The Imperial Villa in Bad Ischl

Emperor Franz Joseph I loved Bad Ischl more than almost any other place in his empire. He spent 82 summers of his long life here and celebrated 81 of his birthdays in Bad Ischl. Aged 15, he wrote to his mother, Grand Duchess Sophie: “Oh, how I long for dear, dear Ischl.” Mother dearest shared her son’s affection for the Salzkammergut and purchased a sizeable Biedermeier-style villa with garden as a wedding present for Franz Joseph and Elisabeth.

The Imperial Villa in Bad Ischl

From Biedermeier villa to imperial summer residence

Of course, the villa was unworthy of an emperor, which is why Sophie had it extensively converted and extended. Large areas were acquired for the landscape park, and Franz Joseph and “Sisi” already spent their first summer in the still half-finished Imperial Villa in Bad Ischl in 1854. By 1859, the stables, estate building, workshops, kitchens, staff quarters, a coach house and glass houses had been built, joined by water pipe. The summer residence amidst the grand park with pavilions and a fountain facility was expanded still further, and the Biedermeier red of the villa’s front made away for the classic Schönbrunn yellow.

Family life and destination for the public

The Imperial Villa in Bad Ischl offered the Habsburg family a private retreat far away from the strict court protocol. For sixty years, the imperial family spent their summers at the residence in Ischl. It was much easier to access and in every season thanks to the construction of the railway connection to Vienna in 1877. Emperor Franz Joseph I even allowed the public to go on sightseeing tours of the villa and the park during his absence – a bonus that remains to this day.

Visit the Kaiservilla in Bad Ischl while being on thermal spa holiday

Visiting the Imperial Villa – opening hours

The Imperial Villa in Bad Ischl can be viewed year-round on a group tour,
opening hours daily from April to October, otherwise on selected days. Please enquire before your trip! Sights worth seeing include:

  • Imperial Villa with private rooms
  • Photo museum in the former cottage, now Marmorschlössl (marble castle)
  • Imperial park around the villa
  • Gloriette in the park, accessible via the serpentine path
  • Spiegellusthaus (mirror mansion) at the highest point of the park path
  • Fountains and sculptures


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