Bad Ischl, Upper Austria
A town both traditional and modern at the heart of the Salzkammergut. Experience true leisure and immerse yourself in a centuries-old culture.
A piece of paradise, a place for active sport in pristine nature, for congresses and meetings and for cultural pleasures of all kinds.
The Lehár Festival in the summer, hikes and excursions in and around Bad Ischl, alpine sports in the winter, and golf the whole year round - a year full of sport, relaxation and cultural possibilities - and with the majestic mountains and crystal-clear lakes of the Salzkammergut as a backdrop. A place in which to experience the true meaning of leisure.
Bad Ischl is extremely picturesque due to the large number of magnificent buildings from the time of the monarchy, having once been a meeting place for aristocrats and artists.
Much of what made it an imperial town remains standing today. On every corner visitors will find reminders of the time when history was being written at Bad Ischl. Bad Ischl and the Salzkammergut's most famous visitors were Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Sisi. For decades she used the so-called Kaiservilla, situated in a large park in the town, as her summer residence.
And when, for example, on the 5th of January the light caps of the town's bell-ringers light up and the shepherds sing their songs, no one can be in any doubt that tradition is still very much a part of life in Bad Ischl.
This is not at the expense of contemporary culture, however, which is just as present in Bad Ischl's calendar of events, and includes private viewings and exhibitions (including in the Salzkammergut thermal baths), the Kaiserfest, Night of Music, Shake the Lake and the renowned Lehár Festival Bad Ischl.
History and Myth
Bad Ischl has a long history, the most famous chapter of which undoubtedly was its time as the summer residence of the imperial royal family. For 60 years Emperor Franz Joseph came here each summer, establishing a tradition the effects of which are still felt in the town today. Despite this, this is in no way a place where time has stood still.
The most famous story of all:
The parents of the future emperor, Franz Karl and Sophie von Bayern, were childless. Their doctor suggested that they bathe in the mineral saltwater baths of Bad Ischl, and lo and behold, the empress became pregnant and gave birth to her first child, a son, later to become Emperor Franz Joseph. He and his brother were thereafter referred to as the Salt Princes, because they essentially owed their lives to the saltwater of Bad Ischl.
In 1853 Sisi von Possenhofen, aged 15 1/2, came to Ischl with her sister Helene, who had been chosen to marry her cousin, Emperor Franz Joseph. The emperor, however, fell in love with Sisi instead, and the official engagement was announced on 18 August, his birthday. The Haus Austria, in which the engagement took place, is now the Museum of Bad Ischl, and the room in which the historic engagement took place is now the registrar's office, and the scene today of so-called 'Sisi Marriages'. After the marriage in 1854, the emperor and his wife visited Bad Ischl each year. The Kaiservilla was given to them as a wedding present by the emperor's parents (Archduke Karl and Archduchess Sophie - the sister of Elisabeth's mother Ludovika), while the Villa Eltz was enlarged in the shape of the letter E for 'Elisabeth'.