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Luftbild von Bad Ischl, der Kulturhauptstadt des Jahres 2024, Bild: saiko3p / shutterstock

Bad Ischl – in the footsteps of the Habsburgs

Even the Habsburgs appreciated the elegance of Bad Ischl. It is not without reason that they built their summer residence in the historic spa town in the Salzkammergut. In addition to its opulent architecture, the holiday resort in Upper Austria also impresses with its thermal water. Doctor Wirer, a respected physician, even spoke of a healing effect on body and mind. So it’s no wonder that the well-known spa attracts thousands of visitors every year. Learn more about Bad Ischl, the Capital of Culture of the Year 2024.

The most interesting corners of Bad Ischl

1. The Imperial Villa

Imperial Villa Bad Ischl
Imperial villa in Bad Ischl, Image: saiko3p / shutterstock

In the heart of Bad Ischl is the most popular tourist attraction in the entire Salzkammergut – the Kaiservilla. None other than Emperor Franz Joseph and his Sissi used the noble estate as a summer residence. And even today it is part of the property of the royal family of Habsburg-Lorraine. Anyone who wanders through the magnificent halls and well-kept gardens gets a small insight into the private life of the Habsburg couple.

Immediately after the engagement of Emperor Franz Joseph and Elisabeth, Archduchess Sophie, Franz’s proud mother, went in search of a special wedding gift. She quickly found what she was looking for. It was to be the classicist villa on the Jainzenberg. After a few renovations, an inviting property was created in a striking electric floor plan, as a reference to Empress Elisabeth.

To this day, the inventory of the imperial villa is exceptionally well preserved. The loving details in the pompous rooms immediately take every visitor back to the 19th century.

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2. The Marble Castle

In the middle of the park of the Imperial Villa, you will find another historical jewel, the Marble Castle. It was built from 1856 to 1861 by the renowned court gardener Franz Rauch, for Empress Sissi personally. The result is a two-storey cottage in a rustic Tudor style. Originally, the imperial family used it as a breakfast salon. Today it is a popular exhibition venue. Vernissages and readings about the Salzkammergut, Bad Ischl and the Habsburg family are housed in the magnificent four walls.

3. The Antique Flea Market

An extraordinary flea market takes place every first Saturday from March to November in Bad Ischl. We are talking about the so-called antique flea market. But you won’t find a typical flea market here. Instead, the dealers’ colorful displays are filled only with valuable rarities. From nostalgic jewellery to high-quality vintage furniture and old cameras, everything is included.

Good to know: Early in the morning at around 6 a.m., the traders offer their goods for sale. Early risers have all the better chances.

4. A visit to the Eurotherme

The river Ischl (Traun)
The river Ischl (Traun), Image: Sonja and Gerald / shutterstock

Bad Ischl is known worldwide as a health resort. So the Eurotherme definitely belongs on the travel program. Especially in bad weather, it is a wonderful place to relax. The many pools with extras such as underwater massage jets, bubble loungers and whirlpools with up to 36 degrees guarantee pure relaxation. The spacious sauna area and the varied outdoor park have at least as much relaxation to offer.

5. To Katrin

In addition to the historic buildings of the Habsburgs and the soothing thermal springs in the Eurotherme, Bad Ischl also attracts with its unique natural scenery. Just a short walk from the city center, the famous Katrin cable car awaits you with the iconic red 4-seater cabins in nostalgic style. It is not for nothing that the locals like to call their cable car the “most beautiful cable car in the Salzkammergut”.

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Those who take a seat in the charming red gondolas are rewarded with a breathtaking view of the nature reserve. At 1,400 metres above sea level, Bad Ischl, the Alps and many nearby lakes can be admired in all rounds. Since 1959, the iconic cable car has been transporting its passengers safely and stylishly to the Katrin Alm. Every 15 minutes, a new gondola rises into the air.

By the way: If you are good on foot, you can of course also give the cable car a wide berth and climb the summit yourself. Hikers are very welcome here.

Imperial dining in Bad Ischl

When hunger strikes after an eventful day in Bad Ischl, there is definitely no shortage of culinary offerings. Austrian classics such as schnitzel with fried potatoes or a portion of cheese spaetzle with fried onions are on every menu in the rustic pubs and restaurants. The small hunger in between is satisfied by hearty snack boards. They are filled with all kinds of cold specialties, for example bacon, cheese, pickles, vegetables, eggs and horseradish. Add a small bread basket and the typical Austrian snack board is ready. Of course, Bad Ischl also serves good dessert. Kaiserschmarren with vanilla sauce and hot raspberries is not to be missed.

Coffee culture enjoys a particularly high status in Bad Ischl. Traditionally furnished cafés and nostalgic pastry shops are reminiscent of the Sissi era.

Information about Bad Ischl