The lovely baroque town of Bad Ischl, Austria, located 30 mi/50 km southeast of Salzburg, was the summer residence of Emperor Franz Josef and other royal family members.
The royal Kaiservilla, located in a large park north of town, houses some of the emperor's many hunting trophies as well as the Grey Salon (left untouched since the death of Empress Elizabeth in 1898) and the writing desk where the emperor declared war on Serbia (which led to World War I). The villa is still home to Hapsburg descendants, but it is open to tourists year-round, except in November (there is an admission fee to the villa and to the surrounding park).
Empress Elizabeth's marble palace nearby is now a museum of Austrian photography. Also visit the Villa Lehar (now a museum), where the composer of the operetta The Merry Widow lived before his death in 1948.
About 15 mi/25 km away is Gmunden, with a pretty castle (Landschloss Ort) located on a peninsula. The town is also known for its ceramics, as well as for some downhill skiing and cross-country ski routes. Other scenic towns are scattered a bit farther away, along the spectacular Traunsee.
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