The Salzkammergut

Franz Josef’s sprawling summer residence, the Italianate-style Kaiservilla, was an engagement present for him and his princess-to-be, Elisabeth of Bavaria, from his mother Princess Sophie. Elisabeth, who loathed the villa and her mother-in-law in equal measure, spent little time here, but the emperor came to love it and it became his permanent summer residence for more than 60 years. His mistress, Katharina Schratt, lived nearby in a house chosen for her by the empress.

Tours of the villa give interesting insights into the life of the imperial family here. Objects on display include a death mask of Empress Elisabeth and Franz Josef’s hunting trophies, including the stuffed corpse of the 2000th chamois he shot.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Salzkammergut attractions

1. Stadtmuseum

0.34 MILES

The City Museum showcases the long history of Bad Ischl and stages changing exhibitions. This also happens to be the building where Franz Josef and…

2. Lehár Villa

0.37 MILES

This pink villa was the home of opera composer Franz Lehár and is a picture of late-Imperial-era Austria in all its stuffy glory. Left exactly as Lehár…

3. Salzwelten Altaussee

7.05 MILES

Situated near the Altaussee about 6km north of Bad Aussee, this working salt mine was the secret hiding place for art treasures stolen by the Nazis during…

4. Wallfahrtskirche

8.23 MILES

St Wolfgang’s impressive Wallfahrtskirche is a spectacular gallery of religious art, with glittering altars (from Gothic to baroque), an extravagant…

5. Kammerhof Museum

10.46 MILES

Kammerhof Museum, housed in a beautiful 17th-century building, covers local history and salt production. It also has some portraits of Anna Plöchl, the…

6. Salzwelten

10.46 MILES

The fascinating Salzbergwerk (salt mine) is situated high above Hallstatt on Salzberg (Salt Mountain) and is the lake's major cultural attraction. The…

7. Beinhaus

10.55 MILES

This small ossuary contains rows of neatly stacked skulls, painted with decorative designs and the names of their former owners. Bones have been exhumed…

8. Weltkulturerbe Museum

10.65 MILES

This multimedia museum has a strong focus on the region’s history of Iron Age/Celtic settlement and salt mining, taking you through 26 stations of…