Welcome to our 2019 Adventure in Salzburg!

We just returned from a week spent in the castles and palaces of Salzburg, meeting with the folks who will make this dream come true. This itinerary will give you an overview of our plans. In the weeks ahead, we will post more details and photos on the Castles and Concerts website.

Our Palace of Schloss Leopoldskron, the centerpiece of our trip was built in 1736 by the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg as his summer residence. With apologies, we are going to drop a few names here.

When he wasn’t on the road, Mozart had a steady gig at the palace playing concerts and after-dinner music for the Prince Archbishop. In the early 20 th century, the palace was the home of Max Reinhart, one of the great artistic and musical impresarios of the time. His home functioned as a kind of artistic salon, and over the years he hosted the great thinkers, artists and performers of the day. A short list would include Einstein, Freud, Sara Bernhart and Charlie Chaplin. Being Jewish, Reinhardt, “Uncle Max” in the movie, famously fled the Nazis with the von Trapp family in 1939. He became a famous movie director in Hollywood and the von Trapp family went on to become an American singing sensation. After WWII our Palace was bought and given to Harvard University by a group of American servicemen who were stationed there in 1945. Harvard still owns it.
In 1959, Rogers and Hammerstein set the von Trapp story to music and brought it to Broadway. In 1965, Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and seven children came here to the same palace to film what has become one of the world’s favorite movies. Anyone who has seen the movie will remember the famous scenes in the lake behind the Palace. Our palace is both the real historical place where all this occurred, and also the film set for the movie.

And it continues today to be one of the world’s great places to throw a party. Two years ago, Bill Gates picked this palace to celebrate Melinda’s 50 th birthday, And in September of this year, we will come to Salzburg and take the palace for our exclusive use for a series of parties, gala dinners, concerts and tours in this most magical of cities. Those who choose to volunteer can sing in a chorus that will rehearse and perform in the palace. This will be just for fun. No musical background needed.

Read on to find out some of the things we have planned. We hope you will join us!


The Library of Schloss Leopoldskron.
Today, the palace is home to Salzburg Global Seminars, which typically hosts high government officials and teams of specialists for meetings concerning global security, advanced technology and the like. It is not open to the public. Starting September 24, Castles and Concerts will host our own music symposium centered on the music of Mozart and The Sound of Music. This is not a typical seminar (we are not known for taking ourselves too seriously). And though we will endeavor to learn and appreciate the fascinating history surrounding us, camaraderie and merriment will be our main goals.

We will have our own choral director, an in house string quartet and several other talented musicians and entertainers with us. We have also contacted the orchestra at the conservatory, who will play for us as well as a wonderful group of contemporary musicians called the Salzburger Nockerl. We met them on the Budapest trip two years ago and we will love to hear them again.
The view from the garden at Schloss Leopoldskron.

Fuschl Castle

After a busy week in the town palace, we’ll move for the weekend out to another fabulous castle built on a nearby lake. Fuschl Castle was built in 1461 as a hunting lodge by yet another of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg.

Before the last war, it was owned by Gustav Remiz, an aristocrat who opposed Hitler. He was imprisoned in Dachau, where he died. The Nazis took the property and it became the summer home of the Nazi foreign minister von Ribbentrop, who used it for diplomatic receptions for Germany's allies

After the war, the castle was returned to the descendants of Mr. Rimiz, who turned it into a luxury resort. It is still in the same family and is considered one of the great hotels in Europe. There is a nine-hole golf course and boats for the lake. The palace retains its’ collection of old master paintings as well as a collection of classic cars and other antiques. We will spend our last two days and nights here enjoying the glories of the lake and countryside. And we will close the show here with two final gala dinner concerts.
The bar at Schloss Fuschl.
Schloss Fuschl on the lake.
One of the Castle Suites.

The Excursions

The Nonnberg Abbey and the Fortress

We will begin at the Nonnberg Abbey where Maria was a novice and where the opening scenes of The Sound of Music were filmed. This convent is the oldest in the German-speaking world; its church was built in 748. The opening part of the movie, where the nuns go to mass and Maria returns too late was shot here. Later the children come to the Abbey to ask Maria to return to their home. The escape scene at the end of the movie, when the nuns sabotage the cars of the bad guys was also filmed here.

A short walk takes us to the funicular up to the Fortress,. the city's landmark. The views are enchanting and the historic stories fascinating. There is also a restaurant with panoramic views, where we will take our lunch.

After lunch you can wander into the Old Town, a pedestrian only zone. Our guide will be available for those who want a more structured tour, or you can just wander off on your own. The Getreidegasse is a fantastic shopping street with its famous wrought-iron shop signs. We’ll meet for cocktails in the lounge of the palace at 6:30.
A view of Salzburg from the river with the old fortress on top of the hill. Our palace, Leopoldskron, is on a lake about a mile behind the fortress.
During our daily adventures, we will form small groups, each with its own guide and transport. In the evenings we will join together for grand banquets, concerts and afterglows. Over the next few pages you will read about our daily adventures. By the end of the week everybody will have had the opportunity to enjoy each of these excursions in a small group.
The abbey where the nuns worried: “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” and taught that us that we should “Climb Every Mountain”.
The View from the Eagles Nest

Bavaria and the Eagles Nest

The border with the south German province of Bavaria is less that 10 miles from our palace. It’s a scenic drive, dotted with romantic farmhouses, along the Königsee River Valley and through the Bavarian mountains to Obersalzberg. Once there, we’ve arranged a visit to the Eagle’s Nest, high above the valley floor. This charming villa with incredible views was a birthday present to Hitler from his subordinates. The Fuehrer never spent a night there. (He was afraid of heights). But after driving up to 7,000 feet we will take the gilded and mirrored elevator up the final 425 feet, to enjoy one of the world’s great views.

Afterwards, we will visit the nearby old town of Berchtesgaden, located at the southern tip of Germany, less than 30 minutes from Salzburg. Steeped in myth and legend, Berchtesgad enjoys a natural beauty so abundant that it’s almost preternatural. A tale has it that angels, charged with handing out the Earth’s wonders, were startled by God’s order to hurry up and dropped them all here. It is framed by six stunning mountain ranges and its fir-lined valleys are filled with gurgling streams and peaceful Alpine meadows. In Berchtesgaden we will take our lunch at one of the oldest breweries in Europe. The authentic Hofbrauhaus here has been serving up the “liquid bread" as the Bavarians often lovingly refer to it, since the early 1600s.
The entrance to the tunnel that leads to the 425-foot elevator shaft up to the Eagles Nest, pictured above. All the materials to build the villa were carried up with donkies and both the tunnel and the elevator shaft were dug by hand.
Berchtesgaten where we will have lunch at the Hofbrauhaus just next to the church steeples.

The Mondsee

In talking to people, we kept hearing about the beauty of the high alpine lakes that surround Salzburg. One of these lake villages is where they filmed the wedding scene for The Sound of Music, so we went out to take a look. The village is picture book perfect, and the village church, where Maria married Captain von Trapp, is a magnificent example of the high baroque. We immediately decided that this should be included in our adventures. We found a delightful skipper of a small excursion boat who will take us out on the lake. We then set out to find a place for the group to take lunch and found a charming little inn that looked like an illustration from a children’s fairy story. Lunch was spectacular! (Fresh fish from the lake, with locally grown veggies). The innkeeper showed us a private room where our group could take lunch. We loved it. It was perfect. We booked it for the group.

The Town of Mondsee
As we were leaving, the innkeeper told us in passing (no big deal, she just thought we might find it interesting) that the room we had just reserved was the one where Mozart’s sister had held her wedding reception. Yes, the whole family, Leopold, Wolfgang, mom, the cousins, aunts and uncles, everybody was there. She told us as if it happened last month.
Mondsee in winter with its steeple
The Interior of the Mondsee Church. This is where Maria married Captain von Trapp both in real life and in the movie.

A visit to Old-Town and the Rezidenz Palace,the Mirabell Palace and an Organ Concert

For more than a thousand years, a line of Prince Archbishops ruled the rich lands around Salzburg as a sovereign principate, much like Monaco or Lichtenstein today. In the old town are abbeys, churches and civic buildings that date back to the 800’s. The greatest building boom was in the Baroque period (1600 – 1750). As an Archbishop, most of the rulers could not marry and produce an heir, so the succession was often the source of political intrigue and even murder. In the early 1600’s Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau built the Mirabell Palace and gardens (pictured at right) for his mistress and their fifteen children. It was here on the steps in front of the gates to the gardens that Maria sang Do-Re-Mi with the von Trapp children.

The Palace and Gardens of Mirabell.
Today we will visit two of these grand Baroque monuments and then have a private half-hour concert on the great Baroque organ that was played often by Mozart. We’ll then take lunch in a lovely small restaurant that has been serving since the 1600’s. After lunch you can continue with the guide for the rest of the afternoon or wander off to explore on your own.
The Salzburg Cathedral Organ where Mozart played many times.
Night falls on the city of Salzburg.

As long as your coming to Munich why not include a visit to

Because our visit to Salzburg ends on the last day of September, we considered it a natural to consider Oktoberfest as an event that we could offer as an option to our Sound of Music adventure, As you may already know, Oktoberfest is held in September in order to insure good weather. Our first night in the Salzburg palace is Tuesday, the 24th . In 2019, Oktoberfest opens on Saturday, September 21st.

We have reserved rooms for three nights, starting on the 21st at one of Munich’s grand hotels, the Kempinski Vier Jahreszeiten hotel. It is in the center of the old town on Maximilianstraße. And as luck would have it, one of the world’s great parades will pass by our hotel in the morning of Sunday, September 22nd. We will join over 9,500 costumed local people and hundreds of floats, musicians, horses and antique beer wagons leading folks down the Maximilianstraße to the giant tents for the opening of Oktoberfest. Staying at the Kempinski will guarantee us a great place to watch the parade.
A longtime friend of Castles and Concerts, Dan Gordon, is helping us in both Munich and Salzburg. Dan is the first American in over 40 years to graduate from the five-year brewing program of the University of Munich, Germany’s most prestigious school for the brewing arts. He returned to the Bay Area and founded the wildly successful Gordon Biersch brewery where he has been the lead brewer for 28 years.

His contacts in Munich and the beer industry will help us to open doors to special events and parties. And if that weren’t enough, he is also a professional level trombone player. This will open even more doors to magical musical experiences!
The main dinning room in the Hofbrauhaus, open since 1589.
Partygoers during the Oktoberfest Parade
Saturday September 21st : Whatever time you arrive, we’ll be there to greet you and get you checked into the Kempinski Hotel. Our first big evening will be at the Hofbrauhaus, a few steps from our hotel. It opened in 1589.

Sunday September 22nd : We will take in the parade as it passes our hotel and then visit the festival tents for lunch. That evening we will have a private dinner at our hotel for those who want to take a breath from the crowds. However, those who prefer can still party on into the night with the locals.

Monday September 23rd : The fairgrounds, with folk arts, music, dance and food, will be more relaxed on Monday, the first weekday of the festival. We will also offer the opportunity to visit a couple of the nearby monuments in the city such as the fabulous Nyphenburg Palace, built in 1664 as the residence of the kings of Bavaria. Dinner will be in a wonderful local beer garden.

Tuesday September 24th : We will move into our Palace in Salzburg. It’s about a two-hour drive by motor coach so we’ll arrive in Salzburg in time for lunch.
An example of the extravagant beer tents on the fairgrounds of Oktoberfest
During the festival everyone is considered a Bavarian. The locals make a point of welcoming everyone as if they were next-door neighbors. There’s lots of Um-Pah-Pah music and German beer songs. We will have several get-togethers here in the Bay Area before we leave in order for our chorus to rehearse songs from the Sound of Music. And we’ll open every rehearsal with a few of these German songs so that we can truly fit in and join the singing during the parties. We’ll also send you recordings and word sheets so you can grab a beer and practice at home.

Oktoberfest is the world’s largest folk festival. It takes place in Old Town, Munich where all the restaurants and bars join the fun. It is centered in a series of big tents on the plaza of Thereisienwiese. The parade passes by our hotel Kempinski and through the Marienplatz (below right). It is a ten-minute walk to the tents and our hotel is central to everything that’s happening. The world-famous Hofbrauhaus is in the next block.
The Munich Hofbrauhaus; serving happiness since 1589
Marienplatz, the Medieval center of Old Town Munich

Arrival and Departure

September 21st (pretrip in Munich): If you are joining us for Oktoberfest, you will arrive on Saturday September 21 st . Whatever time you arrive, we’ll meet you and get you to the Kempinsky Hotel.
Those who arrive on Monday the 23rd will stay a night at the Munich airport Hilton. (This is included in the price of the main trip). There are nonstop flights from SFO to Munich and the Hilton is inside the terminal. Remember that you lose a day in travel, so if you are coming from the US your departure will be on September 20th or the 22nd.

Other arrival days: Tom, Matt and Chip will arrive several days early, so if you would like to arrive on other days, please let us know and we’ll be happy to help arrange any extra accommodations you may need.

Tuesday morning the 24th After breakfast we will depart for Salzburg both from the airport Hilton and downtown Munich. We will all arrive to Leopoldskron Palace in Salzburg in time for lunch

Monday September 30th: Castles and Concerts will provide transport back to the Munich airport in time to catch any flight scheduled at noon or after. If you have an early morning flight, talk to us about arranging early transport for you.
The Meierhof, the wing of the palace that two hundred years ago served as the administrative center for the Prince Archbishop and his ministers. Today, most of the bedrooms are located here. The main part of the palace houses a few suites and all of the grand ceremonial rooms where we will have our meals and concerts.

Further Details and Costs

Dress: We’ll be casual most of the time but we plan to be casually elegant for our evenings in the palace and castle. A couple of nights we’ll dress up nicely, but remember that our group has a wide comfort zone for attire. Oktoberfest is casual but if you’ve got lederhosen or a dirndl dress, bring them along and you’ll be right at home.

What’s included: All accommodations, meals and ground transportation including from Munich to Salzburg on September 24 and back to Munich on September 30. All the excursions and concerts as well as house wines with dinner are included. We will enjoy some of the best things in life; gala dinners, concerts, history, culture sing-a-long participation and, most of all, the joy of camaraderie with great people

Not included: Round trip air from the states, and extra drinks and incidentals that you sign for individually.

Costs: The cost for a standard double room for the week is $5,850 per person. A single occupancy supplement is $900. There are nine suites in the main building and these are available at an added supplement, so let us know if you’re interested in the suites. The cost for the three days for the Oktoberfest is $2,650, again including all accommodations, excursions and meals with the group.

Deposit: A deposit of $500 per person will hold your place in this grand adventure. This deposit will be fully refundable for any reason until March, when we will ask you to pay half the balance with the final payment due in August.

Insurance / Cancellations: If there is something that might prevent you from attending, we encourage you to take out trip insurance. Your deposits are fully transferable to someone who takes your place and if you cancel for any reason we will refund all of your money if you or we can fill your spot.

Weather: The last week of September is often one of the nicest of the year. We should have lovely fall colors. But, just in case, you should have a warm jacket, especially for times when we go into the high altitudes


Please feel free to email or call us with any questions you may have. Thank you.


(650) 444-3934
(661) 803-2098
(415) 492-1059