to give yourself extra time if you are hiking with children.
4. Take Time To Relax: We have visited Werfen numerous times and it is a village best explored at a manageable pace than trying to cram everything into one day. The same holds true with the Sound of Music Meadow as you want to take your time and enjoy it. Play with the themed installations as you pass them and sit to appreciate the stunning Alpine views while you take the Sound of Music Trail. While visiting here is thrilling, in the movie the meadow was a place for Maria and children to relax and you should have the same goal during your visit.
5. Remember it Gets Dark Earlier: You’ll want to start your hike back down to Werfen at least 60 minutes before sunset as the surrounding mountain peaks and trees make the trail get dark earlier. Expect it will take around 30-40 minutes for your hike back down to Werfen.